Will Cumberland is a graduate of Notre Dame University, where he swam backstroke and individual medley. He enjoys teaching short course race technique such as starts, turns, underwaters, and finishes by breaking down the various parts of each element. Will says, “underwaters are the most important part of swimming, and something my club coach emphasized. I didn’t hit my stride with underwaters until my sophomore or junior year in high school, and I did it by holding myself accountable at practice, focusing on each turn and underwater kick count.”
When leading a Fitter & Faster clinic, Will uses basic drills as building blocks, explaining both the purpose and process of a drill so that clinic participants understand not only what to do but why they’re doing it. Once each swimmer has become proficient in a drill, Will moves on to the next drill, building into the mechanics of a full stroke. He says, “It’s really important, especially working with young athletes, to break the stroke down into simpler parts. I like to start with the kick, and focus solely on the kick, before moving to the pull, and focus solely on the pull. Then we put everything together and work on the synchronization of the two.”
Reflecting on what tactics he used to advance in swimming, Will credits his teammates. He says, “Swimming is such a rigorous sport and takes focus day in and day out; consistency and tenacity are key. I leaned on my teammates, and we learned to hold each other accountable. If I saw someone was struggling with focus at practice, I’d help them, and hope they’d do the same for me if.” While swimming is an individual sport, a positive environment can help each athlete be the best they can be, whether on a team or in a Fitter & Faster camp.