JUNE 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Sometimes its about motivation. Sometimes its about knowledge. Sometimes its just plain luck !
I like a combination of focused training and longevity….staying in the game long enough to matter. The reason I coach is to increase the knowledge base in swimming and provide a world class venue to discover just how far we can all go ~ pretty cool, huh? O2 SWIMMING started back in 2002 officially and I basically have not had a day off since - thank you for your trust and passion for the sport.

This month, I would like to step a wee bit outside of the water and talk about 2 things directly related:

Core Work and Nutrition:

Core Work ~ Much of the “yet to be optimized” swimming I see can be attributed to weak core and non integration of those larger muscle groups. Simply put, you cannot move forward without you BODY moving forward and the body is large, requiring core muscles to move it… If you throw your hands/arms forward, the body is too big to follow it - the core must actively seek momentum. Strong swimmers have a strong core, but we no longer rely solely on the water to develop these muscles. Here are some fresh ideas to help you work on a strong set of core muscles (which will no doubt help you in EVERYTHING you do in life):

1) The O2 Favorite = lots of underwater dolphin with ZII fins on. Of course, I am known as more of an aquatic animal than a land animal, so I even like to do core work underwater. Put on a long, narrow set of fins (Finis ZII are my long time favorite here) and try to go end to end with as little swimming as possible - use the hips and abs to drive you forward (no arms).

2) Burpees = many variations, find some good ones on You Tube

3) Opposite arm leg raises

4) Some kettle bell work: swings, stretches with the weight, etc)

5) Prone plank

Core work is always a good answer, improve here and see RESULTS !!

Nutrition ~ I founded O2 NUTRITION after my passion in the pharmacy intertwined with Integrated Nutrition out of SUNY in the early 2000’s. Your peak operating power comes from BOTH quality exercise AND good nutrition. Is anyone as amazed as I am at the number of people who eat fast food every week of their lives?
What constitutes GOOD NUTRITION?
It is not that big of a mystery: eat the bulk of ALL your food form single source ingredients: chicken, peas, nuts, eggs, spinach, quinoa, fish, carrots, …… You get the idea. Packaged ingredients that have many things you can’t even identify are obviously less healthy - regardless of the package saying “GLUTEN FREE”. “Gluten free” has become somewhat of a code word in the industry for “this is good for you” when in fact, it is often total garbage….
I can help you, but just simplify your life. Walk the outside of the grocery store more than the middle aisles. Buy local foods - most of you that have been to O2 have dropped into None Such Farms a time or two; talk about awesome quality local grown fruits, vegetables and even beef !! Simplify.
Plan ahead = cook once, eat 2-3 times.

As an athlete - careful not to “diet” in the form of carbohydrate restrictions. Carbs are a quick energy source that is EASILY broken down and converted to energy. Go liquid as much as possible - no breakdown time! Many of you are now using INFINIT NUTRITION and getting our team discount offered through my web page. Does it really get any better than custom formula, designed for YOU alone and shipped in 2 days? A minor tweak to your first formula is usually all it takes to get complete satisfaction. I use nothing else all the way through 4-5 hour bike rides. Your nutritional needs are pretty simple in events lasting under 2 hours, but it changes drastically after the 2 hour window, as your body NEEDS to dig deeper….
After 2 hours - you need some protein in your formula.
How does caffeine affect you? Caffeine is both performance enhancing and a great dehydrator - what is your optimal balance? This is one item I dole out separately and judiciously (and not that often).

We can field any questions on the O2 SWIMMING Facebook page if you think your query is relevant to the whole group, or individually if you have very specific needs.

BIG NEWS: Miss Summer Holland will be home from 18 June to 11 July 2018. My little swimmer will then be heading to University of Auckland, New Zealand to further her education ~ or at least that is what I am being told…. Please call her directly to schedule (267-994-0816), As always, we charge 50% when my swimmers coach - no other discounts apply…. Her only scheduling restriction is that she cannot be in the pool during my regular coaching hours Mon - Thursday from 5-7pm. She does both in the water and on deck sessions depending on the age and ability. Summer has been coaching at O2 SWIMMING for 4 years and coached/taught at Fanny Chapman for 2-3 years.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

www.o2swimming.net and www.o2nutrition.net


MAY 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Nothing like going from 30F mornings to around 90F in 2 days ~ spring is finally here !!
May is certainly an ENERGY month - you have it, or you don’t… Outdoor swimming is right around the corner ~ surely one of my favorite times of year ??????. Fresh air, sunshine, and a superior chlorine dispersal system is perfect. Hope you get outdoors soon.

