DEC 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

As we say EVERY year, can you believe it is almost over? With O2 SWIMMING in it's 14th year, I want to personally thank each of you for your dedication and hard work throughout another fantastic season. As an old coach, you would think that I could no longer be surprised.... WRONG ! This area swims at a very high level. Last friday night, I was privileged to watch a young man from Hatboro-Horsham (I do not coach him, but several of his team mates swim with me) swim at the ultra elite level. I clocked him (very unofficially with my i-phone from the stands) at :
100 IM (yes, not a real event, but this was the 42nd Annual CB East relay carnival) ....low 48s !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
200 free = 1:40.98. ***As a comparison, the CB East school record is in the 1:42s and the pool record is 1:43s.
Both of these times are fresh, new season times in events that are just "fun" glory...just fun.... As a side note, it is my belief that a CB East boy also broke the school record chasing him, but this is all "just for fun" now!


I am, but battle with depression when I look at my clock......:( WOW, how many of us would be lapped in a 100 with these kids? Ouch !

As has been my style over the past 14 years, I would like to split this last newsletter into 2 groups; so you all have renewed focus and energy:

Triathletes ~

This morning at LAF, I once again witnessed a typical triathlete's swim workout - 1.0 mile straight through. While this is not bad, the deterioration was extraordinary.... For the record, this is not my December focus for you, but it is apparently worth repeating: Start with drill/swim, work into the workout, monitor your SPL 3 X and the cool down.
My morning buddy started at a respectable 17 SPL and was at 21/22 somewhere past half way..... NO warm up. NO drills. I would call that a re-inforcement of total breakdown IN DECEMBER when there are no races!
Just sayin.....

My focus for you this month is to swim like a swimmer! Please add some speed and some extreme speed to most of your workouts now. Get highly uncomfortable at least a few minutes per week. There is fast and there is fast !! I am talking uncomfortably , gasping, out of control FAST. Challenge yourself. The goal will be over the next 6 weeks to do both a 50 and a 100 FASTER each week. These will be your markers... Everything you do in tri world has markers - these are it now. ***I hear you..."all my races are longer than 4 lengths of the pool...". Yeah? Well, our kids are swimming 8,000 yards 6 - 9 times a week so they can race 100 yards well. By that math, you should be swimming 600 miles a day!! Try my way, it will get your turnover up as we head into the January 2015 plan.


Swimmers ~

My goal for you this month is to pick ONE THING you know you need to work on and STUDY it. Work toward a resolution - get help if you need it. Fair enough? What do you really want out of this season? You will show up to practice... Why not reach toward your goal?
Hints for the next few weeks:

USE the warm up TO WARM UP. Get loose. FEEL it. ***The warm up is critical to great swimming.

The more tired you become in long sets, focus on a more proficient recovery phase. Roll forward, do not muscle every stroke - this leads to short strokes and bad habits.

****I want ALL my swimmers to get more comfortable with the fish kick and less comfortable with the dolphin kick = more speed and much better breakouts !!! ***This is year 4 that I have been preaching this and yet I seldom see anyone using it.... This area is the 2nd fastest state in the USA now and we are #1 in PA. You have no choice but to step up. CHANGE !!!!!

Challenge yourself EVERY day in practice - at least ONCE. I want each of you going for GOLD every day ~ ONCE (maybe twice if you are that good). How can anyone possibly RACE at their highest level, but never, ever train at that speed? They can not... Impossible. You have to practice extreme speed to go extreme speed.

Have an agenda everyday. If you go to practice, it is YOUR JOB to have at least one thought in your head every day that makes you a better swimmer. **I still do and am probably the oldest one reading this....:-)

Business ~

Business is no where near as much fun as swimming, hence the smaller font.....less importance....

1) Thank you all for your patience as we got just past September this year and I realized I was booking in DECEMBER! Not good --- AAAHHH! I believe by now, I have reached out to all of you regarding any time owed and we are clear to start fresh in 2015 ~ as we do every year. New year brings new sessions, 2014 is about done. Thank you!

2) Keep in mind that we have HUGE DISCOUNTS to the best supplies through my web page: FINIS, INFINIT NUTRITION, EMERSON SUPPLEMENTS. Happy holidays, YOU are part of the team - enjoy!

3) O2 SWIMMING now has a power generator and there will be NO snow days or cancellation days in the future !!!! WE WILL BE SWIMMING everyday, as God intended !!

4) Some Gift Certificates are still available at the 2014 prices - reach out for me and I will US mail them to you.....

5) Special Shout Out to my technical administrator : David Pajer. In addition to all his other jobs/duties, Mr Pajer keeps my technology up to date - I owe him big, as this is mostly worse than Greek to me !

In closing. Be healthy. Be inspired. Share your energy with someone who needs it.

Happy holidays to you and your family.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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

NOV 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Cold air can only mean one thing......SWIM SEASON !!!!! It is here and O2 SWIMMING is like Christmas right now. Speaking of Christmas, you will never again be inconvenienced by PECO while in the Endless Pool, we are currently in the process of installing a generator to run those motors all day, every day if that is how YOU want it ! Merry Christmas :) I put all the money back in so you can continue working toward your goals for the 2014-2015 season.

