DEC 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

We made it - the 2017 year is just about over…did you get it done? Are you better off than you were 12 months ago?
A great man once said, “life is along time…”. Human experiences ebb and flow, but it is how we respond to adversity that really defines us. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but each time you step up or step forward, you get a +1 in the win column. Stay in the game. Never give up!

This was a huge year again at O2 SWIMMING; thank you for you support and dedication. Each year I see new swimmers and new triathletes and wonder just HOW we can continue to provide the highest level of coaching to yield the maximum benefit to each athlete. I think a huge key for all of us is that I swim and never stop searching for perfection. In 2017, I swam north of 300 miles and still got a race or two in so that I can continue to experience the level commitment that my athletes face each season.
As many of you have had the pleasure of experiencing, O2 SWIMMING made some monumental upgrades to the pool: motors, hydraulics, bright liner, etc. You can now swim at 0.52 pace if that helps you FEEL the water better. Endless Pool helped me out by sending me a helper to pull this all off in just 2 weeks during our slowest 2 weeks of any year (last 2 weeks of August).

As we go forward into the busiest time of the year, thank you for your patience !! 2017 is almost entirely booked already, but I do offer some extra sessions between the holidays for my collegiate swimmers who are home on break. It is always great to see the young swimmers who grow up and stay involved through college - they continue to amaze me every year. Please call me if I owe you any time, as no TRI packs carry over into the following year - unless we have already cleared it… ***Accounting gets the books closed by around 03 Jan every year, so I have no real way of carrying over year to year…

And now, my gift to you all this joyous time of year:

O2 SWIMMING ~ 12 Days of Christmas Tips !

1) Get your nutrition right and do it now. You simply cannot perform at your peak with less than optimal fuel and EVERYONE is a little different. If you haven’t got a handle on this - do some research, talk to someone you trust, call me, just IMPROVE that aspect of your life!

2) Know that you CAN always do better and I really don’t care who you are ! In over 20 years of coaching, I have never witnessed someone’s best time ever…. KNOW in your heart and your mind that you can still go faster. Winners never give up…

3) BE on a team. For my swimmers, that means support every member of your organization - draw power from each other. For my triathletes, don’t be too independent - get a friend or join a club. Someone will push you. Someone will show you something you might not have known. Someone will hold you accountable….

4) FINIS is still far and away the best technology company in the world of aquatics. We have always held a close affiliation with FINIS due to my old connections and we get a direct discount, but in 2017 I went beyond that as we were solicited by SwimOutlet to get guaranteed TEAM PRICING on every item - with free shipping at only $49. Please check out both affiliate links on my web page, but when in doubt, use the FINIS products, as they are superior.

5) Learn a new skill NOW. If you are a swimmer - work on your breakouts, or breaststroke, or a new event….anything that gets you to ADD FEEL to your skill level. If you are a triathlete - learn backstroke, or bilateral breathing, or even a flip turn. ALL learning in life is good. Every skill, no matter how small or “unrelated”, will help you somewhere you lest expect it.

6) Get out of your comfort zone once and a while. Swimmers do lots of sprints most days - do ONE out of control and above race pace. Learn to blow up and move your set point in practice where it doesn’t matter :) Triathletes need to focus on speed more… Maybe once a week, you do a short/very hard set to go very, very fast. If you swim at 1:35 pace, can you do a single 100 at 1:20? Maybe a 50 at .35? The point is to use practice to expand your speed. Racing is to dial in your maximum speed capacity.

7) Do more. Want to be better? Do more….. Swimmers = make one more morning practice or do one more set HARD. Triathletes = up your yardage, especially in the winter/off season. Did you know the average 12 year old in Bucks County is swimming 4000 - 6000 yards/day (a solid 25,000 yards a week)?

8) Pick one of your pool tools and really learn it. Why do you use a pool buoy? Which one do you use? What does it do for you? Have you ever really focused on isolating certain muscles relevant to the piece of equipment you are using? **** Don’t feel bad, most people have only a vague idea of how/why they use the equipment bag….
Special O2 tip ~ when I use the Finis agility paddles, I really focus on FEELING the paddle’s pressure on the heel of my hand. That means I have a deeper/better catch than a paddle distributing force pressure evenly…. Ever FEEL that? Ever think about it?
The internet is loaded with videos on swimming, equipment and technique - just watch your source a little on the dark web….

9) Be more flexible. Michael Phelps’s signature move was an arm flapping stretch he always did on the blocks - because no one else could do it and it relaxed him. We place plenty of emphasis on strength, but often flexibility becomes so far down the list that athletes forget to do it, or blow it off. Great swimmers are nothing - if not flexible. You are asking a lot of your body - stretching muscles repeatedly keeps them supple and healthy. Never blow off your stretching routine. If you don’t have one - GET ONE NOW! ****Stretch before and after, but never ice cold - always be a little warmed up first.

10) Listen to your body. We all have days where things just don’t work out… That doesn’t mean blowing off work, but it does mean that if you are sliding down a hill, eat right and sleep right and just stay in the game. Give your body a chance to heal itself. ALL of my athletes are superior workers, but all come off the wagon sometimes - recognize this and defend your body. Sleep is a miracle - use it like a tool and allow the body time to heal. Pay attention - your body knows what it needs…you are an animal and all animals know inherently what they need :-)

11) Periodize/Prioritize your year. This can be a big one. When I see what the California swim coaches do to interact with each other to peak each swimmer - I am amazed. They are each aware of WHEN each swimmers needs to peak. No one can maintain a peak - by definition, that would not be a “peak”. If your coach doesn’t see what you see - take matters into your own hands and begin to dial in your practice output to equate with YOUR TOP GOALS of the season.
If you are a triathlete - do you swim the same 2-3 workouts year around? About 10 years ago, I realized that although I have 100s of workouts posted on Facebook, they were all too similar and my mindset simply said “swim workout” all year around. Now, it is refined more like this:
Mid September - Mid March = I try to become a swimmer again…more FAST speed work, less emphasis on long distance
Mid March - end of May = I just show up, work in technique and keep my yardage reasonable…i.e., a little let off for both mind and body
June - Mid August = all on distance swimming, technique and the most outdoor time that I can manage… This is my focus for Open Water Season
Mid Aug - Mid Sept = just show up and let the body heal through “easy” yards

12) The warm up is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of your practice. You are a land animal. Transitioning from vertical land animal to efficient horizontal aquatic animal is NOT A GIVEN for anyone! Use every yard of the warm up to ease into the perfect balanced and streamline body position. Work on lowering you SPL early. The better you are in warm up, the better you work will be in practice. Blow off warm up and watch your day dissolve… If you are going to show up and work, why start from a disadvantage? No clock in warm up. Be fluid. FEEL the water….

That was fun !!
You all continue to inspire me to both swim and coach - thank you !

My last bits of news for 2017 will be both good and bad…….

