DEC 2018 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Congratulations on all you have done in 2018 and all you are about to do in 2019. I think it is safe to say, this has been a banner year for all of us… Staying in the game… Just show up… Make ‘em earn it…. All the training, the friendships, the travel, the upgrades, the increase in skills and overall health ~ WOW, YOU are amazing! Thank you for allowing me to play some small part in each of your lives, I am truly enriched by your energy.

This December's edition has a special announcement and lots of info, so please continue reading:

#1 = O2 Asked for a topic of discussion for this month’s edition and received a very legitimate request from one of our tough guys - Scott Franks, IronMan. Scott wants to know “How to get faster”… It is a beautiful question, as it is the essence of WHY we work as hard at what we do and reminds us all to keep GOALS in mind.

My answer: “ Every detail we study and work toward is directly engaged in answering this question. We get faster by focused technique and hard work.”
Maybe a few additional ideas?

* This is one of my personal favorites (and I relearn it at least once a year) - you have to put out more effort to go faster !
** Have nothing less than perfection in mind while doing your warm up and DO NOT time it…. FEEL it.
*** Use pool tools and KNOW HOW/WHY… eg. the right swim fins make you swim faster. This connects new neural pathways that unlock untapped speed. Read that again…
**** Do “descend” sets. Learn to go negative….
***** Ever hear of the FINIS Tempo Trainer? We have a love/hate relationship - if that tells you anything !
****** Do ONE race every week. Time it. Write it down somewhere. What is your 100 time now? 500 time? 800 time? What does history teach us?
******* Have days that are SPEED only workouts…. They should be shorter due to the intensity - If they are not shorter, you will “save” some and it will be less effective….
******** Identify one skill you are weak on and work to develop it - with a specific goal in mind….ie, slow flip turns. Research some on line resources and ask for help with someone who has a great turn!
#1a = One of our HS juniors went 4:45.51 in the 500 free last week, maybe we should ask him !

#2 = Our O2 SWIMMING Endless Pool Studio was just upgraded one more time ??. Next time you enter the pool area, you will immediately notice the brand new High Intensity LED lights I installed over the weekend = WOW !!!!!

#3 = Happy to report the O2 SWIMMING rates will remain the same in 2019. NB. The rates have only been increased by necessity and we did that only 3 times in almost 20 years…..
#3.5 = Summer Holland will be home from college for over a month (before she heads to New Zealand for a semester) and has been both an O2 SWIMMING coach and Fanny Chapman instructor for years. She charges 50% of my rate.

#4 = O2 SWIMMING gift certificates are now available for purchase… Please shoot me an email if you are interested.

#5 = The really big one……..

Happy to announce that our PPT Coaching Winter Triathlon Training Camp in Clermont, Florida is coming along quite well.
When the winter weather is at it's worst - we are offering four days of focused training in warm and sunny Florida for all abilities.
Website link here for details.

Ken Holland, Owner of O2 Swimming will be joining us as a swim coach! Ken has an impressive resume of swim coaching that will we are all excited about as the theme of the camp will focus on ensuring campers take back home with them knowledge, and tools that they can put to immediate use in furthering their training. As a triathlon coach I learned early on the value of partnering with specialists like Ken. He truly is one of the best swim coaches, if not the best, in our area and we are excited to have him join us. Ken will be leading athletes through swim-specific presentations as well as in-water instruction.
2. Information Session. Some have asked questions about the best way to ship bikes and we are looking into a bike shuttle service to transport bikes down. More to come on this but please email me if this is of interest to you. If so, we will schedule an information session for those interested.
Also, a few have expressed interest in staying a day or two longer and that is also ok. Please reach out to me if you want more details on this option.

All the best,

Brett Jenner
m: 610-203-0481

Bet you never saw that one coming….
Coach Brett Jenner and I have enjoyed working with each other over the last year or two and he has not only added me to his list of weapons in season, but asked that we bring the O2 Brand of knowledge to Florida this winter. I am very excited to be working with PPT Coaching. This is going to be a fantastic tri camp and the price is very reasonable, $600 if you pay in 2018 and $699 if you pay in 2019. We are at capacity with 20 athletes and Brett has a decent number of spots filled, so………
Probably best to reach out to Brett directly, but please let me know if you have questions and certainly when you sign up !!

Brett’s contact info:
P. 610-203-0481

Have a great holiday season.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in SWIMMING (and now triathlon).

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 &



NOV 2018 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Another month closer to the end of 2018, and as I swam in the predawn light today at LA Fitness, it occurred to me just HOW LONG I have gotten my ragged old butt up and drenched myself in the water through every sort of weather and season imaginable. I sure am one lucky hombre ??. My own practices are back on track after a bit of an SI issue that always seems to come around through a little more swimming, a little less cycling, and a few visits to Advanced Sports Chiropractic… Not always easy keeping the “over 30” athletes in motion!

