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Aerobic Training and Aerobic Base: World Class Swimmers’ Training (In Chronological Order)

Aerobic Training and Aerobic Base: World Class Swimmers’ Training (In Chronological Order)

SWIMMING WORLD JUNE 1974

 

HARD WORK “OR Else” pays off for Heddy

Editor’s Note: The following article is made possible through correspondence from Frank Elm and Kathy Heddy. The article is written by editorial assistant Sandy Segal.

 

In September 1971, a friend asked Coach Frank Elm of Central Jersey how his new swimmer, a 13-year-old named Kathy Heddy, was coming along. Elm’s honest reply was, “Not So hot.”

It has been almost three years since Kathy Heddy met Frank Elm, and in that time she has progressed from “not so hot” to an American record holder.

Kathy has had to work hard to move into the national and international scene. She swam for a local Y and for the Williamsville, New York Water Buffalo Swim Club until her father’s transfer in 1971 led her to New Jersey and Coach Elm’s Central Jersey Aquatic Club. When she· started with the club, her personal best times were a 57 for the 100 yard free and 2:03 for the 200 yard free. She was, as Elm called her, “just another freestyler.”

The young swimmer had difficulty adjusting to workouts for the first few months, killing herself by training four days a week, one:–and-a-half hours per session. But as the season progressed, Kathy got faster and tougher and started the seven days per week program, eventually earning a spot on the club’s relay reams for the Dallas Nationals in 1972, as well as a chance to swim the 100 and 200 yard free.

Elm says Kathy “blew” the 1972 Dallas Nationals, but her times of 2:03 in the 200 and 55.0 in the 100 were her personal bests. She gained extra experience in national level competition by swimming in the 1972 Olympic trials in Chicago.

The 1973 Short Course Nationals in Cincinnati started out poorly for the 15-year-old Kathy with an unimpressive 500 free swim. Elm let her know that he was disappointed and that she had better get used to being a tough competitor and look forward  to working  hard in the coming long course  training program, “or else. ” The swimmer rose to the challenge, earning a· second in the 200 IM, a fifth in the 100 free and a 13th spot in the 400 IM. The ‘or else” is still a small joke between the two.

At the 1974 Short Course Nationals in Dallas, Kathy had only 33 minutes between her double events, the 100 free and the 200 IM. That short time must have been more than enough, though, because she moved swiftly from her 50.89 American record performance in the 100 free to another American record of 2:05.06 in the IM. She also placed second in the 200 free, 1:49,12 and fourth in the 500 free, 4: 50.31.

In preparing for the double of the free and IM, Kathy concentrates on one race at a time. She works mainly on the 100 free during the warm-up before the meet, then practices the other strokes for the IM when she has finished the freestyle race. Then she relaxes, waiting for the IM race. “It’s not exactly ‘easy’ to swim this double, but I usually feel pretty good by the time I get up on the blocks for the IM,” says Kathy. “I don’t feel the 100 free hinders me any for the IM. It might even help since I know I’m ‘loose.”‘

With the short course season over, Coach Elm is now concentrating on long course training. Most of the  work is done in free- style, since Elm feels that this stroke helps his swimmers to get into shape more quickly.  Work on the IM strokes starts about ten days before district meets, regionals or the  Nationals.

After each series of meets, concentration returns to freestyle, conditioning and pace. Prior to the Nationals, there is a taper period of broken work, high quality swimming and concentration on the events to be swum by each competitor.

Elm says his long course goals are to do “as well as possible in big meets and to try to make a National team for any international meets.” He trains his swimmers at distances of 16,000 to 20,000 meters daily in two workouts: The morning session is held from 7 to 10 a.m. at  the Metuchen  Community  Pool, an L-shaped facility with six 25-yard lanes and six 50-meter lanes. The after- noon workout is held at the New Jersey Residence Manpower Center’s indoor 6-lane, 50 meter. pool.

