Something new in swim training Hurricanes' DeMott stresses speed over endurance

February 14, 1993|By Mike Jefferson | Mike Jefferson,Contributing Writer

Backstrokes. Breaststrokes. Butterflies. Freestyle. Over and over again. That may be the typical training regimen used by many swim coaches, but not by Tim DeMott.

DeMott, head coach of the Harford Hurricanes Joppatowne Recreation Council swim team, says that type of constant endurance training, well . . . it just won't float.

Instead, DeMott has been trying something new.

"My practices are somewhat non-traditional and even unorthodox," said DeMott. "A lot of coaches believe in endurance training. I believe a high-quality speed and anaerobic-type training is important."

DeMott says a few other coaches are using the same techniques, also referred to as high-intensity or speed-specific training.

At practice, the Hurricane swimmers are able to escape the boredom of swimming lap after lap while preparing to compete in dual meets in the YMCA Chesapeake and Potomac league.

The Hurricanes' practice sessions begin with strength training, using stretch cords, mostly for children 12 and older. Swimmers perform calisthenics, sit-ups, and presses (either variations of push-ups or wall exercises). DeMott and assistant coach Susanna Woodward also encourage some weight training.

Some of the advantages are a reduction of burnout and injury.

Since beginning as coach in the fall of 1991, DeMott has

recorded his

swimmers' progress and is confident that his training regimen offers the swimmers a chance to excel.

"I've seen across-the-board improvement," he said. "That's pretty good evidence of superior training methods. I can't say whether that's attitude or training techniques, but I'd like to think it's a little of both."

Last year, the Hurricanes finished 1-4 in the C&P league. This season, the team was undefeated at 3-0 until losing to defending champion powerhouse Severna Park Y and in a close match to Dover last weekend.

Both DeMott and Woodward are dedicated to making the swimmers all-around performers, not just specializing in one or two events.

"Our team last year was sloppy," said Lee Rzepecki, publicity director for the Hurricanes, whose daughter, Kerry, swims in the 9-10 age group.

"But Tim and Susanna have fine-tuned this team this year. These kids have worked their arms and legs off, and Tim and Susanna have been there beside them the whole way."

DeMott is a self-proclaimed bookworm who studies Soviet physiology articles that support his approach to training. But don't misunderstand; DeMott is more into the application of theory than he is into study.

"I'm really into investigating sciences," he said. "It gives me great satisfaction to design a program and watch people improve and do well and be proud of their accomplishments."

DeMott, 24, was raised in Vinton, a small town in central Iowa. He swam for the Vinton High School Vikings and later was a four-year member of the Iowa State Cyclones NCAA Big Eight Division I swim team.

He studied physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, anatomy and sports psychology as an exercise science major at Iowa State. It was then he began to follow and train with these new methods.

His coach, Eddie Sinnot, now head coach at Southern Methodist University, stressed strength conditioning at practice. DeMott advanced to the Big Eight championships his last three years for the Cyclones.

After graduation, he moved to Maryland when his father, Richard, left a job with the Iowa School for the Blind to work at the Maryland chapter.

DeMott worked an internship at Bel Air Athletic Club, where he is now a fitness instructor, and coached for one year with the Emmorton Barracudas before coaching the Hurricanes.

Next weekend, he will get a chance to see if the swimmers can improve even more, as the team plays host to the C&P championships at Magnolia Middle School. From there, swimmers who meet qualifying times advance to the district and regional competitions. Ultimately, swimmers can advance to the YMCA Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on April 5-8.

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