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Joel Stager
Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming

Tracy James
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, July 14, 2005

How to swim fast

Swedish swimmers prepare for world championship at Indiana University research center

JULY 14, 2005

EDITORS: The Swedish National Swim Team will practice daily at the Indiana University Outdoor Pool, at 17th Street and Fee Lane, from 10 a.m. to noon, and at the Counsilman/Billingsley Aquatic Center in the Student Recreational Sports Center, on East Law Lane, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Reporters and photographers may attend the practices. Please contact Joel Stager, 812-855-1637 and, for more information about this and community activities involving the swim team next week.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- When the Swedish National Swim Team hits the pools in Bloomington this week, its presence will be reminiscent of an exciting period in Indiana University and Bloomington aquatic history, when teams and coaches from around the world regularly traveled to this small Midwestern college town for one purpose, to learn from Doc.

Long-time IU swim coach James "Doc" Counsilman, who coached a remarkable number of championship teams and Olympic medalists, was celebrated internationally for his revolutionary marriage of science and swimming, a passion carried on at IU Bloomington's Counsilman Center for the Science of Swimming.

Instead of hoarding his findings for his teams, he shared them with coaches and athletes worldwide.

"Often when we're at international facilities, we hear a reverence for Doc's openness," said Counsilman Center Director Joel Stager, who described himself and research associate Dave Tanner as disciples of Counsilman's philosophy. "He shared his findings with everyone. We're like that. We work to improve the sport through science. This visit gives us the opportunity to work with an elite swim team and to share our research findings. It's pretty exciting."

The Swedish National Swim Team arrived in Bloomington on Tuesday (July 12) and is practicing at the IU Outdoor Pool in the mornings and at the Counsilman/Billingsley Aquatic Center in the early evenings. They will leave on July 22 for the World Swimming Championships in Montreal.

Counsilman, who died last year, coached at IU from 1957 to 1991. The Bloomington community often supported his international visitors in a variety of ways, such as hosting dinners and providing them with supplies. Stager said any such invitations or initiatives are welcome and can be arranged by contacting him.

While here, the team will acclimate to the time change and hear from Stager and other Counsilman Center researchers about what it takes to swim fast -- drawing on the center's research involving technology, power development, sprint performance and other aspects of swimming. Stager said researchers also will perform a variety of assessments and evaluations for the swimmers.

Stager described the use of science as a "shortcut" to top performance. Research at the Counsilman Center involves the exploration and design of swimming-related technology and draws from a knowledge base of physiology, biomechanics, anatomy, nutrition and other fields. The scientists work to formulate principles that will help athletes and coaches prepare for competition.

"We hope to shorten the time required to advance training techniques by embracing science to this end," Stager said.

This summer a Brazilian swimmer is also training with Counsilman Center staff as he prepares for a tryout with the Brazilian National Swim Team. Stager said he looks forward to bringing more elite swimmers to Bloomington.

The center also investigates training practices and safety issues and promotes swimming as a lifetime activity.

Stager can be reached at 812-855-1637 and