Special Sets Presented by VASA: Early Season Sets

Photo Courtesy: SCHSL Twitter (@SCHSL)

Long before the first day of high school practice—whether it be fall, winter or spring—coaches are hard at work mapping out team organization, season plans and daily sets. Here’s a sample workout that Miramonte (Orinda, Calif.) High School’s Coach Don Heidary uses to help roll his swimmers back into the rigors of the high school season as well as another sample early-season set from Coach Polly Linden of Harpeth Hall School (Nashville, Tenn.)

Don Heidary, co-founder of Orinda Aquatics (with his brother, Ron), has coached the Miramonte High School team for the last 27 years. While he has a number of water polo players and some year-round swimmers, his high school team is amply populated with seasonal athletes. With a diverse cast, he has produced more than 150 All-American and national-level swimmers, and his teams have finished among the top three at California’s competitive North Coast Section Championships more than 25 times.

Reminders of TEAM permeate every aspect of the Miramonte culture. Once the team meets and before the first stroke is taken, Heidary introduces three key concepts: team culture, swimmer/group assessment and stroke development.

An overriding theme is Mats (Matadors) Pride. Among other activities is an early captain’s dinner, use of games to help with team building, a discussion of team goals and what it means to be an athlete.

With a no-cut policy, Miramonte athletes (approximately 120 are evenly divided into varsity and junior varsity groups), Heidary’s goal is to get to know and/or catch up with all of his swimmers. Next comes an evaluation of the team rosters after which he assigns swimmers to the appropriate training groups. He also prepares spreadsheets to monitor attendance, effort, maturity and team commitment—all which play into daily coaching and year-end lettering considerations.

Once on deck, Heidary’s focus turns to technique.

“Since most swimmers come from sprint-driven summer leagues and have been out of the water for a few months, I look at distance per stroke as well as underwater body position and speed. Initially, we concentrate on light-to-moderate aerobic swimming, aggressive kicking and turn technique. All of this is in the context of discussions on stroke keys, fundamental development and the introduction of base drills,” he says.

Following is a sample early-season varsity workout of 5,500 meters. The emphasis is on moderate aerobic swimming, stroke development and kicking.

Special Sets Sponsored by VASA

“It’s a great way to see where our girls are,” she says. “They will definitely see this set again later in the season. Although it is a tough set, the girls always feel good about themselves when they are able to make all of their intervals and/or have shown improvement.

“It is a freestyle set. The kick intervals are all the same—usually one minute—and the 100 swim intervals descend by five seconds through the set. So, if the top group starts at a 1:30, for example, they would do 5 on 1:30, 4 on 1:25, 3 on 1:20, 2 on 1:15 and 1 on 1:10.

“Since they obviously don’t need to make that last 100, we always ask them to get their time on that one,” she says.

Special Sets Sponsored by VASA

• 5 x 100 swim
• 1 x 50 free kick w/board
• 4 x 100 swim
• 2 x 50 free kick w/board
• 3 x 100 swim
• 3 x 50 free kick w/board
• 2 x 100 swim
• 4 x 50 free kick w/board
• 1 x 100 swim
• 100 easy

About the Author:

Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach whose Collegiate School (Richmond, Va.) teams won nine state high school championships. He was named a 2017 recipient of NISCA’s Outstanding Service Award.

This article was originally published in the October 2016 edition of Swimming World Magazine. 

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Amy Havens – Mobilizing Mat (50 mins) – Level 1/2


Use different props for feedback in this full-body Mat workout with Amy Havens. She uses the Overball to challenge your deep abdominal muscles as well as your stability and adds Hand Weights and a Theraband to help you connect to the rest of your body. She also helps you find better articulation through your spine so you can improve your mobility.

What You’ll Need: Mat, Hand Weights (2), Overball, Theraband

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Porte on track for Worlds despite quiet Vuelta a Espana

Despite having a relatively quiet Vuelta a España for a rider of his stature, Richie Porte believes he’s still on track for a serious crack at the rainbow jersey at the World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, later this month.

The Australian’s primary objective for the season, the Tour de France, once again ended in disappointment as he crashed out of the race with a broken collarbone, but he has been finding his feet again on the roads of Spain.

While many assumed he’d be in contention for the overall title, it quickly became clear it was the last thing on his mind as the BMC Racing leader began to lose time as early as the first few stages. Barring a couple of innocuous breakaways, he had little impact on the race, even in the final week.

