Simple FAQ Template


What is your training like?
That is a VERY broad question. Some people like to see detailed training plans while others just want to hear we train "hard." The reality is we try to train with specificity with an eye to each swimmer's background and experience, their primary events, their physiological composition. An example might be our 400 Free Relay from a few years ago. In 2008 or 2009 we won the conference title with swimmers who came from three different training groups.

We also take into consideration what the needs of the team are in a given year. In 2012-13, for instance, we were thin in the distance group and decided that Aaron Dobben, a 100-200-500 guy in high school would probably be swimming the mile. He wouldn't immediately be able to ramp up to our distance workouts, but we adapted his training enough that he was able to make the podium in the 1650.

If you want a better look, you can download a season's worth of workouts.

Are you more a quality or quantity team?
Well, that depends if you're more of an aerobic or ananerobic-oriented athlete. In truth its much more complex than that. I would say we generally fall on the side of higher volumes, but that is largely so that we can prepare our guys for championship meets where they swim race after race after race. To do that you need to warm-up a little and warm-down A LOT. At a prelim-final meet where you swim one individual race and a couple of races, that can easily add up to 5,000-6,000 yards or more! So by training with some volume during the season, we help build those aerobic pathways that help you recover between races come championship season. Now, all that said, we also spend a considerable amount of time on swimming at racing speeds.

When it comes to technique, early in my career I spent a lot of time on it. What I found was that while my swimmers' strokes looked pretty, we didn't always finish races or meets as well as we could have. I also found that by the time swimmers reached college many habits were deeply ingrained and that major stroke changes can oftentimes take a full season to implement. Consequently, I've learned to work with each of our swimmers' strokes and limit major changes to situations a) where they cause injury or b) are keeping the swimmer from significant improvements in speed. One area where I do tend to focus is in how our swimmers shape their bodies and maximize power off of the blocks and the walls. At higher speeds these little changes can make a big difference.

How much yardage do you do?
Honestly, I really don't dwell on yardage at all and rarely add it up. When I write our workouts I start by focusing on what our training objective is for that particular day. It might be "forty minutes of freestyle at threshold pace" or "primary stroke repeats at 200 speed." Then I build a main set to meet these needs. Then I add in sets to reach the second or tertiary objectives. Doing this allows me to coach towards our needs rather than just numbers.
What about off-season training?
We are limited in what we can do in the off-season and this is one of the few limitations of Division III. After our conference or NCAA Championships, our swimmers can (and do, though not always as much as I'd like) generally work out on their own. They can also conduct strength and conditioning workouts under the supervision of a certified strength & conditioning specialist. In this way, we turn a limitation into an asset. Spring is a great opportunity for our swimmers to get bigger and stronger in the weight room. In fact, because they have more time to recover between workouts we see bigger gains than while in season. When it comes to the summer, we prefer that our swimmers go train with their home club. It is generally a better training environment plus it gives us a little free recruiting advertising. We do maintain LCM school records for those who compete over the summer.

All that said, one look at the NCAA standards tells you that a year-round commitment to training is necessary for qualifying.

Schedule & Competition

When is the college swimming season?
The college season starts up almost upon arrival on campus. For the first 2-3 weeks swimmers have a series of meetings, orientation, instruction from our strength coach, and workouts run by the upperclassmen. Official workouts begin around the last week of September with competition beginning at the end of October. The season extends into J-Term and the Spring semester with our conference championships in February and the NCAA Championships in March.
Do your swimmers drop time?
While there are always exceptions to the rule, the answer is an unqualified YES. In fact, we're not afraid to publish our results - good, bad and otherwise. Take a look at our time drops on our Succes Stories Page.
What is your practice schedule?
Practices are generally scheduled 3-4 mornings and five afternoons per week plus a workout or meet on Saturdays. Depending on a swimmer's class schedule and training group, morning practices typically begin at 6:00 or 7:00 and can be a combination of weights, swimming, power racks, kicking and technique. Afternoon practices generally run from 4:00-6:15 pm. Saturday practices vary throughout the season, but are always done by the start of the Nebraska Cornhuskers game!
Do you go on a training trip? Where?
We do go on a training trip every year. It's a great time to get out of the Wisconsin winter, but more than that it is when our team really begins to take things up a notch. Without the stress of classes or finals, our guys train more effectively. When thrown into a hotel room with 3-4 other guys, they learn to work with, cooperate with, and respect one another on a deeper level. We have gone many places over the years. In Florida we've gone to Venice, Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale. We've also been to the Phoenix area a couple of times, and Mexico once. When selecting a place to train I have three important criteria. First, it must be affordable because our guys pay for much of the trip themselves. Second, we need to have access to both long and short-course training. Third, I look for places where others aren't. When you're down in paradise, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting for pool time with 8-10 other teams.
Who do you compete against? Who is in your conference?
Each year we try to build a challenging schedule against teams within a four-hour radius of campus. This allows us to travel and compete in one day thus allowing us to save money, avoid missed class time, and practice opportunities. If the right situation is available we aren't afraid to travel. We've taken teams to Minnesota for the Grand Prix and to Ohio to face the defending NCAA Champions. Fortunately, because of the Koenitzer Aquatic Center's great reputation, we've had teams from South Dakota to West Virginia willing to come here. We participate in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). Member schools are Augustana, Illinois Wesleyan, Millikin, North Central, Rose-Hulman and Wheaton. Carroll University will be joining in 2016-17.