Swimmers are coming off long course season and about ready to ease into the FUN summer swim season - I hope none of mine work too hard. The O2 swimmers busted tail all year, they need a little R&R that just a few thousand easy yards can give them.

Triathletes have kicked off another racing season and after a hard winter; it looks to me like many are pretty far behind in their training. We can only hope the rest of the crowd followed suit… I’m just not seeing the levels of intensity that I have witnessed in the past. How are YOU doing?

Our MAY theme is: Kicking ~

This is a question I get a lot and most are shocked by my answer(s). In order to service all of you, once again, we will break out into 2 groups:

For Swimmers:


This video shows some of the finer points of kicking freestyle. Most of you are superior kickers, but refocusing on this skill has merit. My top level swimmers can hold a high tempo kick throughout a 200 yard race with no variability. All swimmers going under 1:50 are such animals ?.
All I ask is that you work your legs a little harder this summer - all the while, I want you dialed back a bit to get the rest you body needs. This will allow you to enter the traditional fall swim season with a hot new skill set and plenty of rest to ignite your season.

For Triathletes:


This video demonstrates what I have been teaching for over 20 years = INTEGRATION of the long body. The legs need to drive off the core and fully integrate into your stroke pattern. None of you are swimming a 1:46 second race… You probably average over 30 minutes in the water at even the shorter triathlon swim starts. Learning to MANAGE your energy in each sector (front, bottom, core) is a key to sustainability in long open water races. Many of you are outstanding runners, but that does not translate into aquatic speed - the reverse is true as well (so don’t feel bad)… most top level swimmers can’t run fast enough to catch a bus while it is stopped !

I recommend a long fin, like the FINIS ZII for all open water swimmers. The ZII will increase your ankle flexibility and add length to your stroke; all while NOT allowing you to kick too hard. A long fin does not like to be kicked hard, as it is too much effort and you will FEEL the negative feedback. So, do “runners” need fins? YES - if they are the right ones ??.

As we train in the next few weeks, keep in mind ~ KICKING is our focus this month; find a way to improve that one skill.

Enjoy the spring weather and make healthy decisions… Life is a long time, learn how to do it best.

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

www.o2swimming.net and www.o2nutrition.net


APRIL 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

In case you have not heard or seen much in the last 30 days, here is a recap of the ever explosive world of swimming:

1) Pennsylvania’s North Allegheny HS set the National Record in the 4 X 100 free relay with a time of: 2:52.81

2) Local 14 year old wins NCSA 100 Breast in Florida with a time of 57.73

3) Caleb Dressel busts through 2 barriers at Sr nationals:

50 free = 17.63: ****I have NEVER seen anyone over the age of 12 win a 50 by a body length !!


100 free = 39.90

***I believe that all of us “over 30” and triathlete swimmers have a goal I NEVER thought I would be espousing: Your new goal is to NOT GET LAPPED in a 50 !!!! So, if you are so “slow” that you cannot swim a 50 in under 39.9, Mr Dressel will lap you in your 2 length race. Let that sink in, I know that I have and it terrifies me ??.

So, not a bad month of swimming overall and the sport will continue to inspire, despite the retirement of Michael Phelps - that makes this old coach very happy and I look forward to the future with a renewed sense of commitment.

Our theme this month is : Vision and Head Position ~

As I tried to steady our ship going into Championship season, I began to realize just how much work we were doing on HEAD POSITION and as I swam in my own workouts, it simultaneously occurred to me that GOGGLE SELECTION can play a pivotal role in head position….

Fresh off the 2016 Olympic Swim Coach’s Conference, I was re-educated in backstroke technique to the point it bothered me how much we were teaching WRONG all these years. Thankfully, Ryan Murphy & Co showed us a few things and due to the technical nature of our computer modeling and camera capabilities, we could DEFINE WHY things were better and faster.

So, have you fully evaluated you goggles, or are you using what “everyone else does…”? I have been a big Aqua Sphere fan in general for along time due to the soft nature of the seal, the good vision, and the overall fit regarding primarily the nose bridge distance. I am currently using an amber colored lens in a pair of Zoggs that I also love due to the visual I enjoy from the amber tint (once common, now rare). I have also used and given away a beautiful pair of MP pro goggles (anything Michael Phelps brand should make me swim faster) and a stunning set of ROKA RX goggles - both gave me sight soft tissue inter orbital pain and lack of vision in backstroke (primarily).

