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Breaststroke Kick

Hello Swim Fans,

Here we are at the end of the week, I hope you are all doing well and prepared for the weekend. For those of you that are going to the Turlock meet I am excited to watch you swim! For those of you that did not sign up…shame on you, luckily CVA will most likely be taking deck entries talk to me about it if you are interested!

CRAB FEED!!! It is right around the corner get your tickets sold and let’s have a successful evening!

Now the moment you have all been waiting for, a description of the breaststroke kick. It is used for leisure swimming, rescue swimming, and competitive swimming; all three styles have slight variations and today we will only be discussing the competitive style. Breaststroke kick is the most unique amongst all competitive swimming kicks. Unlike other kicks that rely on an up and down motion to generate propulsive force, breaststroke uses a circular whip and squeeze. We begin the kick in our standard 4 H position. The knees will bend sending the ankles on a path outside the knee. This is sometimes slightly confusing, the explanation I like to use is, “The inside of the ankle should go to the outside of the hip.” As the ankles are being drawn up the feet turn out and the knees MUST stay close together. As the ankles are being drawn into position the legs will bend at the hips dropping the knees slightly; this allows the feet to remain underwater. Once the legs have drawn the ankles fully back and the feet are turned out the lower leg is thrust back in a whip-like semi-circular motion. Once the legs are almost fully extended they come together in a forceful squeeze expelling water and giving the swimmer a powerful forward motion. There are two very important qualities a swimmer must have to develop a successful breaststroke kick 1) Good flexibility in their knees and hips, & 2) A little bit of natural talent. Many swimmers who struggle with the breaststroke kick have usually one of two problems, 1) They separate their knees and “lead with the knee,” or 2) they do not turn the feet out and wind up with a scissor kick.

Well, there you have it breaststroke as seen by Coach Ryan. I hope you have all enjoyed this weeks series of blogs on the odest of all strokes…the Breaststroke. Next week I will be discussing backstroke (My arch nemesis), so until then let’s swim fast, focus on swimming well, and have fun!!!

Peace out homies and homettes,
Coach Ryan


March 4, 2010 Posted by | RHS Swim Team, Ripon Aquatics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Breaststroke Timing

Hello Everyone,

As promised today we will discuss breaststroke timing. Very simply put it is: Pull and breathe, kick and glide. We have discussed the pull pattern so you should be familiar with this. The most common mistake in timing is not gliding. What will happen is the swimmer will push the hands forward into the recovery and instead of “Serving the birthday cake” they will immediately begin the next pull pattern; this is a timing destroyer. Breaststroke depends on a powerful kick. Here is how I like to think about it, breaststroke is about 20% arms and 80% kick. The athlete should perform the pull pattern, then as the arms are reaching full extension the kick should propel the swimmer forward. During the glide the body is in a tight streamlined position with the 4 H’s near the surface of the water. That’s it, I know pretty simple right? Well it may be sound easy but it is not. Tomorrow I will discuss the kick.

CRAB FEED!!! Has everyone got their tickets sold?

Until next time,
Coach Ryan

March 3, 2010 Posted by | RHS Swim Team, Ripon Aquatics | Leave a comment

Breaststroke Balance

Hello Moms, Dads, Swimmers, and Swim Fans,

I would like to welcome two new additions to the Ripon Aquatics Family: Maddie and Savannah! Maddie (I hope I am spelling that correctly) is a wonderful young lady who has high hopes and big dreams. We want to help her reach her full potential and we are blessed to have someone so kind on our team. Maddie is a wonderful addition and I know she will be welcomed with open arms. Savannah is a high school swimmer that trained in our winter program. She has a hunger, thirst, and desire to swim fast and improve and it is my goal to help her achieve her goals. Not only is she a superb swimmer, but I also hear she is a talented young water polo player. Ripon Aquatics is elated to have such a wonderful young lady join our family. Please take a few minutes to extend your warmest greetings to these two new families.

I was AMAZED at how full our morning practice pool was in the early hours. Ten Ripon High swimmers came to practice, this is most impressive. We were also fortunate to have Coach Sean on deck with our high school team. Six Ripon Aquatics girls were in the water working on breaststroke. We also had two Masters/Lap Swimmers doin it ol’ school and lookin good! Let’s keep this momentum going!

