NewsletterMarch 2012

It's an exciting time for swimming! The Olympics are rapidly approaching, teams are preparing for a new season, and organizations are working together at the international level to bring more information to swimmers and coaches. This issue includes news from the ISOSC, JSR, and the Counsilman Center; discusses the continuing controversy about the hand entry angle in freestyle; and presents information about how to know when your technique is "good enough." If you think your teammates would benefit from this information, please forward this newsletter using the link below.



Sharon Kidd Loving
Director of Marketing

ISOSC election results

President and Vice-President are named
The ISOSC recently announced that Dr. Rod Havriluk (STR president) and Dr. Daniel Marinho (University of Beira, Portugal) were elected president and vice-president. Both of the newly elected officers have demonstrated a serious commitment to supporting coaches as well as continuing research aimed at improving the sport of swimming. 

The primary mission of the International Society of Swimming Coaching (ISOSC) is to bridge the gap between the science and art of coaching swimming. "Bridging the gap" requires that information flow in both directions between coaches and scientists. Please click here to join so you can get involved in the dialog. (Membership is free.)


To bridge the gap more efficiently, the ISOSC recognizes that working with national and regional Swim Coach Associations is beneficial for all. Future enhancement of the quality and scope of swimming research depends upon mutual co-operation and support. For these reasons the ISOSC has an AFFILIATE COACHING ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP. (Membership is free.)


Benefits for National Swim Coach Associations to be ISOSC Affiliate Members:

  • publish activities, newsletter excerpts, and news in Journal of the ISOSC
  • access expertise, state of the art research, and publications
  • network with international experts in swim coaching and research
If you are the president of a national coaching association, please contact Andrew Sortwell - Click here to see if your organization has joined.

SpeedWeeks in Saudi Arabia 

Annual swim camps are once again a big success!

SpeedWeeks were recently conducted in Dhahran and Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia. As usual, the participation of the swimmers in the classroom and pool was exceptional. Many of these swimmers are in a "gifted" program in school, exhibit great "mental focus," and benefit tremendously from our unique instructional methods (SLAM).

Swimmers from the Dhahran SpeedWeek with Dr. Havriluk.

In addition to the age group swim camps, sessions for triathletes and masters were also conducted. We are planning camps and clinics at additional locations for next year. Best of all, we're already receiving emails about big time drops!

What's wrong with this picture?  
While the video may look pretty good . . .
Actually, if you just look at the video image, this swimmer has a pretty effective technique. His head is only slightly submerged, his arms completed the entry directly in front of the shoulders with his hands only slightly above the shoulders, and his body is well streamlined.


Now, look at the force curves and see if you can guess what he does next? (The vertical gray lines on the force curves are synchronized with the video image.) Hint: his initial arm motion generates very little force. Click here to see the next Aquanex+Video image. 
Synchronized underwater video and hand force is necessary to identify this type of technique limitation and make it obvious to the swimmer how much it limits his performance. Click for more Aquanex+Video examples.

New Article for Coaches

Info to allocate training time based on swimmer development


A new article on Dr. Ross Sander's explains the performance benefits of strength and technique. Graphs clearly show the impact that improvements in strength and technique have on swimming velocity. The article also explains how these factors change with a swimmer's development. Click to read the article.


Also available on


SpeedWeek Swim Camps
Coaches are welcome to participate!