The GOOD = it’s the holidays, keep in mind that all of you are entitled to the affiliate program discounts we have partnered with over the years. If you need to purchase any gifts for yourself of athletes on your list, tough to beat the prices we are allowed through Enjoy !

The Less than good = it is that time on the Gregorian calendar when I must bump up the O2 SWIMMING rate a bit (I’ve now done this 4 times since 2001:(. I’m sure you all know that I coach out of love for the sport, I make my living elsewhere. But, costs of everything necessitate my rates going up in 2018. I had already factored in the major capital upgrades to the pool,, but everything cost more than quoted and I am not done yet - a new propane heater coming soon (every time my electric heater goes down, it is another $500 and 3-4 days to get it operational to raise the pool temp to our year around 88F). We also live in the highest energy cost zone in the USA, so my overall electric bills are too high to continue year over year with no increase…

2018 Rates:

One hour rate = $65.00
Tri pack rate = $155.00 (4.5%) ****Almost 90% of the O2 clientele
Doubles Coaching Tri pack = $255.00

Happy Holidays to all of you.
Keep up the good work.
Enjoy your family and time off…

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


NOV 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Sorry this is a bit late, but I needed extra time to swim and think about content for our November 2017 Newsletter…. November always jumps in like a lion here at O2 SWIMMING because we are fully engaged in swim season - all the studs and stud-ettes are back tearing a hole in the water. As you know, I took special precautions this season by upgrading just about everything Endless Pool has to offer :-) I hear less whining about, “ boo hoo, the pool only goes 0.59 pace…?” Something I hear less of during the triathlon season! The new bright liner is fantastic this week, as the days got real short, real quick. The whole Endless Pool Studio is much livelier and generally more fun to swim in now.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of our discussion this month, I must pay a huge tribute to Terry Laughlin, not only the creator of Total Immersion, but one of the most passionate swimmers I have ever had the distinct pleasure to know. I was lucky enough to have Terry personally as my TI coach many years ago :) Terry passed away too young, but left us a legacy of inspiration and valuable information. He posted in his newsletter last summer about how he and his daughter swam a 5km race side by side and just enjoying the day - not “racing”, but loving swimming…. Little did we know, it was nearly his last swim :( We all wish to be so lucky. Godspeed Terry, hope to see you on the other side !!

HIPS is our topic this month !!

We have discussed this topic before, but apparently not enough. I am sure the message of CATCH UP has been driven home enough times that you all get that one.. SPL (strokes per length) comes up a close second because it is just the measuring stick for everything! But, hips seem to be less understood by many swimmers and triathletes.

Let me start with the greatest swimmers on the planet - fish !! Fish have no hips. No neck. No arms. No legs. Get the point? Fish have nothing hanging off or out of streamline, nor do they have parts that torque in the water. The sum of all human parts are bits of pieces that make us skilled on LAND and not so good horizontally in the water. At the crux of all of this is the HIP INTEGRATION to the core body. The hips simply must completely be absorbed by the dynamic of the body as a single unit. Be fishlike.

As I swim into fall and begin (again) to work on my pure speed, I engage more pool tools. The Axis Buoy by FINIS is really one of the greatest inventions I have seen in swimming in a long time:

Everyone loves their pool buoy. Why? They all think it is because it helps them “float” in the back end…. Nothing could be further from the truth ! Try holding your pool buoy under you and floating on it - it is just a few ounces of foam and NOT big enough to float your 100+ pound body! The real reason everyone loves their pool buoy is because it corrects their back end by tying their legs together. Back to exhibit A, Mr Fish. Mr Fish has ONE TAIL, not two legs. Legs create a massive amount of drag when they split apart. The pool buoy keeps them together so the swimmer pulls his back end DIRECTLY through the front end hole. Simple.

The FINIS Axis buoy is the hardened version of that concept. Try putting the axis buoy in its primary place - between calves and ankles and FEEL the massive drag on you, while assisting you to keep your legs together and NOT kick (i.e. use your front end power). The axis buoy is revolutionary.

Now here is the real deal: I, like you have good days and not-so-good days. The axis buoy ALWAYS challenges me. If your core is weak (or tired), it will slide around behind you - and you feel it doing that (a bad thing). If you are pulling some distance set, you might feel your hips go completely disengaged - the axis buoy really drags then (a bad thing)… The axis buoy is most helpful where you LEAST like it - down between your ankles and calves. ****You can also use the axis buoy up in the traditional spot between your upper thighs or, slip your paws through it and use it as a kick board ! Not a bad piece of equipment for $20 :-)

Get one!

If you bounce to SwimOutlet through the web hyperlink on my page you will get our best team price and free shipping is easy at Swim Outlet. You can also purchase it at a discount directly from Finis, but they don’t offer free shipping until $99 and they are a tad slow on shipping product (because the whole company are swimmers and they come in late or swim at lunch !!!).

Give this one a try.
Post up your thoughts on Facebook.
I really think this will help ALL of you - it is one of my all time favorite training tools!

Year End Housekeeping:

Just a couple of business related topics that some of my newer athletes may not remember or be aware of:

1) The O2 calendar books VERY fast during swim season and 3-4 weeks out is my “normal”.

2) The BEST way to reach me for appointments is NOT email - call or text me :)

3) All tri packs purchased in 2017 are due in 2017. I do not hold over sessions - unless there are extenuating circumstances… **Call me. All swimmers purchasing tri packs this time of year are honored until we fulfill them, I just don’t “owe” time from years ago because it jams our schedule and is unproductive. My original agreement states “all tri packs are to be used in 4-6 weeks”. I only get fussy about it at year end because I truly want to keep everyone happy :-)

3) Keep in mind ALL O2 SWIMMING discounts on my web page are totally yours - use them. Happy holiday. I have swimmers every year telling me they got race suits about 70% off through either FINIS or SwimOutlet due to our affiliate programs. A huge amount of athletes finally got on board with INFINIT NUTRITION this year. Infinit has no equal - try them and use our team discount, you will be completely satisfied.

4) Thank you for using Facebook to help bond us all together, I love hearing from you and appreciate the feedback. I believe that O2 SWIMMING is quickly approaching our 20th year, THANK YOU !

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


OCT 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

WOW, it’s October and SWIM SEASON !!! On this 41F morning, as I jumped into the pool; I wondered just how many cold mornings I have jumped into the water…. Not sure if doing the math would make me excited or depressed, but cold really helps MOTIVATE a swimmer :-)

As I thought about both the highlights and the lowballs of last month - it was easy to come up with a solid theme for our October Newsletter:


As is typical this time of you, I will separate my thoughts into my 2 groups of athletes ~

SWIMMERS: O2 SWIMMING runs from very young age group swimmers right up through Olympic trialists, so this will attempt to cover some issues I have seen repeatedly and controversies I hear from other sources.

1) Bilateral is the key to BALANCED POWER. Swimmers who default to single sided breathing get a blind side and a corresponding weak side. I don’t care how you race - it is only a minute or two long, but you practice and set habits for HOURS a day/week/month/season.