Now that we are really into the Fall swim season, I would like to speak about something I am becoming more aware of and diagnosing more often (cause or affect….not sure):


I don’t remember this really ever being discussed, but my first conceptual thinking occurred the year Ryan Murphy came into the spotlight as our lead backstroker. We had a good session at the Olympic Coach’s Conference the spent time discussing the latest advances in backstroke that were under development and being seriously measured with both times and science. If you remember, I wrote a bit about GOGGLES a few months back in a newsletter because I noticed the some/many goggles that are popular now actually LIMIT the swimmers vision, critically bad in backstroke.

Where else does the consideration of VISION take us now:

1) It all starts with AWARENESS. The next time you swim, check to see where you are actually looking - throughout the stroke cycle (and in each stroke).

2) The biggest concept here is to observe our O2 SWIMMING LAW #1 = Balance. Be sure whatever you do, that you RETURN to an eyes down position in every stroke upon completion of your breathing.
***I can tell you now - this is the single biggest reason I am writing about VISION this month…most of you are never in a downward vision look and as such, you are not in BALANCE.

3) When you swim faster, does your head (eyes are contained in the head, for reference) return as quickly as it should… Again, most of you = no!

4) As you rotate to breath, does your head turn? It should not be initiated by the neck. Breathing and subsequently, your vision, should be rotated by major muscle groups: hips and core. Again, what are your eyes doing? Do you close them at any time…. Many do…??.

5) As you rotate to breath, is your recovery hand in sight? It should be. If not, it is usually ABOVE your sight line, indicative of a high wrist / low elbow. No one wants to see that…. There are triathlon pictures all over the internet and most magazines showing this technique failure. A high elbow (low wrist) allows you to visually see your recovery hand. What I can tell you is that if you have a high elbow on top of the water, you have a high elbow under the water - where the CATCH happens !!!!!

Bottom line for all 4 strokes is that your body follows a vision line. Examine your vision line and see if there can be improvements which will lead to more flow and more flow = more speed.

YE Housekeeping ~

I hate to tell you, but the PIAA swim season sates this week and we are al only a bit over a month until Christmas and New Years ??. My calendar blew up over less than a week and there are very few spots left this year. Booking a few spots in mid December and I usually leave a few spots open between the holidays for college swimmers who are home and need a little tune up…

O2 SWIMMING will not be booking Jan 2019 until closer to Thanksgiving, as I am unsure of any work related commitments right now. Rest assured, no one is getting ahead of you there, and I will announce when the 2019 book opens…

All unused sessions that have not been booked go off the books, as we start a clean slate every year - policy for almost 20 years now. If you are currently swimming with me - NO NEED TO CALL or WORRY, your spots are secure. Any athlete that has/had a tri pack from earlier this year - you need to call ASAP !!

As ’Tis the season approaches = Keep in mind all our Team Discounts available direct to you on the web page… Everyone likes a new pair of goggles: Arena and MP are very popular now…. A new suit… Some of the awesome FINIS tools… Enjoy.
Also, we have really risen through the ranks at INFINIT Nutrition, looks like a very large group of us are staying with the full custom blend !

Stay motivated.
It matters !

Get wet :-)

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and



AUG 2018 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Welcome to probably my 900th Newsletter, but after several/many years of guiding O2 SWIMMING; I am still fired up and enjoying what we have come to represent: A world class environment that is accessible to all who desire to take their swimming to the next level, whatever that may be !! Thank you for all the support and continued success to each of you as we tackle the next challenge.

September is another transitional month as the triathletes are winding down (for the most part, we still have the Half in Lake Placid, Kona and several other exotic destinations to swim, bike and run to…) and swim season has just begun ; whether it be water polo or club programs.

I wanted to talk about CROSS TRAINING this month. I think this topic is inspiring me for several reasons ~ one of them is another of my “over 30” boys showed up at the pool today limping and obviously in some pain. When I asked him how he was, he told me he was hit (head on) by an SUV while on his bike…. Bucks County has become an extremely dangerous place to do business, as basically no one stops at stop signs, uses turn signals, etc. We are apparently in a class all by ourselves. During one of my 33 mile training rides tuesday, a school bus going 60mph in a 25 zone in Lumberville passed us while crossing a double yellow line on a curve - so they could stop 100’ ahead and pick up 3 small children. It is frightening out there. Back to my topic: CROSS TRAINING.

Swimming has “saved my life” many times as I have been injured several times and the water has always been therapeutic. I was so happy that our athlete above who was hit by an SUV chose the water for some much needed therapy: easy swimming, stretching, loosening up.

Post injury is not the only reason to swim. PRE injury might be even better !! Swimming keeps you flexible, strong, and in good cardio shape; while adding very little stress to the hard parts of the anatomy.

Thought #3 here = cross training AS A SWIMMER. Swimming does nothing for bone strength. My wife and I always laugh ~ I love swimming and she has been doing yoga for decades now - we both probably have spaghetti bones ??. What can a swimmer do to both ADD strength and encourage faster times in the pool?

Weight training - I come from the era where swimmers were NOT allowed in the weight room. NOT anymore ! Kettle bells are my preferred weight, as I have a total of 1 and with the simple handle, it is very easy!

