Swim Bits – Dick Hannula 2


Dick Hannula

Dick Hannula

Dick Hannula is the most successful high school swimming coach in Washington state ever.  His teams at Wilson High School in Tacoma won 24 straight state championships.  Hannula coached at the Olympics and several times at the Pan American games.

A few years ago I was going through some old swim files, and I came across an old mimeograph sheet of “Hannula’s Hints” and published about half of them in the Aqua Master.  Here are some more of them as food for thought, and application to your own swimming.

  • Dare to dream. It takes a lot of guts to live out a dream.
  • You have to dream before you can have goals. If you can’t dream, you are in trouble.
  • When you set goals, don’t set hamburger goals. Be specific.  Don’t say “Faster;” say 1:10.
  • Be persistent, consistently persistent. If you are not persistent, you are in trouble.
  • The greatest attribute you can have is to be consistent. Some goals are not obtainable in one year.
  • Training is directed exercise. When you are really fit, there are some great feelings in workouts.  Training has to be done hard if you want results.
  • The objective is to swim fast in races. Training should relate to racing.  Training puts into the body what racing takes out.
  • You want to picture what you are doing right.
  • You want to “feel” for the water on every stroke in training and races.
  • A national record holder’s answer to the question, “Were you surprised at setting the record?,” said, “No. I swam that race a thousand times in my mind, and I only had to do it once in the pool.”

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2 thoughts on “Swim Bits – Dick Hannula

  • Peter R Metzger

    Of course, I remember Dick Hannula. He had the greatest collection of swimmers in the Pacific Northwest. One of his swimmers became my coach and best friend. His name was John Hartman. John became a coach because of Dick. When in high school he was Dick’s assistant and learned from him. Later in life, when he turned Lake Oswego High School into a swimming powerhouse, John took his team up to Tacoma to swim against his old coach and mentor, Dick Hannula. Dick had never lost a dual meet in all the years he coached high school swimming. Of course, John was extra motivated to win, he was a great coach but he was even better at motivating his swimmers. When it was all over and they counted up all the points at the conclusion of the meet, Lake Oswego did what no other high school had ever done…. they beat Wilson High School and gave Dick Hannula his only loss. It was one of John’s biggest accomplishments. His quote was this “when the student beats the Master”.