In another business related issue, I will have difficulty getting to the end of the year with just current backlog - I am already done with Nov and into Dec on the schedule. Please don't panic, I will get to you. O2 policy dictates that all paid for sessions take place within the calendar year (the actual paper reads within 6 weeks, but....), but you and I will discuss any special situations based on this years volume. Thank you for your desire and dedication, but the clock only has so many hours in it....

Now for the FUN PART ~

My theme this month is: FINISHING IT !!!!!

In the early season for swimmers, I see a lot of "almost" in all 4 strokes. So, here we go:

FREE = Finish it means to get the stroke going ALL THE WAY from A to Z. Soft stroking from D to W yields a soft line, lack of streamline, loss of length, etc. Need I go on? It also leaves muscles UNDER-developed that will be less responsive in Jan when you want to go faster. Hard work can amount to very little if it is not focused... FINISH it now ! Keep your body in a tight line. Keep your SPL low through most of every practice. Ever notice that the guys in lane 4 ALWAYS take less strokes than the kids in lane 1? Bigger, longer strokes can always go faster. Short, choppy strokes just spin towards the bottom....
FEEL the love everyday in practice. Do some silent swimming EVERY day in practice to increase your FEEL of the stroke. Great swimmers have more than 2 speeds (practice and race).

BACK = I have seen about 2 swimmers who pull all the way through to the thigh..:( Most are initiating the pull and easing up on the throttle less than half way to the streamline finish. BAD. VERY slow. Please brush your thigh in practice on every stroke. Get that tricept developed now!!!

FLY = FINISH the stroke. You must let the head finish low to set the power hips... If you keep the head high, the hips are low and you swim like a bulldog - all arms.... Try doing a 100 fly like that....system failure! Engage the hips and power through any distance in fly. FINISH the stroke.

BREAST = Finish in an ultratight streamline on every stroke. Finish the kick by touching the feet 100%. I see mostly "almost" kicks that bang apart with more authority than they close with = bad mechanics. Get sticky in the back end. Give the front end time to end up with you in streamline. Head tucked. Extended.

These are some basic pointers I am telling everyone. Swim too little? You need to focus on these.
Swim too much? You need to get back to focusing on these.

For my triathletes:

Use the off season wisely. Get in the pool. Look at what these kids are doing everyday when you think you are doing "too much".
Too cold outside? Swim.
Too tight a schedule to ride? Swim.
Beat up or injured from a long season? Swim.
Too many people talking to you and taking time away? Swim. (No one talks to me when I am underwater !).
Want to get some new motivation? Swim.
Want new equipment cheaper than Zipp 404s? Swim...everything is cheap!!! **** Keep in mind our team discounts on the O2 SWIMMING web page.... The holidays are coming !!

Get the picture?

I am so looking forward to this season, so many of you are CRAZY TALENTED. Every year I am amazed that the level can go up...It is all YOU !!!
If/when you need help, I am here for you....
Thank you for making 2014 the best/busiest year since I started way back in 2001. Wow, I had no idea how much talent we have here in Bucks County :)

Keep up the good work.
Bounce me back with any issues or questions, but give me time to respond... There are over 600 of you now and only so many hours in any day. ****Special request ~ please do not call me between 5-7pm ever...I am coaching every day during those hours and NEVER take time away from a swimmer to answer a phone call.... Thank you!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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



OCT 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Feel it? Right around October of every year, the water gets faster...! Just about every swimmer is now back in the water and pushing forward with muscle development, goals, and speed. My schedule over the last few seasons has been to "Just show up" in Sept and get in my yardage in any way I feel like it - no real plan... By TODAY, October 1st, I am ready to get shorter and faster. As someone once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." I was guilty. My years had all become a blur of (mostly the same) workouts.

Currently, I periodize my year as such:
Oct - March is my "swim season". I go hard and fast - like my kids :)
April -May...I just show up and begin to have some longer sets...nothing too difficult
June - August...outdoor racing season ~ everything is long. 500s, 800s, 1000s, 1500s, 2000s, 3000s.....
Sept - just show up season again

It has worked for me.

Beyond my overall training regimen, I would like to spend our time this month on : Shoulder drive !!

I have not spoken frequently about SHOULDER DRIVE, but noticed a whole bunch of you over the summer with little/no FORWARD HORSEPOWER. Swimming is not about pulling water with your arms. Look at any world class swimmer....big arms? OMG, no!! If big arms helped you set world records, they would ALL have big guns!
So, what exactly is shoulder drive?
It is connected to the hip drive,, but for simplicity sake, it is your larger lat and shoulder muscles driving FORWARD into the water. Envision a boxer throwing a hard punch - he leads with his whole body, not a flat footed athlete swinging arms out. How about a baseball pitcher? They rear back on the mound and then lead the throw with their hip, then shoulder, then upper arm, the forearm, the hand......ball going 100 mph !!

