Swimming World Presents – Q & A with Northwestern’s Coach Katie Robinson

Swimming World January 2021 - Q and A with Northwestern Aquatics Coach Katie Robinson
Northwestern's Coach Katie Robinson

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Q & A with Northwestern’s Coach Katie Robinson

By Michael J. Stott

One of only two females to coach a Power 5 conference men’s and women’s swim team, Katie Robinson is empowering her charges to maximize their intellectual and athletic potential as she leads them to compete with the Big Ten elite.

As a swimmer, Katie Robinson was a 9x high school and 11x NCAA All-American. Swimming for South Dearborn High School (1999-03), she was a 6x Indiana high school state champion, a state record holder in the 100 yard fly, and was inducted into the Indiana High School Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame. At the University of Texas, she was a 3x Big 12 Conference champion in the 200 fly and captain of the 2006-07 team. As a senior, she was the Big 12 nominee for NCAA Female Athlete of the Year.

CREDENTIALS
• University of Texas, B.S., kinesiology, 2007
• Director of men’s and women’s swimming, Northwestern University, 2020-present; associate head coach, 2018-20
• Head women’s coach, Tulane University, 2013-18
• Assistant women’s swim coach, Rutgers University, 2011-13
• Assistant swim coach, University of Virginia, 2008-11
• Graduate assistant, University of the Pacific, 2008
• Winner of V.F. “Doc” Neuhaus Endowed Presidential Scholarship (Texas women’s athletic department’s highest endowed honor), 2007

Q. SWIMMING WORLD: Where and when did you get your aquatic start?
A. COACH KATIE ROBINSON: As a young girl in rural Indiana, my older brother started swimming…and I had to tag along. I was a competitive gymnast, but my mom didn’t want me just sitting during my brother’s swim class, so she enrolled me in a two-week clinic.

At the end of every session, a different coach tried to convince her to put me on the team. She thought it was just a money-making tactic, but by the last day of the clinic, “Coach Z”—who would end up coaching me for the majority of my early swimming career—convinced her.

SW: You were recruited by Cal and Stanford, among others. Why did you decide to swim for Texas?
KR: Texas was my first recruiting trip, and it really wowed me in all the right ways. I felt the coach-swimmer connection, and I could tell they really believed in me. I had the same feeling with the women on the team.

I really loved the Texas Pride in Austin, and I came away from the recruiting weekend with a sun tattoo of the longhorn shape from the sticker on my cheek at the football game.

SW: Jill Sterkel influenced you. How?
KR: Jill is absolutely the reason I coach today. I admired and deeply respected her as a coach and also as the dominant swimmer she was. There is nothing fake or superficial about her. I loved her passion for the sport and her direct, straightforward coaching approach, while still showing great care and love for all of us. She encouraged us to be our true selves.

We also had a wackiness to our culture that was fun and spirited. At the end of my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to grow in this profession, being like her.


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SW January 2021 - Cover - Michael Andrew - Taking the Road Less Traveled[PHOTO BY MINE KASABOGLU/ISL]

 

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Swimming World Magazine January 2021 Issue

FEATURES

011 A YEAR LIKE NONE OTHER
by Dan D’Addona
The top story of 2020—the COVID-19 pandemic—impacted all of the year’s stories in aquatics…from age group, high school, college and Masters competition all the way to the Olympics!

012 THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF THE MILLENNIUM’S FIRST 20 YEARS (2000-19)
by John Lohn
One month after we selected the Swimmers of the Millennium (to this point), we have picked the top 10 performances of the millennium’s first 20 years. The swims that were selected were not just based on speed, but carried a certain level of significance or marked a defining moment in the sport.

020 TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
by David Rieder
Michael Andrew has been the target of criticism the last seven-and-a-half years for his decision to turn pro at 14, his unique training style (USRPT), his training plan and more. But he’s also enjoyed success along the way and is ready to move to the next level as he prepares to qualify for the 2021 Olympics.

024 WHO “SHOT” THE SWIMMERS?
by Bruce Wigo
This is the first part of a series that highlights an International Swimming Hall of Fame exhibit showing the history of swimming through the eyes of the photojournalists who have covered the aquatic sports for more than 150 years.

028 A SHOOTING STAR IN SEOUL
by John Lohn
American Matt Biondi had it all. The physique. The pure talent. The inner drive. Add those traits together, and it is no surprise that Matt Biondi—over the span of three Olympiads—cultivated one of the finest careers the sport has ever seen.

031 2020 WORLD & AMERICAN RECORD PROGRESSION
compiled by Andy Ross

033 NUTRITION: IF YOU WANT TO BE AN OLYMPIAN OR WORLD CHAMPION, THEN TRAIN LIKE ONE!
by Dawn Weatherwax
A strong immune system means fewer days out of the water.

038 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH OLIVIA SMOLIGA
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

015 SELLING PROCESS TO SWIMMERS (Part 1)
by Michael J. Stott
In 1993, Swedish cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson wrote that greatness wasn’t born, but grown. His ideas later formed the basis for the “10,000-hour rule” described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers” (2008), which holds that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a skill or field. Known by the term, “process,” to coaches, Swimming World details how they use that learning curve to improve the performance of their swimmers.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE FOR SPRINT AND DISTANCE (Part 1)
by Rod Havriluk
Many sources suggest that swimmers use a different freestyle technique for sprint and distance events. However, science (both physics and research) shows us that a swimmer can optimize performance in events of all distances by using the same arm motion with a different arm coordination.

040 SPECIAL SETS: TOUGH SETS THE DON SWARTZ WAY
by Michael J. Stott
Don Swartz, now at North Bay Aquatics, was Rick DeMont’s coach at Marin Aquatic Club in the early 1970s when he set world records in the 400 and 1500 meter freestyle. The halcyon era was a time of mega yardage being done by the likes of DeMont and fellow Olympians Brian Goodell, Bobby Hackett and Australia’s Steven Holland. When it came to designing tough sets, you could say that Swartz had a front row seat.

043 Q&A WITH COACH KATIE ROBINSON
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN MIRIAM GUEVARA
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: RESOLUTIONS FOR SWIMMING FASTER IN 2021!
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: LEVENIA SIM
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

027 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT SPORTS CARTOONS?

042 THE OFFICIAL WORD

046 GUTTERTALK

048 PARTING SHOT

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

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