The    following is a typical long course training schedule:

 

Typical Long Course a.m.  workout

15 x 400 swim 10×100 kick

30×100 pull;  Total 10,000

Typical Long Course p.m. workout 25 x 200 swim (may go as many as 30 X 200) 1 ,000 kick

2,000 pull (may pull in various ways) Sprints; Total 8,500

 

This season, Kathy will compete in the South Carolina meet on June 21- 23 and the Santa Clara International Invitational, June 28-30, She has been invited to the Los Angeles Invitational but has not yet made a commitment. The Region I Championships in late July and the Eastern U.S.A. Championships will lead into the Nationals at Concord, California on August 22-25. Coach Elm says the Nationals will be the target for her peak performance this summer.

The Short course training involves one workout per day, starting before the season with 6,000 to 8,000 yards, five days a week and working up to 10,000 to 11,000 yards seven days a week during the season.

The following is a typical short course training schedule:

Typical Short Course workout (one/day) Pre-Season

3,000 timed swim 20 x 100 swim

1,000 kick 2,000 pull; Total 8,000 yards

During  Season  (January -February -March)                                 .

12 to 15 x 500 5 x 200 kick 15 x 200 pull; Total 10,000-11,000yards

Kathy prepares for the double of the 100 free and 200 IM by testing it at district and regional meet, where the time between events is shorter than at the Nationals. Elm says, “To swim this double effectively, the swimmer must accept it mentally and be prepared physically. Naturally one must be outstanding competitor and have talent also. Katy has these qualities and so far has been successful with them.

Kathy finds that the mental and physical preparation also helps her to swim for faster times.” I swam through all the meet during the year. and so when you get to the Nationals· and start tapering it really helps you more than ever,” Kathy says. “When you enter a meet and have a ‘full’ workout the day before and do very well, it helps you a lot into thinking, ‘I wonder what I’ll do when I peak.”‘ She adds that the greater competition presented by the top swimmers at the Nationals also gives an incentive.

The competition at the 197 Long Course Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky helped spur Kathy to the event she calls the most thrilling of her career: winning her first National Championship in the 200 IM. The win was even more meaningful when it enabled her to swim the event in Belgrade, where she came in third.

Some sacrifices have been made by Kathy, such as forfeiting skiing, another of her favorite sport. But Kathy sees the sacrifices as worthwhile and advises younger swimmers not to give up and to work hard. “It hurt when you’re doing it,” she admits, “but when the meets come up, you’re glad you worked hard and you know you deserve everything you earn.”

 

“Hard work and a lot of it” is what Kathy says has given her the ability to accomplish what she has done. She also attributes much of her success to respect and confidence in her coach. “I never realized what swimming was all about until I moved to New Jersey and started to swim with Frank,” she says. “The practices were much harder and since I had a lot more respect for Frank, it made me work a hundred times harder but I really didn’t seem to mind.”

Elm seems to have the same respect for his swimmer, who  he says works “100 percent at every practice on every stroke. She never complains and has dedicated herself to the pursuit of excellence in swimming.”, Heddly, ‘as he calls her, is also a leader with a good disposition and a “captivating” personality. Elm adds, “There’s only one ‘Heddly’ and I’m thankful she’s on my team”

Kathy is enthusiastic about the added benefits of swimming for the Central Jersey team, particularly the travel ” I feel if there were no trips to make, or games to attend, swimming would hardly he worthwhile.” But Kathy’s quick to add, “It’s not altogether the trips, though. It’s meeting a lot of nice people and mainly having fun with them:’

The true meaning of swimming for Kathy shows through when she says, “If I didn’t swim, I wouldn’t know what to do. Life would he boring for me, and for as long as it means this much, I’ll keep swimming.”

 

SWIMMING WORLD

1976

 

AGE  GROUP SPEEDSTER

 If a youngster practices swimming with people six or seven years his senior, some of their speed and endurance is sure to rub off on him. That is precisely the case of Steve Lundquist of Forest Park Swimming Association. Steve, 5 feet I inch, 90 pounds, has been completely dominating the 10 and under competition in each of the numerous meets he has attended in recent months, sweeping nearly all the events.

