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Swim Coach  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotMeet 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."

dotSome 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!

dotSwim 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.

At a Glance

Train swimmers to be champions

  • A college degree often is not necessary to obtain a coaching position
  • You need excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • You can get certified through a coaching association