2) I believe restricting your breathing in a longer race (depends on your age/ability) is counter-productive. An engine needs O2 to hit full power.

3) ALL coach’s disprove of breathing in or out of any turn - it simply slows you down.

4) Breathe from your HIPS, not your head, neck, or shoulders.

5) How you breathe directly affects your race times…. Is there anything you can do to make this more efficient?

TRIATHLETES: The “off season” is really your best time to work on swimming AND winter weather does not affect your ability to swim - swimming is indoors. Of the many, many triathletes who have passed though the Endless Pool since 2001, the common thread is, “ I can swim OK, but I can’t breathe…”. Oh contraire… Once you can swim, the breathing comes natural.
Here are some O2 rules to live by as you get comfortable with your breathing in the water:

1) Observe Rule #1 = balance, at all times. If you are horizontal, you are balanced and ease through the water easier.

2) Extend and lock your leading arm BEFORE attempting to roll into the breath - if you collapse the lead arm, you will sink at the moment you need to elevate to obtain air.

3) Initiate the roll or turn with your HIPS - they are centrally located and everything above and below them MUST comply…. The shoulders rotate, but can dissipate under the rib cage into a flat swimmer. Flat swimmers lack power and, they are “slow”.

4) A video with some pointers:


5) Although it is less essential for triathletes to bilateral breathe - it can really help in some race situations: bad sun glare, swimmer on your strong side driving relentlessly into you, etc.

6) Single arm freestyle drill is really helpful at getting you comfortable with all the necessary skills for good/easy breathing !!

Have also heard, I have - lots of chatter about workouts that make you better/faster… I post all my workouts under our O2 SWIMMING Facebook page - try that. If you need more, bounce me a request.

Ok kids, we are less than 90 days until the end of 2017 - SCAREY HUH?
Housekeeping time here at O2 SWIMMING:

1) All 2017 tri packs expire at the end of any calendar year - call me with any confusion
2) Text or phone calls are way better than emails to schedule = much faster !!
3) Our pool has been totally redone: new again, better, faster, brighter - come swimming some time :)
4) As swim season rolls around, keep in mind our hyperlink to swim outlet available on my web page - you get guaranteed TEAM PRICING and always, free shipping at $49.

I am starting to go faster and shorter, as has been my thing for the last few years when swim season rolls around. One of my classic workouts is to swim the entire high school swim meet by myself … very cool.

Let me know if I can help you this season and THANK YOU for all the referrals - you are all rockstars !

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


SEP 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

September is generally a little slower month as we transition from a mix of triathletes and “off season” swimmers - NOT THIS YEAR !

After almost 20 years of coaching in the Endless Pool Studio, I finally made the decision to upgrade and refresh every part of the pool - the ones you see and feel and the ones you don’t. Our old motors were the fastest Endless Pool offered at .59 pace… We now have one motor that will push you all the way to 0.52 pace when needed. I have installed new motors, new hydraulics, new fans, a new bright liner, basically a whole new system. O2 SWIMMING will continue to be on the cutting edge of both technology and coaching techniques. You always push, I always answer ~ what a team !!! As you can tell, I am very excited about this coming season. I opened up last week with a brother and sister that have the ability to test any piece of equipment. We had a blast :-) Since then, the O2 schedule is beginning to fill fast. Come and see what it is all about.

***As a side note, anyone I owe sessions to should call me ASAP, as the fall swim season gets very busy - pushing my schedule out as far as 4-5 weeks sometimes. ALL tri packs come due by the current year they were purchased in; nothing carries over other than 3 packs purchased within a few weeks of the 31 December. Don’t get left out - CALL NOW !!

So, here she is:




As I have been pretty busy doing with construction, as well as my day job - I am a little behind on my monthly FOCAL POINT for September. How about if we all revisit the O2 SWIMMING 4 LAWS and circle back next month?


1) Balance
2) Active Streamline
3) Weight Shift
4) Balance

And, as promised, I did hook us a fantastic business deal - but it is only ONE DAY…. 07 Sept 2017:

This is the custom sports drink I have told all of you about. It is THE ONLY thing I have used since 2014. One formula. One drink. Nothing else. Swim 1.5 hours… Bike 100 miles… ONE and done.
This offer is not coming around again - TODAY ONLY. Bounce me any questions ASAP.


It is produced for you in Ohio and delivered in 2 days….

Have a great month, see you soon !

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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

AUG 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

This is a very special month here at O2 SWIMMING :-) We have two big topics to discuss:

1) The 2017 FINA World championships that were held in Budapest, Hungary


2) The 2017 UPGRADES to your favorite swimming studio

2017 FINA World Championships ~

I hope most of you caught at least a portion of this fantastic meet that Hungary hosted in a beautiful new facility. Everyone was raving about the natatorium and all the right things that Budapest did for the swimmers and the building. One of my life goals is to swim in any world stage venue when I travel :-) I’m not doing too well, but I have swum in the London Aquatics Center and the Barcelona Natatorium so far. It is awe inspiring to swim in the wake of the legends of our sport. It just FEELS faster - in a very cool way. I think if any of you get to Hungary, this venue will be a must visit for you (or me !).

Just one year after the 2016 RIO Olympic Games, what did we learn from Budapest?

1) For the first time I can ever remember, the focus was often turned to the lead 3 swimmers DPS (distance per stroke). I had never seen the country flag image trailing the swimmer with a DPS number following them. What is this number? Why is it coming into its own? Isn’t EVERYTHING only related to time?
DPS is absolutely related to our constant discussion of SL (stroke length). How far you travel per stroke is important and if you fail to HOLD your front end position (catch up comes to mind), you simply have a lower DPS number. Some of this is most likely directly related to HOW Katie Ledecky does what she does… No one at the top wins races by 5-12 seconds. No one except Miss Katie. She is not overly tall at a reported 6’ , but she has one heck of a DPS and SR. Of interest as well, is that she can and did lose a FASTER race - she could not get home quick enough in the 200 free and posted a 2nd to Pellegrini of Italy. This proves that all swim races are unique and being so dominant that you can win at any distance is more than rare. NB how Phelps never lost the 400 IM, but traded the 200 IM with Lochte his whole life….DIFFERENT RACE. Training and preparation are different.

I want to send a message to my swimmers out there - when you come “of age” it will be (or is) YOUR decision on where you want to specialize - don’t get forced into things early on (like only swimming the 50 or 100 free), but begin to see where your strengths seem to lie and go after those events with everything you have.

2) ONE year after the Olympics and loosing Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Missy Franklin, Team USA nearly QUADRUPLED the next closest counties in the medal haul. Team USA posted

1 United States of AmericaUnited States of America 18 10 10 38
Our next closest competitors were Russia and China with 10 medals (total) for each country.