“It’s been nice to come here and not be stressed with the GC and all of that. I’m kind of where I expected I would be so it’s no big surprise that most days I’ve lost time. But I think I’m getting better. I’m certainly better than when I started,” Porte told Cyclingnews at the end of the race.

“At this time of the year it’s easier to be here doing such a hard race to try to find form than being at home kind of being forced to go out and do efforts. It’s a hard race, with hard finishes, so it doesn’t matter if you’re up trying to win stages or just in the group; it’s not an easy race. Even if you get dropped and ride up the climb at a decent tempo, it’s better than a day’s training at home where you dilly-dally around and do an effort on the climb.”

Along with Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali, Porte has been riding alongside some of the other favourites for the rainbow bands, such as the Yates brothers (Simon and Adam of Mitchelton-Scott), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), and the Colombian trio of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First-Drapac) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), all of whom were engaged in the battle for the general classification.

Porte has not been riding the same race, as such, and whatever physical differences that makes, he reckons the psychological aspect may be equally important.

“It’s probably easier for someone like me who’s not had to ride along and worry about things like crosswinds and all the other stuff associated with riding for GC – the stresses,” he said.

“It seems like once you come to a big three-week tour, it’s like a pressure cooker, so for me to come out of this, I haven’t had anywhere near the mental stress of some of the other guys.”

Porte returned to his home in Nice on Monday, and will then fly out to Austria next Wednesday, ahead of the road race on the Sunday (September 30).

“I get a decent block at home to recover, and then do what I have to do to sharpen up,” he said. “There’s not a hell of a lot to do other than recover now.”

Can Richie Porte win the rainbow jersey? He has only competed at four World Championships in his career, riding the time trial in 2010, 2011 and 2013, and the road race in 2012 and 2013. He did not finish either.

In fact, it’s a similar story for one-day races in general. There are some GC riders, such as Valverde and Nibali, who are prolific winners of Classics, but Porte has only done Il Lombardia twice – without finishing – and Liège-Bastogne-Liège three times, finishing once. He was in the mix at the Olympic road race in Rio in 2016, but crashed on a crucial descent.

“I don’t have the best track record in one-day races, as I haven’t really done so many. But as an amateur in Italy, that’s all I did,” he said. “Racing in Italy at under-23 level was still some of the hardest racing I’ve ever done. It was a good apprenticeship to serve.

“When you sign pro, you either push one way or the other, and for me that’s been stage races. One-day racing’s not really something that I’ve focused on, but I guess looking forward to 2020, the Olympics are a big goal. I love Japan, and racing there, so that’s a big goal for me.”

Porte is relatively unfamiliar with the Worlds, but he can draw inspiration from an edition he didn’t actually compete in.

“I was there in 2009 when Cadel Evans won the road race. I was there as a reserve. I saw then how big a thing it is. If you see that jersey in the peloton, it’s kind of like the coolest jersey you could ever have.

“It’s going to be a hard race – there’s no doubt about that – but hopefully the mental freshness and the disappointment of the Tour de France can spur me on.”

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CANA African Swimming and Open Water Championship: Egypt Tops South Africa in Medals

Photo Courtesy: Phil White and Arik Thormahlen

The South African swimming team concluded the 13th CANA Africa Swimming and Open Water Championships today with an  total of 40 medals (12 gold, 18 silver and 10 bronze) and claimed the second spot on the medal table behind Egypt’s 48.

On the final day of the event, Sasha-Lee Nordengen came close to a medal in the ladies’ 5km Open Water race, in a hard fought swim with Algeria’s Cherouati Souad Nafissa but it was the experienced Algerian that came out on top in 1:02:49.02, while Nordenden finished fourth in 1:04:44.43.

Amica Dejager ended 7th in 1:05:03.59, Samantha Randle came in 9th in 1:05:28.86, Kaitlyn Albertyn was 11th in 1:06:41.92 and Tasneem Ebrahim finished 14th in 1:10:32.17.

In the men’s 5km Open Water race, the battle was between Egypt’s Marwan Elmarawy and Darren Minnies. In the end, it was Elmarawy’s speed that won him the gold in 57:55.21, while the South African finished sixth in 1:01:19.28.

Hein Vantonder concluded the race in 10th place, clocking 1:03:02.04, while Aiden Peterson and Abdul Malik came in 12th and 13th in 1:04:51.75 and 1:04:59.58, respectively.