This month, I would like you to begin FEELING shoulder drive. I do finger tip drag drill everyday to help approximate this. Maybe we should add emphasis to the front finish of this drill? Maybe we all need to get out of our comfort zone more and swim HARD once and a while - even if it is just a few 50s near the end of one day a week?

Make no mistake - going fast takes skill. Skill and firepower combine to make great speed. I know that I am all about efficiency, but let's kick this fall up a notch with workload too. Begin accessing your shoulder drive in practice. If you don't feel it - you probably don't have it. This is why I am am focused on it today....I saw it countless times over the summer. Swimmers are strong. Work the big muscles more!!

******Special note more related to my swimmers (swim team group): Focus on your SPL now, as the yardage will be doubling in the next 30 days... If I have not seen you, go back and look at YOUR old notes from me. Everything can run directly through my O2 SWIMMING 4 LAWS, but I am sure you have specific issues - as we all do. Watch your walls early, they are a huge key to winning. They are a gift to regain streamline perfection EVERY 25 y/m. Use them now. Focus on them now.

Last but not least, if you are relegated to using the dinosauric tombstone kickboards your team has in inventory - PLEASE consider buying your own. We get 30% off any/every thing at Finis through my web page. The FINIS Alignment Kickboard is the only kickboard worth $0.10. Owning one is not a major investment and all of you have a swim bag large enough to accommodate this tiny helper.

My schedule is busier than some years, but reach out for me with any issues. Enjoy your time in the water. Relish your fitness. Kick butt !!!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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



AUG 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Well, I finally made it - to the OLYMPIC POOL !!! OK, so I paid my $4 like all the other schmucks, but I got to swim in an amazing venue. Truth be told, I have not swum in a 50M long course pool many times in my life. They are truly amazing. We need one here in Doylestown :) The water was pristine and the underwater camera tracks and windows were spectacular. My first day swim was within hours of my jet lagged body getting into a Speedo and doing a workout. It was VERY long and VERY difficult. I might have even been slightly: stressed, excited, depressed, anxious, over zealous, and about 100 other emotions - ALL AT HE SAME TIME! However, my family knows me and knew that somehow I would weasel my way back there a few more times. After all, I had a week long underground pass in my hand...... And, I had 2 kids that have been swimming nearly as long as they could walk, with me....

Amazing how fast that little one is.....:-) Although Matthew is now in college and playing rugby (kinda like swimming, right...????) and Summer was between Fanny Chapman and CB East, we managed to get it done. On day 2, I thought I caused an International incident with a boy half my age sporting the flag of Italia across his butt. He stopped me and asked HOW I get faster as the hour got longer.....? I replied that I did not get faster...he got slower as the workout went on... That did not go over real well. He denied it, but then asked what I meant. I told him that he had a severe scissor kick when he rolled to breathe. He denied that too and said something in Italian that I am not entirely sure of... As a coach, I now could not let it rest - I had to show him. I pulled him over in my lane (hey, I paid my $4) and swam in front of him with my stroke vs his fault, then back to my stroke. Now, he was beyond furious, I knew I had crossed the international peace line :( He slid back over into his lane and tore off at warp speed. I watched for a minute and thought about each of you and then myself. We ALL do things un-fishlike. Upon my return to the far end, he was waiting for me. Not sure whether to flip and continue or stop and see what the fuss was all about, I took the bait. He said, " Mister (yes, because I was old enough to be his father), I really do what you tell me I do... How do I fix it?" JYEAH, It was on then... While I worked with him a few minutes, I caught the eye of lanes 6-7-8 where a group of old boys gathered daily for their loosely organized swim team. I was asked if I was a coach? I said yes. They asked if I was an American? I said Yes! They asked if I knew Michael Phelps? I said no. Luckily, I was still accepted and they asked if I would swim with them too. Very cool. I was doing what I do - swimming and making new friends. A longer story, short. I am now placed on the "free" list in London and can go swim whenever I am in town! What a blast.

The moral of this story is that SWIMMING IS GOOD. London was a blast, but I was most at home in the water - with my children and new friends. ***By the way, my wife and photographer liked my "new math" when she swam ALL THE WAY to the end of the pool and asked how many of those makes a mile???? I told her the good news ~ only HALF as many as at Fanny Chapman !!! Not sure if she unwound my math yet or not...:-)

So, what about YOU?

SWIMMERS ~ The season is loosely starting very soon. Forget the clock for the first week or two - focus on your SPL. You are all out of shape. No, not mean. Truthful. NO ONE can hold a peak and you have been off. Therefore, you are not in your best shape now. Instead of chasing your team or the clock; chase your good stroke NOW. It will pay you back quickly. FEEL the water. Keep in mind that swim season is along time, it is only the first few days.... Be happy. Get your mind right and give some thoughts to your goals for this year. Take action in the direction that accomplishes your goals. Showing up to practice does NOT do that. If the yardage your coach puts on the board was ll that made you fast, why are not all swimmers who do the same workout....the same speed? They are not! Someone is paying attention:)

Triathletes ~ Some of you are done. Many of you are doing Skylands, The Princeton Half, some of you are going to World's (again) !! If you are still competing, you should have a handle on things, if you are "off", DON'T BE ! For a vast majority of you, swimming is your 3rd sport of the tri. Let's work on 2 things over the winter:



It may come as quite a surprise to many of you that my average 12 and under girl can swim a 100 in under 60 seconds? How fast is your 50...honestly? I have preached for many years that the key to racing long is NOT deteriorating, but I see many putting out minimal effort when I go to the pool. We do train muscle when we swim.... Muscle responds to stress better than tender, love, and care! Do you really accept (willingly) that a 9 or 10 year old can beat you?

