December 2012 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Welcome to the 2012 season's very last newsletter from Coach Ken. It has been a VERY good year in swimming. Team USA did its job in London, and new time standards are dropping in every age group in every event. Some people must be doing it right! Congratulations to each of you and continued success in 2013...

My focus for this last newsletter is Fluidity!
What better way to approach water than to work WITH it and participate in fluidity. A fluid stroke has a rhythm to it. I see many students of the water working over-mechanically as they learn to swim both longer and faster. When we drill, it is recommended to slow it down ( NO CLOCK !) and think through it. This often causes a lack of flow (fluidity), but a quicker learning curve for the swimmer. However, once we turn it all loose and begin to swim, there needs to be a natural, fluid rhythm to your stroke. I often ask you to FEEL the water. It is by FEELING water that you can read feedback from your actions. This is not as hard as it sounds.... If you FEEL your hips sinking...RESPOND!

Although I have harped on all of you to "NEVER GIVE UP THE FRONT", there is no actual stop point in the stroke - neither in the front or the back. Your arms should be in a continuous loop. The secret wrinkle? The arm speed is rarely equal, although continuous. The speed of your arm moving through the air will be faster than the one holding water below. Why? Air has less resistance, so as power is applied, it will naturally move faster. Moving faster through the air also helps the in water hand to not have to wait forever!! It is rarely the fault of the lead hand when you cannot perform a decent "catch up" stroke, it is the fault of a slow motion hand moving through the air.

All of this adds directly up to FLUIDITY of the stroke. Sometimes, you just have to let it happen........!!

***For my swimmers, you can apply this theory of hydrodynamics to all 4 strokes. The better you can swim butterfly, back and breast, the better will your freestyle will become.

For you triathletes, if you are ready to take your swimming to the next level, pick a new stroke this winter and FEEL the water. Find fluidity in a new place. When you come back to your old friend, freestyle, it will be so much improved you may be shocked.

Stay loose. Stay fluid in the water. Remember to stretch between the warm up and the main set(s).
Stop fighting the water. Let it support you (Balance). Be narrow in it (Streamline). Work with gravity (Weight Shift). Get a good hold of it (Traction). Amazing, huh? We just went right back to the O2 SWIMMING 4 LAWS of swimming again. They work!
Where did your SPL go this year?
I am a solid 13 SPL in a yard pool, but this month I did an entire 500 at 12!! This means I CAN do 12, it is just a matter of being able to stay fluid longer.....

Happy Holidays!

Just a quick reminder that we do have various super discounts posted on the website for you. The only things I use or are interested in are on my website.... Feel free to take full advantage during this holiday season AND save yourself some money, it is just one of the benefits of being on the O2 SWIMMING team - my way of saying thank you!

We also provide very attractive GIFT CERTIFICATES if you need one for that special person.

Special thanks to both my son, Matthew and daughter, Summer who stepped up this year and helped coach many of the younger kids when I was busiest. I hope we did everyone justice, by the results of our athletes, it sure looks amazing!!

Just have to show this one more time to end the year....
Be inspired!
Men's 4 X100 free relay - Best Swimming in history !!!!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

Facebook for O2 SWIMMING !!!!

Every January, we offer those related to O2 SWIMMING a nice discount at O2 NUTRITION to get them onto a better life plan regarding both health and nutrition. In 2012, I did more consulting with patients by Doctor referral than ever - one hour at a time. The mainstay program at O2 NUTRITION is working over a 6 month time frame with individuals or families on health related issues ranging from weight gain, low energy, diabetes, CFS, and others. Check out my website ( and let me know if I can help you. ****FYI, the discounts only apply to those of you coming over from O2 SWIMMING!!

Ken Holland BCHHC
Doylestown, PA


November 2012 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

I could not wait to reach out for you this month, hot off the 2012 Olympic Swim Coaches Conference! I am a bit late only because of Miss Sandy and the election.
What did I learn?

My theme for this month is EASY SPEED!
How would you like some of that? Whenever I watch the Olympians, I continue to be amazed at both their power and grace in the water. I am making a pitch right here and now for all of you to find a swim camp next year and sign up. Look for one that has a current or former Olympian - it is inspiring and enlightening to see these kids swim.
We watched a video of Misty Hyman when she was 13 in an outdoor pool in California - before the 15m rule. This little kid was swimming the 100 fly. Gun goes off. Length one, she does underwater dolphin 90% of the pool, surfaces to take ONE stroke and goes back down. Lengths 2,3,4 she takes 4 strokes per length to finish in 52.5 seconds and swam only 13 strokes for the whole race!!! The point of this video was to showcase her underwater dolphin and inform us that SHE was the reason the 15m rule went into effect. ***The 15m rule says that a swimmer must surface within 15 m of the wall. She was.......13 !
The old girl was there this year.....still beautiful and amazing. She demonstrated both dolphin kick and fish kick. Fish kick is the big American secret and I will only share it with people that show up at O2 SWIMMING and the Endless Pool Studio.... Jyeah baby!

