I'm looking forward to serving as your U.S. coach for the upcoming World Games. I've had a chance to review the roster of athletes and am really excited to see so many new names and some old friends as well that will be competing in just a few weeks.
For those of you that don't know me, my name is Pam Danberg, and I've been coaching age group and Masters swimmers for more than 15 years, and have been swimming for twice as long. I was a part of DAAA since the early days, and was introduced to competitive swimming through DAAA. I was able to swim well enough to secure a spot on the Seoul Paralympic team way before many of you were even born(!), and silver medaled in breaststroke. From there I got more involved on an administrative level and went on to be President for a few years, but that is ancient history. What I will tell you is swimming has always been a part of my life, and I've been lucky enough to continue to swim for fitness, and coach both age group and adult athletes here in Florida so I'm very fortunate to be able to be able to work with what looks to be a great USA team!
So we're three weeks out, and this is where I expect each of you to be thinking about:
The events you registered for. The registered list of swimmers by event is attached. Please confirm that your events are listed as registered for are correct. If there are any discrepancies, email me as soon as possible so that I correct if needed any errors. No add-ons, please. Only notify me if something is missing that you know you registered for.
As you work with your coaches, you should by now be focusing on race preparation. This means lots of practice starts and finishes, shorter sprint workouts with longer rests between intervals.
Know the rules! We'll review some basics over the coming weeks, but be sure you know the basic swimming rules for your race, such as two hand touches for breaststroke and butterfly; proper backstroke turns and finishes, etc.
Check and double check that you have at least two sets of equipment. That means at least two swim suits, two pair of good fitting goggles, two swim caps, and whatever else you may require, such as ear or nose plugs, flotation devices, etc. If you are having trouble finding equipment, two places to order online are Swimoutlet.com or Amazon.com. There's others but those can get you what you need pretty quickly.
If you're swimming a relay, let me know if you have a preference for who you want on your relay. I will need this information as soon as possible. Again, check the list to see who registered for relays.
We'll talk more about race day protocols as it gets closer, but as your on site coach, I will do my best to help you get race ready, and provide you with support before, during and after your events.
That's enough for now. Expect to hear more from me later this week, when we'll talk about strokes and what to be working on.
Swimming records for each age division are posted on the World Dwarf Games website under the "Sports/Rules" menu. But don't be intimidated by those times; past experience has shown that there can be a big difference in time between first and third place. Junior division swimmers will have more opportunities to win medals at the World Games than at DAAA National Games because swimmers will be divided into three classifications within each event.
How Can You Prepare?
Improve your chances of medaling by joining a swim team to access expert coaching and practice facilities. USA Swimming has hundreds of teams nationwide. Click here: USASwimming - Find a Local Club (www.usaswimming.org) to find a team where you live. Adults can check US Masters Swim - Places To Swim (www.usms.org) to find a masters swim team. Other possibilities include school, YMCA, and summer recreation teams. The attached document called "U.S. Paralympics Swimming Frequently Asked Questions" provides more information for those who wish to pursue Paralympic swimming. (http://www.2013WorldDwarfGames.org/PDF/SwimFAQ.pdf)
Where Can I Learn More About Stroke Technique?
The obvious and best answer is to ask a coach or swim instructor for help. Swim instruction is also available on the internet.
ParalympicSport TV YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/ ParalympicSportTV - Search for top dwarf swimmers at the 2012 London and 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, including Erin Popovich, Eleanor Simmonds, Casey Johnson, Miranda Uhl, and Matt Whorwood. Watch their races!