That, my friends, is supreme domination. And - most of our team is now young blood. Matt Greavers is 32, but most of the team is 20 and under !!! With M Phelps being retired, this void is being filled nicely. HIs understudy, Chase Kalisz, did his job and won both the 200 & 400 IM this time - and did it with authority. As usually, the breaststroke broke the race wide open and Chase’s breaststroke was field busting !! WHY? He and our coaches focused on his weakness and overcame with knowledge and training. Training is not enough - I guess all other countries in the world can attest to that. We work hard mentally and physically. Swimming is a very cerebral sport, hence a serious addiction for me.

3) How about some chatter on our O2 SWIMMING Facebook page about what YOU took away from the 2017 FINA World Championships?

2017 is THE UPGRADE YEAR for you and O2 SWIMMING !

This pile, my friends, is your new motors and upgrade kit from Endless Pool :-) I chose to upgrade NOW because of you… We have more swimmers than ever going to ZONES, NATIONALS, and KONA. A motor that can only hit .59 / 100 pace is too slow for some of you ! WOW. Our new engines will deliver enough power to go .52/100 and be the fastest pool for hundreds of miles around. WOO HOO.
Although this process has been in the works for a year now, the time has come - I will let you all know which week this month I will be closing to install all of this magic. It will be worth it ~ for all of you. A new brighter liner will clear up the somewhat dark bottom for you and allow more light transmission on dark winter nights when we swim. Cool, huh?
I must take time to thank ALL of you for your continuous appetite for more and better in your life - you rock. We all get inspired together and I am trying to keep up and continue to reach for the literal top of the swimming world. We have so much talent and passion in our area - we all feed off each other !

As always, thank you for you continued support of our affiliate partner programs, so many of you have linked into INFINIT nutrition , SwimOutlet and FINIS ~ that the companies are amazed how active our little group of over 600 athletes actually is…. Be sure to higher-link through our web page to take advantage of best team pricing on everything.

See you soon - can’t wait !!!

Very excited to get this pool up to .52 pace and see how I do - at my “over 30” age group status :-)

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


JULY 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Hope you all had a great Independence Day Weekend! Many consider this the downside of the summer season, but it serves more as a wake-up call for me to stop working so much and start PLANNING some fun. Anyone catch the Phillips 66 National Championships over the weekend? We now have our National Team ready to compete against the world in Budapest, Hungary. It is awesome to see so many young faces at our highest level. It also feels a little different now that many races are wide open since The GOAT has retired!
Highlights for me:

1) Matt Greaves stealing the 100 back from Murphy with his 6’9”, but 32 year old body !! WOO HOO, once again proving “old” people aren’t dead until they say so :)
2) Caleb Dresel is quietly coming into his own and swimming NOT TO LOSE.
3) Nathan Adrian is long from out of it - nice job.
4) I guess it is official, World Record holder Missy Franklin is no more……..

Even Rowdy Gaines commented several times on the DEPTH of our USA Swimming. It is good to see. One race, we had 5 swimmers cluster within 0.25; several others we had 5 of the worlds top 10 times this year all swimming in the same pool !!

If you feel compelled, consider sending a small donation to USA Swimming or the USA Olympic Team - every bit helps.

And now, onto business at home:

This month, we have STEELMAN and Lake Placid IronMan - perennial favorites. Best of luck to all athletes who continue to work hard and train for sporting events well into there…40s…..50s…60s….and beyond :-)

And, the focus point for July is: SR vs SL…….all just a math issue !!

SR = Stroke rate
SL = Stroke length

It is human nature to default to SR about 99% of the time. This is wrong… SR and SL are a carefully balanced equation in all the best swimmers. It was very obvious when they interviewed Simone Manuel after she won the 50m free last weekend. Just how do you create separation in a ONE length race? There is no strategy - it is pure GO TIME. Simone has a Stanford pedigree and is a smart young lady. Simone won 2 golds in Rio: 100 free and anchoring the medley relay. She won the 50 last weekend in a field that had 7/8 ladies under 25 seconds !!!! When asked what her “strategy” was by the reporter, she responded that she was just trying to HOLD her SL while keeping her SR high. Words to live by… If you think it matters in a race less than 25 seconds long - how much more does it matter when swimming for 30-60 MINUTES?

YES, my point has always been that SL matters. Only humans solve all their issues with SR…. How about some thought this month to your SL? What has your SPL done lately? As I prepare for my 9th Steelman OWR, I am swimming reasonably well for an old guy. Every warm up for the last 6 weeks has me at 12 SPL, sliding into 13 as I get hot and ready later in the practice. This is good for me. Since the age groups are 10 years in swimming (ARGH!), I only strive to improve each year on my PRs. So far, so good. There are many variables in open water, but preparing in the controlled environment of a pool with a black line really sets you up for streamline swimming and solid buoy tracking. How far will you swim in your next mile or 1.2? Doesn’t really matter how fast you are - if you swim 1.6 miles to exit a 1.2 swim… Streamline and detail matters.

Good luck to each of you.
See you in the water !!

Last, we got a nice thank you from SWIM OUTLET, as you have made O2 SWIMMING a top team in the country for using their web page - they are hoping to lower prices even further for the bigger teams that use them !!

INFINITE nutrition has been and will continue to offer good products and great pricing for us - just be sure to use your “o2” code to keep you on our discount program !!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


JUNE 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Holy smokes, it is June..Summertime is pretty much here !!! My mind is clearing after a great weekend of working, cycling, and generally enjoying the area we live in - we are so lucky. The location, the weather, the people, what more could one ask for - than living in Bucks County, PA?

We have a bunch of intel to cover today, so let’s get started….
Our topic for this month, in honor of Escape the Cape (today) , and all the races coming soon…


Reports coming in all day today from Escape the Cape Tri in Cape May, NJ indicted that our local crew really kicked tail :-) I stayed home and was lazy; rode 53 with the boys of “Just Show Up” fame out of Camp Dean… It got me thinking - I have never really addressed the actual race day - in a Newsletter. Hope this helps:

1) Cardinal Rule = NEVER do anything on race day, you haven’t done before. You would think it goes without saying, but every year, I hear the stories… Last year, some “kind man” (in my age group) offered me some sort of poison that was “guaranteed” to keep me from cramping at Steelman. NO! He went around and gave it to a dozen unsuspecting athletes - God only knows how they did….

2) Go Biblically OLD SCHOOL ! I may be a dinosaur, but I have always done the distance BEFORE race day. One of the best athletes in this (or any other part of the world) famously did his first IronMan and had never rode even a 100, or done a full marathon… OMG ! Ken Holland is no where near the athlete this boy is, but I ALWAYS do the distance. I highly recommend that you follow my protocol here.
In swimming, you will have no walls to “catch a break” or “stretch out” at, so 4,000 in a pool is a long way to swim. 4,000 in open water is NO LESS challenging. Do the work !

3) Warm up AND stretch out. This rule matters more if you are in my “over 30” age group. O2 has only 2 age groups - you are either “over 30” or you aren’t… As a much more experienced “over 30” athlete, it takes me much longer to get right than it used to. ACCOUNT FOR THAT. Ever see the top pros in cycling on a trainer for AN HOUR prior to doing a 20 minute Time Trial? No one can hide from the “race of truth”. Not many can hide from a solid warm up on race day - accompanied by a decent stretch out.

