Written By: Casey Charles
One of my favorite practice structures growing up was the scarcely used, but always eagerly anticipated "Get Out Swim".
The scenario probably played out something like this - forty-five minutes into practice on a Friday (always a Friday), my coach (and probably yours) said something like - "Everybody hop out!" He sounded authoritative with his command. We looked around at one another hoping for something good, but we were all mostly anticipating getting yelled out for… well, anything - it was the 90s. But then he said, "Get Out Swim" and his lips ALWAYS seemed to slow down like particles drifting slowly in a snow globe.
Inevitably, the question was WHO. Once WHO was established, WHO got on the block while teammates lined the sides of the once health department condemned 6-lane outdoor pool in South Florida (maybe that was just me). Then WHO raced and everyone else cheered their asses off.
The "Get Out Swim" transformed even the most ardent, perfect attendance, Dudley Doright type swimmer into what feels like a seeker of state sponsored truancy.
It's truly magic.
But, this is 2022, and everything needs to be announced, scheduled, nerfed, sanitized and announced again; there can't be any unattended teenage loitering because they might make a TikTok video (which is far worse than what happened in the 90s - yeah).
In my situation, as my club began to train traveling swimmers who were coming from up to an hour away, the "Get Out Swim" was just an impossibility for logistical reasons and the capital loitering infractions stated above.
It was depressing to say the least.
But then, I either heard of or came up with the idea of a scheduled "Get Out Swim" practice for everyone, and we called it "100 Point Friday". In its most basic form, "100 Point Friday" requires everyone to score 100 points before they are allowed out of practice.
A chart of point scoring scenarios is devised. I usually give 12-15 options. The 5-pt mandatory warm-up is where everyone starts and then from there my swimmers choose their destiny and it looks something like this:
There have been many iterations of this chart over the years, and it SHOULD be modified to fit the group you are working with.
Generally, this is a fun departure from a traditional evening of work for most swimmers. I also think it’s important to point out that you will inevitably have kids who fail this set and are left behind by peers who quickly finish. Feel free to make deals - think on the fly. Lingering around the deck with a moping teenager is a great way to put a damper on your Friday night.
Entering his 18th season with the ECA, Coach Casey has fostered the meteoric rise in not only the number of swimmers on the team, but the success of those swimmers at championship meets. In 2003, as the head assistant coach, ECA (then GSC )numbered 85 swimmers. During the 2011-2012 season, ECA numbered close to 300 swimmers from 4 to 78 years old spanning three counties. During that 18 year period, ECA swimmers have won over 100 state titles, 15 sectional titles, 1 national title, and 1 Olympic gold medal. In addition, Coach Casey has directly worked with 3 swimmers who have achieved World Rankings and 8 swimmers who have achieved over 20 US Olympic Trials Cuts. Coach Casey stresses personal accountability, time management, and an arduous work ethic with all of his swimmers. Structure, progression, and adaptation are also staples in his swimming philosophy, which dictates the overall goals and mindset of ECA.