A tribute to a legend: Catherine Fox
For the first half of the season, Stanford coach, Richard Quick, trained Catherine Fox primarily as a middle-distance swimmer with a focus on IM training. Sprinting and speed development came later as training became more and more individualized. “Catherine is very versatile,” says Quick. “She doesn’t work exclusively in any specific group or with any particular individual.” In the second half of the year, she rotates among the long sprinters, backstrokers, and flyers.
Underwater training was a key part of the Stanford program, particularly for those swimmers, like Fox, who used underwater techniques as a major weapon at NCAAs. Says Quick: “Catherine is very good under water. That’s due primarily to her core body strength, which she developed with her club coach, Pete Malone, by doing gymnastics. She’s a very strong and very coordinated athletic woman: she can do a large number of pull-ups, walk on her hands, and she jumps really well.”
Quick and assistant coach, Ross Gerry, described Catherine as one of the hardest workers on the team. “She’s spectacular in her dryland training,” says Quick, “and in the pool, you can see her getting better as the season progresses. Then, of course, she is an extraordinary big meet swimmer.” Click here for basic butterfly techniques for children.
Catherine achieved her greatest success this year when she broke the American record in the 100-yard backstroke. “The main difference between this year and last,” observes Quick, “is that now she is breaking out of the underwater phase with momentum and building her speed into the walls.” Catherine has a great kinesthetic ability: “She saw where she needed to improve by watching videos of her races, and then she went out and made the adjustments she needed to make,” says Quick. He predicts that these changes will carry over to her long course swimming. If you’re interested in starting your own synchronized swimming teaching course, check out this article.
The Race Club
One added attraction of the meet this year was the participation of The Race Club, a unique, elite-level club of 2004 Olympic hopefuls founded by eight-time Olympic medalist, Gary Hall Jr., 28. The Race Club showed up in force, Hall, Sabir Muhammad, Aaron Ciarla and Nadine Rolland, to name the most visible, taking part in the celebration: swimming, offering suggestions, signing autographs and posing for pictures. The team’s participation was a concrete connection between Masters swimming and international swimming at the highest level.
In the water, Muhammad, a 28-year-old Stanford grad, was simply awesome, setting Masters records in the 25-29 age group in the 50 yard free (19.44), 100 free (42.91) and 50 fly (21.15), Despite being unrested and unshaved, Muhammad’s 100 free time was a lifetime best.
The good-natured Hall, victimized by his teammate in both freestyle sprints, demonstrated that even the greats can get “deeked,” when a bizarre back-to-breast turn in the 100 IM led to his disqualification. They all admired the ones that preceded them is top swimming, like the legendary Rogers “Tiger’ Holmes.