Today I want to talk about something I call breaststroke balance. Many people do not think of balance when it comes to swimming, but balance is essential to swimming fast. Balance also ties into timing. A balanced breaststroke will have a nice horizontal line from fingertips to toes (You may remember this as the 4 H’s from yesterday’s discussion). This balance must remain through the cycle of the stroke. “Breaking the line” is when the horizontal balance of the body is broken and it usually results in dropping the hips. If the head lifts, the hips will also sink. So you can deduce that good head position and good body position determine a balanced stroke. But how do we achieve and maintain good head and body position. “Your head looks like a frikin chicken,” all of us have heard Ervin say this, it means your head is moving too much. In breaststroke when your hands are at their fullest extension in front of you, with elbows locked, look at your fingertips; this is the position you want your head to stay in for the entire stroke (Did you get that Sarah?). Now, I know that several years back the “wave” style breaststroke was all the rave. Everyone wanted to be Amanda, and why not she was the fastest female breaststroker in the world, but only for a little bit. Her “wave” style was analyzed and many coaches pontificated on the efficiency and effectiveness of the stroke. Unfortunately as Amanda got older her body could no longer perform the stroke like she did in her teen years. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to give you a little history about breaststroke and why I teach a low-profile stroke. Wave breaststroke, in my never-to-be-humble-opinion, is obsolete. It had it’s day but it has given way to the superiority of the Kitajima, Moses, Soni low-profile style. Wave breaststroke obliterates the horizontal line and destroys the balance of the stroke. The key to low-profile breast is to keep the hips high by not arching the back and lifting the head. A balanced stroke has great head position and body position, an explosive and powerful pull, and superb timing. Timing is what we will talk about tomorrow.

Ryan’s coach tip of the day: Breaststroke can be summed up in two words: Technique & Power.

Until next time,
Coach Ryan

March 2, 2010 Posted by | RHS Swim Team, Ripon Aquatics, Ripon Sea Lions | Leave a comment

Breaststroke Pull & Recovery

Hello Nubile Natants,

This week my objective is to blog everyday about breaststroke. Much of what I am going to say are things that we work in practice, I want to use the blog as a reinforcement of what we learned, kind of like a classroom where we discuss the theoretical. So today let’s talk about the breaststroke pull and recovery.

Like all strokes our bodies must have a near-perfect horizontal line, in other words we need to have the 4 H’s (Hands, Head, Hips, Heels) at the surface of the water, this is our start position. Palms should be face up at the beginning of the pull (I’ve heard the saying, “Serving the birthday cake.”) The palms rotate out, this is the outsweep of  the stroke. The outsweep should not be too wide, as a matter of fact it should go just outside the shoulders. At the end of the outsweep your fingers must “carve” down into the water. The “carving” is very important, this is where the hands are put into position to catch the water. If a swimmer does not “carve” properly then they are in danger of doing a “slip-&-slide” pull. The slip-&-slide carries no water and is useless. As the fingers “carve” down the elbows must remain at or near the surface of the water. The perfect position is to have the fingers directly under the wrists, and the wrists under the elbows. From this position the arms pull towards the feet holding as much water as they can until they sweep in to begin the recovery. As the hands sweep in press the elbows together (I know there is a new “Rebecca Soni” style that leaves the elbows wide but I do not coach that style, if you look at Kitajima he has a narrow recovery), as the elbows press in accelerate the hands forward in a straight line (No rainbow arcs Hollie and Brooke!) The arms should end with the palms face up and the elbows locked. Elbows locked is VERY important because it reduces your form drag and improves your streamline!!! The pull pattern in breaststroke is small, powerful, and explosive. It needs to accelerate from start to finish and you need to catch and hold as much water as possible to make it affective.

Now that I have lectured about the pull and recovery here is a link to Ed Moses and some great info on breasstroke:
Ed Moses

Ryan’s coach tip of the week: Technique First & Speed Will Follow

Have a swimtastic day,
Coach Ryan

March 1, 2010 Posted by | RHS Swim Team, Ripon Aquatics, Ripon Sea Lions, Swim World | Leave a comment

Ripon Swimmers at the Downey Invitational

Hello Swim World,

This past Saturday, February 27, 2010 Ripon had several swimmers compete in the high school swim meet at Downey High. Simone, Tim, Megan, Savannah, and Hailee.

Collectively our swimmers swam well. Tim won the 200 free and set a new meet record, Simone bettered her 200 IM time, Megan showed that she was tough by swimming even though she did not feel well, Savannah went a low 27 in her 50 free, and Hailee did not go a 1:10 100 breast!