Goggles are a highly subjective piece of equipment, but please be willing to evaluate and explore options IF they are not allowing you the visual cues you need to swim your fastest… If they cut off or highly distort you view, you will find a spot to align your head that will absolutely alter your head position and streamline. Think about it… If your perisperhal vision is cut off when you place your eyes down, you will pick your head up to see better - especially AT SPEED where it matters most.

I will post this up on Facebook tomorrow and would welcome your feedback and thoughts, as this is a highly individual issue, but I am seeing some less than stellar results that be may the direct result of forced vision. I only ask that you keep your eyes open and search for answers as you hone all your skills in the water!

- Is your backstroke slower due to bad vision and the inability to tuck into the proper head position?

- Is your freestyle turn less than stellar because you can’t really see the wall at high speed (racing)?

- Are you not finishing your breaststroke because when you get the eyes lower, you can’t see at all?

- Do you have trouble finding the buoys in open water?

Are these issues due to lens color or contrast?


Is the goggle design blinding you in some ares?

Worthy of ?? into?

We are one of THE BIGGEST teams in the country at Swim Outlet, so be sure to go on-line if you need goggles or anything else… **They go from yoga pants to nutritionals !! Just bounce through our team hyperlink on my web page and you in !!

More snow in April, so you might as well go swimming. I think the workouts I have been posting on our Facebook page are enough to keep you busy all the way through the IM distance :-)

See you on deck


SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

www.o2swimming.net and www.o2nutrition.net


MARCH 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Sorry his month’s newsletter is so late, but PECO has been saving me money - lot of it… O2 has been on generator power for 8 of the last 10 days, but we never close ~ WOO HOO !!

March is a very exciting month for us, as the swimmers are all at Champ meets and proving what they are capable of, and my triathletes are beginning to emerge from their dens. Mr Phelps has finally retired, but along comes Caleb Dressel - WOW ! Locally, our own kids are smashing records too - both PRs and league times are all dropping as if it was meant to be! Just last night, one of our swimmers reported a 6 second drop in his 200 Breast; earning him a sectional cut. When was the last time we heard of a 15 year old dropping 6 seconds? My hat is off to ALL the kids that pulled of special performances in the last few weeks - nothing was given to them, they EARNED IT !

My topic for this month is ENERGY MANAGEMENT (special thanks to PECO for the enlightening idea…)

The best swimmers use their core to swim - as does a fish, arguably the fastest swimmers we know. Fish are simply a tube with a tail to drive the tube forward - no arms, no legs, no neck..ie, nothing hanging off the tube. Streamline? ABSOLUTELY. If a fish expends more energy to eat than it has, it dies - mother nature is like that. How can we be more fishlike? How can we manage our limited power to the maximum efficiency?

1) Do enough work to be strong enough to swim the distance you need to… You cannot swim a strong hour in open water if you struggle for barely an hour with walls…

2) Learn to use your core to swim. Focused power that emanates bilaterally off the central spinal line is pure magic; compared to flapping arms

3) Energy driving FORWARD is worth more than energy pulling backwards…. STOP. Think about this… ***

4) Open water has no “rest area”, we must learn to manage HR and it all starts AT THE BEGINNING of every race (or practice). Does your practice reflects this?

5) Nutrition is ALWAYS a key - in life. Whether you are doing a sprint (you might be in “sprint shape”) or a full IronMan, your body needs fuel and must judiciously meter it back out to you engine. How have your trained you engine to accept gas? What “gas” do you use? Does it perform optimally for you?

I have been a big proponent of INFINIT NUTRITION for about 3-4 years now - at all distances. INFINIT does it right and does it simply. They make stock formulas, but you can dial in a CUSTOM formula with a little feedback - for about the same price. I use nothing else ~ for swim workouts, or century rides. If you have not tried INFINIT, I really think you are missing a huge step in your success plan.
**We get a team discount though my web page - it is worth it !

Think spring.
Set your clocks ahead saturday night.
Get out of you winter brain…eat more micro greens NOW… GO OUTSIDE !

NB. If anyone had a particularly good season or champ swim, maybe you want to post it up on Facebook and inspire us all….? Hopefully someone might have a had a good experience at O2 SWIMMING to write up a quick recommendation under that heading…?

Rock on, gang !!

SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

www.o2swimming.net and www.o2nutrition.net


FEB 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

It has been quite a week here in Philadelphia… GO E-A-G-L-E-S !!