***Pay heed, my pure swimmers… I see you an hour after the only warm up you get in a swim meet approach the starting block with your goggles dangling from the corner of your mouth looking all calm. Regardless of who you are - when your heart rate is 50 a moment before you get on the block and you ask it to reach 150 in the 1st few seconds of your 54 second race - it won’t end well. Be ready !

4) Get your mind QUIET. You can stand and look around at all the studs and stud-ettes in any race and possibly have doubts about your training. The fact is, you DESERVE to be there. You are only racing your age group (for the most part). Focus on what you need to think about - visualize the start. Sequence what happens early on…. Regardless of “them”, what is YOUR GAME PLAN? I’ll bet it will be the best one for you - stick to it.
Notice what the GOAT does? Michael Phelps doesn’t give a darn who is in the pool - HE HAS A GOAL. “You” don’t matter to him. If it isn’t you, it is just someone else who looks like you… He was always supremely focused. Guess what? He won - A LOT !!!
NEVER underestimate the importance of this….

5) NUTRITION. It is said the 4th discipline of triathlon is nutrition. I believe this and have seen it either champion or ruin races…. What works for you is best. A few years back, a “new” formula was presented to me by 2 athletes who are superior to me. I tried it. It was TERRIBLE for me. My body did not perform well on this; despite the claims and even personal recommendations from people I respect.

I have become a huge fan of INFINIT Nutrition and brought all O2 SWIMMERS a team discount on it. The company is in Ohio and custom blends the perfect formula FOR YOU. They have both in house Doctors of Nutrition and extremely well educated sales people. They will help you - for free if you go the sales guy route, or for $30 for a 30 minute consult. If you are a seasoned athlete, I suspect you will only need the sales consult. If you are a “newbie” or have had some real issues, buck up and spend the couple bucks and get the best help you can.

Here is our hyper link to our discount and the site itself:

INFINIT Nutrition - No gels, no bars, no road capsules, NOTHING. You get your own custom blended powder to mix with water that will have all the nutrition you need to go as far as you can handle - all day for you IronMen!!!! 10% off with us (Plus earn- $5 INFINIT Bucks when you post a race day picture of yourself on their INFINIT Facebook page)
Promo Code: o2

The end.

New Business Section - June 2017

1) Summer will get real busy, real quick. If I owe you time - call SOON! Although I always have time, it might not coincide with your schedule as easily in the summertime…

2) My daughter, Summer Holland, has been back from her first year at Northeastern University for a month now and has already been very busy coaching little ones in the Endless Pool Studio. She charges HALF my price and has a more flexible schedule. She has returned to Fanny Chapman again as the pool manager, so reach out for me to gain her contact info if you need her for your younger swimmers. She has been swimming competitively since age 7 and has been coaching for 3 years here, as well as group lessons at FC.

3) If you have read to here, I have a BIG IDEA and want some feedback….

Due to the SPEED of many of my current swimmers, I am thinking of upgrading our Lane One motor in the Endless Pool. When I put in the EP, almost 20 years ago, they had 2 motors, but the “bigger” one did not go any faster than the current motor you swim in = .59 pace. Now, I can get you a motor blowing .52 all day long !!! Worth it?
Bounce me back with your feedback ;-)

4) I appreciate your continued support of the O2 SWIMMING program; thank you! If I have helped you and you feel compelled to write up a little recommendation for O2, please either post it on Facebook or send it to me directly - I will put it on the web page. My web admin is asking again if we have any “happy customers”….

Thank you.
See you in the water.

WOO HOO, outside season is finally here !!!!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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



MAY 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

May really begins to open the door to open water swimming and cold early season practice, but we love it !! If you are a swimmer, its time to just have some fun, stay in half way decent shape and perhaps work on some stroke mechanics. If you are a triathlete, it is pure race ready workouts all the way now.

Each month, I try to choose a topic that is not only relevant, but current with things I am seeing (good or bad) at that time. Sometimes, I have general information, but often it is chosen from more controversial topics. Lots of us have opinions - no one has stronger opinions than ME, but I am going to make this simple : YOUR SPL IS THE ONE METRIC THAT WILL NEVER LIE TO YOU :-) This pairs nicely with my theory that you can ALWAYS make a good stroke go faster, but you cannot make a “bad” stroke faster no matter how much power you add.

Recently, I have begun to feel more strongly than ever about the FINIS Axis buoy. My main set today was brutal:
300 pull axis buoy
100 free slightly above 1500 race pace
2 X 50 fastER
4 X 25 fastEST
Repeat four times through for a 2400 main set.

When I wrote this set, I felt the 300 Axis buoy pull would be a solid swim, but also somewhat of a recovery portion ~ it didn’t feel that way to me…. Why? The Axis buoy can be far more challenging than a regular pool buoy. EVERYONE loves a pool buoy and it has some nice skills to teach with good work on the upper body. The Axis buoy, however, is much more difficult and the gains are much more complex. We all want to do more with less, so this is my focal point for May 2017.


My thoughts as I suffered through the set today:

1) Axis buoy will help you feel left vs right side imbalances
2) Axis buoy will help you feel any lack of tightness in your core - you may feel the lower back dip
3) Axis buoy will force you to extend into your full reach or you will wiggle
4) Axis buoy creates MORE drag than a standard pool buoy
5) Axis buoy promotes an elevated body position - will help you notice if you are swimming UPHILL or downhill…. BIG DIFFERENCE ***
6)Axis buoy improves ROTATION - no matter who you are, it can always be better

As you can see, this is way more than a pool buoy. Finis has some terrific engineers that swim !

All O2 SWIMMERS have both the SwimOutlet and the FINIS direct team discount options now - no excuses. All relevant codes are on my web page ~ left side.

Take this opportunity to up your game, I know you will be happy with the improvements.

More Good News today ~

Miss Summer Holland is now home from her freshman year at Northeastern University and is ready to work her magic at Summer’s Swim School once again. She will be a full time manager this year at Fanny Chapman in Doylestown, but will also be coaching out of the Endless Pool Studio. She is super fantastic with younger kids and spends a quality hour IN THE WATER with them. Fanny will occupy her about 40 hours/week and I have my time slots carved in the stone wall, but her schedule is actually flexible…. The best time to get on her book is NOW, as Fanny has not opened yet and school is still in session for most kids. Please reach out for me directly and I will pass her contact info directly to you. She charges half my rate, but offers no tri pack discounts….

Have a great month.
Stay inspired.
Race hard this summer !

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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

APRIL 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

April Pools…yes, I am a little late this month… The March winds blew a change through the O2 pool and I now have more triathletes in the water than swim team athletes. The adjustment in both directions is always fun for me; kind of amazing how different it becomes on my end when I go from 4 strokes + to mostly freestyle and sighting skills. The good news is that after close to 20 years of coaching, I am more convinced than ever that EVERYONE can improve !! Each month, I try to find a relevant topic pertaining to just HOW TO improve - at your level.