What exactly is "easy speed" and how do you get some?
Easy speed is being loose in the water and getting into a rhythm. Focus on your recovery arm coming without tension through the air and back to the front. Stay relaxed throughout the process. FEEL the water and try not to muscle through it. Stay on the front and just relax into a rhythm. Hold a tempo, don't back up on this... Steady as she goes. Swim only as long as you can hold this feeling.
Once you CAN swim with easy speed, you will drop SPL and increase speed - - - like magic. This is your focus during November, work on it. Our Olympians have it and use it all the time. It is both a resting place during hard practice sessions and a platform to jump on quality drill

As the weather turns on us, so do the pools on many occasions. This is my annual "old pharmacist" and new Holistic Health Coach advice section on my simple formula to stay healthy.
1) Aquaphor - use a cotton swab lightly inside your nose the night before your swim. This will coat and protect your delicate nasal membranes so you do not get sinus infections
2) Nasal saline spray - keep in the car or gym bag. Use PLENTY immediately after swimming...not 2 hours later. ASAP. This will flush out lots of garbage you took in and keep you clean.
3) Probiotics. Chlorine is a toxin. Swimmers ingest (willingly or unwillingly) lots of chlorine. A probiotic is money in the bank to enhance your overall immune system. I STRONGLY believe that EVERY real swimmer needs daily probiotics. If you jump to my web page, you will find a link to Emerson Ecologics where you can buy RX grade probiotics, vitamins, etc and get my discount!!!
Stay well. Contact me if I can help special needs here.....

Just in time for swim season and the holidays, you are getting a follow-up note from me with a 40% discount from Pure Sport through the month of November. Pure Sport is the sports drink company developed around our USOC and Michael Phelps -it is awesome. I have been using it for 3 years now and do very well on it. O2 SWIMMING is one of the largest "teams" in the country, so as a thank you, they agreed to take your discount to MAX...40% off this month only.

Last, please keep in mind that O2 NUTRITION works with athletes of all abilities; as well as parents. etc. to get back on track with weight and health issues. I have been a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach for 2+years now and really enjoy working on challenges of the individual - in a personal and holistic way. If you fill out a health assessment questionnaire on the page, I will get back to you with a follow up.

Enjoy the pool. No outdoor weather can preclude you from swimming!!!
Triathletes - this means you. Don't want to be "behind" again in the new year? Get wet now!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA


September 2012 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Had a very good, strong swim today. I did the math wrong and ended up at 4,500 in under 90 minutes, so it was all good. Special thanks to my friends at the Y who let me swim on a guest pass for 2 weeks while LA Fitness got some rehab work done. It did feel good this morning to get back to my own lane, though....

As we wind down TRI season, all but for Florida IM, Kona IM and Bassman Half; and enter the traditional fall swim season, my thoughts have landed on Streamline as it relates to speed.
This is something that I have noticed - be it from my lack of work or real work being done. The faster I go, the more my body naturally lengthens into a sharper streamline. I believe this can be useful information for both of my groups:

Swimmers: There are some of you that have real trouble distinguishing between practice pace and race pace. This is in part due to being ignored by certain coaches and general overwork turning to lack of focus. It matters less how fast you can do 10 X 100 repeats than how fast you can swim 1 X 100 in a meet !!!! Yes, they are related; but there is also a significant difference. Last month, we discussed going INTO and OUT OF the wall. Speed and streamline dovetail into this well. Are you sloppy and not in perfect streamline at the wall? Is it because you let up going in? Are you really putting it all out there in a race?
This month, I will go to the 2012 Olympic Swim Coaches Clinic. One of the salient points I picked up a few years back was from Dara Torres.... She swims only about 1% of her week's yardage "fast". Dara is and always has been (only) a sprinter. Is this odd? Not really. When she says 1% is "fast", she means WORLD RECORD BREAKING speed. She has continually pushed herself to new levels by digging deep. I would say that she is not as good at doing 10 X 100 as some of you. Yet, she has pushed the razor's edge often enough to FEEL the calibration of real speed and what happens to her streamline under this type of stress.
My point here is this: RAMP UP once and a while this season. GO ALL OUT. If you have ann 8,000 yard day, put out for a couple of 100s and 1 or 2 of the 50's. REALLY GO HARD. Feel the streamline snap in and your body's changes. Don't wait for your first meet to play with REAL speed !!

Triathletes - Stop teaching yourself how to swim slow. Yes, you swim L-O-N-G races. Your shortest race at the sprint level is the 2nd longest race in Olympic swimming. But, do not show up 3 days a week and just swim your typical distance. Shorten up early in the session when you have energy in the tank to GO FAST ~~ FEEL the effects of streamline as you motor up and down the pool.
QUICK STORY: A few of us cycle a bit and for years thursdays have been "pick ups on the river". Five years ago when we started (we were all 5 years younger!) these "pick-ups" were a blistering 20-21mph for a minute or three. Fast forward 5 years, our "pick-ups" are now 26mph (ave.) and "normal" speed of our rides is up to 20-21mph. We did not do this by riding lots of LSD (long, slow distance).

