I started to become a swim coach in 1994 after I retired from competitive swimming.
I decided to get into it because I wanted to pay it forward after all the blessings that swimming has given to me. It was a very fulfilling time in my life.
After seven years I was able to teach about 10,000 kids how to swim.
Some of them went all the way to the Olympics while others simply overcame their fear of water and are now enjoying the sport in many levels.
I remember writing all these daily workouts and faxing them to all 15 of my swimming programs across the country.
Yes, that’s right, I used a fax machine!
Maybe today there are some who are not yet aware that such communication equipment existed.
But then I was called again to serve our country in 2001 as chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission so I had to give up coaching.
The good thing is that I left all my swimming pools to all my assistant coaches and instructors and I am very glad that even today some of them have continued the program.
From that time on I would be asked time and again if I was still coaching and I would refer them to my assistant coaches. I missed coaching very much.
Then, new technology was developed that allowed us to send video files over our mobile phones. It allowed me to again pay it forward with friend’s request to do stroke corrections from anywhere we may be.
I would simply ask them to send short video files of them in action and I would give them few pointers on what I think they need to do to correct their mistakes and improve their strokes.
Technology today is truly amazing!
Imagine I don’t even have to be physically there to see their swims and be able to help them.
From a simple video file that they send, I could even offer them swimming drills and workouts to elevate their performance to the next level.
Now, we even have video call technology. I can now watch them while they are actually training via live streaming.
It’s a far cry from the time I was coaching when I had to constantly travel all over the country to check on my swimmers.
I remember that when I was still swimming, I needed information about the performances of the other swimmers I would be competing against.
My parents would request our consular embassies in those countries my competitors are located to get the hard copies of their national selection results and send it to us via the postal service.
It was a long wait, to say the least, but it is essential to get comparative times to allow me to be prepared by the time we compete.
Today, with the technology that we have, with few clicks on any mobile device, we can easily get results of any major swimming competition across the globe and even backtrack to previous results year after year.
Wow! I wish it was this easy back then.
If I was a swimmer today, I would really take advantage of the technology available to get swim times and even split times and design my own training program based of these information to be faster than my competitors.
It would increase the predictability of how fast they could be swimming come competition day.
Today, we can even get information on the latest strength and conditioning techniques for swimming just by typing few words on any search engine program. It allows us to find specific body part strengthening exercises that lessens the stress we put on our bodies compared to before when I was swimming.
I remember our coach then requiring all of us to do 1,000 abdominal crunches a day.
The first time I did it, I would literally tear up any time anybody would crack a joke as the pain was just terrible. Laughing was painful.
It took a few weeks for the pain to subside, not to mention the undue risk to injury to other parts of the body from all the crunches like my lower back and neck.
Today, it’s called core training exercises!
You won’t need to do as many to get the same — or even better — results. You can find your weaknesses and work specifically on that body part for better performance.
I envy the swimmers today with all of the information available to them right in their fingertips.
Information about their competitors performance, possibility of being coached by the best coaches available anywhere in the world, and the latest sports science that allows them to push their body to a much higher level with lesser risk of getting injured.
If I could only go back in time and utilize the technology available today, I think I would be swimming much faster than I did during my era.