Steve is attending Woodland Academy in College Park, Ga., near his home and often works out with the high school team. That is part of his training with extensive training sessions administered by his coach, John Bowles, forming the bulk of his work.

According to his coach, Steve’s swimming ability is a gift. The youngster, who just turned 11 and will try his hand at the next level of competition, has lived all of his life on a lake and learned to swim while learning to walk.

Steve began to swim under pressure at age 8 and he quickly improved with instruction. His father has included light weight-lifting in Steve’s program and Steve stays in active circles by water skiing bare-foot and playing football.

Steve sets reasonable, yet progressive goals for himself, then strives to attain them. Winning is important to him, but lowering his own times is of even greater importance. Not specializing in any particular strokes, he spends little time warming up before a meet.

Steve swims all the events at every meet he attends. Unusual for a boy of his age, Steve is self- disciplined and regularly gets 8 to 11 hours sleep a night

Steve’s best marks are:

Short Course: 1650 yard free 21:53, 200 free 2:14; 100 free 1:00.7; 50 free 27.8; 100 back 1:13.0; 50 back 32.3; 100 breast 1:21.6; 50 breast 36.3; 100 fly 1:11.7; 50 fly 29.7; 200 I.M. 2:32.2; 100 I.M. 1: 12. (all meter times at age 9)                                             ,

Steve’s typical workouts include two sessions a day, Monday through Thursday, 6 till 7 a.m. during summer months with meets usually scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

His morning workouts are 3,000 yards (1,000 yards of this for warm ups); forty lengths of the pool (indoor 25-yard pool) begin the morning session; IM style changing strokes every 25 yards and sprinting every third length. Steve swims with a group in a circle which consists of older swimmers who average as good or better times than he. The average warm-up time is 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes rest or 20 minutes of lapsed time. He does five 200 yard freestyle of IM, going once every 4 minutes on the clock and then eight or ten 100 yard freestyle, going once every 2 minutes.

Many combinations are made and periodically changed to keep the workouts from becoming too routine. 200 yards deleted from the warm up might become 8 x 25 yards of freestyle sprints or two broken 100 yard sprints. Emphasis is placed on Steve’s preferences.

 

The evening workouts are two. hours long and run from 6,000 to 4,000 yards, depending on the type of meet coming up. Steve does not receive any special attention other than the privilege of working out with the older group of swimmers.

The evening workout which Steve enjoys is one that has a 500 yard freestyle and then warm up without . stopping the 100 Fly; 200 Back; 100 Fly -200 Breast; 100 Fly -200 Free and 100 Fly.  He follows with 10 x 100 yards going one every 2 minutes which could be all free or a combination of 2 x 100 of each stroke plus 2 x 100 IM or 10 x 100 IM or perhaps inserting a 25 yard fly on the third or fourth length of the 100 Free to help the swimmer’s mental conditioning at this point in his race. Then he does 5 x 200 IM or free, going one every 4 minutes with target time for each repeat swim (on the 200 free, Steve is asked to hold his repeat times at 2:30 or better, and in most cases he goes better).

The next step is 20 x 50 yards going one every 1 minute on the clock. He and the other swimmers leave from 3 to 5 seconds apart, depending on the number in each group. These range from all free to a combination like 4 x 50 of each stroke.

Steve does 20 x 25 yards of breath sprints 4 on each stroke or 5 broken of free, back, breast or fly and to finish, 1,000 yards swim down before leaving the pool.

Steve does not do a lot of kicking, but when he does, it is flutter-kicking on the side, changing sides every length, doing front turns at one end of the pool and back turns at the opposite end. Pulls are done in the same fashion.

During the winter, because of school and available pool time, the team works out for two hours (5 until 7 p.m.) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They try to stay around  6,000 yards at  a session. If the  Friday workout  has consisted of 5,000 yards, Steve and his friends  are permitted to play their version of water polo for the last 30  minutes.