ANY land animal sport - basically any sport that works muscles in a different way than swimming - is healthy cross training. Cycling, running, tennis, alligator wrestling (just seeing who actually reads this newsletter)….

One of the biggest advances in sports has come about due to cross training and most recently “muscle confusion”. Forcing muscles to adapt keeps them fluid and strong.

I am posting today on Facebook’s O2 SWIMMING page - a challenge list of cross training ideas for us to share. I believe this is the wonderful benefit of Facebook ~ community information !
See you in the water !!

BUSINESS STUFF ~ Sept has arrived like a lion, O2 SWIMMING is booked into Oct already. So, not to make you (or me) crazy, but please reach out for me soon if I OWE YOU any time in 2018. As has been my policy since 2003, all sessions paid for are due to be redeemed within that calendar year only (exception being tri packs booked in mid/late Nov forward).
The good and bad news is that in my 16th year of officially being “O2”, we are very busy. I am happy to report we have had swimmers at Jr Nationals, Sr Nationals, and other larger venues. Please be patient and remember; the best way to reach me for scheduling time is to TEXT or CALL between 10-3pm during the work week.

NB. We are doing a great job with our affiliates (vendor discounts) and all contracts have been extended into 2019.

Swim Outlet bouncing through our hyperlink guarantees us the lowest team pricing
INFINIT is rocking with our athletes - EVERYONE has given me positive feedback and I am in year 4 and performing very well - even in this extreme heat and 98% humidity.
Emerson Ecologics is doing a great job for us with pharmaceutical grade supplements for everything from multi vitamins to my perennial favorite for swimmers = probiotics. ***Chlorine is a serious toxin and we are all pickled in it!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and



AUG 2018 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Not sure about you, but I am going through heavy withdrawal after toggling back and forth between the Phillips 66 National Swim Championships and the Tour de France over the last few days of July… WOW !! 2018 has been an awesome year here at O2 SWIMMING, as we had swimmers at Jr Nationals, Sr Nationals, and I counted quite a few local kids at the Phillips 66 meet in California. I continue to witness what an exceptionally high level of swimming we have around this area that we call home. Lots of inspiration….

Just a little plug for all of us who work hard and try everyday to improve our standards: At the Phillips 66 meet, a St Petersburg Aquatics swimmer in lane 1 was swimming the 800 free and his left hand returned to the surface on EVERY STROKE! It was hard to watch someone swim for 8 minutes with an error that should have been corrected at the latest by his 12 and under years…. I believe he finished last, as you might predict when you take approximately 32 SPL for 16 lengths and HALF of you strokes are not efficient ( approximately 256 times his hand went up at entry and could not hold any water). We all live and learn.

Also, worth mentioning: I have asked ALL of my breaststrokers to go back and watch Chase Kalisz in his RIO 400 IM and then again a few months later in Budapest. His transformation was astonishing as he worked his 3rd leg from “decent” to the most explosive in the pool. Last week at the National Championships he really made all 7 swimmers in the pool look slow as he flipped form back to breast. If you swim breaststroke or the IM, you need to study this…. ***And yet the footnote is that he is still not quite approaching the time standards only Phelps and Lochte set in both IM races….

All in all, each of us have things to learn. The more tricks I have up my sleeve, the better !!

This month’s focus will be: The Kick ~

There are so many aspects to the “perfect” stroke; and of course, the kick is part of the puzzle. The following are some pearls of wisdom I have accumulated over the past few decades of both swimming and coaching:

1) Fast twitch muscle development peaks (and then starts declining) around age 11-12. In other words, the harder a youngster works in his VERY early years, the more effective his kick rate will be. Once the swimmer is older, it is purely workload and not firing speed that is gained. The morale: WORK your kick sets all you 8 and under, 10 and under and 12 and unders!!! The rest of us will work 2-5X harder just to keep up !!

2) The kick rate is generally a 6 beat cycle in swim races (6 kicks to 1+ 1 arm cycles).
3) The kick rate is 1:1 in triathlon or long distance swimming

4) The differences between #2 and #3 are astronomically draining on your cardio system ! Watch the interviews from top level swimmers as they exist the pool after racing for under a minute - they can still barely breath or talk…. The amount of effort and oxygen debt is legendary. This is the whole aerobic versus anaerobic conversation and much of it leads directly to the kick intensity…

To simplify the true results ~

SWIMMERS = you need to kick more and it will never be enough!

TRIATHLETES = you need to kick less, the end. Kicking for you needs to be an integration of you full body length all doing the same thing at the same time.

***Before I hear mass hysteria…. triathletes are generally runners, as the race is heavily skewed towards running ( it takes about an hour to swim an IM distance, while a solid marathon takes 4 hours… Simple math here kids). As such, they have powerful legs. As human land animals, they solve most problems with their legs. This does not work well in the heavier water. Fish have no legs and even a tiny goldfish is faster than Caleb Dresel. Work what you have as your biggest asset and you will go faster than fighting you true nature !