Swimmers who participate in STR SpeedWeeks typically make drastic improvments - because we put a complete focus on technique. Each day begins with a classroom session featuring a model of optimal technique - MONA. The swimmers learn cues so they can evaluate their own stroke as they swim. An instructional pool session immediately follows, so the swimmers can put the classroom information to use.
Lunch includes a guest expert lecture/activity (sport psychology, strength training, physical therapy, nutrition). The afternoon pool session includes a review of the morning instruction and Aquanex+Video testing (underwater video and hand force). The swimmers finish the day with an analysis session in the classroom. The feedback reinforces positive technique elements and clearly identifies changes to go faster.
All instruction and analysis sessions are conducted by Dr. Rod Havriluk. Coaches are welcome to attend and work with Rod. There are two camps in Tallahassee, FL: June 11-15 and August 6-10. Space is limited to ensure maximum individual attention. We've also had requests for a July 23-27 camp. If you're interested, please contact us asap.
Ask Dr. Havriluk
How do I know when my technique is good enough?
Many swimmers get to the point where they know that their technique is pretty good. Naked eye observation and even an underwater video by a coach may confirm the swimmer's personal assessment. But, is this a reason to stop working on technique?
Measurement of the active drag coefficient (Cd) is the only way to really determine if a swimmer's technique is "good enough." Most swimmers who "look good" have a Cd that is below 1.0, maybe even as low as .8. However, proportionally bigger improvements in swimming speed occur as the Cd drops below .8. (See the article on how speed varies with Cd.) So, even if your technique is "really good," you can still swim substantially faster by continuing to improve technique.
By the way, swimmers with a Cd = .7 (or lower) are rare, and (because of limitations in strength or cardiopulmonary function) they are not necessarily the fastest!  Click for more Technique FAQs and Technique Tips.
In This Issue
Clinic News
Technique Analysis with Aquanex
New Article for Coaches
SpeedWeek Swim Camps
Ask Dr. Havriluk
For National Swimming Federations
Freestyle Hand Entry
Another Free Product
Counsilman Center News
Upcoming Events
News from JSR
End of Drowning Conference
For National Federations
Are you satisfied with preparations for this Olympiad? If you want to be sure, an Aquanex+Video analysis is the way to confirm your swimmers are ready.
An Aquanex analysis will not only reinforce positive technique elements, but also show that swimmers are receiving sufficient rest to generate maximum force for an optimal performance in London.
Freestyle Hand Entry Angle
Another recent post on the web reminded us that it's necessary to continue to point out technique misconceptions.
A shallow hand entry angle in freestyle results in an ineffective arm position. At the completion of the entry, the arm is parallel to the surface in a position that wastes time (has a slower stroke rate), has poor leverage (less force), and stresses the shoulder (often resulting in injury).
A deeper hand entry angle (40 degrees with respect to the body) positions the arm more effectively. At completion of the entry, the arm is effectively positioned if the hand is below the elbow and the elbow is below the shoulder. This position minimizes wasted time, has better leverage, and reduces shoulder stress. (Click here for images.)
Most swimmers have a shallow (and ineffective) hand entry angle. This is one technique element that almost every swimmer can improve to swim faster!
Another Free Product
Download a free copy of the one stroke version of the Cue Cards from the Approaching Perfect series. The Approaching Perfect series now includes:
  • E-book on freestyle
  • Cue cards for all four strokes
  • Free checklist.
Chapter four of Approaching Perfect Freestyle covers the critical arm positions along with cues that speed up the learning process. Click to sample.   
The newest Aquanex+Video system (Model 21) runs under Windows 7, Vista, and XP. It features an improved video image (upgraded video input and a 600 line underwater color camera). In addition, the generated files are much smaller than Model 19 or 20. If you already have an Aquanex system, contact us about upgrading.

Counsilman Center News

 councilman logo
The Counsilman Center at Indiana University reports that they are in the process of building a research laboratory with a swim flume. The project is the culmination of several years of negotiation between Indiana University, United States Masters Swimming, and Endless Pools. Dr. Joel Stager, Director of the Counsilman Center, hopes to have the facility completed by this summer.
The Center is pursuing several grants that will allow exploring important issues pertaining to recovery, nutrition, water temperature, and training.
Recent research by the Center predicts the outcome of the 2012 Olympic Games. Specifically, statistics were applied to analyze recent competition as a means of predicting future events. This allows a greater understanding of external influences on performance, such as the introduction and then elimination of the "hi tech floatation" suits.
Plans also include forming relationships with collegiate swim programs willing to partner with the Center. Dr. Stager can be reached at

Upcoming Clinics

Coach Bill Roberts of the Naval Academy will be hosting another Aquanex+Video Analysis Clinic in June. We also have several clinics in Virginia and Florida scheduled for May.
Check the 2012 STR schedule for updates. If you prefer to offer a private clinic for your organization (swim team, triathlon club, masters group, national federation, Olympic team, or group of friends), please call or email.

News from JSR

Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jan Prins will publish the next issue of the Journal of Swimming Research in May. Check for updates on the STR website or email Dr. Prins at

End of Drowning Conference

The End of Drowning Conference will be held June 1-3, 2012 in Sarasota, Florida.
 Private Lesson Program
Our private lesson program is in full swing. Lessons can be scheduled Monday through Friday from 8:30-10:30 am and 1:30-5:30 pm. (We can sometimes offer weekend appointments for swimmers traveling from out of town.)
Our program is unique in that we offer lessons for all ages and ability levels - from 2 year old non-swimmers through Olympians. (Yes, that's right, even Olympians can benefit from private lessons to improve their technique.) Contact the experts at STR today!
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