SWIMMING WORLD JUNE 1980

 

Sue Walsh reaches  beyond the barriers

By: Jeff Zwicker

 

Nowadays it seems that success at the national and international levels of swimming requires training programs that include such ingredients as year-round double workouts, high mileage and at least part-time long course training. Although these components may be desirable, Sue Walsh is living proof that they are not necessarily essential.

Due to a combination of factors, including such things as long distance commuting to workouts, the unusually lengthy New York State school year, and lack of access to a long course facility, Sue’s training program shows little resemblance to the training programs of most world­ class

Sue  burst onto the international scene in a big way in the summer of 1978 with a fine fifth-place finish in the 100 meter backstroke at the World Championships after placing second to Linda Jezek in the Nationals at the Woodlands. She climaxed the following summer by clocking a 1;02.78 relay leadoff time on Aug. 22 during the USA-Great Britain Dual Meet, making her the world’s fastest woman in the 100 meter backstroke in 1979. The time ranks Sue as the second-fastest 100 meter backstroker in the history of American women’s swimming.

When one considers the fact that Sue comes from an area of the country not particularly noted for high-quality swimming, that she spends little more than four weeks per year on double workouts arid that she trains year-round in a 25 yard short course pool, Sue’s rise to national and international levels’ in the sport of swimming seems truly remarkable. Her success is based on a combination of factors, including her innate physiological and emotional makeup, her superb family relationships and the nature of her training program itself.

Sue turned 18 in February after graduating in January as an honor­ student at Mount Mercy Academy in Buffalo. She has been swimming competitively since the age of 8 and came to Zwicker Aquatic Club at the age of 12, shortly after we opened our pool.

Sue is a gifted athlete with explosive speed and an extremely competitive spirit. She rises to a challenge with great determination and is usually at her best under the pressure of tough competition.

Although many factors have contributed to her success, one of the most significant has to be the very close family relationships she enjoys. To say that Bob and Joan Walsh are the perfect swim parents would hardly do them justice. They have not only given Sue the support, encouragement, love and understanding in the right amounts at the right times; but they have contributed immeasurably to the success of our program which was in its infancy when they joined our club six years ago. They are an inspiration to all the people involved in our program, and through their unwavering support in tough times as well as good times, their impact will be felt for many years to come:

Training Program

The Zwicker Aquatic Club competitive program operates on a 10-10 1/2 month schedule from late September through late August with a two- to three- week break’ in the spring after the short course championship meets.                                                 ·

During the short course season Sue rains five 2-hour and one 2V2-hour workouts per week. The 2-hour workouts average in the   neighbourhood of 6,000 to 7,000 yards and the 2 ½ -hour Saturday workouts usually consist of 7,000 and 8,000

At Christmas we try to get as many double workouts as possible with a total yardage of about 9,000 to 10,000 yards per day. Since · graduation in January, Sue has been swimming double workouts five days a week, averaging between 9,500 and 10,500 yards per day, and single workouts on Saturday of about 7,000 yards.

Since we do not work high yardage, we attempt to concentrate on very high quality and intensity. By concentrating on high intensity training we try to maximise the benefits of the time we do have in the water..

Sue works extremely hard at all times. Swimming “‘kicking and pulling, as well as daily work on all four strokes are a part of virtually all workouts. Through a great deal of hard work on her other strokes, she has improved her individual medley times to the point where her current best is 2:06.25, while a year ago her best time was 2: 11.5. Our training is very straightforward and without gimmicks-just plain hard work.

Prior to the fall of 1978, Sue had never been on a supplemental weight training program. However, after she returned to workouts in October of 1978, she began weight training at the Sports and Fitness Clinic in Buffalo three days a week. Tom Haney, the owner-director, and I work very closely in monitoring her weight training. The intensity of her weight training has gradually increased during the past year- and­ a-half, with signs of continual improvement.