This upcoming week practice times are changing. Ervin’s group will remain the same, but my group will be starting at 4:30 P.M. Please make note of this.

CRAB FEED! CRAB FEED!! CRAB FEED!!! We are coming down to the final days before the big event, how many tickets have you sold? Did you tell everyone you know? How about even people you don’t know? Let’s all pull together and have an extraordinary evening! Thank you to everyone who has been helping with inventory and organization.

Until next time,

Coach Ryan

February 28, 2010 Posted by | RHS Swim Team, Ripon Aquatics | Leave a comment

Hello Swim World

Hello Simmers and Parents,

We are gearing up for the Spring and Summer so I hope everyone is ready. Ripon High School Swim Team has been in the water for two weeks and I am very pleased about their progress. We have some great potential on the team and some fantastic talent.

The Sea Lions are getting started soon and I am really looking forward to a very successful season with our summer swimmers!

Ripon Aquatics is getting ready for our annual Crab Feed fundraiser. This should be an enjoyable evening full of food, friends, and family.

Congratulations to the Baldwin Family! Kelli gave birth to a 8lbs 1ounce beautiful baby boy…his name is Hudson.

Coach saying for the day: Pain is weakness leaving the body.

Until Next Time,

Coach Ryan

February 27, 2010 Posted by | RHS Swim Team, Ripon Aquatics, Ripon Sea Lions | Leave a comment

Back In Action

Hello Swim World,

I apologize it has taken me so long to do a post, as you all know my life is VERY busy right now. I promise to be on the ball and at least blog once every two days.

This past weekend Ripon attended the Stockton swim meet; attendance from Ripon swimmers was abysmal! Those who did attend swam well considering all obstacles. The most noteworthy swims were Sarah Van derwal’s (Sorry if I butchered your name Sarah) 100 back, she mopped the floor with Simone and Hailee. Hollie Tinley had a fantastic 200 free, dropping four seconds and creaming her selected competition. And finally, Brooke Sharpe, the queen of the 7-8 girls at this meet!

Swimming note of the week: Doing a drill 99% correct is performing it 100% wrong!

Until next time,

Coach Ryan

February 8, 2010 Posted by | Ripon Aquatics | 1 Comment

Enjoy the Weekend!

Hello Swim World,

I apologize for the tardiness of this posting. Last nights practice was good (good is the opposite of GREAT). Our swimmers need to focus 100% of the time, luckily their  will not accept  sub-standard performance. I was very pleased with their attention to detail when we did the Mission Viejo Drill!!! I look forward to continued dedication from the athletes!


Please be sure to attend the meeting on the Crab Feed on Monday, January 11, 2010 at 5:30 P.M. on the pool deck. As Ervin says, “If you do not attend the meeting you do not care about the team and you might as well just quit right now (said with Ervin’s beloved Hungarian accent)!”

Because of budget cuts the school district had to release the custodian. Please help us keep the facility clean by picking up trash and helping to keep things orderly. Your assistance in much appreciated.

Coach Ryan

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Ripon Aquatics | Leave a comment

Perfection is the Standard!

Hello Swim World,

Todays practice was GREAT!!! I love when swimmers re-learn a skill they have done for many years. Todays skill was streamlining. This may seem like a basic ho-hum kind of thing to work on, but every wall depends on your ability to jettison yourself through the water and streamlining is the foundation. Hand-over-hand, lock then together with the top thumb, press the ears with the biceps, lengthen your body, and squeeze your whole body to your center. We worked this skill for the lion’s share of practice and the results were athletes that came out of the water with superior skill and a happy coach!!!

Upcoming events: Mandatory parent meeting on Monday, January 11, 2010 to discuss the Crab Feed. Please send at least one parent from each family.

Until tomorrow,

Coach Ryan

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Ripon Aquatics | 2 Comments

Back In the Water!!!

Hello Swim World,

Today was our second day back in the water and I see a lot of room for improvement. We have a brand new practice mantra, “Perfection is the standard!” This will guide all that we do in the water, and hopefully my young natant athletes will take this lesson into life. So far I believe we have achieved a level of slightly worse than mediocrity, but I know that my swimmers are of strong heart and mind and they will rise to the level of excellence that resides in all of them!

This week also marks the last week that Ervin will be on deck for several weeks. Please make sure to put out positive thoughts and prayers of speedy recovery for our beloved head coach as he heads into surgery. WE ARE ALL GONNA MISS YOU ERV!!!

Coach Ryan

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Ripon Aquatics | Leave a comment