Our topic of the month is: WEAKNESS !!!

OK, now I have your attention, right? Specifically, what is YOUR weakness? How do we improve that?

April 2017 Hints on overcoming a Top Ten of swimmers weaknesses:

1) I can’t drop time….. As Einstein reminded us: “Insanity is doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result”

2) I can’t breath on one side… Your hips are locked. The key to breathing is HIP ROTATION.

3) I get tired swimming long distances… The theme of our little group of triathletes is “JUST SHOW UP”. Funny how everything gets easier the more you do it.

4) I am not as fast as I should be compared to xyz…. Don’t focus on the clock, focus on your SPL, speed always follows efficiency.

5) My workouts are boring, so I don’t swim much… Variety is the spice of life ! I post my workouts 3 days a week on Facebook - they are all over the map. Feel free to do all or parts :)

6) My legs sink…. Your front end is too high - think teeter totter here. You can’t swim if your hands aren’t IN the water.

7) I swim better with a pool buoy…. You can get addicted to pool tools - start buoy drop swims and break the cycle. Example: 200 pull becomes 150 pull, last 50 is just swim (no break, still a 200).

8) I am a runner, so I don’t need or use fins… YOU need them the most !! Runners have less flexibility in the ankles, fins help stretch out the joints AND build strength.

9) I would swim more, but I can’t breath after a few minutes…. The issue isn’t your breathing, it is your swimming and lack of BALANCE. If your body is balanced, you can easily roll to air and therefore swim longer.

10) I don’t use the walls because open water doesn’t have walls… While that is a factual statement, I disagree. All walls are free gifts that help you get into streamline. The more you streamline off walls, the less likely you will be in open water to be OUT OF streamline. Streamline is my LAW #2 - that is how important excess drag is in the water. Ever hear of aerodynamic effects? Hydrodynamic effects mean much more due to density, friction, etc.

Any of these apply to you? As with ALL problems, everything is solvable.

Special Thank you ~

I think Swim Outlet already understands just how large O2 SWIMMING has become. In less than our first month, our collection of swimmers and triathletes has ordered more than any other team they have under the BEST PRICE GUARANTEE contract !! So thank you all for helping us get better pricing by USING this affiliate program. If you launch from my hyperlink (on, you will always get the best price.

On the NUTRITION front, now that my longer distance athletes are coming on strong - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Infinit Nutrition. We get a straight line 10% discount on anything in their catalogue. The custom blended formula is ALL YOU, designed by you, adjusted by you. I have used nothing else for the last 3 years. So simple. It only took me ONE adjustment to dial in…. They are located in Ohio, so you can get a custom made formula in 2 days !!! If you for some strange reason don’t feel like going custom, they offer various drinks specific for swimming, cycling, running, distance, speed, etc. Bounce me back if you have any questions - they are awesome :-) We are fortunate to have an affiliate program with them too.

The weather is getting much better - GO OUT AND PLAY !

See you soon…

Albert Einstein

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


MARCH 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

March is a transitional month here at O2 SWIMMING; the month when swimmers dial down after a long season and triathletes wind up in anticipation of the summer racing season!

First a BIG shout out to all our swimmers who competed at PIAA Districts and Junior Olympics last weekend. Our very youngest swimmers were ON FIRE this year and had a great finish. Sometimes, it is the youth who inspire! As always, we will be sending swimmers to States and Zones and eventually, even Nationals. Our sport takes plenty of time, effort, and dedication and I would like to recognize that again here. Cross Country runners practice 2-5 miles to race a 5km. Swimmers practice 6,000 - 8,000 yards to race 100 or 200. Being in the water is both a mental and a physical training balance and not much comes easy. Clearly, the dedication of parents plays a huge part of a swimmers success and they don’t get recognized nearly often enough, so THANK YOU !

This month’s theme is a bit of a look back and a look forward. Below, I will break out the most notable FOCAL POINTS for both swimmers and triathletes - taken directly from the hundreds of pages of notes I send to athletes every year:

SWIMMERS: Overall, a fantastic season, but I am warning you now to watch out for the group directly below you - the youngest kids are SO FAST this year !! Here is your short list:

1) The number 1 ignored, misrepresented, and just plain unrecognized ailment in this group is: CATCH DYNAMICS. We have such an enormous emphasis on WORK LOAD in this area due to the extremely high level, that sometimes the most basic principles are sloppy. This is clearly my #1 enemy in many hours of coaching.
The hand needs to be open, relaxed, and pointing slightly down. No flat hands. No cupped hands.
A soft hand will always catch more water AND a soft hand will travel up the arm into a more relaxed and faster system. Stiff is slow. Loose is fast.
Work on your catch post season, it will do wonders for your speed in ALL 4 STROKES come next year.

2) Collapsing your front end as you roll to breath is my 2nd most marked area in notes to swimmers. So many have a solid/long stroke with a low SPL, but totally collapse every time they breath. I can only imagine how this gets much worse at race pace. Be vigilant about keeping the lead arm extended as you roll to breath - you will have no loss of length and therefore be faster.

3) Underwater dolphins that exceed your ability at the time….. I see this in every meet I go to. Kids are drilled by coaches that THEY MUST do xyz number of dolphins off every wall, but 90% of these kids can’t and therefore SLOW DOWN due to following the guidelines of a coach. To be fair, coaches want/need to develop your core strength and aerobic capacity by training hard underwaters. But, there is an EXACT number of underwater dolphins that keep you ACCELERATING - that is the number you need to race at. Every coach wants you to race your fastest, so figure this number out !!! No 10 or 12 year old can do 6 underwear dolphins and accelerate - it makes them slow down off the wall. This is wrong in a meet. Develop all you can in practice, but RACE YOUR FASTEST!

TRIATHLETES: I know you guys are ready and thank you for your patience while we did all we could in the last few weeks with our swimmers - they needed the time and appreciated your patience :-) Now, you are all entering the pool and want some guidance. Here are 3 things specific to your needs as open water, long distance swimmers:

1) My number 1 issue with triathletes is the huge cross over in the front end. It is slow. Every adult triathlete I know is a FIT individual with a superior attitude; but you cannot beat water to mover though it - nothing in nature does…. Think about that one. The biggest reason many of you cross over is that you only breath on one side and have precious little awareness of the other side; so, one side “takes over” and gets stronger causing a big imbalance…i.e. cross over. You CAN correct this. The easiest way is to begin following the black line on the bottom of the pool. It is straight and put there for a reason. The mirrors in the Endless Pool Studio show it all, don’t they?

