Meet a highly successful coach and most likely you are meeting a master
of communication! Sharon McDowell writes in Coaches' Quarterly that timing
and precision are needed when giving feedback to swimmers. She also talks
about "prescriptive feedback." That means "the coach needs to provide a solution
to a movement error, rather than just saying the movement is in error."
Some of the most sophisticated technology has found practical applications
in the realm of competitive swimming. The U.S. swim team uses a special type
of pool called a flume to train its athletes.
The flow of water in the flume, the only one of its kind in the world,
can be set to world record pace. Its pressure chamber is capable of simulating
altitudes from sea level to 10,000 feet. This facility helps athletes and
their coaches to study the interplay of physiology, biomechanics, psychology
and nutrition in the development of champion swimmers.
An Olympic-size pool is 50 meters, commonly called "long course meters."
The Olympic swimming events consist of 13 individual events and three relays
for men and women.
In the intense world of competitive swimming, a coach gains prestige by
placing their athletes in the winner's circle. This may be at such revered
events as the Pan Am Games, the Pan Pacific Games, the World University Games,
the world championships and the pinnacle of all events, the Olympics!
Swim coaches play many roles. This includes teaching other coaches who
need to upgrade their skills continually to remain competitive. Swimmers need
to be coached in a school environment (high school and college), as well as
at local swim clubs. Coaching associations often provide clinics where experienced
coaches pass along their wisdom by teaching up-and-coming coaches.