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Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka



After I instructed swimming lessons today, I did some thinking. I had a parent approach me and ask why their child can not swim the length of the pool. Mind you, these swimming lessons are ONLY!  On Saturday. That is only 1 day a week. I am here to tell you that the World War II generation might know a little bit more wisdom. After all, it was my grandmother (Mrs. Ethel White) who said “Anything worth doing is worth doing well, haste makes waste and practice makes perfect.” I have found that anything worth enjoying in life requires labor, effort, work, struggle, friction, pain, or some kind of suffering, and TIME! If you are not paying for it someone else is.

Three years ago Allen Iverson once said “Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that but I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you've seen me play right, you've seen me give everything I've got, but we're talking about practice right now.” As if he did not need it or could miss it. I just think about how much better his game could have been if he to practice more seriously. I would even say that he owes practice to himself, god, his fans, and everybody. You have skills that allow you to play a great game, swim great, or play an instrument. However, if you’re not practicing to do better next time, to improve, then you can not say that you really BRING IT.  To put on another level I don’t want to attend a class where the teacher has not prepared. I don’t want to listen to a piano player who has not practiced. Most of all I don’t like people who don’t practice their sport or trade because there is honor in practicing to Compete and Win. Success does not come easy or immediately. Just like failure, it is a number of choices, one after the other, over a long period of time. These days it seems that so many people want what ever they want immediately, now, now, and now, now. That’s not reality. That is not normal by what is natural. Again, time and practice are required true success and satisfaction.

Satisfaction, true satisfaction, is a long term thing. It’s not a wild and crazy behavior, in the thrill of the moment, after winning one game/race. True satisfaction comes from confidently making the decision, almost like a sacrifice, to practice everyday religiously. It is a long term commitment to win everyday, week, year, season, and establish a tradition again, again, and again. There is something you need to remember. While the same man never watches the same sunset because both have changed with each new day they still push forward in life, they practiced, they go through the activities whish they should do, and there is honor in that. And like Denis Miller from the weekend update, it’s late, and I’m out of here!!

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Comment by Robeson White on July 30, 2011 at 10:58pm


You are correct. Practicing good habits goes back to my blog/post on good coaching.


Dr. Duplessis:

Thank you for the advice. I have incorporated your methods in summer session 1 with success.

Comment by Jayson Jackson on May 24, 2011 at 10:03pm
Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent. So if you practice good habits you'll improve, but practicing bad habits will make those stick as well.
Comment by ERROL DUPLESSIS on May 24, 2011 at 8:44pm
Parents sometimes put too much pressure on their child(ren) and the swim instructor.  My advice, Robeson, is to re-focus on the basics, i.e., breathing and breath control, buoyancy, and control of body position in the water, especially the horizontal float.  When these skills are mastered, work on swimming the width of the pool, etc.  The delivery of the stroke is not nearly as important as feeling comfortable in the water, to include deep water.  Why not teach a child to swim in comfort using ANY stroke that they are comfortable with?  I taught the wing-it stroke at HU for 21 years, and by the time the students learned it well (they were swimming and breathing), they could focus on the more traditional strokes like the front crawl, or breast stroke, etc.  Sometimes we swim instructors are too eager to get the child going on the crawl stroke, and they never seem to coordinate breathing, arm movements, leg movements, etc.  Keep it simple I say.  And be patient as you need to be (with child and parent).

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