Sue’s summer training. in 1979 consisted of double workouts from the last week in June through July. The New York state school year did not end until late June. Therefore, double workouts at an earlier date were virtually impossible since Sue’s commuting time from home to pool is at least 45 minutes each way. Since we do not have access to a long course facility, we continue training in the club’s 25 yard pool, averaging between 9,500 and 10,500 yards per day five or six days a week, depending on the meet schedule. While these factors might seem to be great handicaps, they do not work that way for Sue, as she generally swims better long course even though her training has always been in a short course pool.

Since October 1978 Sue’s program had been built around longer-term preparation for the Olympic Trials in 1980 and to get as much international experience behind her as possible. In 1979, she swam quite well on the U.S. team at the Women’s International Cup at Harvard in January and at the European meets in Holland and France in February.

Although she did not qualify for the Pan-Am team, Sue came back during the summer of 1979 to place second to Linda Jezek in the 100 meter backstroke and subsequently achieve the world’s best time for 1979 in that event in the USA-Great Britain Dual Meet. Her performance in the 200 back also improved over her national championship  time.

During the short course season of 1980, Sue finished third In the 100 meter backstroke at the Women’s International meet at Austin and placed fifth in the 200. At the U.S. Indoor Nationals at Austin, Sue then improved upon previous performances in placing second in the 200 in her best time and winning the 100 meter backstroke for her first national title. Her 26.53 fifth-place finish in the 50 meter freestyle in Texas indicated considerable improvement in this stroke, which had previously been her best.

Additionally,· during a 200 meter freestyle relay exhibition held at the conclusion of the Nationals, Sue swam an impressive 25.99 running split for 50 meters.

We feel that Sue is growing stronger and swimming more confidently all the time. Yet she still appears to have a great deal of room for continued improvement. We are taking it one step at a time with each meet serving as a stepping stone along the path. Where the path will lead only time will tell.

 

SWIMMING  WORLD

April 1980

 

Russian Salnikov is talking: The Road to Moscow One stroke at a Time

BY: Bill Bell

 

 The Ekran Club in Leningrad where Salnikov competes features the top USSR distance freestylers from throughout the country, including Rusin, Chayev, and Edouard Petrov, plus backstrokers Viktor Kuznetsov and Vladimir Shemetov, a promising 14- year-old whose bests are 1:02 for the 100 meter back arid 2:10 for the 200.

Since the backstrokers do nearly the same workouts as the distance swimmers, Kuznetsov and Shemetov were also at Mission, said Koschkin.

The club has only male swimmers but Salnikov explained that when he and his team mates go to the national team’s training center both sexes work out together.

The question naturally arose as to what he thought of the American club system in which both sexes train together?

“Too distracting,” he smiled. Salnikov said that a typical training session in Leningrad consisted of double workouts daily with 11 weekly sessions, ranging between seven and eight hours daily. The morning session lasts from 8 a.m. to 12 noon while the afternoon  session  usually  goes from 4 to  8 pm

Depending on the time of year and whether preparation for a major competition is involved the swimmers will go anywhere from 16,000 to 18,000 meter daily.

“Yardage is certainly a factor in workouts but the intensity is also quit important, II the Russian champion noted. “One needs balance. We don’t swim at competitive speeds but we don’t swim slow either. We have a good schedule with  proportions of both.”

Salnikov began swimming when he was eight but didn’t begin competing seriously until 1974. Originally a backstroker and an individual medleyist, he began concentrating on the distance freestyle when he came under Koschkin’s direction in 1973.

As for Moscow, Salnikov believes some dramatic time drops will be the order of the day for the victor. When appraised of the fact that a Soviet sports magazine has predicted the 1500-winning time at 14:33, Salnikov shot back, “too fast.” He feels 14;45 is a more realistic goal to strive for and believes breaking the 15 minute 1500 free barrier is psychological.

“We must condition our minds into accepting the fact that we can go faster. Then we will see some rapid improvement.”

What has he gained from training at Mission?

“It has been a very valuable experience. The main reason for our coming was to gain experience working against the best Americans and we have done that,” Salnikov said.