O2 SWIMMING is all about form, we have that covered.

Here is a speed set for each of you to do. It is one of my all time favorites because EVERYONE can do it; how many you can do WELL is the real magic:

25 ALL OUT - this is not a party or a "see if I hold back some so I can do more" kinda thing... We already established the average 10 year old can beat you. GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rest interval = 3 bobbing breaths (no clock anywhere in this set). A "bobbing breath" is where you inhale on the surface and exhale under water. If you rush this, you will get no rest. It
teaches you to draw a long breath, hold, and exhale slowly, ie training your lungs

25 SPL swim... stretch back out and try to do an active recovery at your lowest SPL

repeat rest interval of 3 bobbing breaths.

***Most of you should be shooting for 2-4, not 10. If you can do 10 at ALL OUT SPEED, you might have a chance against the 10 year olds around here... Until then, extend your numbers as soon as you CAN hold your top speed. BTW, this is NOT your top "controlled" speed... IT IS ALL OUT. If you never push that hard, you are stuck forever where you are.....

Be inspired this fall swim season. Get a friend. Get a plan.
Life is along time, keep working at it.....

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA


AUG 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

WOW, summer is basically over... Summer Champ meets finish this weekend with A Champs, Zones are up next..... Congrats to Fanny Chapman for once again going undefeated and grabbing the BuxMont League title for the 6th (?) year in a row! Congrats to ALL the teams who swam their fastest times and raised the bar in the area. If you have not heard the news: PENNSYLVANIA HAS MOVED UP TO THE 2nd FASTEST STATE IN THE COUNTRY :-) We had been 5th for so many years I thought it was carved in a stone somewhere, but the kids today are BETTER than any of us were !!

Lake Placid IronMan is now in the books too. All of our gang not only finished, but finished well ~ every one from the area got in both loops of the swim, despite the severe lightening that caused the race directors to pull the balance of the swimmers out of the water, yet still count them as IM on only 1.2 miles of swimming. Not sure how we feel about this, but again, our athletes are superior and were fast enough to not be affected. Saying something, huh?

Next up is the inaugural year of the Princeton Half IM and then the fall swimming season for the swimmers.

I want to share a personal story with you today concerning TRAINING ~ less to embarrass myself than to assist you! On 13 July 2014, I ventured to Lake Nockamixon for the 6th annual Steelman Open Water Swim Race. Anyone who knows me understands that my strategy is long term - I am looking to outlive my competition and finally grab a top spot !! This race has held much joy and frustration for me; like any other race. The first year I took second in the middle of a 10 year age group (unlike triathlon, swim races go in 10 year blocks) in a field of mostly locals.... Word got out that this was a great venue and swimmers started showing up from 5-6 states away. The Steelman OWR now fills very quickly. I guess there ARE swimmers out there.... Once I crossed the 50 threshold, I held out hope that my long range plan might pay off... I was 3rd now and 22 seconds was all that separated the 3 of us on the podium! I was happy/not happy. Needed a change in my training. I trained harder and adjusted my sets - 22 seconds did not seem insurmountable! Fast forward to two weeks ago - the race that I succeeded in swimming last year's winning time. I swam faster and got back those 22 seconds....:-) And, still came in 3rd - this time .52 seconds separated 1-2-3. AARRGGHHH.
The moral of the story?
Don't train to go .22 seconds faster - TRAIN TO WIN. Even an old swim coach can learn More adjustments will be made, more work needs to be done. I am excited. Life is an adventure. I want to stay in the game!

Theme for this month:


Some thoughts for you:

- Have YOUR OWN plan...not just your coach's....

- Do more than you think you can... Phelps ALWAYS does...

- Use FINIS equipment: because it is the best, it was developed by Olympic swimmers, and we get -30% off through my web site link

- Get a training partner - a mean one...someone possessed maybe, or at least old - they NEVER give up!!!

- Use INFINIT NUTRITION because it is CUSTOM made for you and we get a discount on that too !! I have been using it for 2 full seasons and will use nothing else now.....

- NEVER settle or be content. YES, YOU CAN IMPROVE. I am clearly in the "over 30" age group and swam faster than last year - even with 44 years of swimming under me - YOU CAN TOO !

Last, just some housekeeping reminders:

1) I will be away and not available by phone of email from 11 Aug - 18 Aug 2014, so please plan accordingly and don't be alarmed when I don't respond !

- Not to let the cat out of the bag, but I will be swimming in the London Olympic Pool !!!!!!