Final Medal rankings:

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Egypt 28 14 6 48
South Africa 12 18 10 40
Algeria 3 6 13 22
Tunisia 1 3 8 12
Morocco 0 2 4 6
Zambia 0 1 1 2
Mauritius 0 1 1 2

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Swimming South Africa. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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Farida Osman Edges Erin Gallagher at CANA Africa Swimming Championships

Farida Osman. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Four medals were won by the South African swimming team during the fifth day of the13th CANA Africa Swimming and Open Water Championships in Algiers tonight.

The 200m individual medley race saw Jessica Whelan walk away with the gold medal in a fast 2:19.91, over a second ahead of Algeria’s Nefsi Tania Hamida in 2:21.72 and Tunisia’s Benkhelil Farah in 2:21.76.

With one of the closest finishes of the competition so far, Erin Gallagher claimed the 50m freestyle silver medal in 25.17, just 0.06secs behind Egypt’s Farida Osman in 25.11, while the bronze went to Algeria’s Melih Amel in 26.15.

Jacques van Wyk and Ruan Breytenbach both grabbed silver in their respective races.

Van Wyk came second in the 100m backstroke in 55.54, while Breytenbach’s time of 2:01.20 secured him the silver in the 200m butterfly.

The swimming programme concludes tomorrow, with the Open Water 5km races due to start at 11h00 (SA time) on Sunday, 16th September 2018.

Medal rankings (after day 5):

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Egypt 21 12 3 36
South Africa 10 15 8 33
Algeria 2 3 10 15
Tunisia 1 3 7 11
Morocco 0 1 3 4
Zambia 0 1 1 2
Mauritius 0 0 1 1

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Swimming South Africa. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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USA Men’s Water Polo Falls to Hungary at FINA World Cup

Photo Courtesy: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The USA Men’s National Team dropped a 10-8 match to Hungary in FINA Men’s World Cup quarterfinal action on Friday.

Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita, Italy/California/Olympic Club), Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier) and Ben Hallock (Westlake Village, CA/Stanford/LA Premier) each scored two goals in the loss with McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/NYAC) making 11 saves in net. Team USA returns to play tomorrow in the 5th-8th place bracket when they meet Japan at 8:00am et/5:00am pt.  All matches stream live and are available on-demand on FINA TV by visiting FINATV.LIVE ( subscription required). For more information on the Team USA roster, schedule and new rules that are being tested at this event, click here.

Hungary took control of the match early building a 5-2 lead in the first quarter. Team USA was able to keep things level in the second quarter as each side mustered just one goal for a 6-3 game at halftime. In the third quarter Team USA made their charge and drew to within a goal at 7-6 with 1:29 to play in the quarter following a Hooper penalty shot score. Hungary responded immediately with two straight goals to lead 9-6 going to the fourth.

In the fourth quarter Hungary lead 10-8 as Team USA tried to rally but attempts in the final minutes of the match were off the mark. Team USA went 6/18 on power plays and 1/2 on penalties while Hungary was 4/18 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty.

USA – 8 (2, 1, 3, 2) L. Cupido 2, B. Hallock 2, J. Hooper 2, A. Obert 1, M. Irving 1
HUN – 10 (5, 1, 3, 1)
Saves – USA – M. Baron 11
6×5 – USA – 6/18 – HUN – 4/18
Penalties – USA – 1/2 – HUN – 0/0

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with USA Water Polo. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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Alejandro Valverde says it’ll be ‘difficult’ but ‘not impossible’ to overturn deficit to Yates in final Vuelta mountain stage

The Spaniard suffered a bad day on the final climb of stage 19, and now sits over a minute behind race leader Simon Yates

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) sees it as “difficult” but “not impossible” to overthrow Simon Yates’s Vuelta a España lead in the final mountain day on Saturday.

The Mitchelton-Scott Brit leads by 1-38 minutes on Valverde. He gained over a minute on stage 19 on Friday, leaving behind Valverde on the Rabassa summit finish.

>>> Simon Yates says he’ll continue to be aggressive as he edges towards Vuelta victory

“It’s clear that it’s now more difficult to get that red jersey than it was this morning but we mustn’t roll over,” Valverde said when reaching the top.