What constitutes your best kick? In a word, FLUIDITY. A powerful kick is generated from the hips; the knee and ankle joints must remain flexible to whip the directionality of the exit forces you are pushing. Stiff legs and knee kicks do not belong in the water. An appropriate set of fins can be very helpful as you begin to FEEL the proper forces at work. My 2 ALL TIME GO TO fins are very different:

FINIS Zoomer = for the swimmer and the speed work. These are short and massively powerful. The Zoomers respond instantly to forces applied.

FINIS ZII’s = for triathletes and distance swimmers. These are close to perfect in length, flexibility, venting, etc to keep you going LONG and streamline. ***I did a 500 with them today in anticipation of my thursday ride being rained out tomorrow. I went fairly easily under 1:30 pace at 6:48 while taking a lot of pressure and workload off my shoulders as I “over”worked my tail end a bit. It was a double win for me.

O2 SWIMMING is NOT a fan of most fins due to the highly flexible (read: SLOW) nature of fins on the market today. FINIS is very careful to get the durometer just right. If you need a pair, you can pick up our team discount directly from FINIS or through our team hyperlink to SWIMOUTLET on our web page. I have both, as at my age, I am not sure what I really am when I wake up in the morning, other than an “over 30” athlete who still can show up for the dance !!

Congrats on a solid year so far, the best is yet to come !!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and


JULY 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Hope you all had a great INDEPENDENCE DAY, it sure flew by on this end?. I got some swimming in Lake Erie and I must say, it was a crystal clear and as clean as I have ever seen it ! O2 SWIMMING has been busy as always this summer and it looks like all of you are staying in the game - thank you! Fun how much athletics tells you about yourself. There are a million reasons WHY we all do what we do…. I am also happy to report that a whole new group of teenagers are now lifeguarding and teaching in this area ~ nothing makes me happier ??.

As I began to put this month’s Newsletter together in my head, it made me realize how important BALANCE is. Yes, I am speaking of the O2 SWIMMING LAW #1, BALANCE; but I was thinking more about our LIFE BALANCE. It is very difficult to stay at a higher level, be it the athlete at their peak, the parents time during the season (transport vehicles run from 4:45 am around here!), or just the mental balance of staying fresh and engaged for so long. Take time off if you need it. I’m not talking months, but a day or a week won’t hurt anyone - it will help you. Your body has both mental and physical peaks - it is only when BOTH peak that you are actually at your best…. How often can you make that happen?

Think about it…

Our theme for July is: RACE DAY ~

The reason we do what we do, is generally vetted on RACE DAY. Here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way and most are carved in stone:

1) NEVER do anything on race day that you haven’t done before. NO NEW: drinks, carbo loads, sleep patterns, goggles, etc

2) Plan the day before as much as you plan the RACE DAY. If you are doing an IronMan or have a 3-4 day meet - meticulously plan a week ahead

3) Clear your head. An aligned mind and body are your best asset !

4) No level of self doubt - focus on your outcome.

5) Visualize !! *****This has become more and more prevalent as the sports psychologists work their way into our fun activities

6) Surround yourself with positive people - quite frankly, dump the negative ones… Sorry, so with swimming is so with life….

7) Double check ALL race details 48 hours in advance. Are you comfortable getting there, All your equipment in order and in place, etc.

8) NUTRITION - stick to the plan. You got here for a reason, just do what you do….

9) Breath. My research clearly shows that BREATHING has been around for thousands of years - focus on it and many other distractions go away :-)

10) Smile. Race day is your chance to show yourself and your tribe just how much work you have done to get here. Smile & Enjoy your day.

And last, but not least - develop and stick to YOUR warm up plan. There is a reason that every athlete warms up everyday, don’t blow it off on RACE DAY ~ it is never more important !!

Small housekeeping stuff ~

August is my least busy month of the year, but I still fill all available slots - it’s just easier since when you call I often do have that spot next week…. Once we get into the first few weeks of September, all bets are off and my schedule will bounce out to 4-6 weeks usually.

****If I owe you time, PLEASE reach out for me ASAP and let’s get this done for you. I always have time, but certain times are better for both of us ??.


We have a BRAND NEW wetsuit for sale at O2 SWIMMING. The suit is an O’Neill Superlite Farmer John (sleeveless) in XL. New with tags $100, your’s for $50. This is a nice suit for a budding triathlete to test the waters for about the price of a good Speedo, or someone looking to play at the Shore: surfing, boading, snorkeling…. First comer gets it !!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and



JUNE 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Sometimes its about motivation. Sometimes its about knowledge. Sometimes its just plain luck !
I like a combination of focused training and longevity….staying in the game long enough to matter. The reason I coach is to increase the knowledge base in swimming and provide a world class venue to discover just how far we can all go ~ pretty cool, huh? O2 SWIMMING started back in 2002 officially and I basically have not had a day off since - thank you for your trust and passion for the sport.

