Friday, April 17, 2015

Why U.S. Olympic Swimming Dominates

At the Olympic Games, USA Swimming has won 520 medals -- 220 of them gold. Second place country Australia has 171, total. 

Outside of a 17 day cycle once every four years we will only hear the names of swimmers like Lochte and Phelps for their more dubious distinctions. How is it that America can so thoroughly dominate a sport you won't find on Sportscenter or in your daily newspaper? 

"Olympic champions don't just do much more of the same things that summer-league country-club swimmers do. They don't just swim more hours, or move their arms faster or attend more workouts. What makes them faster cannot be quantitatively compare with lower level swimmers... Instead they do things differently. Their strokes are different, their attitudes are different, their group of friends are different, their parents treat the sport differently." Via The Mundanity of Excellence report

Today, Fortune magazine weighed in on with the article Why U.S. swimming is so dominant. Perhaps the biggest key: A rigid management roadmap for their Olympic team. 

One takeaway from Chuck Wielgus, director USA Swimming:

“We’re a not-for-profit with a bottom-line orientation. Performance by committee is a major mistake. So coaches run their show, directors do their part, and it’s a separation of state.” 

Is there something in there for other sports to learn?

1 comment:

Kevin Vaughn said...

Great article! It's true for so many disciplines. Having a clear and accurate roadmap for improvement is key for progression. Further, getting that roadmap out where newcomers can access it and apply it is vital. I think that final step is where lots of sports and other disciplines fall short.