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Interview with Andy Potts about Olympic and Ironman Experience


In our previous blog, we interviewed Brian Peresie, Head Women’s Swimming & Diving Coach for The University of Akron about his Olympic experience. We hope you enjoyed that interview, and we thought it would be a good idea to do another interview this month with an Olympic athlete, Andy Potts.

Andy Potts competed in the Olympics in 2004, and has since focused his energies on a variety of Ironman competitions around the country.  After a bad fall on his bike at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 8th 2016, Andy still managed to place 11th. Previously he has placed 4th twice at this event. We spoke with Andy to ask him a few questions about his Olympic and Ironman experiences, as well as his commitment to using our StretchCordz® band resistance tools in his daily training regimen.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Olympic experience and background?

As you might imagine, for my entire life, going to the Olympics was a dream of mine. I represented the US in the 2004 Olympics in the triathlon event. I placed 22nd and was 1st out of the water.  As a former swimmer, I always say that I won the 1500 in the Olympics.

Tell us how you were first introduced to NZ Manufacturing products?

I have used StrechCordz® brand stretch cords as part of my training routine for most of my swimming career. My coach, Mike Doane, recommended NZ products to me about 8 years ago and I have been using them ever since.

Which NZ manufacturing products in particular do you use, or have you used in the past?

I try to use the StretchCordz® resistance bands on a daily basis before every swim workout. They are one of the few things that I can say have been in my training bag for my entire career.

Have you ever noticed a drop off in your endurance when you stopped using StretchCordz® products?

The past two years I had gotten away from my regular StrechCordz® swim training tool work and my swimming definitely suffered (you may not be able to tell but I certainly can). In April, I made the adjustment to go back to doing 5-8 minutes of using StrechCordz® tools for dry-land work. I’m starting to see the results now, and my swimming will be better this year because of it. I learned that it’s too valuable to forfeit that type of work.

What are some tips for a young swimmer aspiring to make it to the Olympics?

As an aspiring Olympic swimmer, it takes a lot of time, energy, dedication and focus.  It also requires many different teams at different times in your development. I will tell you the same things I tell my kids, which is applicable to everything in life: The only things you can control are your attitude and your effort. You need to have an eye on the big picture, but still focus on the small daily goals to achieve your long term goal.  You always have to work towards continuous improvement.

How has your Olympics experience differed from Ironman competitions?  Has the training essentially been the same, or was one more difficult than the other?

The training between preparing for the Olympics and Ironman competitions is completely different. I took a lot of what I learned and have applied it to my Ironman training, but they require different strengths. Unlike Olympic distance racing, Ironman racing, as a function of its length, requires a few key additional areas to focus on such as nutrition and mental focus. It is critical in Ironman training to stay focused for 8+ hours, whereas an Olympic distance event is under 2 hours.

Interested in learning more about the wide array of NZ Manufacturing products that can greatly improve your resistance training?

We can’t thank Andy Potts enough for taking time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us for this interview. We wish him all the best in his future competitions. If you’re looking to improve your own resistance training regimen, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to discuss our StretchCordz® products. We can be reached by phone at 330-634-0271, or through our contact form.

Diving In with Brian Peresie from the University of Akron


StrechCordz® and TurfCordz® resistance training products have been used by Olympic athletes, as well as college swimming and diving coaches for decades.

Brian Peresie, Head Women’s Swimming & Diving Coach for The University of Akron, lives and works just down the road from NZ Manufacturing’s headquarters. Brian also happened to attend the 2016 Summer Olympic trials. We spoke to Brian about his experience and asked him a few questions about his use of NZ Manufacturing products, as well as his views on training and conditioning.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Olympic trial experience this year?

We had 4 ladies in our program that recently qualified for the 2016 Olympic trials. The Olympic trial standards come out roughly two years ahead of the actual trials. We had two ladies that qualified last summer, and two more that qualified during the school year. It’s a really high honor to participate in the Olympic trials, which is the highest level of competition in the sport. We were excited to have such a strong showing of athletes at this year’s Olympic trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Can you tell us about when you were first introduced to NZ Manufacturing products?

We’ve used NZ Manufacturing products for years in our program. They are great training devices that allow us to be more creative with our workouts because we can use them in so many different ways. We really like to use them for resistance, where swimmers can swim stationary for 60 seconds at a time with a snorkel on to focus on their stroke underwater, trying to eliminate any dead spots.

We also use the longer cords for high intensity work outs, because they have progressive resistance. As our swimmers get closer to the wall using the StrechCordz® in-water gear, the resistance increases.