This month, I would like to step a wee bit outside of the water and talk about 2 things directly related:

Core Work and Nutrition:

Core Work ~ Much of the “yet to be optimized” swimming I see can be attributed to weak core and non integration of those larger muscle groups. Simply put, you cannot move forward without you BODY moving forward and the body is large, requiring core muscles to move it… If you throw your hands/arms forward, the body is too big to follow it - the core must actively seek momentum. Strong swimmers have a strong core, but we no longer rely solely on the water to develop these muscles. Here are some fresh ideas to help you work on a strong set of core muscles (which will no doubt help you in EVERYTHING you do in life):

1) The O2 Favorite = lots of underwater dolphin with ZII fins on. Of course, I am known as more of an aquatic animal than a land animal, so I even like to do core work underwater. Put on a long, narrow set of fins (Finis ZII are my long time favorite here) and try to go end to end with as little swimming as possible - use the hips and abs to drive you forward (no arms).

2) Burpees = many variations, find some good ones on You Tube

3) Opposite arm leg raises

4) Some kettle bell work: swings, stretches with the weight, etc)

5) Prone plank

Core work is always a good answer, improve here and see RESULTS !!

Nutrition ~ I founded O2 NUTRITION after my passion in the pharmacy intertwined with Integrated Nutrition out of SUNY in the early 2000’s. Your peak operating power comes from BOTH quality exercise AND good nutrition. Is anyone as amazed as I am at the number of people who eat fast food every week of their lives?
What constitutes GOOD NUTRITION?
It is not that big of a mystery: eat the bulk of ALL your food form single source ingredients: chicken, peas, nuts, eggs, spinach, quinoa, fish, carrots, …… You get the idea. Packaged ingredients that have many things you can’t even identify are obviously less healthy - regardless of the package saying “GLUTEN FREE”. “Gluten free” has become somewhat of a code word in the industry for “this is good for you” when in fact, it is often total garbage….
I can help you, but just simplify your life. Walk the outside of the grocery store more than the middle aisles. Buy local foods - most of you that have been to O2 have dropped into None Such Farms a time or two; talk about awesome quality local grown fruits, vegetables and even beef !! Simplify.
Plan ahead = cook once, eat 2-3 times.

As an athlete - careful not to “diet” in the form of carbohydrate restrictions. Carbs are a quick energy source that is EASILY broken down and converted to energy. Go liquid as much as possible - no breakdown time! Many of you are now using INFINIT NUTRITION and getting our team discount offered through my web page. Does it really get any better than custom formula, designed for YOU alone and shipped in 2 days? A minor tweak to your first formula is usually all it takes to get complete satisfaction. I use nothing else all the way through 4-5 hour bike rides. Your nutritional needs are pretty simple in events lasting under 2 hours, but it changes drastically after the 2 hour window, as your body NEEDS to dig deeper….
After 2 hours - you need some protein in your formula.
How does caffeine affect you? Caffeine is both performance enhancing and a great dehydrator - what is your optimal balance? This is one item I dole out separately and judiciously (and not that often).

We can field any questions on the O2 SWIMMING Facebook page if you think your query is relevant to the whole group, or individually if you have very specific needs.

BIG NEWS: Miss Summer Holland will be home from 18 June to 11 July 2018. My little swimmer will then be heading to University of Auckland, New Zealand to further her education ~ or at least that is what I am being told…. Please call her directly to schedule (267-994-0816), As always, we charge 50% when my swimmers coach - no other discounts apply…. Her only scheduling restriction is that she cannot be in the pool during my regular coaching hours Mon - Thursday from 5-7pm. She does both in the water and on deck sessions depending on the age and ability. Summer has been coaching at O2 SWIMMING for 4 years and coached/taught at Fanny Chapman for 2-3 years.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and


MAY 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Nothing like going from 30F mornings to around 90F in 2 days ~ spring is finally here !!
May is certainly an ENERGY month - you have it, or you don’t… Outdoor swimming is right around the corner ~ surely one of my favorite times of year ??????. Fresh air, sunshine, and a superior chlorine dispersal system is perfect. Hope you get outdoors soon.

Swimmers are coming off long course season and about ready to ease into the FUN summer swim season - I hope none of mine work too hard. The O2 swimmers busted tail all year, they need a little R&R that just a few thousand easy yards can give them.

Triathletes have kicked off another racing season and after a hard winter; it looks to me like many are pretty far behind in their training. We can only hope the rest of the crowd followed suit… I’m just not seeing the levels of intensity that I have witnessed in the past. How are YOU doing?

Our MAY theme is: Kicking ~

This is a question I get a lot and most are shocked by my answer(s). In order to service all of you, once again, we will break out into 2 groups:

For Swimmers:

This video shows some of the finer points of kicking freestyle. Most of you are superior kickers, but refocusing on this skill has merit. My top level swimmers can hold a high tempo kick throughout a 200 yard race with no variability. All swimmers going under 1:50 are such animals ?.
All I ask is that you work your legs a little harder this summer - all the while, I want you dialed back a bit to get the rest you body needs. This will allow you to enter the traditional fall swim season with a hot new skill set and plenty of rest to ignite your season.