The Russians were joined during their second week at Mission ‘by five top American :freestylers Kyle Ditzler of Alabama, Bobby Hackett and Tim Maxim off of Harvard, Kent Martin of Tennessee, and Larry Countryman of New- mark High School in Delaware. Both Salnikov and Koschkin  admitted the presence of the quintet was a factor if motivating the workout intensity levels  of both groups of swimmers.

‘We came to train against the top American club and having these other people show up was quite a surprise, although a very pleasant one,” Koschkin said. “The swimmers tell the story of their coach (Schubert) and the results he has produced speak for themselves. It was good seeing Hackett again, who I remember so very well from Montreal and Berlin.

“What impresses me most about the Americans is their high level of maturation in terms of both their training methods and their attitude,” Koschkin continued. “We have increased our whole volume of training as a result of our observations of the Mission Viejo program.”

As the interview drew to a close, Salnikov was asked what motivated him, what kept him going day after day, meter after meter, workout after  workout.

“I am motivated by hoping for the best,” he smiled. “I have European Championship and World Championship medals but I haven’t an Olympic gold medal-yet.”

 

 

SWIMMING WORLD JULY

Enthusiasm and endurance:  Solid Rocca Foundation

 

By: Nort Thorton

 

Peter Rocca, a 22-year-old college graduate from the University of California-Berkeley, began his long swimming career at the age of 7 in a recreation program at Meadow Pools in Orinda, Calif. At age 8 he joined the Aqua Bear Swim Club, also of Orinda.

Peter was coached by Ron Richison for the next 10 years. Coach Richison had developed a number of national level swimmers. The best known was probably Karen Moe (now Karen Moe Thornton, coach of the women’s team at the University of California, an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the 200 meter butterfly). Ron Richison was also Peter’s high school coach at Campolindo High School where Peter held the interscholastic record for the 100 yard backstroke at 51.7 in 1974.

Peter’s daily workout yardage in those high school days was between 8,000 and 12,000 yards daily for five days a week. He rarely did any dryland exercise and it was obvious that he had little endurance in spite of his great speed.                                                     .

The great turning point of the University of California swimming program was when Peter Rocca decided to enroll at Cal. Not only is Peter a talented athlete, but he is a fine young man and a real leader. Peter was Cal’s team captain for the 1978 and 1979 seasons. Through his friendliness and thoughtfulness he was an inspiration and the heart of the Cat team during that period. Once Peter was on the Berkeley campus we successfully set out to put him on the 1976 Olympic team. His training emphasis dryland weight training and over-distance endurance swimming with an emphasis on stroke technique. Peter pretty much accomplished his goals by making the Olympic team and winning silver medals in both the 100 and 200 meter backstroke events.

Peter has also won two gold medals in Pan-Am backstroke competition. Peter has competed very well at the NCAA Champion-ships. His first year (1976), he placed second in 49.95 and 1:48.10 in both backstrokes.

You won’t find Peter’s name in the results of the 1977 NCAA meet, for Peter came down with mononucleosis and hepatitis the day before the team was to leave for the meet. Needless to say, this was a terrible blow to Peter and the Cal team. This illness was far more serious than anyone really imagined. I feel that Peter never totally recovered for a couple of years. In fact he is just now approaching the times he was doing in 1976.

In 1978 Peter won the NCAA 200 yard backstroke with a 1:47.48, placed second in the 100 back with a 50.56 and finished fifth in the 200 yard individual medley with a 1:50.57.

Peter’s senior year (1979) he won the 200 backstroke in 1:46.21, misjudged the heat of the 100 backstroke only to end up in the consolation final. From the consolation he swam 49.84 which would have placed third in the championship final. The fastest preliminary swim, in fact; Peter was also fourth in the 200 IM at 1:49.37.

To show you the type of team man that Peter is, he swam 12 hard races during the three-day NCAA Championships. Not only did he swim trials and finals of the 200 individual medley and both backstrokes, but he swam trials and finals of all three relays. Peter swam backstroke in the medley relay and a 100 and 200 freestyle leg on both of our freestyle relays to help Cal win its first national championship.