Yates jumped from a 25-second lead just when Movistar seemed to be cooking up a plan for Valverde further down the climb. His Movistar team-mate Nairo Quintana went free at 13 kilometres out with Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and later Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

Valverde seemed to be lacking the kick he had in the past mountain days. The 38-year-old 2009 Vuelta winner is not giving up, however, with one mountain day to race.

“What happened to me today could happen to him tomorrow,” Valverde said. “It’ll be difficult [to win the Vuelta], of course. It was difficult this morning, it’s difficult now. But it’s not impossible. We’re going to try, clearly.”

A massive chance for Movistar to try is on the menu tomorrow. The Vuelta’s final mountain stage covers 97.3 kilometres with six categorised climbs. The action starts immediately with an unmarked climb and continues to the end with the Gallina summit finish.

“Can Yates be beaten? I don’t know,” Valverde added.

“Tomorrow we might take time back or we might lose more. Who knows.”

Simon Yates and Thibaut Pinot on stage 19 of the Vuelta a España (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Jack Haig rode tempo for Yates when Quintana attacked. When Haig pulled off, Yates still had brother Adam Yates with him. He did not wait for Valverde to make a move first.

Richard Carapaz pulled for the first part of the climb. Movistar forced splits earlier before the climb and seemed to be ready to launch similar moves on the Rabassa. Once Yates went, and without Carapaz, Quintana returned to help Valverde. However, neither Quintana nor Valverde had the strength of Yates.

Valverde shrugged and said, “Unfortunately the body doesn’t always respond the same way.”

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Vittoria Bussi breaks Hour Record in second attempt over 48-hours

The Italian cyclist’s third effort saw her break through the 48km mark

Italian cyclist Vittoria Bussi has broken the women’s Hour Record, covering 48.007km in 60 minutes at Aguascalientes veldrome, Mexico.

The Doctor in Pure Mathematics takes the mantle from Evelyn Stevens, who covered 47.980km in an hour, in February 2016.

Bussi made an attempt at the record on Wednesday, but climbed off her bike at 44-minutes.

A spokesperson told Cycling Weekly that Wednesday’s effort was a “bit of a fire-drill” and that her decision to end the attempt and try again was due to weather conditions.

The successful attempt was the 31-year-old’s third. Her first was in October 2017, when she fell short by 404 metres – struggling with pain in her diaphragm from the 48 minute mark.

Former record holder, Molly Shaffer Van Houweling was at the velodrome, live tweeting Bussi’s progress.

At the half-way point, Bussi was 0.6 seconds ahead of schedule, this decreased to 0.4s at 40 minutes, but come 45 minutes – around the point where the Italian cyclist has struggled before – she picked up the pace to fire at 2.3s up on her plan.

By the 50 minute point, Bussi was 4s up.

Speaking to Cycling Weekly ahead of her assault on the record, she said she had worked on her conditioning, nutrition and position in preparation.

“I’ve made changes in my aero position, as I did a wind tunnel test in last November,” she said.

“We found a big improvement in terms of watts-saving and comfort. Training is harder than last year, and I have improved my conditioning since last October.”

Bussi has also used HVMN Ketone drinks in the run up to her effort and will use them on the day.

“Obviously using HVMN Ketone has helped my performance,” she said.

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USA Men’s Water Polo Beats South Africa At FINA World Cup

USA Water Polo/KLC Fotos

The USA Men’s National Team stopped a two-game slide and picked up their first win at the 2018 FINA World Cup with a 15-6 win over South Africa. Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC) led the offense with four goals while Jack Turner (Fremont, CA/UC San Diego/Sunset San Diego) went the distance in net making eight saves. Team USA returns to action Friday in quarterfinal action against an opponent to be determined. All matches stream live and are available on-demand on FINA TV by visiting FINATV.LIVE ( subscription required). For more information on the Team USA roster, schedule and new rules that are being tested at this event, click here.

The USA Men got off to a strong start in the first quarter grabbing a 5-0 lead in the opening eight minutes. South Africa got on the board in the second quarter with two goals but Team USA responded with three scores of their own for an 8-2 lead at halftime. The offensive onslaught continued in the third quarter with five more goals from the United States as they built a 13-3 advantage. South Africa outscored Team USA 3-2 in the fourth quarter but it didn’t factor in the decision as the United States won 15-6.

Team USA went 4/10 on power plays and 1/2 on penalties while South Africa was 1/6 on power plays with no penalties attempted.

