Kim Brackin launches innovative swim training facility


Courtesy of Bristel Bowen

Evan Berkowitz

For Kim Brackin, former Longhorn women’s swim coach, there are no more recruiting calls. There isn’t as much travelling. And there are no more team swimming practices.

Instead, the one-time Northwestern, Auburn and Texas women’s swimming coach started an innovative swim training facility in Austin. Brackin Elite Swim Training (BEST), which began Oct. 1, focuses on improving technique and efficiency for elite athletes in a one-on-one environment.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love college coaching,” Brackin said. “But when you’re in a big program and have 30 kids or so, giving one-on-one attention is challenging.”

After being relieved of her duties April 2 as the head coach at Texas, she began to think about it as an opportunity to be able to teach in a more personal way. Doing much of her preliminary planning in May and research in June, Brackin was well on her way to getting this system started.

There was no better place and system, in her mind, than what she devised.

“I love coaching, and I love Austin,” Brackin said. “One of the things I feel like is my strongest aspect of coaching is technique and doing one-on-one work with athletes. So why not do this?”

This program isn’t completely about the instructor, though. There is a reason she has been calling it innovative.

Her clients swim in an Endless Pool Elite. The pool controls the power of the current so that the water moves past the swimmer, while the swimmer practically swims in place.

“I’m standing right next to you the whole time,” Brackin said about the Endless Pool Elite. “When I’m on a college deck, they are further away from me, and I can’t always see what they are doing. Now I have a bird’s eye view of the swimmer all the time, allowing for better coaching.”

But the Endless Pool Elite has more than just a custom current. It has underwater and overhead mirrors, and every session is taped from above and below the surface to allow Brackin and her client to analyze film during each session via DartFish.

“The vantage points you get from these technologies are unparalleled,” Brackin said. “The most exciting part for a swimmer is that there are mirrors in the water so they can watch themselves swim. And in the moment, if they are intelligent enough, they can make stroke corrections on their own.”

Brackin, who has mentored seven Olympians, has started off primarily with professional triathletes, but she works with anyone who wants to improve their swimming technique. She figured that her clientele will most likely be high school and club swimmers.

Printed on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 as: Brackin opens training center