For Triathletes:

This video demonstrates what I have been teaching for over 20 years = INTEGRATION of the long body. The legs need to drive off the core and fully integrate into your stroke pattern. None of you are swimming a 1:46 second race… You probably average over 30 minutes in the water at even the shorter triathlon swim starts. Learning to MANAGE your energy in each sector (front, bottom, core) is a key to sustainability in long open water races. Many of you are outstanding runners, but that does not translate into aquatic speed - the reverse is true as well (so don’t feel bad)… most top level swimmers can’t run fast enough to catch a bus while it is stopped !

I recommend a long fin, like the FINIS ZII for all open water swimmers. The ZII will increase your ankle flexibility and add length to your stroke; all while NOT allowing you to kick too hard. A long fin does not like to be kicked hard, as it is too much effort and you will FEEL the negative feedback. So, do “runners” need fins? YES - if they are the right ones ??.

As we train in the next few weeks, keep in mind ~ KICKING is our focus this month; find a way to improve that one skill.

Enjoy the spring weather and make healthy decisions… Life is a long time, learn how to do it best.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and


APRIL 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

In case you have not heard or seen much in the last 30 days, here is a recap of the ever explosive world of swimming:

1) Pennsylvania’s North Allegheny HS set the National Record in the 4 X 100 free relay with a time of: 2:52.81

2) Local 14 year old wins NCSA 100 Breast in Florida with a time of 57.73

3) Caleb Dressel busts through 2 barriers at Sr nationals:

50 free = 17.63: ****I have NEVER seen anyone over the age of 12 win a 50 by a body length !!

100 free = 39.90

***I believe that all of us “over 30” and triathlete swimmers have a goal I NEVER thought I would be espousing: Your new goal is to NOT GET LAPPED in a 50 !!!! So, if you are so “slow” that you cannot swim a 50 in under 39.9, Mr Dressel will lap you in your 2 length race. Let that sink in, I know that I have and it terrifies me ??.

So, not a bad month of swimming overall and the sport will continue to inspire, despite the retirement of Michael Phelps - that makes this old coach very happy and I look forward to the future with a renewed sense of commitment.

Our theme this month is : Vision and Head Position ~

As I tried to steady our ship going into Championship season, I began to realize just how much work we were doing on HEAD POSITION and as I swam in my own workouts, it simultaneously occurred to me that GOGGLE SELECTION can play a pivotal role in head position….

Fresh off the 2016 Olympic Swim Coach’s Conference, I was re-educated in backstroke technique to the point it bothered me how much we were teaching WRONG all these years. Thankfully, Ryan Murphy & Co showed us a few things and due to the technical nature of our computer modeling and camera capabilities, we could DEFINE WHY things were better and faster.

So, have you fully evaluated you goggles, or are you using what “everyone else does…”? I have been a big Aqua Sphere fan in general for along time due to the soft nature of the seal, the good vision, and the overall fit regarding primarily the nose bridge distance. I am currently using an amber colored lens in a pair of Zoggs that I also love due to the visual I enjoy from the amber tint (once common, now rare). I have also used and given away a beautiful pair of MP pro goggles (anything Michael Phelps brand should make me swim faster) and a stunning set of ROKA RX goggles - both gave me sight soft tissue inter orbital pain and lack of vision in backstroke (primarily).

Goggles are a highly subjective piece of equipment, but please be willing to evaluate and explore options IF they are not allowing you the visual cues you need to swim your fastest… If they cut off or highly distort you view, you will find a spot to align your head that will absolutely alter your head position and streamline. Think about it… If your perisperhal vision is cut off when you place your eyes down, you will pick your head up to see better - especially AT SPEED where it matters most.

I will post this up on Facebook tomorrow and would welcome your feedback and thoughts, as this is a highly individual issue, but I am seeing some less than stellar results that be may the direct result of forced vision. I only ask that you keep your eyes open and search for answers as you hone all your skills in the water!

- Is your backstroke slower due to bad vision and the inability to tuck into the proper head position?

- Is your freestyle turn less than stellar because you can’t really see the wall at high speed (racing)?

- Are you not finishing your breaststroke because when you get the eyes lower, you can’t see at all?

- Do you have trouble finding the buoys in open water?

Are these issues due to lens color or contrast?


Is the goggle design blinding you in some ares?

Worthy of ?? into?

We are one of THE BIGGEST teams in the country at Swim Outlet, so be sure to go on-line if you need goggles or anything else… **They go from yoga pants to nutritionals !! Just bounce through our team hyperlink on my web page and you in !!

More snow in April, so you might as well go swimming. I think the workouts I have been posting on our Facebook page are enough to keep you busy all the way through the IM distance :-)

See you on deck


SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and


MARCH 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Sorry his month’s newsletter is so late, but PECO has been saving me money - lot of it… O2 has been on generator power for 8 of the last 10 days, but we never close ~ WOO HOO !!