There IS a place for LSD, but there is also a place to push your limits and snap the human body into a fish-like state (streamline). No fish swims with thier arms and legs hanging out!!!

So, I challenge BOTH groups of athletes that I coach to examine your dynamic of Streamline as it relates to speed.

Go for it NOW.

Last, as we launch thousands of area swimmers into the local cement ponds, please keep in mind that O2 SWIMMING has several really good discounts negotiated for you on our website. They are yours for the taking - no involvement on my part needed, just get the discount code and order.... I got water polo suits last month from our sponsor FINIS for $10 each - we bought 10 of them!!!!
Reach out for me if you get stuck.

I also had a nice year working with parents of athletes looking to get back in the game through O2 NUTRITION - call me if I can help you. My website is posted below.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

I found myself back indoors today, but quickly got over being "bummed out" and got on with the business at hand ! One of the things that I realized about 10 years ago was that although I do love to swim, I was burning out with my workouts - they were stale. I was in a multi year rut that had my full repertoire of swim workouts focusing only on about 4-8 different things. I was also not getting any faster and often.....slower:(
NOT HAPPENING! I have coached too many of you and seen too much that I had to take action.

Instead of looking at my individual workout, I looked more closely at my year. 95% of my workouts for the last 25 years have been between 3,000 - 4,000 yards/meters. How many different things can you come up with???? Not enough.... My year has followed a new schedule ever since:

Sept - March : This is the traditional swim season, so I do "swimmer" sets. Plenty of stroke, plenty of short yardage (100s, 200s) and keep it moving. Trying to get my speed back and if I feel overly comfortable, I do more fly or IM sets to remind me of my real age :) Yardage totals = 3,000 - 4,000

April - May : Just show up and swim. Less agenda, more fun. Will do anything to make my mileage less challenging now.... Still getting 3,000 - 4,000 in, just dialed way down in intensity.....

June- Aug: Outdoor season and true long course stuff. I do ALL long swims trying to get my pace right for long haul swims - mile plus. Not a lot of 500s here, mostly 800s, 1000s, 1500s, 2000s. If I do a sprint set once and a while it is very short and very fast. Working only on freestyle now and low SPL - will maintain a diligent 13 SPL all summer, now hitting 12 most days in the beginning. Yardage still 3,000 - 4,000 and it goes quickly due to the few breaks. I also do more with a pool buoy here, but less other stuff (finger paddles, agility paddles, fins) due to cycling mileage up to 120-150+ miles per week.


If you are a swimmer - CROSS TRAIN. Believe me, Mr Phelps, Mr Lochte and company are getting older and have less tricks in the pool. They still kick butt due to cross training. Missy Franklin is still a kid and just plain tough.....!

If you are a triathlete - USE THE WINTER, it IS swim season. It is always warm and comfortable inside where you swim. Take a fresh look at your workout. I see far too many of you teaching yourselves how to swim slow..... long sets that just make you slow down till they finally finish. This is bad.

Check out my posts on O2 SWIMMING Facebook for workout suggestions. A brand new and welcome addition will be 2 other local superstars posting their workout for you too. This is America, YOU HAVE A CHOICE!!!

Mark Dean - 6 time IronMan and Kona qualifier/finisher has agreed to post his workouts for you.

Susan Sadowski - long time swimmer and coach! Susan is a founding member of the "SWIM CHICKS" and let me tell you - they rock. So, no excuses, girls.... Susan offers another perspective and we are lucky to have her posts too.


The wall is an opportunity, NOT A PLACE TO REST.

SWIMMERS - he wall is a huge key. USE the beginning of the season to really dial in your wall skills. Get in. Get out. You watched the Olympics? The strength and stamina of the underwater dolphin now separates most racers. Do not let this development slip by as the first few practices start. If you have ANY doubt about how much the wall is there for you, check out the FINA world records for the same events in a short course pool (more walls) versus a long course pool. WOW !!! Spend time early and get it right, the yardage will come regardless, as will your fitness.

TRIATHLETES - the wall is your friend. Learn to use the wall like a swimmer - this does NOT require a flip turn. My point is that the wall is your opportunity every 25 y/m to get back in perfect streamline and balance with a little solid help. Do not hang on the wall. You are not doing a 500 if you stop every length and rest for 10 are doing lots of 25's. This is OK - if that was your intention. NOT OK, if you are racing open water where there will be no walls to rest at. Build your strength and stamina by keeping in motion - not rushed, just constant.

That's it O2 SWIMMERS! The Olympics are over, tri season is winding down, and swim season is starting soon......