It just goes to show that faith in oneself and ones team means more than talent. Doug Pederson’s “Next Man Up” approach carried the Eagles to victory all season - a season that did not end until the last second of Super Bowl LII.

Morale: the athletes that go the farthest, believe in themselves :-)

February is a cusp month for O2 SWIMMING every year ~ swimmers heading into CHAMP season, and triathletes crawling out of the cave and returning to the water. Due to this huge division, I always split my Feb Newsletter so that each may benefit.

SWIMMERS ~ This is what you have all worked for since last fall - the traditional final championships of the swim season. Here are a few pointers to help you get through AND to the next level:

1) Be INVOLVED in your taper - don’t just “let it happen” or think everyone tapers exactly the same.

2) Recovery rest and nutrition are key - this is no time to alter the best habits that got you this far !

3) NEVER do anything different on race day that you haven’t proven in your past !!

4) ALL warm ups matter - use them to the fullest and don’t leave your fastest swim in the warm up pool…you got this :-)

5) Get your HR up a little before you step up on the blocks. Too many swimmers stand behind the block with their google strap hanging out of their mouth and their hands folded while their pulse is barely breathing. How do you expect your HR to go from 0 to 100 in the first 2 seconds of the race? Stretch a little, bounce a little, BE ALIVE !

6) As you get up on the block, focus on the black line - nothing else. You know what you have to do and how to do it. Focus on the black line and GO !

Good luck to each of you. Reach out for me if yo have any last minutes questions.
Update your tech suit using the SwimOutlet team pricing link on our website.
Inspire us all with a post on Facebook or text/email me…. I love that part - it’s why I still do what I do.

TRIATHLETES ~ Good to see you again, kids ! It has been a long winter and plenty cold enough - luckily, of the 3 sports we do, SWIMMING is the sweetest thing to do on a 12F morning ! Here are my observations to help get you into the rhythm of 2018:

1) Get wet. Do it now. You are already behind…. We good?

2) ALL levels of workouts have the same structure:
- warm up
- stretch
- drill/swim sets
- main set
- cool down

3) Competition IS inspiration…join a club or get a friend. I am so thankful to have a nice little group where I have been swimming the last 4-5 years : LA Fitness, Warrington.

4) Catch up will ALWAYS be the most foundational drill in all of swimming…. Do it EVERYDAY.

5) Increase your yardage - whatever it is today, go up 10% ASAP. It is already the second month of the year and races start in 2 more months !!

6) Work on both the mental and physical aspects of connecting the HIPS into your full body stroke. Think of you body as split in 2 identical halves: right and left, NOT FRONT AND BACK.

And last, as we begin another Olympic season, here is a VERY inspirational video to jump start your heart and your training:

Men's 4 X100 free relay - Best Swimming in history !!!!


SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

www.o2swimming.net and www.o2nutrition.net


JAN 2018 Newsletter

Welcome Swimmers and Triathletes:

Welcome to yet another year of “THIS IS YOUR LIFE” as seen through the water…..

This time of year, I think we all begin to dream and take measure of our metrics in life - both historically and prophetically. As you know, I love the water and am always thinking about it ~ whether I am swimming, SCUBA diving, or looking out over the frozen Delaware this time of year. Water makes me happy and helps center me; thank goodness I can pretty much find it everywhere I go !

I began writing this newsletter to you while in Cuba the week before Christmas:

This was our hotel at the beginning and end of the trip. The infinity edge overlooked Havana and never closed - JYEAH BABY :-) On the winter solstice, I stayed in the pool till long after dark.

My thoughts for you this month, were the following 2 themes:

1) Getting back into swim shape - aimed primarily at my triathletes this time of year.

2) Racing well - aimed primarily at my swimmers.

Getting Back Into Shape ~
We have all asked our body to do this on multiple occasions, but the New Year is a biggie for the hard working triathlete. Since I am probably older than you, I have found it much more efficient to NOT GET OUT OF SHAPE ! I swim 12 months a year for many reasons; both mental and physical.
If, however, we get out of shape - we need to answer a few questions honestly.
1) How long (has it been)?
2) How bad ( are you out of shape)?
3) How soon (is the goal)?
January is a universal marker for change. I highly recommend the following routine for you re-entry:

* Commit to more days in the water. I prefer 3 days for 30-90 minutes than 1 day for 90+ minutes
** Work on technique NOW. If you are out of shape, spend about 50% of you time on technique now
*** Swim SLOWER and longer ~ learn to FEEL the water and then respond positively
**** If it’s not working, STOP and come back another day OR get help (find a friend or a coach)
***** Write down a plan that satisfies your time goals - it is the only way to commit to higher level performance