2) If I owe you any time, between now and 01 Oct is a good time to catch up, as everyone is dialing down until the fall season arrives.

Keep up the good work boys and girls. Swimming is good for you.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.


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

JULY 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

Can you believe school just let out last week and the 4th of July is this week? We have Lake Placid IM in 3 weeks, the summer leagues are in full swing, and swimming outdoors is perfect - what could be better!!
Last night we had the annual Uber-Rivalry between Fanny Chapman and Towamencin and the kids were crazy fast as usual. All 12 year old girls were home in under :30 for the 50 free, a 14 and under boy went 51.3 in the 100 and personal bests ruled the night :-)

Where are you in your training? I am going long and trying to stay focused.... Swimming is such a mental game - in many respects. The endless pool has been very busy all year as O2 SWIMMING seeks out any/all ways to up your game. Good coaches learn from their athletes. Thank you.

In this month's newsletter, I would like to feature a special training partner and an outreach:

Outreach ~

I have so many great parents and understanding spouses that I wanted to reach out for you and offer you an opportunity to SWIM! How long has it been?
Although summer is very busy (and already nearly half over), how about instead of watching your child swim or allowing your spouse some free time; how about if YOU suit up and splash into the Endless Pool for some creative ways to up your fitness AND fall in love with a healthy activity. Swimming is fun. Swimming is the best fitness exercise in the world. ***There are no medical conditions I am aware of that will not allow you to get wet! What do you have to lose? What do you have to gain?
Give me a call and let's discuss YOUR ideas and how O2 SWIMMING can help you achieve something that is NOT lost. Can swimming turn you around in some way.....

Secret Training Partner ~

Bear with me for a bit of shameless cut and paste from my friends at Finis, but they do have all the cool stuff - and we get 30% off through the O2 SWIMMING website. I was introduced to the Tempo Trainer a few years back (OK,maybe 10+ !) by Tim Elson from Finis while at the Olympic Swim Coaches Conference. This nifty little tool has the ability to take you all to new levels. Here is some info right from FINIS:

In using the Tempo Trainer Pro (TTP), coaches and swimmers sometimes fall into a rut of drill sets or high yardage workouts. This week, challenge yourself to mix it up! The TTP is a great way to incorporate precision into an array of otherwise routine sets.

CLICK HERE to view or download the Tempo Trainer Pro Reference Guide for more tips, testimonials and sample sets.

What I know is that most of us have a love/hate relationship with this device, but it does speed improvement. Pacing for you triathletes is guided to perfection with the Tempo Trainer. For you swimmers that can swim a :29 for the 50 free, but are at 1:08 for the 100, this will help you get home in time. ***Although no one can swim a :29 twice for the 100, you should not be 9 seconds slower in the last 50. Did you know that? Is that you? This can help you. The "new" Tempo Trainer is much better because it is easier to use - takes no time in the pool to set up. Give one a try. You may be as amazed as I am at what you "pacing" really looks like :(

My last bit of advice this summer is to ENJOY the water. For all of you year around swimmers - NOW is the time to apply your mental powers to make a change and dial in to a better stroke. A better stroke ALWAYS leads to more speed. Focus on "easy speed" over the summer. Stay long. Get streamline. Use the wall for all that it GIVES you. Practice your edge speed only rarely and in small doses. Stay relaxed. Heal up. You are preparing for the fall swim season.....

To my triathletes: get your workout right. I post most of my workouts on Facebook and the best thing they can teach you is workout STRUCTURE. Trust me, yours should look like mine - in structure. ALWAYS do your drills !!! When you think you are "too good" to need drills, let me send over one of my 12 and under girls and let her show you how to swim :-) Keep track of your SPL (strokes per length) as I have been preaching for years: 3 X in every workout...once in the beginning, once in the middle and once near the end (never in sprints). Your daily goal is to be no more than +1 between the 3 readings. Your lifetime goal is to be -1. Simple and effective. In the 1980's (yes before most of you were born), I was a 16-17 SPL swimmer, now I am a 13 SPL guy (14 in a meter pool). Efficiency has its merits. Never allow yourself to slip - it WILL cost you dearly.

Keep up the good work people. Enjoy the summer. Swim Strong. Swim Silent. Heal yourself.........

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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



May 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

More water, another rainy day in Bucks Co... But, it will NOT dampen my enthusiasm for getting wet !!
The developing theme throughout this year has been HOW DO YOU GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

Most of you are now aware that Michael Phelps officially returned to the pool - "to have fun". "Have fun" ? With 2 years of full off vacation from swimming and Ryan Lochte being out for 6 months due to a fan injury, the boys went 1 - 2 in the 100 fly. Are they that unbeatable? To give you some perspective, we have a local boy who is ranked in the top 100 OF ALL TIMES in the 100 back and is 2 seconds faster than Phelps ever was at high school age.... There is talent out there. No one can beat these 2 OLD boys? The question becomes WHY.......... Just what level are they on? How did they get there? How can they stay there this long?