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA


July 2012 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

We are now just past the 4th of July and rocketing on toward the London Olympics, summer champ meets, and a host of local triathlons - including Lake Placid IronMan!!! Oh baby, rode 36 this morning and my clothes felt more like I had been swimming...IT'S HOT !!!

The theme of this newsletter will be :Hand on the Wall !!!!!!
This is like a public service announcement brought to you by our Olympic team fresh off the selection in Omaha. Every 4 years, we put together yet another "dream team". Amazing. It also amazes me that guys like Phelps and Lochte keep winning. There is plenty of young, fresh talent and guess what? NOT ONE SWIMMER IN THE WORLD LETS THEM WIN ANY RACE. That's right, they earn every last victory. Part of what I see when these races come down to less time than slamming down a single key stroke on this computer board, is HAND ON THE WALL.

How does this impact YOU?

SWIMMERS: Most of your races are less than 60 seconds. Just how do you consistently WIN? Let Phelps show you - HAND ON THE WALL. Watch Michael drive better than anyone in the business the last few meters and throw his hand out-of-control fast onto the wall. Remember him winning in Bejing by 0.01 in the 100 fly? He just beat Lochte by 0.02 last week. The end of all your races matters. I see so many swimmers ease up as they go under the final flags. Not good. You practice as hard and as much as the next guy - blow 'em up at the wall. Reach like you want it. Put your head down and stop breathing - FINISH the race.
Best of luck to each of you this season.
****If you can't watch a night of swimming from London - tape it, tivo it !!

TRIATHLETES: You have no wall - in theory. You also swim longer, as each of you are distance swimmers. As I have often said, even the sprint triathlon is the 2nd or 3rd longest race in Olympic swimming!! Hand on the wall for you translates to swallowing swimmers in front of you ONE by ONE. Kids have caps that say "eat my bubbles!". My daughter has a cap that says, "I see slow people!". Get the picture? The swim portion is about control and swimming your race, catching other competitors one by one and getting your hand on the beach first.
Have a fabulous finish to your summer racing season. Use every technique and trick I have taught you. Race well.

As my final message before the magic of the 2012 Olympics in London, I am thrilled to share this video with each of you. Be Inspired:
Men's 4 X100 free relay - Best Swimming in history !!!!

By the way, Jason Lezak made the team again at the age of 37. Dara Torres isn't the only phenom out there!!!

****HUGE SHOUT OUT to all our kids that made it to Olympic Trials: David Speese, Allie Szekley, and Bryan Dragonosky were all home grown and represented the area well!!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown ,PA


June 2012 Note


Got a great APP yesterday called: MEET MOBILE

This is free and can give you the "live" times of your kids - if your league is signed up with this service. AND, you can keep up with the Olympic trials or London times with the touch of a key!!! How cool would it be if you can't make a swim meet, but can get your kids times BEFORE they even arrive home?
Would you like to know how fast our swimmers are in Omaha? TV only shows the final 8 or 16, if our kids finish below that..... This APP will show you exactly where they finished.

O2 SWIMMING hopes you enjoy this as much as our family does!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach

June 2012 Newsletter (part 2)

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

I found this today and wanted to share it with you, as many of you still have questions in your mind.....

These are the three types:

Hip-driven technique: Hip-driven freestyle is used by Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Larsen Jensen and Libby Trickett and is a slower-stroke-rate freestyle. It is typically swam at 60 to 70 strokes a minute.The hand holds the water in front after the entry before beginning the propulsive motion backward. The slower time of the arm pull cycle allows the swimmer to get a bigger hip turn and generate a larger counter force to pull against. This increases the distance from each stroke. It’s better swum in distances over 200 meters and a strong six beat is needed to swim it fast.
Shoulder-driven technique: Shoulder-driven freestyle is used by Peter Van den Hoogenband, Janet Evans and Alexander Popov and is a higher-stroke-rate technique. It’s swam at 80-110 strokes per minute.The entry hander catches quicker and the release is done sooner which results in a faster stroke rate but less hip rotation. Not as much power is generated from the pull but because there is more strokes it makes up for the power difference. The shoulders typically rotate more than the hips in this technique. Two beat and six beat kick are both acceptable, though only a six beat kick should be used when sprinting
Hybrid technique: In recent years a number of swimmers are drawing on elements of both techniques. It is becoming increasingly popular for middle distance swimmers (100, 200 and 400 meters) who draw on the advantages of both techniques and opt for a hybrid freestyle.They use one arm with shoulder-driven technique and the other arm uses a hip- driven technique. It has become popularised by Michael Phelps. It requires a very strong kick and breathing to one side and can be used in open water swims if you have a strong kick
As all of you know, I prefer option A for triathletes, as you are ALL distance swimmers. Keep in mind the shortest swim in triathlon (sprint tri) in the second longest event in Olympic swimming!!! That is correct. Olympic swimming (freestyle) races look like this: 50 - 100 - 200 - 400 - 8800 (sprint tri) - 1500 (olympic tri). Hence, ALL of you are distance swimmers.
My "under 30" group of swimmers are mostly SWIMMERS and do race short. O2 SWIMMING works you with a version of Option 3, but with more fluidity. Until you get to the world stage, we will continue to work on speed through technique. I still have a few tricks....

