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
month, I would like to step a wee bit outside
of the water and talk about 2 things directly
Work and Nutrition:
~ 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):
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
Burpees = many variations, find some good
ones on You Tube
Opposite arm leg raises
Some kettle bell work: swings, stretches with
the weight, etc)
work is always a good answer, improve here
and see RESULTS !!
~ 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.
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
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).
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.
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.
Swimmers and Triathletes:
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 !
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
we train in the next few weeks, keep in mind
~ KICKING is our focus this month; find a
way to improve that one skill.
the spring weather and make healthy decisions…
Life is a long time, learn how to do it best.
Swimmers and Triathletes:
case you have not heard or seen much in the
last 30 days, here is a recap of the ever
explosive world of swimming:
Pennsylvania’s North Allegheny HS set
the National Record in the 4 X 100 free relay
with a time of: 2:52.81
Local 14 year old wins NCSA 100 Breast in
Florida with a time of 57.73
Caleb Dressel busts through 2 barriers at
free = 17.63: ****I have NEVER seen anyone
over the age of 12 win a 50 by a body length
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 ??.
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.
theme this month is : Vision
and Head Position ~
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….
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.
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).
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.
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
Is your freestyle turn less than stellar because
you can’t really see the wall at high
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
these issues due to lens color or contrast?
the goggle design blinding you in some ares?
of ?? into?
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 !!
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.
Swimmers and Triathletes:
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
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 !
topic for this month is ENERGY
MANAGEMENT (special thanks
to PECO for the enlightening idea…)
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?
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…
Learn to use your core to swim. Focused power
that emanates bilaterally off the central
spinal line is pure magic; compared to flapping
Energy driving FORWARD is worth more than
energy pulling backwards…. STOP. Think
about this… ***
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?
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
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
**We get a team discount though my web page
- it is worth it !
Set your clocks ahead saturday night.
Get out of you winter brain…eat more
micro greens NOW… GO OUTSIDE !
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…?
on, gang !!
Swimmers and Triathletes:
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.
the athletes that go the farthest, believe
in themselves :-)
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
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:
Be INVOLVED in your taper - don’t just
“let it happen” or think everyone
tapers exactly the same.
Recovery rest and nutrition are key - this
is no time to alter the best habits that got
you this far !
NEVER do anything different on race day that
you haven’t proven in your past !!
ALL warm ups matter - use them to the fullest
and don’t leave your fastest swim in
the warm up pool…you got this :-)
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 !
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 !
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.
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
Get wet. Do it now. You are already behind….
ALL levels of workouts have the same structure:
- warm up
- drill/swim sets
- main set
- cool down
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.
Catch up will ALWAYS be the most foundational
drill in all of swimming…. Do it EVERYDAY.
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
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:
Swimmers and Triathletes:
to yet another year of “THIS IS YOUR
LIFE” as seen through the water…..
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 !
began writing this newsletter to you while
in Cuba the week before Christmas:
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.
thoughts for you this month, were the following
Getting back into swim shape - aimed primarily
at my triathletes this time of year.
Racing well - aimed primarily at my swimmers.
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
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+
** Work on technique NOW. If you are out of
shape, spend about 50% of you time on technique
*** 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
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
** 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!”
and O2 NUTRITION :
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
^^^ 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
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.
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 !!
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 !!
Kenneth W. Holland
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