Of course, there are many answers, but today I would like to focus on DETAILS. Details matter. For those of you who have been with O2 SWIMMING for years; you remember the "Talent Code" by Dan Coyle? This book explored habit and the transformation between conscious action and subconscious action. A skill occurs automatically - without thought, when you really learned it deeply. This deep learning has helped me twice in the last 2 years. On two separate occasions, I cracked a few ribs and could not swim a stroke for a while. Within weeks, my old habits forced my body back into position and within 2-3 months I was swimming along at my typical 13 SPL stroke rate and getting stronger again. Valuable? YES !!! In essence, I forgot how to swim less efficiently. Can I get better? YES - thank God, or I would probably quit and take up golf - a sport where the perfect round (18!) has never been played.

So, to get to YOUR next level, my advice is to focus on your SPL, use the 4 LAWS, and "just show up".
Details matter - a lot. The article below in PDF is from Mechanical Engineering Monthly (resourceful, huh?). It shows nicely how the hand needs to operate for the human swimmer to be most efficient. Some humans do this naturally, many have to practice learning it. Why is it important? How important?
I think VERY important - on several fronts. I had an article published about 10 years ago on this (not in ME Monthly :( and I referred to the following:

The open, relaxed, and downward facing hand is the most efficient CATCH position for the swimmer (***This became my O2 SWIMMING LAW #4 = Traction) because it allows MORE water to be held during the stroke. The relaxed hand also leads to a relaxed arm and shoulder during the recovery phase of the stroke (arm out of the water). Ever feel tight? How come the truly great swimmers always talk about being "loose" when they are fastest? It is proven by science that the water that slips through the open web is insignificant, as the web effect still holds a larger volume of water.
Yet another benefit of this exact position is application of the Bernoulli Principle ~ An increase in the speed of fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure/drag. For swimming, this translates into lift (think aeronautics if it is easier than hydrodynamics) caused by the downward lead hand causing a negative pressure behind it ~ LIFT for the body of the swimmer. How cool is that? Do I at least have my engineers interested???? I wish the ME article would have delved into this add-on, but obviously they were more interested in a very specific detail than in swimming faster at all costs - like us !!!

Maybe we can get some chatter on Facebook on this?

Bottom line? DETAILS MATTER. Phelps keeps winning. Lochte keeps winning. There is a reason...... It is EXACTLY the same reason why YOU can get faster and achieve your goals....


We are now only a few weeks away from summer - the one where every child in America gets out of school and summer swim teams are in full swing. IF I owe you time, please reach out for me sooner than later. My summers are 150% full. That does not mean that I cannot help you; and I do add 3 hours of morning coaching: mon-wed-fri mornings at a mutually agreeable time.

Also, if you need to schedule - please use the phone to call or text, not email. Email is too slow and I am not always at my computer.... Everyone wins. Best time to get me is 10-4pm.

Keep the faith. We will do this !!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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



April 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

April is the end of swim season and the beginning of triathlon season for most of you, so let's take a few minutes to look back and then forward.....
Congratulations to EVERY swimmer who survived a tough season in PA pools. You are the best. As CB East coach's said last weekend at the annual swim banquet, " Even we can't believe how fast our kids are now... When we started coaching, your times today would be All American and many did not even qualify for districts here in District One" Amazing. You have no advantages from technology, swimmers still put on a suit, pair of goggles and do it on their own. Keep up the good work.
I would like to pause a second and send a shout out to my Alma Mater, Erie Cathedral Prep, for placing in the top 10 in PA. The most amazing thing is that my buddy's son is there now and they still swim in the same 4 lane, 20 yard pool that produced so many champions when I was there..... Unbelievable.

If you are a graduating senior, please give back to swimming of your talents. I coached many special kids this year and whether you swim through college or now, don't leave the sport..... Stay involved.

Now for my triathletes.... We have the Princeton Half soon and the Challenge 140.6 in AC in our back yard, not to mention all the great local events, national events, and international events available for you. What is your focus? To help with your direction, here is a very relevant cut and paste:

And, that swimming in a triathlon poses much greater challenges, than competing in a swim-only race. Naturally this sharpens my appetite for helping athletes master those challenges. The greatest challenge is to succeed at one of the more intricate energy-management puzzles that you’ll find in any sport.
Solving this puzzle requires you to plan your training according to the right principles and priorities--none of which are obvious or instinctive.

Mike Joyner cited two aspects of energy-efficiency that I grasped in general terms, but for which the objective numbers were eye-opening:

1. Speeds of 2mph in swimming, 8mph in running, and 20mph in cycling should have approximately the same energy cost--for athletes of similar levels of ability.

However the oxygen cost to increase pace by 10% in each is approximately:

Running +10%
Cycling +25% to 30%
Swimming +60% to 80%

2. In a typical triathlon field, the gap in oxygen cost--to travel at the same speed--between a top athlete and an average athlete is:

Cycling 15%
Running 20%
Swimming 200% to 300%

The unmistakable takeaway is that the greatest improvements in cycling and running will come from upgrading your training. But, in swimming, you improve performance most significantly (and quickly) by increasing efficiency.