On that note - best of luck to 2 of our swimmers heading to Olympic Trials soon. Go and rock the world, you have full bragging rights already !!!

SwimStrong (shoulder drive technique!). SwimSilent. (hip drive technique!).

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA


1) Please throw any/all comments back to me up on O2 SWIMMING's facebook page so we can all discuss this

2) As of today, O2 SWIMMING will be at Fanny Chapman at lunchtime on fridays for a full Lake Placid IronMan workout session. Bring fluids and get ready - there is a strong 4,000 set in your future. If you are not a member, the fee to the Boro is $10 and you are allowed in. See you there.
****The first session was today and the water is perfect!!


June 2012 Newsletter (part 1)

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

We kicked off the official start of summer with a plethora of races (podiums and PR's already !!) and all the outdoor pools opening - yeah team!
First, I must apologize for this being a bit late, but I had to undergo some hardware and software upgrades - good news, I am now swimming as fast as ever in cyberspace:)

My theme for this month is momentum !

We have spent lots of time on technique and the mental aspects of swimming well. Today, it is time to rip off the gloves, toss the buoy, and SWIM like a fish. ***Fish, BTW, are fast. As many of you already have heard, here are the tops speeds of some things you know:

Michael Phelps = 5 mph
O2 SWIMMING's African Ciclids = 12 mph
O2 SWIMMING's sailfish = 40 mph

We humans need help. So, wherever you are in your lifelong swimming process, you need to get a wiggle on and GO FASTER. I have encouraged many of you to put some sprints into practice - not only at the end of your sessions... Pick up the tempo while you still can.

Here are my favorite sets to increase speed over the summer:

Long set: Do as long as you normally do (at least 500 yards - 4000 straight) and pick any single digit to HAMMER on. Example, Coach Ken swam an 800 on sunday and picked number 4. I swam as hard as I could (not just a little "pick up") on lengths: 4, 14, 24. It does many things for you, including:
1) forces you out of your perpetual comfort zone - with regularity
2) teaches you how to respond to stress while covering longer distance
3) forestays the boredom of a longer swim

Short set: Do as many as you like or can, but make it uncomfortable at some point....
25y/m ALL OUT - hold nothing back
rest interval is not on the clock....take 3 "bobbing breaths" before you return. ****If you rush these bobbing breaths, you get almost zero rest......hint....
25y/m for perfect SPL - this forces you to get your act together after only ONE sprint... Tough to begin swimming like an injured baboon when you get this "active recovery" SPL length

*****As another point of note for ALL of you. Get off the wall. I see more children swimmers that will hang on the wall anytime they think coach isn't watching than you might imagine.... Triathletes: I do not need you to do a flip turn, but stopping at every wall to "check on something" just helps you swim slow and lose precious MOMENTUM. The idea is to keep moving. Keep your pace. If you are over 30 or in shape, the pace should INCREASE as you loosen up and swim longer. Yes, you can/should check in on your SPL, but still only 3 X all day. Keep it between 0 and +1, but do not count in any type of real sprints......

So, we had one gal who nocked off 12 minutes at Eagleman this weekend.... Think she ever gets "uncomfortable"? Darn right she does - that is why she is tough and is getting older, but keeps turning back the hands of time. Do you think Michael Phelps still wants it? Think Ryan Lochte wakes up and still has it in him? London will tell the story, but if you have seen either of these boys lately, here are my observations:
1) They are both older than they were in 2008 - Bejing
2) They look meaner
3) They are getting quieter as the big days are approaching
4) They have both cross trained harder than any swimmer ever has.....

I hope you take some of this and spark an improvement in your swimming life!

Business notes:

Summer will get extremely busy by tomorrow - phones are ringing already. Call me if you need help. I am not always at a computer..... O2 SWIMMING adds hours in the summer - for you. We also have 2 assistant coaches now that charge 50% of my rate and love to help kids generally in the 11 and under age groups. Keep that option open. Matthew and Summer have some flexibility in hours as well.

FINIS has taken our discount to the highest level they offer - because of the size of O2 SWIMMING! You will now get a full 30% all FINIS products forever! Suits, goggles, swim tools, bags, etc. The codes are embedded on my website. Help support the #1 force in swimming and get yourself a 30% break!
*****If you need help with anything there, call me of Zach at FINIS. Also, don't miss there awesome new AGILITY PADDLES..... I love them!!! When I posted them on our O2 SWIMMING Facebook page, we got hits and fans from as far away as France, Italy and China!!!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA
O2 NUTRITION specializes in helping athletes dial in nutrition and middle age athletes and weekend warriors get back on track. O2 NUTRITION articles have been appearing in the weekly Herald Newspaper for one year now - very exciting!! Call me for a free one hour consultation.