In addition, the short cords allow us to work on push offs and breakouts. When our swimmers focus on the short portion of the race, we can give them feedback right away, which allows them to know what to focus on when they are warming up for an event.

One of the lessons I try to teach all our swimmers is that you cannot get speed back that you’ve lost once you’re in the water. With StrechCordz® in-water and

dryland gear  we help our swimmers focus on the proper stroke and technique that will minimize any speed loss in the water.

What specific NZ Manufacturing products does your team use?

Why are NZ Manufacturing products so key to your training regimen?

I’ve always been a big believer in post activation potentiation theory, or PAP. This theory essentially says that if you’re performing for example a standing vertical jump with a 20 pound weight vest and do a couple of repetitions, take the vest off, wait 5 minutes, and jump again, you’ll be able to jump higher that if you didn’t jump with the weight first. I believe that the same applies to swimming. We have our swimmers swim with StrechCordz® gear for a few repetitions, then do some easy swimming without resistance, and more times than not they’re faster during competition. This teaches swimmers how to use additional muscle fibers, which translate into when they’re racing. We always try to use StrechCordz® gear in warmups for this reason.

What are some tips for a young swimmer aspiring to make it to the Olympics?

If I were to give any young swimmer advice, it would be to do the following:

  • You need to make a decision that this is what you want.
  • Set goals and stick to them.
  • You need to listen to your coaches. They’re going to have the best information that will help you to reach your goals. The more closely you work with your swim coach the better your opportunity will be to take your skills to the next level.

Interested in learning more about the NZ Manufacturing products used by Brian and his team?

We really appreciate Brian Peresie giving us a few minutes of his time, and hope that you enjoyed this interview. If you’re interested in learning more about the specific StrechCordz® gear and other NZ Manufacturing products that Brian and his team use at the University of Akron, feel free to reach out to our team today by phone at 330-634-0271, or through our online contact form.

NZ Manufacturing Resistance Training Tools help Olympians Go for the Gold

Golden, silver, bronze champion medals isolated on a white background

Resistance training tools are being used by professional athletes and international Olympians for strength training, stamina, flexibility, speed, and even physical therapy.

NZ Manufacturing is proud to work with top athletes around the world to provide them with the proper effective tools for their training routines. To prepare for the Olympics, swimmers and track competitors benefit from a variety of NZ Manufacturing products including StrechCordz swim training tools and TurfCordz agility tools.

StrechCordz Gear For Swim Training

Using StrechCordz products for swim training will provide resistance of varying levels that can be used for different levels of training that range from water aerobics and home pool use, to Olympic training. StrechCordz in-water resistance cords and bands are used by everyone from novice swimmers to competing Olympians for help with flexibility, stamina, speed, endurance, acceleration, and competition swim training. Our in-water resistance training equipment can be used for barge pulls, proper positioning, hip rotations, and more. StrechCordz® dry-land resistance bands and cords are ideal for those who need a portable form of training that they can take anywhere, as these can be used outside of water.

StrechCordz Safety Cord

What makes our StrechCordz resistance training line stand out from the rest? Our proprietary feature embeds a strong nylon cord within the latex tubing that is capable of extending to the maximum stretched length of the tube. The key benefits of this feature is that it minimizes over-stretching, and provides the safety and security that is needed for users to overcome any physical and mental barriers to their training.

Olympic Triathlete Relies On StrechCordz Training Products

Olympic triathlete and former Ironman 70.3 champion Andy Potts has been a long-time user of StrechCordz resistance bands. Here’s what Andy says about his recent use of StrechCordz products:

“So, the past two years I’ve gotten away from my regular StrechCordz swim training tool work, and my swimming has definitely suffered (you may not be able to tell, but I certainly can). In April, I made the adjustment to go back to doing 5-8 minutes of using StrechCordz tools for dry-land work. I’m starting to see the results now and my swimming will be better this year because of it. Too valuable to forfeit that type of work.”

Enhance Performance With TurfCordz Resistance Products

For up to 200 pounds of resistance, Olympians and pro athletes turn to TurfCordz products for agility, speed, and strength training to enhance their performance. TurfCordz Bungees are our #1 TurfCordz resistance products for good reasons. Stronger than even the professional athletes who use them, our TurfCordz products are high-performance training tools used for higher performing athletes. As opposed to typical tubing, our Bungee features special patented braided nylon over rubber which allows it to stretch one-two times its length during use, and gives it a heavier load and durability that is built to last.