Do swimmers struggle to balance swimming and their studies?
You want the truth? Some do and some don't. Generally speaking, Carthage students excel in the classroom and our swimmers are no different. They're high-achievers with big goals. If a student is falling behind there is a wealth of opportunities available to them including including free and unlimited tutoring, learning specialists, and access supportive professors through small class sizes and office hours. Those who struggle aren't necessarily who you would expect. We've had guys who I've had to fight to get in become Academic All-Americans, but we've also two guys with 30+ ACTs flunk out. If a swimmer is struggling academically, it is generally not because of swimming, but rather misguided priorities. In fact, in every single case (but one) where a swimmer told me they were leaving the team to focus on their academics, their grades didn't go up.

Long story short - if you want to succeed, in swimming, in your classes and in your career, Carthage has the resources to help get you there.

What do your swimmers major in? What is your team GPA?
Most of our swimmers mimic the rest of the student body. We have several swimmers in the sciences - biology, physics, and to a lesser extent chemistry. We also have a large cross-section who go into the business school. Not surprisingly, between the new science center and the AW Claussen Center for Business these are two of the larger and more challenging areas on campus. We've also had several guys interested in graphic design and communication along with computer science. Our team GPA generally hovers between 2.95 - 3.20. Each year we strive to be recognized as an Academic All-American team by the CSCAA.
How much class do you miss?
Most years our swimmers will miss one class in the Fall semester and 2-3 days for our conference meet in February. We try to schedule most of our meets within a 4-hour radius in order to minimize missed class time.
Is there a team study hall?
Some years yes, some years no. This is largely dependent on what our upperclassmen feel is necessary. Generally speaking, I am not in favor of them because to me, it represents a high-school mentality. There are, however, occasions where someone might need some additional "encouragement" and we can make accommodations for them. ;)

Other Stuff

What is your coaching style like?
Man, everyone asks this question and I'm never sure how to answer it. Really, I should get some swimmers to answer this question. So instead, I'll tell you about a couple of famous coaches who have been influential to me. The first is Bobby Knight. I first met coach Knight when I was coaching at Indiana and say what you want about the guy (and many have) if you a) worked your butt off, b) learned from and didn't repeat your mistakes and c) were loyal to the program hard-working, you wouldn't find a bigger champion of your cause. I work best with swimmers who are hard-working and willing to take risks. On the other end of the spectrum, I've always admired Dr. Tom Osborne, who led Nebraska football to three national championships. Dr. Tom's demeanor was much more stoic than Coach Knight's, but he brought a very methodological and analytical approach to everything he did.

Ultimately, my belief, the reason I'm motivated to coach, is to bring out the absolute best in everything - our program, our guys, and myself and those are the people I work best with. If someone needs to be motivated - whether through yelling or cajoling - I don't believe they will reach their true potential. If someone likes to be challenged, has high expectations for themselves and isn't afraid of trying and failing, and smart enough to learn from the process, I'll have fun with and be a very effective coach for them.

How many swimmers are on your team?
We try to carry between 24-27 swimmers each year. If we have more than that, its really difficult to effectively coach every guy on our team. At the same time, when you carry a large team it is hard to provide enough opportunities to compete and as a result those last few guys on the roster tend to lose the connection to the team. At worst, they lose connection with the academic and behavioral expectations we have. At the same time, we don't want to be too small. Having 24-27 guys allows us to have some options and some competition for those last few scoring spots on our conference roster. Even though only twenty guys can score at the conference meet, almost everyone can compete. Our success rests with every guy on the team and we've had non-scorers go onto become NCAA Qualifiers.



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