May 2012 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Very glad to be into May! April was rough on me, but we made progress in spite of it all... Before I get into the good stuff, just a little head's up about scheduling. Now that May is here, many of my summer swim team kids will be calling in the next few weeks to get time in the Endless Pool before summer leagues start. My problem this month is that I had more last minute cancellations in April (10 !) than I had all last year (4). This is Ok with me, but affects you tremendously. I now owe a large number of you time from your current lesson package, but as the time has dragged on for many months now, it is running into the next cycle of swimmers. All I ask is that you are somewhat patient with me and reasonably flexible this month. I am actively coaching 10 hours per week and both my son (Matthew 17) and my daughter (Summer 15) are coaching after school, but before I get home... My kids are half my rate and do a nice job with younger kids either learning to swim, or experiencing the other 3 strokes for the first time.... Nuff said!!

And now for some really GOOD NEWS - Finis has just upgraded Team O2 SWIMMING to the biggest discount offered to anyone- - - We now get a full 30% off at with our discount code of: o2swimming
They have some really cool new hand paddles that I just ordered to try - cant wait!!! Check out the AGILITY PADDLES while you are on their site. I will give you feedback next month,once I have them in hand!
Two special things I would draw your attention to as well right now:
1) For swimmers - I want everyone to use only the FINIS Alignment Kickboard. This is not new, it is the only one I have ever recommended and the only one that works!! All swim team members need one - with our discount, it is the best $10 or so that you will spend.
2) For triathletes - they just put the "tempo trainer" on sale for $20 !!! This is a very handy little devise that can be set to beep either on each hand entry OR per lap or half lap so you can keep pace. This is the little devil that will let you know just how well you are pacing in your longer swims. You might see your 100 pace look like this in a 500 set: 1:30, 1:34, 1:39, 1:50 ,1:48. NOT GOOD. With the tempo trainer, you will pace perfectly at your prescribed pace.... You want a 500 at 1:35 pace? Set the ticker and it will look EXACTLY like this: 1:35, 1:35, 1:35, 1:35, 1:35 !!! I wonder how that will feel to some of you?????

Now, onto our technique thoughts for the month....
As many of you know, I started posting some of my workouts on our FACEBOOK link just to try to connect our group a bit and give some of my TRI gang an idea of someone else's swim workouts. I try to do a full IronMan workout every time I swim, so my base is 4,000. You can pick and choose to get more or less than that as you require. I would love for some of you to step up and post a workout too!
While doing my 4,200 on monday, I came off a wall during my 5 X 600 set and was just plain crooked and bad. It bothered me enough that I immediately stepped up my focus and everything smoothed right out. I was right at an SPL of 13 when I counted and I began to follow the black line on the bottom religiously. I followed it right off the wall and continued to track it as I swam. It forced me to think LONG AXIS freestyle and extend fully into forward stroke. It gave me back more height on my left (weak :( ) side and increased my speed - substantially. Apparently, I was getting lulled into slow by the fact that no one at LA Fitness was worth chasing on monday....
My point here is to try to keep your head in the game. Show up at the pool with some plan. Any plan. By simply monitoring your SPL three times in a whole workout, you get a check-in. In my case, I had a bad wall and that was my impetus for change.
Do you have a training partner? Need one? Post up on the O2 SWIMMING page of Facebook!
Need better workouts? Look at mine.... Post yours....
Stay in the game.

The secret handshake for May is "JUST SHOW UP" You may just see/hear this again soon.....!!!

It is an Olympic year, my friends. If that does not inspire you, try something different. This season is going to be HOT !!

As we prepare to watch the world's finest in London, here is a little teaser:

Phelps, C Jones, and Coach demonstrating technique

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

April 2012 Newsletter

Dear Fellow Swimmers and Triathletes:
Nice day today - where are YOU in your season? Before I get deep into my thoughts for you this month, just a note that BOTH of my websites are fully operational at this point - YEAH!! Technology is great - when you can manage it and bend it to your will....:) If you have not checked out the new site, please jump over for 2 seconds and give us a hit on the FACEBOOK feed if you have an account. Facebook will tie us together during the month and keep it all fresh. I post some workouts on there, although I have heard mostly grumbling about the yardage. Keep in mind that it does show you a structured workout and you can dissect it and swim any portion you choose. I just need to make sure that YOU are not doing the daily grind where you swim the same workout every time you get in the pool - this teaches you how to swim slow and YES, I have proof of that! Your job now is to post your workouts, ideas, victories, etc on there to inspire our community.