Racing Well ~
Although this is the goal, many swimmers work super hard every day in practice, but that doesn’t translate into wins on race day. Just to be clear - not everyone wins… Be realistic, in most pools there is one winner and 5 who come in behind. But, racing your best and continuous PR’s are your reward for the hard work - be smart about it !
Here are my discussion points for you to race your best on race day:

* Track your SPL 3X every day and KNOW how you are doing every day as the hard work tears you up
** Watch film. Be a pro - they look for video of THE BEST doing it perfectly
*** Race everyday. Don’t tell anyone, but this is one of my real secrets…. It was told to me by the incomparable Dara Torres. Dara won a lot of Olympic medals over a lot of years/decades. She was a true sprinter and she raced EVERY day. She convinced me that 10 X 50 all done just to break you down is productive work, but not smart. Race ONE event every day. If you are repeating 100s on the 1:15 and can already race at 0.56 pace. Do ONE 100 under .60 off the wall in practice. Learn to push past practice pace once a day in practice and YOU will be the swimmer who has raced 100 X more than other swimmers at the end of the season. Go all out. Go race pace (once). Race day will not be such a shock…. As our 25+ year head Olympic coach Mark Shubert once famously said, “A 1:02 is a 1:02 is a 1:02 and no amount of BS is going to make it a 0.59!”

2018 and O2 NUTRITION :

Just a minute here to remind you about your nutrition and some chlorine related health issues…

^ Get enough protein - you need plenty !
^^ In this cold weather, stay hydrated… Even my dogs are smart enough to drink about 6 full bowls of water a day in this extreme cold
^^^ Chlorine is a very real poison. Try AquaPhor in your nose every night to protect your mucous membranes. Use nasal saline (about $1.99 in any drug store) after every swim session to flush out the nasal passages.
^^^^ Use a high quality probiotic every day that you swim - no exceptions. I have been strong on this for over 20 years and continue to review medical literature confirming my beliefs that probiotics are a huge key to maintaining GI and overall health throughout the winter season especially. Every swimmer I have recommended this to has done better and reduced illness to zero or close to it !

Here is my professional link to get what you need:

15% off with us
Promo code: o2nutr
Zip code: 18902

You always get what you pay for….


General O2 intel :

As we head toward Champ season, remember that we get the coach’s discounts at FINIS and get Team Pricing at SwimOutlet -if you jump through the hyperlink on my web page.

Love to have more chatter on Facebook in 2018. We have over 600 athletes at O2 SWIMMING, many on Facebook, but some have never checked in past my weekly workout posts… The O2 SWIMMING Facebook page is really YOURS, not mine !!

Help !
Just to keep old O2 on track, if I have done anything to help you… Please consider posting a “recommendation” on Facebook. I really appreciate it and actually ASK this time of year…
Thank you all for all the inspiration you give me every year !!


SwimStrong. SwimSilent.

Ken Holland
Head Coach
Doylestown, PA

www.o2swimming.net and www.o2nutrition.net

Kenneth W. Holland
A unique, exciting innovation in health and nutrition

o2 SWIMMING designed the SWIMMITT to help all swimmers advance their technique primarily by forcing them to swim from their core and stop the endless arm cycling. Throughout the summer, o2 SWIMMING did testing of prototypes on various levels of swimmers and triathletes. One thing became clear - this is an awesome training aid that sharply increases the learning curve both with and WITHOUT professional coaching. By "hiding" the swimmers hands, we are able to lengthen them out on the water and engage the forearm as a paddle. Without the sensitive hand and fingers in the equation, the swimmer will swim slower initially as they build a stronger core - this reduces potential injuries by shifting the burden off the smaller arm muscles and onto the larger back and chest muscles (core power). As proficiency is gained, speed is a "free" byproduct. The SWIMMITT causes a hyper focus and shifts the mind off the clock and onto the technique. The best swimmers spend the most time doing APPROPRIATE drills. Our Olympic team does not just bang out thousands of yards a day, as a matter of fact MOST of the workouts are NOT whole stroke swimming !!
We recommend the SWIMMITT to any swimmer with a reasonable degree of competency and they are available in 3 sizes both with and without a sealed thumb. We designed the open thumb for the younger swimmers to increase their feeling of security by being less "restricted". To my surprise, half of the adults love the freedom on an open thumb as well to adjust goggles, etc.
Try a pair today ! They are manufactured here in Doylestown and available only at o2 SWIMMING

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