2) Poor wall skills…. I do not feel that any triathlete needs to do a flip turn, but sloppy walls result directly in sloppy strokes. The wall comes as often as every 13 strokes for some of us - unlike open water. What you do and what you learn to do at the wall has a direct effect on your streamline AND your cadence.
How many of you are so sloppy it takes you 3-4 strokes off the wall just to feel “right” again? NO EXCUSE, the wall is a free gift that ANYONE can push off in a straight line from…it would then be up to you and your swim stroke to screw that up !
How many of you rest in your turn? How do you expect to swim for 20 minutes? 40 minutes? An hour in open water with no wall, no rest? If you are swimming any set distance, you need to get off the wall quicker and straighter - ’nuff said?

3) Over use of pool tools…… ALL warm up and all first sets need to be done “naked”, no tools. I see triathletes all the time show up at the pool and strap on every tool in the bag and then go all out…:( No feel is ever developed. No feedback ever recognized. No real means to improvement. Start easy… Just you… FEEL the water.
I love pool tools (as you will see below), but you need to develop the same FEEL of the water you will have in a race and use the tools to enhance that during the middle part of the workout.


And now, for my BIG NEWS ~

As members of O2 SWIMMING, you now have 2 ways to get your team discounts on your swim products. We have just struck a deal with SWIM OUTLET ! From today on, you can bounce from my web page into Swim Outlet and be guaranteed our lowest price on every item they have. *****You must bounce from my web page link and then open your own account once. They have even created some custom products with the O2 SWIMMING logo on them for us…very cool ! Many of you have used Swim Outlet in the past, now you just need to go through our team to get you discounts, lowest price, and free shipping.

FINIS is still our biggest program and you can order direct from FINIS forever with our code: o2swimming. This still gets you 20% everything, including sale items.

Due to the low minimum on free shipping at Swim Outlet, I placed my first order already - LOVE IT :-)

So, in my commitment to bring you the best service and products at the lowest prices, we will NOT be raising our prices again this year (I think we have had 3 price increases in almost 20 years) and we have expanded our team discount program FOR YOU !

This is our 3rd year with INFINIT NUTRITION and we are growing very fast here. I love the simplicity of using ONE product that was custom made for me… Check them out, our discounts on the web page apply !!

Have a great week!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


FEBRUARY 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Don’t let the outside temps lull you into a sense that nothing is happening in the world of swimming !

Highlights of just the last couple weeks:

1) One of our freshman (high school, NOT college) went under the 5.00 minute mark in the 500 free …JYEAH !!!

2) One of our swim dads just happened to bring his son’s swim cap to a National Golf outing with the slim hope that Michael Phelps would be there and sign it……. YUP !!!

3) One of our favorite people (and local chiropractor) got back in the water after God only knows how many years of water phobia

4) I think at least 2 of our kids have EVERY JO cut they are eligible for…..already !

5) As this old man ramps up his speed work this time of year, I have confirmation that I can still earn points (not come in last) in a swim meet :)

Not a bad “Top 5” list, eh?

Our topic this month is : Efficient Catch

This always seems elusive for many swimmers and triathletes. I would like to talk about pure physics and WHY the following explanation should make sense to you.

As an overview, humans are grossly inefficient in the water(sorry) - compared to any/all manner of fish and aquatic life. By design, we are land animals. By brain, we are more UNlimited. If we look at the friction of water as a huge factor governing progress; we need to start in the horizontal position to remain both balanced and streamline - minimizing drag. The ONLY place we get an efficient catch is when the arm is exactly perpendicular to the horizontal body as shown below.

As our swimmer entered the water, he was purely a compromise getting into this position, correct?

As he exits the water, same effect….

This is the ONE LOCATION where everything is maximized.

Don’t give up hope !!!!

If you think about a canoe paddle and HOW we maximize efficiency with the short stroke; one can clearly see that overreaching the rigid paddle will only cause an initial lift of the vessel and not a forward propulsion. Thank goodness, humans have not one, but two ARTICULATED JOINTS (wrist and elbow) to help “soften” the catch. However, if the system is stiff (arm and hand), this will not happen well, resulting in a slower swimmer……

A soft hand is an enormous key to allowing the flexibility to travel up the forearm into the upper arm and shoulder to ALLOW (not force) this to happen.

The crooks of the matter is that I witness swimmers with flat/stiffer hands making noise on the surface (very un-fishlike) and pushing water down. I see better swimmers sliding into the water with a soft hand that is: open, relaxed and pointing slightly down. As this process develops, the faster swimmer CAN get into a bend earlier in the process - resulting in more speed on EVERY STROKE. Keep in mind that speed and efficiency go hand in hand.

Here is a race video from PIAA States showing one of our boys doing an 11 SPL and missing the National Record in the 200 free by hundredths of a second, as he goes 1:33.9 (Yeah, for 200 yards !!):

Michael Jensen from Upper Dublin 200 Free State Record from GMG Video on Vimeo.


Poetry in motion….. The kind of speed that makes you wonder both IF and HOW it is possible.

How does your CATCH look?
Anything you think can be improved?

The end…:)

Housekeeping ~

I must apologize for a rough January at O2 SWIMMING. Apparently, Yahoo had over a million accounts blow up on/about 03 Jan 2017. I lost a lot of you, as i did not fully recover my on-line presence for almost 3 more weeks. Thank you for your patience as I worked through the cyber world. If I have not contacted you back - it was unintentional, I ask for another chance !

Keep the faith, we will get through this… Swim season is coming to a close for some and triathlon season is heating up all across the country. Ready?

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

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


JANUARY 2017 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

I want to start 2017 with a HUGE thank you and inspiring newsletter to help us all keep connected and IN THE WATER. As some of you have figured out, O2 has been coaching in the Endless Pool Studio for what is closing in on 20 years - I have lost none of my passion for the sport :) Over the holidays, I added extra hours to accommodate my college swimmers home on break as well as any last minute Tri packs that needed to be used up inside the calendar year. We are clear to begin another fantastic year. It will certainly be a new year of challenges, victories, PR’s and growth for all who allow it to happen. I continue to be excited and inspired by all of you. Coming off the 2016 RIO Olympics, we still have a great momentum. Although it looks like Michael Phelps will be gone from Lane 4, hopefully he continues in his own way to add back to the sport he made great !

The 1st newsletter of 2017 will break from tradition a little bit by having not 1, but 3 themes/sections - hopefully covering a little more ground for each of you. Remember, the O2 SWIMMER ranges from a new addition to all 4 competitive strokes by an 8 year old ~ all the way to 70+ triathletes who will NEVER give up.

But first, a little milk and cookies story from a quickie dive vacation I took with my family just before Christmas….

