Episode 229: Don Swartz on Coaching, Innovating, and Developing a Winner’s Mindset


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This week I had an awesome conversation with Don Swartz, who coaches my wife’s Masters swimming program at North Bay Aquatics in Marin County, California, and is someone I respect, admire, and try to emulate in my own life. Don was inducted into the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013, he coached several swimmers to Olympic, World Championship and Pan-American teams in the early-to-mid 1970s, not to mention a handful of world records (including Rick Demont in the 400m freestyle when he became the first person in history to break 4 minutes in the event), and he’s widely credited with revolutionizing modern-day swim training with the introduction and implementation of cycle training (i.e. alternating hard days with easy days) in the early 1970s. At 77 years old Don is still on the deck, coaching both youth and Masters athletes at North Bay, and he’s beloved by his athletes and fellow coaches alike. I recently sat down with Don for a couple hours at his kitchen table to talk about his coaching journey, how he approaches working with swimmers despite never having been a competitive swimmer himself, founding the Creative Performance Institute in the 1970s and teaching the mental side of sport to coaches, athletes, and others, how he stays sharp, what keeps him going, and a lot more. This episode of the podcast is the second installment of the Coach-to-Coach series and it’s an instant all-timer (it’s got some Frank Gagliano vibes to it), full of amazing stories, anecdotes, and practical applications for coaches, leaders, and community builders across a wide range of domains.

Don Swartz: North Bay Aquatics | Swim Coach Direct Blog

the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter

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Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.

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