NZ Manufacturing Improving Performance Through Resistance

For high performance resistance training gear and workout instruction, turn to the products that Olympians and pro athletes rely on for their top results. Contact NZ Manufacturing at 800-866-6621 with your questions related to our line of products, or visit us online at

Swim Coaching and Resistance Training Over the Last 40 years

An Interview with Bob Karl, Head Coach of Bob Karl Swim Club since 1976

Bob Karl has coached swimming for over 40 years. He has used StrechCordz® swim resistance training products since their inception. We spoke to him to find out what has changed in swim coaching and resistance training over the decades.

Tell us about what resistance and strength training you did with your swimmers when you were first starting out and what you do now?

In the beginning we didn’t do much with StrechCordz® training products. When I first started out, we worked with them on a limited basis about 20 years ago. Right now we’re using the highest strength StrechCordz product all the way through our dry-land progam.

You’ve coached a litany of decorated athletes and some of the greatest coaches of our time. What do you think separates a great coach from an average coach?

I think it’s being open-minded and having the ability to make changes to the program. It’s the ability to not follow the fad. In the 70’s cord training was a fad and then faded, but it’s back, I’ve been doing it since the 60’s. A lot of new coaches want to try the latest trends and aren’t open minded to trying what’s worked for years.

There are many exercise variations, and training tools for in-water and dry land training. Many swim coaches struggle with balancing and prioritizing exercises. What advice do you have for making sure all the swimmers get the right exercise they need?

Too much moderation is no good and overkill is no good. I think the StrechCordz® resistance training tools help you in that area where you don’t do overkill and under level of ability. I think in that area for us, it really helps us dramatically. The idea of keeping a balance between the dry-land training program, weights and the water is very critical. You have to keep a balance between your swimming and your dry-land training. I know a trainer that tried to overkill with the weight room and it didn’t achieve what he wanted it to achieve as a result his performance levels were diminished. You can’t replace swimming with just dry-land training, and you can’t replace dry-land training with swimming. It’s been proven over the years that swimmers through heavy training lose strength. The reason we do our dry-land training programs now through the season is to keep that strength building up while we are training harder in the water, so that when we do taper and rest we’re able to train that much harder. We couldn’t survive without StrechCordz® training tools knowing what we do and how we do it.

You’ve been using StrechCordz® resistance training tools with your swimmers for decades. What is it that you like most about our products?

The versatility. You can make change in a moments notice from exercise to exercise using the same cord. We’ll change over dramatically from drill to drill using StrechCordz® gear. They’re easy to maintain. There’s really no maintenance at all. You just buy them and use them.

Can you tell us a one or two exercises you use StrechCordz® gear for, and what exercises you recommend with them?

We use the heavy duty blue StrechCordz® dry land training tools. We use them three days a week, and we do two different exercises – one for triceps and one for the rotator cuff. It’s not the same as weights. You can get the same benefit without the worry of hurting yourself with a bar. The tricep exercise really helps the back end of the stroke quite a bit. Our improvement with the swimmers is just remarkable. This year alone, I’ve had a boy drop over a minute in the 500. He’s going to drop another minute this year just because of those two exercises. I just know it.

If you missed us at the IAFC in May, here’s a quick recap:


StretchCordz® Original Resistance Swim Training Gear was demonstrated throughout the conference.

Aquatic trainers demonstrated the versatility of StrechCordz® training products for use in both high intensity aerobic workouts and dry land training.

Among the trainers featuring StrechCordz® products, Lori Sherlock featured high intensity training incorporating the use of StrechCordz® with Handles, StrechCordz® Stationary Swim Trainer and StrechCordz® Ankle Elastic.

Jackie Lebeau did a great dry land resistance training demonstration that can also be incorporated in the water. One participant said, “I liked how she had the versatility of cardio and dry-land training combined with partner drills using a single S300. The presentation was very thorough and efficient. I came away with more ways to use the StrechCordz® pool aqua band than I ever would have thought of myself.”  She was kind enough to share with us her workout as a PDF here.

We sold out of all of the swim training gear we brought to the show! However, our StrechCordz® swim training gear, TurfCordz® agility training gear, and MediCordz® rehabilitation gear are regularly demonstrated at various sports training conferences around the world. Check for last minute great deals on NZ Manufacturing products used only in demonstrations.

NZ Manufacturing is proud to announce that we awarded Elizabeth Ford with a $500 Scholarship at IAFC that can be used for any continuing education provided by the AEA.

Thank you to all who brought shared their time and talent to the pool deck to demonstrate the use of StrechCordz® products!