We have 3 certified divers in our house, and 3 strong swimmers - but there are 4 of us, so you do the math !! We headed down to the Bahamas for a 3 day dive vacation where we dove some coral reefs, some wrecks, and “the wall”; but this story is about the 25M lap pool… Each morning, I would get up before the pool opened and get in a very moderate workout (2000 or so) and then bring coffee up to the room for everyone. On the last morning, I had company - a guy in a Sugoi tri bottom tearing it up for some 50s and 100s. I really TRY not to get “involved” everywhere I go, but you know me better than that and I feel somewhat compelled to represent Doylestown when I travel. Finally, after a 600m ladder, the guy stopped me and asked HOW I did what I did….? What? He said, “you are not breathing very hard and seem relaxed when you swim, but you are much faster than me…”. I replied that I was old and just shaking out a little of the cobwebs from my travels. Come to find out, I was in the company of the 2016 reigning World Duathlon Champion and most frequent “podium finisher” in triathlons. I was humbled, as we were in the same age group. He persisted as to : 1) how old I was and 2) who I was. The disappointment on his face was interesting when I admitted to being both older than him, and truly a nobody….

Being pressed for family time, but still having my instincts in tact, I began to work with him and developed one of my themes for this newsletter - EXTENDING INTO THE BREATH.


My friend above was VERY fit and had a good stroke, but each time he took a breath his system became “human” and he totally collapsed into an unrecoverable puddle of soup. Streamline is really a 360 degree phenomenon. Streamline is NOT a right to left thing, it is your ability to swim through you smallest hole in the water. Think about that. Streamline is also important enough for it to be my O2 SWIMMING LAW #2 - behind only BALANCE. And how does this directly relate to our topic, “extending into the breath”?

You can be the best streamline swimmer in the pool. but you must breath at some point. If you have system failure and collapse every time you breath, you will be slow and work harder. BTW, being slow and working harder are one and the same. The hardest working swimmer in the pool is usually the slowest one, not the fastest one….. HHHmmmm….

Get your lead arm fully extended and do not pull at all as you rotate the HIPS to breath. This engages a long body line and perfect streamline DURING the breathing cycle. Our world class athlete above never understood this - until I pointed it out and demonstrated it to him. A picture can be worth 1,000 words. He professed to have read “everything” on his weakness. He studied swimming. But, he never had someone with a trained eye and some experience actually look at him - just him. I believe we share the success at O2 SWIMMING. YOU are all very intelligent and want to get better. I have placed you in a controlled environment with mirrors where we can monitor and control everything. It works.

Work on your breathing in 2017. Are you extending into the breath? Can you do it on both sides?

2) Goggles & equipment choice in general:

Same trip mentioned above… I had temporarily lost my goggles and my son lent me his Speedo Vanquishers. OOOH, the old man had “fast/modern” goggles, look out ! Well, “look out” was the right theme; because I couldn’t really see very well with them! I have only used about 3 goggles in the last 20+ years: FINIS open water polarized goggles, TYR custom goggles and Aqua Spheres. I tried others, but they never felt “right”, hurt my eye sockets, or leaked. What I realized that day by wearing my son’s Speedo’s (absolutely no knock on any brand here…) is that their must be a percentage of both my swimmers and triathletes who do not have the right goggles. Goggles are hugely important. I could not see the wall well enough in this outdoor pool that I had no history with…. Every swimmer swims in a pool for the first time - i.e., no familiarity. If your vision is suboptimal, you will struggle. MP put out an awesome goggle design, which I purchased around the time of the Olympics. The vision was spectacular, but they leaked no matter what I did… How are you goggles? Do they feel like you can wear them all day? If not, find a more comfortable pair. Do they leak a little? Find a better pair for YOUR face. Can you really see both the wall and your competition on both sides? Some goggles do all of the above, but it is an individual thing. Most swimmers own 2 things: a suit and a pair of goggles. How much do you like your goggles? Each brand has a signature and not all brands fit everyone the same… Do some research. I would start with Aqua Sphere due to their overall comfort and easy seal. Don’t get stuck on any brand, move around until you have achieved all the goals listed above. It will make you more confident in the water and a better - FASTER - swimmer.

****In closing, engineering applies to all pieces of swim gear. If you have any questions on what necessitates a better kick board, hand paddle, or fin - let me know. I am happy to help :-)

3) Optimizing YOUR workout:

We have 2 camps here, so you must be divided ~

SWIMMERS = I am known to have said, “ you all do the same workout, why are some of you faster…”? So, the whole team did 8,000 yards yesterday, but some kids are just faster? WHY? There are too many reasons to discuss here, but know this: YOU are responsible for 2 things within the same 8,000 yard workout posted above:

a) How hard you work. Garbage in = garbage out.

b) How smart you work. ****This is where I believe ALL of you shine. YOU understand that it is faster to get faster by technique than by muscle. It is YOUR responsibility to bring some thoughts to practice every day and be working on some aspect of your stroke. Maybe today is your fly kick focus day… Maybe tomorrow is reconnecting with you length through catch up and SPL work… Perhaps friday is your day to work on extending into the breath and being longer… You get the point. BE YOUR BEST FRIEND every day in practice, don’t just show up.

TRIATHLETES = The two biggest things I see wrong almost every time I get into the pool with an adult triathlete:

a) No real warm up. Go hard early and strap on all equipment right out of the gate. NO!!!!!!!! Ease into the horizontal position. FEEL the water and HOW you respond to it. Swim “naked”. Go easy. Be long right away. Low SPL right out of the gate.

b) Use the walls ! Swimmers understand the walls, most triathletes look upon the wall as a cheat…:( The wall is your golden opportunity EVERY length - to get it perfect. Pushing off with a conscious streamline is easy. Wall thrashing is the norm in this community. Please stop ! You do not ever have to do a flip turn, but do not REST on the wall and USE the opportunity to be perfectly straight. If you really swim thousands of lengths a year and use the walls to be perfect - it will be far more difficult to be out of streamline in open water. Your brain will register the wiggle and feel the drag imparted. Remember, swimming faster is easier !

Beat of luck in 2017 and a HAPPY and HEALTHY New Year to all of you!

Keep in mind we have awesome team discounts on my web page.

Please hook up and PARTICIPATE in our O2 SWIMMING Facebook page.

And last, this is the time of year I ask if anyone out there feels compelled to add a REVIEW to the O2 Facebook page - be it good or bad, I will greatly appreciate it. As I stated above, this ride has lasted almost 20 years now and some of the “reviews” might be a little old for someone currently looking for help - maybe you can make a difference.

Thank you !


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

o2Swimming Affiliate Partners

o2 SWIMMING Team Discounts

  • FINIS - We are now an affiliate with So if you want Finis, at the best prices, right now, follow this link

    OR o2swimming gets 20% OFF FINIS direct from their website,, by using code: "o2swimming"
  • Pure Sport - Olympic level sports drinks. 20% off with us
    Promo Code: o2swimming
  • Emerson Ecologics - medical professional vitamin and supplement line
    accessed via sister company o2 NUTRITION 15% off with us
    Promo code: o2nutr
    Zip code: 18902
  • INFINIT Nutrition - No gels, no bars, no road capsules, NOTHING. You get your own custom blended powder to mix with water that will have all the nutrition you need to go as far as you can handle - all day for you IronMen!!!! 10% off with us (Plus earn- $5 INFINIT Bucks when you post a race day picture of yourself on their INFINIT Facebook page)
    Promo Code: o2

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