Now, onto swimming -

This month's emphasis will be the same for both swimmer and triathlete. The big Gran Prix meets are over and London is not until August, so the swimmers should be focusing on technique. Triathletes ALWAYS need to be hyper focused on technique, as most of you are in incredible physical shape... The take-away here is that banging out yardage does not work for anyone.

By now, each of you fully understands how important SPL is to O2 SWIMMING. But, that has not necessarily gotten your undivided attention. I have been teaching ALL of my swimmers to self coach by following the O2 SWIMMING 4 LAWS while in practice and to keep track of progress by monitoring your SPL 3 X during every workout. Some of you have done this very well and are on a continuous path to improvement; others, not so much. Let it be known far and wide that if you are not in the 16-18 SPL range - you are missing the boat. I have plenty of 10 year olds that can do it. It is not about hanging on the front until you sink. It is not about magic at the walls - I actually have such a crummy that I drop a stroke when I push off the wall directly! Being efficient enough to be in the "zone range"is about following the 4 LAWS and sustaining momentum in a straight line while harnessing rotational velocity. RV is listed as LAW #3 - weight shift. However, it cannot be directed well unless LAWS1, 2 and 4 are in place. It is a process.

If your body returns to dead flat during your stroke cycle, you simply will not carry your RV or momentum. Think of it in this way - most swimmers get to an angle of 45 degrees off the water when they take a breath. Nice. However, many fall back to dead flat position and become a non working barge for a split second. Those that are in the 16-18 SPL range go from a +45 to a -445 angle (or some variety thereof). This simple flow of gravity is really where the magic happens. By the way, it is completely FREE. Gravity works in every pool and every open water venue. My daughter was 12 the first time she raced an open water mile and I had zero fear of her safety or finishing. She has always had a clear understanding of RV.

As you go to the pool this week. FEEL the water in your warm up. Monitor BOTH sides of your RV equation - the right side and the left side. Check the plus and minus of each side. Perhaps the mystery of swimming will clarify and you too will be one of us in the 16-18 club!!

Go to O2 SWIMMING on facebook and brag a little. I want to hear YOUR story.

It has been a busy start for 2012, thank you for your support of both O2 SWIMMING and O2 NUTRITION.

Here is a nice video of a swimmer that has it together. I like the stats that are shown live in the corner of the screen......

Is This The World's Smoothest Freestyle Stroke?

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken HollandHead CoachO2 SWIMMINGDoylestown, PA
267-994-0568 and

Ps. Last, but not least, special thanks to BOTH Matthew and Summer Holland, as they have both been actively coaching this year for me. My kids are long time swimmers and charge 50% of my rate to teach swimming. They really specialize in littler kids that want to learn to swim or develop all 4 strokes as they reach the swim team age. You can make initial contact with them through me, then I step out of the way and let you schedule directly with them!

Matthew Holland (17) Assistant Coach
Summer Holland (15) Assistant Coach

March 2012 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:
Did you swim today? I had a GREAT swim today! It was truly a good morning as I did not feel like doing anything today... I had a bonus bike ride of 30 yesterday and just feel tired overall. I know, boo hoo, you are getting old. Well, today, once again, the water made me right. I hope you swam today too.

Business First: As most of you know, The Training Zone sponsored O2 SWIMMING under their web page for many years. When David and Susan moved onto bigger and brighter things last year, O2 was without a technology presence. Enter David Pajer, techno guru... Long story short, we are back on the web as of today!
The site is not entirely finished, but we are alive again - thank you, Mr Pajer!
For your part, this has a FACEBOOK component to help connect us all. If you have a spare minute, please find O2 SWIMMING and click some buttons for me. You are all my beta testers!! I posted my workout from this morning on there just for giggles. Let me know what YOU are up to. This page will stay fresh with upcoming races, events, etc.
Many thanks. Keep in mind, this is for YOU:)

Although this is not directly one of our 4 LAWS, it is one of my universally preached concepts. Just as bilateral breathing covers a multitude of sins, a focused hip drive controls much power in the stroke. This is also place I see a lack of skill repeatedly. We have all been in the pool when a faster swimmers has slid right on by, only to arrive at the wall with a heart rate of only 80! Just how does this fish swim so fast and NOT be blowing up the cardio? Hip drive.
Hip drive is really a core factor. Your hips are centrally located and smaller than your shoulders. You can control them better and faster than any other area of the body. Ever have a core cramp? Core ever become exhausted and just give up? I didn't think so.... Arms and legs can have issues because they are smaller muscles trying to power a larger body.
Begin to think about this as you do each drill in your warm up. Take as much pressure off your arms and legs as you can. FEEL the core rotating around your central spinal axis - with ease.
****This is directly related to a low SPL. If you are not in the 16-18 SPL range, this WILL help you. If you need to swim LONG, this will help you. If your arms or legs ever feel tired, this will help you. Have I ever mentioned that fish have no arms or legs, yet are much faster than even Michael Phelps? Just in my Endless Pool Studio, we have a Costa Rican Sailfish(40 mph) and African Ciclids (12 mph). The best humans in the world can go as fast as 5mph. Think about it.....

