No, I'm Swedish, but I live in the archipelago between Sweden and Finland called Åland Islands. It's paradise, you should come visit during summer!
My team consists of boys and girls 10-12 depending on season (quite a few world top sailers live here and some of the sailing youngsters swim for the winter season mainly for exercise). The group differ in age from 13 to 20 and in 10mm free pb 0:52.4 to 1:12,0.
Interesting that you talk of Aesthetic, I haven't thought about it earlier but that is something that is a basic part of my coaching. It's like Occam's Razor
, the easier and more relaxed are better! I think it's been a guideline in my coaching for very long, I guess from the very start. I started coaching in '82 for a couple of years, then I stopped while at University and restarted in '91 and continued through '95 when I was fed up of anything related to swimming. I managed to stay out of the pool for a couple of years but when moving to Åland in '01 I started to swim competitive again (at the age of 35) and continued a couple of years and then I was forced to taking the head coach hat when the previous coach just quitted. Three years ago I thought the swimmers technique was in a really bad shape and that year I tried to improve it the old-fashioned way with no success which made me quite frustrated and I went looking at the internet and stumbled upon TI. I was instantly amazed, and I started to implement it, at first the kids thought I'd keep nagging on them for an hour or two. Their jaws dropped when I said "Until October. IF you learn fast". For the next two months we only did drills. No whole stroke swimming at all. 10 minutes of this, 20 minutes of that. Short break to clear the brain and get some exercise while jumping from the bottom of the pool, and so on. From mid October we started whole stroke swimming aswell. I was amazed how their times dropped, and so were they. No ordinary workouts just drilling and pb's dropped.
The last semester the programs have been 45+ minutes of drills, mainly 50's at a time with 10sek rest, followed by whole stroke swimming with different pace for 30-50 minutes depending on day of the week and targeted competition. Then drills again followed by sprints and warm down. Once a week we have race pace swimming off the blocks.
By the end of this second season of TI inspired coaching the results were not what I expected, and one of the reason is lack of endurance, and another is lack of speed.
Some of the kids lack endurance, they don't have the cardiovascular capacity they would need. They get tired and they can't keep a high speed for a longer distance. Some of the kids lack speed, they can keep going through out the whole distance but in too slow speed. Mainly because they practice slowness, swimming too slow at practice. The latters need endurance as well, but mostly speed.
So my plans for the upcoming season is to start building endurance, until first week of October, then slowly switch to speed for a couple of weeks before the age group nationals.
All of the kids do the drills quite well, and keep it in whole stroke swimming as well. But my opinion is that there are always room for improvement for any swimmer, my kids and myself included.
We've briefly touched the subject of SPL, but it didn't go well, speed dropped dramatically and in order to have the designated SPL the kids cheated (of course) and did longer push offs and underwater kicking as well as gliding the last 2-3m of the pool. So I thought that it had to wait. But I don't think it can wait anymore.
We also have a couple of Tempo Trainers that I've been using on and off for a couple of swimmers but the majority of the swimmers don't like them. I myself regard it as a excellent tool. From your posts I think we need to get one for each swimmer ;)