USA – 15 (5, 3, 5, 2) M. Irving 4, A. Obert 3, N. Carniglia 2, L. Cupido 2, J. Hooper 1, B. Hallock 1, B. Stevenson 1, A. Roelse 1
RSA – 6 (0, 2, 1, 3)
Saves – USA – J. Turner 8
6×5 – USA – 4/10 – RSA – 1/6
Penalties – USA – 1/2 – RSA – 0/0

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with USA Water Polo. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

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Five talking points from stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España

Talking points from stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España

The thrill of seeing an unlikely break succeed

Jelle Wallays on stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

There are few things in bike racing more satisfying than seeing an unlikely breakaway of underdogs triumph over the peloton.

The spectacle is especially thrilling when the battle boils down to the very final seconds of the race, like on today’s stage seventeen where Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal) just about held of a charging bunch lead by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). They were so close that the same time was awarded to them both – 100 metres longer, and the catch would have been made.

There wasn’t much competition to get into the day’s break, given the improbability of it succeeding on such a pan flat stage, and a three-man group was established quickly consisting of Wallays, Sven Erik Bystrøm (UAE Team Emirates) and Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH). The trio was actually kept in check for most of the day – it was only towards the finish, when the gap remained at just over one minute with around 10km to go, that they seemed to have a sniff .

Bol can consider himself unfortunate not to have a shot at stage victory after being distanced by the other two 7km from the line, but Wallays and Bystrøm rode admirably to hold off the bunch despite their reduced firepower.

Jelle Wallays is master of underdog breakaways

Jelle Wallays celebrates victory on stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Jelle Wallays has a history of winning from long breakaways like today.

In fact, both his previous two biggest career wins came in similar circumstances. Victory at the 2014 Paris-Tours came through a successful two-man breakaway with Thomas Voeckler that formed at the very start of the race, while the Belgian also won the 2015 Dwars door Vlaanderen having also been part of the day’s break.

These past results seemed to give him the self-belief needed to press on and fight for the breakaway’s success – rather than express surprise at the post-race interview, Wallays insisted that he knew he could ‘surprise many riders’.

He also remained remarkably calm and tactically astute on the finishing straight, forcing Bystrøm to make the lead-out, and starting his sprint at just the right time to ensure the bunch did not swallow him up.

The result was a much-needed first win at this Vuelta for Lotto-Soudal, and Wallays received a big hug for team-mate Thomas de Gendt while being interviewed – a man who will appreciate a long-range breakaway more than most.

Sprinter teams waste rare chance

Elia Viviani at the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

The Vuelta is notorious for reserving very few chances for the sprinters, and this year’s edition is no exception, having produced just two bunch sprints so far (one of which involving a significantly splintered peloton).

Today, however, was a rare chance for the sprinters to contest for stage victory, with an uncharacteristically flat parcours that featured not a single categorised climbs.

The sprinters will therefore be kicking themselves at letting the opportunity slip. Having hauled themselves through over a week of hilly terrain and steep summit finishes, this was supposed to be the pay-off that made it all worth it, but instead they will have to wait for the final stage in Madrid for one last chance.

Sagan looking quick despite defeat

Peter Sagan on stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

He might have been left frustrated that he did not manage to win the stage, but Sagan should be encouraged by the explosive acceleration he produced on the finishing straight.

>>> Peter Sagan says Vuelta stage 18 was ‘one of his last chances’ to win in rainbow as breakaway takes the win

Sensing that the leading duo were set to succeed unless drastic action was taken, Sagan started his sprint early, bursting out of the bunch with over 300 metres still to go.

The world champion showed remarkable strength in maintaining his speed and, though he could not quite overtake Wallays and Bystrøm, he can take heart in getting the better of Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), who finished behind him in fourth.

Although his upcoming target of the World Championships will require good climbing legs more than good sprinting legs, today’s ride is still a promising sign that he is coming into some good form.

One day closer to victory for Yates

Simon Yates on stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Away from all the drama of the breakaway defeating the peloton, it was a very straightforward day for the GC riders.

There were no climbs to worry about, no serious crashes, and no crosswinds – the peloton was even helped along by a friendly tailwind for much of the day, accounting for what was an early finish.

These were ideal circumstances for Simon Yates, who moves one day closer to overall victory without being succumbed to any unwanted stress.

This will be seen as a welcome relief ahead of two final, decisive stages in the Pyrenees coming up.

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