March is a very exciting month for us, as the swimmers are all at Champ meets and proving what they are capable of, and my triathletes are beginning to emerge from their dens. Mr Phelps has finally retired, but along comes Caleb Dressel - WOW ! Locally, our own kids are smashing records too - both PRs and league times are all dropping as if it was meant to be! Just last night, one of our swimmers reported a 6 second drop in his 200 Breast; earning him a sectional cut. When was the last time we heard of a 15 year old dropping 6 seconds? My hat is off to ALL the kids that pulled of special performances in the last few weeks - nothing was given to them, they EARNED IT !

My topic for this month is ENERGY MANAGEMENT (special thanks to PECO for the enlightening idea…)

The best swimmers use their core to swim - as does a fish, arguably the fastest swimmers we know. Fish are simply a tube with a tail to drive the tube forward - no arms, no legs, no, nothing hanging off the tube. Streamline? ABSOLUTELY. If a fish expends more energy to eat than it has, it dies - mother nature is like that. How can we be more fishlike? How can we manage our limited power to the maximum efficiency?

1) Do enough work to be strong enough to swim the distance you need to… You cannot swim a strong hour in open water if you struggle for barely an hour with walls…

2) Learn to use your core to swim. Focused power that emanates bilaterally off the central spinal line is pure magic; compared to flapping arms

3) Energy driving FORWARD is worth more than energy pulling backwards…. STOP. Think about this… ***

4) Open water has no “rest area”, we must learn to manage HR and it all starts AT THE BEGINNING of every race (or practice). Does your practice reflects this?

5) Nutrition is ALWAYS a key - in life. Whether you are doing a sprint (you might be in “sprint shape”) or a full IronMan, your body needs fuel and must judiciously meter it back out to you engine. How have your trained you engine to accept gas? What “gas” do you use? Does it perform optimally for you?

I have been a big proponent of INFINIT NUTRITION for about 3-4 years now - at all distances. INFINIT does it right and does it simply. They make stock formulas, but you can dial in a CUSTOM formula with a little feedback - for about the same price. I use nothing else ~ for swim workouts, or century rides. If you have not tried INFINIT, I really think you are missing a huge step in your success plan.
**We get a team discount though my web page - it is worth it !

Think spring.
Set your clocks ahead saturday night.
Get out of you winter brain…eat more micro greens NOW… GO OUTSIDE !

NB. If anyone had a particularly good season or champ swim, maybe you want to post it up on Facebook and inspire us all….? Hopefully someone might have a had a good experience at O2 SWIMMING to write up a quick recommendation under that heading…?

Rock on, gang !!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and


FEB 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

It has been quite a week here in Philadelphia… GO E-A-G-L-E-S !!

It just goes to show that faith in oneself and ones team means more than talent. Doug Pederson’s “Next Man Up” approach carried the Eagles to victory all season - a season that did not end until the last second of Super Bowl LII.

Morale: the athletes that go the farthest, believe in themselves :-)

February is a cusp month for O2 SWIMMING every year ~ swimmers heading into CHAMP season, and triathletes crawling out of the cave and returning to the water. Due to this huge division, I always split my Feb Newsletter so that each may benefit.

SWIMMERS ~ This is what you have all worked for since last fall - the traditional final championships of the swim season. Here are a few pointers to help you get through AND to the next level:

1) Be INVOLVED in your taper - don’t just “let it happen” or think everyone tapers exactly the same.

2) Recovery rest and nutrition are key - this is no time to alter the best habits that got you this far !

3) NEVER do anything different on race day that you haven’t proven in your past !!

4) ALL warm ups matter - use them to the fullest and don’t leave your fastest swim in the warm up pool…you got this :-)

5) Get your HR up a little before you step up on the blocks. Too many swimmers stand behind the block with their google strap hanging out of their mouth and their hands folded while their pulse is barely breathing. How do you expect your HR to go from 0 to 100 in the first 2 seconds of the race? Stretch a little, bounce a little, BE ALIVE !

6) As you get up on the block, focus on the black line - nothing else. You know what you have to do and how to do it. Focus on the black line and GO !

Good luck to each of you. Reach out for me if yo have any last minutes questions.
Update your tech suit using the SwimOutlet team pricing link on our website.
Inspire us all with a post on Facebook or text/email me…. I love that part - it’s why I still do what I do.

TRIATHLETES ~ Good to see you again, kids ! It has been a long winter and plenty cold enough - luckily, of the 3 sports we do, SWIMMING is the sweetest thing to do on a 12F morning ! Here are my observations to help get you into the rhythm of 2018:

1) Get wet. Do it now. You are already behind…. We good?

2) ALL levels of workouts have the same structure:
- warm up
- stretch
- drill/swim sets
- main set
- cool down

3) Competition IS inspiration…join a club or get a friend. I am so thankful to have a nice little group where I have been swimming the last 4-5 years : LA Fitness, Warrington.

4) Catch up will ALWAYS be the most foundational drill in all of swimming…. Do it EVERYDAY.

5) Increase your yardage - whatever it is today, go up 10% ASAP. It is already the second month of the year and races start in 2 more months !!