Do you feel this way in the pool? You push the accelerator all the way down and come in "only" 5 seconds faster per 100? Where will your real gains come from?
It is purely science. Water is dense and heavy; therefore, most of your gains will come from efficiency. This is not news to O2 SWIMMING :) Ever notice better swimmers look easy? THEY ARE !
Spend some time in each workout doing PERFECT drills and don't swim sloppy later in the hour just because you "must" finish a set. Fix your mind at every opportunity and keep improving.....

Benefits available through O2:
If you are newer with us, you may not be completely aware that O2 SWIMMING is a community on FACEBOOK. Check it our for tips, workouts, races, etc.

I also have set up several very nice discount programs where I pass the savings along to you.... Keep them in mind, the discount codes are on the website.

FINIS = one of our top supporters for years, they make technology in swimming. Better swim tools and 30% off.
Here is what is in my bag:
1) Z-II fins....great for distance swimmers
2) Agility Paddles - strapless and awesome
3) INstinct Paddles - all 4 strokes will have a better FEEL
4) Alignment kick board - the only board that should be in the water, period. Superior. ALL swimmers need this......
5) Pool buoy - why not have your own... I like the kids version because it is smaller.
6) Tempo trainer - my love/hate relationship..... Look it up....
7) last but not least, the actual mesh bag to put it all in....
Not in my bag, but at O2 SWIMMING:
8) Freestyle snorkel - keeps your head down and allows you to fully focus on the stroke because breathing comes easier. ******#1 training aid at the Olympic Training Center

INFINIT = simplify your nutrition. I thought INFINIT was expensive when they first came on the scene many years ago - they are cheap!!! They are inexpensive because EVERYTHING you need is in ONE bottle. YOU dial in your custom formula and order at will. Further customization is simple and you can work with their consultants for free (or pay $30 for a half hour with their nutrition Doc). I love INFINIT and have been using it for over a year now. Simple. Anything over 2 hours, this is your answer !!!
Take 10% off with our discount code and you will never use anything else... How could you, YOU dialed it in!!

EMERSON ECOLOGICS = from my side, this is my top shelf supplement supplier. All supplements are FAR from OK. Don't waste your money, if you buy any supplements, log on, create an account, and start saving 15% on RX quality products. What vitamin do you take? Is it gender specific? Is it athlete specific? How about fish oils? Vitamin D? ***ALL SWIMMERS SHOULD BE ON PROBIOTICS - chorine is toxic. (Now you know one more of my secrets!). I can help you here, reach out if you need direction. I already have a top 100 list placed on the O2 NUTRITION custom order form..... Stay strong. Stay Healthy.

PURE SPORT = the drink started by some Olympians to eliminate any "positives". Pure Sport is all Pure Sport makes. They have only 2 products: training and recovery. 4 Flavors. These are awesome, have a wee bit of necessary protein so you don't break down your muscle fibers, and works great for anything under 2 hours! We get 20% off on this one.

No nonsense, these are all vetted by O2 and the best. These companies did not come to me, I went to them and begged them for a team discount, as O2 SWIMMING is over 500 strong and growing. You make the team great!

Keep up the good work.

***Anyone want me to put a trip together to go swim in London at the Olympic long course pool.....? Just noodling....!!!!!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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

March 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

March really does come in like a lion - especially for those swimmers left on the blocks as STATES, REGIONALS, etc finish up. Our kids had an unbelievable year.... Some coaches get an "All American" swimmer or a kid that makes the Junior Olympic cut once and a while, we seem to have a never ending source around here - so much so that District 1 is guaranteed 5 spots of the 16 available at the State level in swimming. PIAA is divided into 12 districts and we are GUARANTEED 5, but can send more based on time.... Once again O2 SWIMMING has swimmers in EVERY meet, at every level.

Here is a short summary for you TRI athletes as to how fast some of these "little" kids are:

1) O2 has no 12 and under girls that are "slow" enough to swim the 100 free in more than .60 seconds!!

2) We have a swimmer going in the high 1:30's for the 200 free!

3) We have TONS of sophomores swimming Fly, Back, and Free in under a minute....

4) O2 has swimmers under 5;00 for the 500 free.... ***Inspiring for my triathletes that do sets of 500s on 8:00.....:)

5) We have so many boys going under .50 seconds for the 100 free that I could build a team large enough to fill a travel buss and go on tour !!!!


For my swimmers that are still advancing - stay healthy. Eat right. Rest. Plan your week in advance.... Do some SLOW swimming now to really FEEL the water. Keep any explosions short..... Good luck team!

For my swimmers now cheering from the deck - congratulations on ALL your accomplishments in one of the fastest areas in the country. Keep up the good work. Do not be afraid to take some time off, switch up training a bit, talk your future plans out with a coach.... It was an incredible year :)

For my triathletes - most of you are crawling out from under a massive winter of snow and treacherous weather. It is time to go now. We are ALL behind, so let's agree to be equal. Make your plan as if the weather will not be a factor and pray that it comes true - make it happen. When winter was at its worst, I had my heaviest swim week in years...I got in 16,500 yards in 5 days, we'll call it a 10 mile week. My cycling is averaging about 300 yards a week if you average me all winter :( Last year, I had 800 miles by now...this year, closer to 100. ***You know I only run if something is chasing me, so don't even go there....