SWIMMERS: Today is the final day of PA HS districts. Good luck to each of you. My current group has had a great year and each of you has worked extremely hard. I am proud of all my kids. Many of you are now in college and still SwimmingStrong! We are in the later half of the championship season. For those of you that are left - you are the best.
Two things this month for you:
1) Do not leave your best swim in the practice pool, BUT, do some "faster than race pace" bursts in the warm up pool just to get the motor running. Focus on nothing but kicking butt when you get on the block. There is nothing left to do but SWIM STRONG !!!
2) Eat right. Many of you have had the O2 NUTRITION conversations with me..... Eat right going into the meet and the day of. Never do something "newer and better". Stick to what you absolutely know and eat clean. Check in with me with any questions or issues....

TRIATHLETES: Some of you are getting ready and some of you are waiting for the gold plated invitation.... I guarantee you that in a very short while, the weather will be nice and you will be behind. Know now that your competition is getting in miles. Winter is traditionally "swim season" and the perfect time to crank up everything watery.
I have 7 of you in my "freshman" IM class this year (so far). How ready are you? Here are some general guidelines for each distance that you should be approximating NOW:

Sprint Distance: you should be swimming every week now and be capable of swimming 400 yards - uninterrupted.

Olympic Distance: this level should be swimming 2-3 days per week EVERY week. I would like to see you doing plenty of 500s in practice and beginning to think about throwing in an 800 once and a while and sooner than later. Your yardage should be in the 1200-2000 range per session and minimum 5,000 per week.

Half IM gang: depending on your history, many of you are not knew to this sport. Most triathletes competing at this distance are serious and CAN swim, bike and run. Minimum 3 days a week and 2500-3000 per session. No less than 7500 per week now. It is time to start throwing in a timed mile (call it 60 lengths) about every 3-4 weeks. If the time is not dropping, call me.

IronMen and IronWomen: most of you are a salty old bunch of tough kids. If you are new to this distance, it takes even the pros ALL DAY. It can be a fun day and it is always a HUGE sense of inner peace and accomplishment when you cross the line. You should be enjoying your training or you should take up gold because you will jump off a bridge if you are not having fun training at this distance. Every year, I marvel at just how tough EVERY age group is at this distance. I tis my opinion that you should be swimming at least as long as a 12 year old swimmer and just as importantly, as long as me! I try to get 4,000 in everyday that I land in a pool. Plan your work ahead and do not vary. My workout today is posted on Facebook, O2 SWIMMING. It is one of many... I can help.
Keep in mind that I do have time in the Endless Pool for just swimming. These hours are made by mutual agreement, as you don't need me to do any more than open the cover and turn on the engines! My absolute best athletes use this repeatedly to conquer swimming in new ways, ways that cannot be accomplished in a closed in static pool. It is also a marvelous place to test out your new wetsuit....endlessly.....

Looking forward to hearing from ALL of my champion swimmers soon. We even have a few qualified to go to Olympic Trials this season. Look out London !!

Chant our mantra while you swim: swimstrong. swimsilent.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

Ps. Now that my kids are done with swim season, both are available for private lessons with younger children. Matthew had his first of this year on wednesday! O2 SWIMMING charges half price ($25/hr) for either Matthew (age 17) or Summer (age 14). Both of my kids can swim and are great teachers. They have been involved in swimming since day 1...imagine that!!

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

o2 SWIMMING designed the SWIMMITT to help all swimmers advance their technique primarily by forcing them to swim from their core and stop the endless arm cycling. Throughout the summer, o2 SWIMMING did testing of prototypes on various levels of swimmers and triathletes. One thing became clear - this is an awesome training aid that sharply increases the learning curve both with and WITHOUT professional coaching. By "hiding" the swimmers hands, we are able to lengthen them out on the water and engage the forearm as a paddle. Without the sensitive hand and fingers in the equation, the swimmer will swim slower initially as they build a stronger core - this reduces potential injuries by shifting the burden off the smaller arm muscles and onto the larger back and chest muscles (core power). As proficiency is gained, speed is a "free" byproduct. The SWIMMITT causes a hyper focus and shifts the mind off the clock and onto the technique. The best swimmers spend the most time doing APPROPRIATE drills. Our Olympic team does not just bang out thousands of yards a day, as a matter of fact MOST of the workouts are NOT whole stroke swimming !!
We recommend the SWIMMITT to any swimmer with a reasonable degree of competency and they are available in 3 sizes both with and without a sealed thumb. We designed the open thumb for the younger swimmers to increase their feeling of security by being less "restricted". To my surprise, half of the adults love the freedom on an open thumb as well to adjust goggles, etc.
Try a pair today ! They are manufactured here in Doylestown and available only at o2 SWIMMING

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