Had Peter not been trying to help his  team win a title, I’m certain he wouldn’t have had any trouble in the 100 yard backstroke qualifying heats. The thought of two more 200 yard freestyles and another 100 yard backstroke prompted him to let up a little while winning his heat, there- by qualifying seventh.

Peter had developed a philosophy about swimming that has allowed him to continue to participate in the sport of competitive swimming long after many others have retired. Peter has fun swimming. He doesn’t look at training as a negative experience and he doesn’t feel that winning is the only thing, but rather that the journey is more important than the destination.

We try to enjoy every part of the season and to profit from the friendships and lessons that are learned from swimming. Anyone who knows Peter knows he has learned his lessons well and I feel he is well set up for later life.

In fact, this attitude has helped Peter handle the Olympic  boycott issue.

Since Peter had finished his collegiate swimming eligibility at Cal after the 1979 season, he had continued to train with the Concord Swim Club with hopes of attending another Olympic Games. When the boycott became definite, it would not have been hard for Peter to become discouraged and drop out of the program. Even though he was naturally a little discouraged for a while, I feel that because of his super philosophy, he was able to bounce right back to his usual enthusiastic self. At this point Peter was able to experience the fun and challenge that swimming normally provides him.

Currently he is leading the world long course rankings in both the 100 and 200 meter backstroke (56.66 and 2:00.73). These times were accomplished while winning both events at the 1980 Indoor National Championships in Austin, Texas. (His 200 time is even faster than his 1979 world- leading 2:00.98 gold medal performance at the Pan-Am Games.) Peter has decided to continue to swim through the Irvine Nationals and do the best he can, which will more than likely be considerable.

Peter Rocca’s Training Schedule: Pete’s season is broken into four main parts: a quantity or base phase, a quantity- quality phase, a quality phase and the taper. During our season we run a three-day cyclical training schedule. This cycle includes over-distance; stroke technique and IM-type work; and quality-type sets.

 

SAMPLE  TRAINING SESSIONS

 

  1. Over-distance phase of cycle
  1. Swim 10 x 100 easy/100 fast continuous, descend 1-5 and – 10.
  2. Kick 3 sets of 200 easy; 4 x 50 fast (on 50 )
  3. Pull 3 x 800 {30 sec. rest), descend 3
  4. Swim 1 x 800 easy (30 rest); 4 X 200 fast (on 2:30);

1 x 400 easy {30 sec.);

4 X 100 fast (on 1:15);

1 x 200 easy (30 sec.);

4 x 50 fast {on 20 sec.)

  1. Swim a few sprint 25’s of different strokes; loosen 300

 

  1. Stroke and/or individual medley phase of cycle
  1. Kick down/swim back on 1:00,800 IM, reverse IM order
  2. Kick 2 sets of 200, 150, 100, 50
    • (45 sec./50 yards) (Kick a fast last 50 of each one)
  3. Swim 1 x 200 and 3 x 100 of stroke work of each of fly, back, breast and free {10 sec.  rest)
  4. Pull x 400, breathe every 7; 16 x 50 (on 1:00), four of each stroke in IM order
  5. Swim 1 x 800 IM (on 11:00); 2 x

400 IM (on 5:30); 3 x 200 IM (on

2:45); 4 x 100 IM (on 1:30)

  1. Turns and starts; loosen 300

 

 

  1. Quality phase of cycle
  1. Swim 10 x 100 easy/50 fast {try for very fast times on numbers 3-5.7 and 10)
  2. Kick 1 x 400 easy 50, sprint 50; kick 4 x 50 easy/50 fast
  3. Pull x 400 easy, breathe every 7; 6 x 100 easy/50 fast
  4. Swim 4 x 100 stroke drills;

6 x 100 fast/50 easy on 2:00

(record 50 times)

  1. Turns and starts; loosen 300

 

SWIMMING TECHNIQUE JULY-SEPTEMBER 1997

 

KRISTINA EGERSZEGI:

The Development of a World Champion  Backstroker

 


Story by: Laszlo Kiss Translated by: Andras Gall

 

Kristina Egerszegi was born Aug.16, 1974. She started swimming at age of 4 under the guidance of Miklos Kiss, a colleague of mine for 24 years. The chief engineer of a large factory, he teaches swimming to children as a hobby, but he does it on a world-class level.