The workout !!!

Swimmers with any questions should contact me directly, but in general.... Get time in the water by yourself No coach. Your own agenda. Work on what YOU want to.... Slow it down and FEEL the water. Enjoy the pool again. No pressure. Get all 4 strokes in at some point. Let me know what I can help you with.....

Triathletes can step it up as the weather is still not fully cooperating with your outdoor agenda. By March, here is a rough outline of your yardage:

Sprint Group: 800 - 1500 yards 2/3 days a week

Olympic Group: 1500 - 2500 3 days a week

Half IM Group: 2000 - 3000 3 days a week

IM Group: 2500 - 4000 3 days a week with some serious sets like: 3 x 500 with not much rest in between. 800-600-400-200, a solid 2,000 set...

**All workouts should look like this:

Warm up - stretch out and feel the water
Stretch - at least 1 minute...:)
Main set(s)
Cool down - getting back to solid SPL

You will find many of my workouts on O2 SWIMMING Facebook, as well as those of multi IM, Mark Dean. You do not have to do the whole deal, but feel free to pick out the middle or strong points

The important thing is that the calendar flipped to is GO TIME!

An encouraging video to jump start you this week:

Is This The World's Smoothest Freestyle Stroke? Jono!

Also, if you are just starting out with O2 SWIMMING, please keep in mind we have excellent discounts on the best swim stuff ever on my web page.... Contact me with any specific questions.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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

January 2014 Newsletter

Dear Swimmers and Triathletes:

It is a New Year, a new week, and a new day ~ what are your plans? O2 SWIMMING hopes that we have all survived the holidays, today was a little rough for me in the pool; despite having made most of my aquatic sessions over the holidays:) I was intrigued by the lack of new athletes at LA Fitness this week..... Typically, athletic clubs have a huge spike that lasts a week ( or less) before people give up and return to being fat, depressed, lazy, sick, and a host of other issues which I can only assume they prefer. YOU are reading this because you are above the fray:) You are always in a state of ready and feel best when you are race ready!

How are we going to get faster in 2014? It has been my experience that humans don't swim particularly well, as Mr Phelps is not near as fast as a common brook trout.... That said, we CAN get better and I don't care how young or old you are . YOU CAN GET FASTER in 2014. Attention to detail matters. I will never forget watching Phelps and Lochte dual all swimmers at the USA Olympic Trials prior to Beijing and the salient point I still remember was the interview with Phelps where he said, "I have so much work to do between now and the Games". Really? You are THE American on the fastest team in the world and just qualified for every event you can swim and YOU have "much work" to do? I was aghast. Then, it hit me..... He had the mental prep work and the dialing in of ~ DETAILS! When you live in a world where no one LETS you win, you must become a winner. Nothing can be second best, as the prize is not as cool. The plan then, is to WIN.

During January, please pay particular attention to a detail that you think may not be perfect. It can get better. If it is better, you will be faster. If you are faster, you will win more often. Simple!

One of the things I keep seeing is lack of attention to THE CATCH. O2 SWIMMING calls it, Law #4 - traction. This is your ability to catch/hold/trap water so you can manipulate it to your advantage. I see too much flat hand. Flat hands come from an over-extended reach where the hand can only hit the top of the water, thus pushing water down....resulting in you going UP (not forward). It becomes really bad in strokes requiring 2 hands working at once: fly and breast. Where and how are you moving water?
The better catch initiates off a high elbow position through the air, where the hand will land prior to full extension IN the water and then finish with a soft hand. Soft hand = open, relaxed, and facing down. My January gift is to SHOW you a side by side of 2 great masters:

Fingers Together Or Apart?

Take a look at these two pictures of Michael Phelps (left) and Ian Thorpe (right), two of the greatest swimmers of all time. How are they holding their fingers? :

Please forgive the aspect where the photos were snapped - making the Thorpedo look "better" than AquaMan.... I clipped this from an Aussie swim sight....

You will note that both boys have the human web working. It has been proven by scientific measure that this catch is most effective. Period. Do you need any more proof? A soft hand leads to a curvature as the stroke is initiated and the elbow bends earlier. The reason we (humans) are so slow is because the only really solid point in our catch is when our body is perfectly horizontal (Balance = Law #1) and our catch arm (notice it is NOT just about the hand) is perfectly vertical. Everything else is a compromise.... Get into your best catch sooner. Be long in the front (catch up style) and initiate the break as soon as you are able.

*****THIS IS FOR ALL 4 STROKES. The laws of hydrodynamics are universally applicable in free, back, fly and breast. Begin 2014 with an improved FEEL of the water. You pure swimmers will get faster immediately. My TRI gang will begin to drop strokes and then get faster as well. WE WILL WIN in 2014!!!

As in past January's, I will take a limited number of questions this month to be published in our February Newsletter. Interested?

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


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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