6) Work on both the mental and physical aspects of connecting the HIPS into your full body stroke. Think of you body as split in 2 identical halves: right and left, NOT FRONT AND BACK.

And last, as we begin another Olympic season, here is a VERY inspirational video to jump start your heart and your training:

Men's 4 X100 free relay - Best Swimming in history !!!!


SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and


JAN 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Welcome to yet another year of “THIS IS YOUR LIFE” as seen through the water…..

This time of year, I think we all begin to dream and take measure of our metrics in life - both historically and prophetically. As you know, I love the water and am always thinking about it ~ whether I am swimming, SCUBA diving, or looking out over the frozen Delaware this time of year. Water makes me happy and helps center me; thank goodness I can pretty much find it everywhere I go !

I began writing this newsletter to you while in Cuba the week before Christmas:

This was our hotel at the beginning and end of the trip. The infinity edge overlooked Havana and never closed - JYEAH BABY :-) On the winter solstice, I stayed in the pool till long after dark.

My thoughts for you this month, were the following 2 themes:

1) Getting back into swim shape - aimed primarily at my triathletes this time of year.

2) Racing well - aimed primarily at my swimmers.

Getting Back Into Shape ~
We have all asked our body to do this on multiple occasions, but the New Year is a biggie for the hard working triathlete. Since I am probably older than you, I have found it much more efficient to NOT GET OUT OF SHAPE ! I swim 12 months a year for many reasons; both mental and physical.
If, however, we get out of shape - we need to answer a few questions honestly.
1) How long (has it been)?
2) How bad ( are you out of shape)?
3) How soon (is the goal)?
January is a universal marker for change. I highly recommend the following routine for you re-entry:

* Commit to more days in the water. I prefer 3 days for 30-90 minutes than 1 day for 90+ minutes
** Work on technique NOW. If you are out of shape, spend about 50% of you time on technique now
*** Swim SLOWER and longer ~ learn to FEEL the water and then respond positively
**** If it’s not working, STOP and come back another day OR get help (find a friend or a coach)
***** Write down a plan that satisfies your time goals - it is the only way to commit to higher level performance

Racing Well ~
Although this is the goal, many swimmers work super hard every day in practice, but that doesn’t translate into wins on race day. Just to be clear - not everyone wins… Be realistic, in most pools there is one winner and 5 who come in behind. But, racing your best and continuous PR’s are your reward for the hard work - be smart about it !
Here are my discussion points for you to race your best on race day:

* Track your SPL 3X every day and KNOW how you are doing every day as the hard work tears you up
** Watch film. Be a pro - they look for video of THE BEST doing it perfectly
*** Race everyday. Don’t tell anyone, but this is one of my real secrets…. It was told to me by the incomparable Dara Torres. Dara won a lot of Olympic medals over a lot of years/decades. She was a true sprinter and she raced EVERY day. She convinced me that 10 X 50 all done just to break you down is productive work, but not smart. Race ONE event every day. If you are repeating 100s on the 1:15 and can already race at 0.56 pace. Do ONE 100 under .60 off the wall in practice. Learn to push past practice pace once a day in practice and YOU will be the swimmer who has raced 100 X more than other swimmers at the end of the season. Go all out. Go race pace (once). Race day will not be such a shock…. As our 25+ year head Olympic coach Mark Shubert once famously said, “A 1:02 is a 1:02 is a 1:02 and no amount of BS is going to make it a 0.59!”

2018 and O2 NUTRITION :

Just a minute here to remind you about your nutrition and some chlorine related health issues…

^ Get enough protein - you need plenty !
^^ In this cold weather, stay hydrated… Even my dogs are smart enough to drink about 6 full bowls of water a day in this extreme cold
^^^ Chlorine is a very real poison. Try AquaPhor in your nose every night to protect your mucous membranes. Use nasal saline (about $1.99 in any drug store) after every swim session to flush out the nasal passages.
^^^^ Use a high quality probiotic every day that you swim - no exceptions. I have been strong on this for over 20 years and continue to review medical literature confirming my beliefs that probiotics are a huge key to maintaining GI and overall health throughout the winter season especially. Every swimmer I have recommended this to has done better and reduced illness to zero or close to it !

Here is my professional link to get what you need:
15% off with us
Promo code: o2nutr
Zip code: 18902

You always get what you pay for….


General O2 intel :

As we head toward Champ season, remember that we get the coach’s discounts at FINIS and get Team Pricing at SwimOutlet -if you jump through the hyperlink on my web page.

Love to have more chatter on Facebook in 2018. We have over 600 athletes at O2 SWIMMING, many on Facebook, but some have never checked in past my weekly workout posts… The O2 SWIMMING Facebook page is really YOURS, not mine !!

Help !
Just to keep old O2 on track, if I have done anything to help you… Please consider posting a “recommendation” on Facebook. I really appreciate it and actually ASK this time of year…
Thank you all for all the inspiration you give me every year !!


SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and

Kenneth W. Holland
A unique, exciting innovation in health and nutrition

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