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This month's message is from Jenna Johnson, who brought home the GOLD in the 1984 Olympics...winning in the 100m butterfly with a time of 1:00:19. Jenna is one TOUGH competitor. She swam her collegiate career at Stanford, and coached the University of Tennessee's Lady Vols swim team...how's that for a Tennessee connection? She swam with and for the best, and now she's going to share a few secrets with us that we can use on the Road to Indy!

Hi, Ron!

It was great catching up with you a few days ago after I had to cancel on your weekend awards ceremony with your Masters swimmers. I am so sorry that things did not work out, but please give your Masters swimmers a "congrats" on the 100x100s they did and a "go-get-em" in their training for Masters Nationals in Indianapolis! I'll see you and your swimmers at Masters Nationals in Indianapolis representing AdvoCare at a booth there, sampling free product and information from the best nutritional products on the planet!

You know, Ron, the natatorium at Indy brings back so many fond memories for me....qualifying for the 1984 Olympic team for one. And we had several of our NCAA Championships there during my years at Stanford University from '85-'89. Yikes! I am getting old! The pool has been around a while, but it is still, I believe, is one of the fastest pools in the U.S.! I love the feeling of the place. Now, as you know, I was a sprinter--50 and 100 freestyle, and 100 butterfly were my best events. I also had a pretty decent 200 free, but didn't get to swim it as often as I would have liked. I have had the privilege of knowing and swimming for some of the best coaches in the sport . . . George Haines, Richard Quick, Guy Miller, Mike Chasson, and Ed Spencer. I received some golden nuggets from some of my very first coaches in the sport, when I was just a youngster, which I still recall. Some of this stuff may sound crazy, but it worked to make me faster! I'm going to focus on butterfly for now, since it is on my mind at the moment.

One of my coaches, Ed Spencer, whom you know very well, was a big believer in perfect technique at the cost of yardage. For example, I could not handle more than 150 of butterfly at a time repeatedly (i.e., 10x150 butterfly on a tight interval with 15-20 seconds rest) and still keep my technique intact. So his idea was doing less the right way was more constructive than doing more the wrong way. He had me do quality sets of butterfly. Rarely did I swim butterfly slowly or even at a medium pace. I was going for speed and accuracy most of the time. If I started to break down too soon, I'd throw on a pair of fins and my stroke would stay pretty, my heart rate would stay high, and I'd continue to gain strength and speed. And it worked, as I ended up being the 2nd fastest butterflyer in the world in 1984! Ed was a smart guy.

Here's another couple of tips for sprint butterfly. Do a TON of dolphin kick WITHOUT a board, on your back, especially, and on your side. Sprinters are always very strong kickers. The abdominals will get a beating, but, for butterfly, you need your core to be the strongest. Try swimming butterfly underwater COMPLETELY. This will strengthen your arms like you wouldn't believe. You have to hold your breath, of course. This would turn into a hypoxic set, no doubt--another great thing for sprinters. Breathing is a waste of time!

Do some dolphin kick with and without fins underwater and time yourself for a 25. Keep your arms over your head in a tight streamlined position (rather than down by your sides). Pay attention to how your time gets faster in a 25 sprint dolphin kick underwater as you change things here and there, such as your streamline position, the angle of your knees as you kick, your depth, your undulation. And, yes, do these from a dive off the blocks, even with fins on. (Your fins have to fit very snugly for this drill.) Do 10 of these at the end of practice 1 or 2 times per week and know what your best time is. Challenge yourself to break that time even by one hundredth of a second. Replace that set on some days with an unlimited number of 25s all out swimming with at least 2-3 minutes of rest in between to give an absolute ALL OUT effort. Decide on the time you will break and keep going until you do. My coach would challenge me this way: He would reserve a good 20-30 minutes at the end of some workouts, give me the time I had to break, and I would keep doing 25's all out until I did it. The sooner I did it, the sooner I got out. That was very motivating! Who wouldn't want to get out early after already swimming for 2 and 1/2 hours straight??? (Our workouts were usually 3 hours in the water alone.)

When I was coaching Masters for 5 or 6 years, my swimmers would ALWAYS rave about practice afterward when we did pure quality swimming sets. They felt that they had so little opportunity to work on the little things if we did not set up a competition-type atmosphere once in a while in the workout. Many of them would realize quickly that they did not know how to dive without losing their goggles, or that their reaction time was quite slow. Here are some tips on speeding up your reaction time. Some people are just born with more fast twitch muscle fibers and have a head start on you from day one, but don't let that get you down! You long-distance types can usually catch them on the finish! Okay, so stand in a line, shoulder-to-shoulder, with your eyes closed, facing your coach. Have him say, "Swimmers, take your mark, . ." and then he blows a whistle or shoots a gun or beeper or whatever and you have to jump up into the air as high as you can as quickly as you can. Your coach will, of course, vary the amount of time so that you will be on your toes with anticipation. This really works. It also strengthens your legs for those starts! If you are a triathlete, and you don't use the blocks, you could still use the training for pure strength and concentration!

I am planning on coming to Hendersonville sometime in late January or early February if possible to share some exciting products. These products are formulated from the very best ingredients by the #1 nutrition company in the world. . . AdvoCare . . . for Olympians and professional athletes. AdvoCare is the fastest-growing nutritional company in the nation and has over 400 non-paid endorsers, who are Olympians and professional athletes. If they are good enough for the Tennessee Titans, they are good enough for me. I can honestly say from an elite athlete's perspective, these nutritional products have changed my life. I have more energy than I have in years, and I finally got my old body back just in time for another pregnancy. I know these supplements will keep me going strong for the rest of my life. And I know they will help you to look and feel as young as I am! When I come, I would LOVE to sample some of these life-changing, cutting-edge products to your team. I know they will notice a difference in their strength, stamina, concentration, and recovery.

Jenna Johnson

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