The name of my club is Spartacus of · Budapest, and I served as the head coach here since 1963. I have also been the coach of the Hungarian national women’s team for 34 years.

This longevity is unprecedented in sport in Hungary.

Spartacus of Budapest has always been an important center of Hungarian swimming, raising a host of world-class swimmers during the decades of its existence. The fidelity of its coaches to the club has also always been traditional.

The Early days

Miklos Kiss-who always let me know he comes across a” rough diamond”­ first told about Kristina and her potential when she was 5 years old. I quickly noticed the thin, smiling little girl whose backstroke was beautiful. (By the way, Kiss, who used to be backstroker himself, usually begins teaching with the backstroke.)

Later on, Miklos kept asking me to observe Kristina’s development in her other strokes, too, and soon it became obvious that we’d have to take care of a little girl’s swimming career as well as her academic development. So, when she started elementary school in 1980, I directed her to Gyorgy Thury, an excellent colleague of mine.

Her development had progressed steadily when I began coaching her in 1986 when she was 12. I quickly realized I had found a real pearl, whose sports career had to be nurtured with a lot of responsibility. What followed were ten years during which I was fortunate enough to work together with Eger (mouse in Hungarian), and she blossomed into the greatest female swimmer in history as well as one of the finest medleyists. It was an unforgettable for her as well.

When I first diagnosed Kristina’s technique in the four strokes, I immediately realized that she was an ideal backstroker-with small buttocks, thin thighs, broad shoulders, large palms, loose, flexible shoulders and excellent buoyancy. These characteristics enabled her to become a world-class backstroker.

 

Keys to Kristina’s Development

Of course, I did not want her to specialize at the age of 12 because it would have hindered her development later. Even in the preceding six years, I asked Thury to train Kristina in all four strokes-a sort of medley preparation.

I was aware of the interaction of the four strokes. I also knew that “Eger” needed to retain her outstanding flexibility, thin body and will to work during the strength enhancing and weight training segments of her training.

Therefore, at the age of 12, she mostly swam freestyle, while her backstroke-which is the easiest style as far as the blood circulation system is concerned, for the backstroker is able to take a breath at each stroke­ was used only to refine her technique. I was extremely interested in how we . could develop an ideal bac stroke arm stroke, so I invented special drills for Kristina. On my team, lane 8 usually belongs to the most youngest and most talented swimmer-Eger’s lane nowadays is occupied by Agnes Kovacs, the new European record­ holder in the 200 meter breaststroke. The lane beside the wall was made extremely narrow-only some 60 centimeters wide (about two feet!).

Eger had to swim in this lane, holding an empty tin box on her forehead! Since she had very little space in which to swim, she was forced to pull her arm not beside, but practically under her body, with a deep grasp very similar to that of the freestyle.. Then followed a rotating movement with the hand under the buttocks,

That’s the way we revolutionized the arm work of the backstroke-by developing a perfect symmetry of arm strokes on both sides. The stability necessary for this difficulty series of moves was guaranteed by the empty tin on Kristina’s forehead. We also developed her continuous six-beat kick. She was so good at it that I quickly began to say that she was born with this kick.

Breathing in backstroke is not discussed too much; Kristina always took a breath when she swung her right arm back.

In general I feel that backstroke uses the strangest series of motions in swimming because the swimmer is getting to the wall of the pool backward.

At the same time, he/she sees almost everything peripherally-nearly as much as in the breaststroke.

In other sports-for instance, in track and field- this is inconceivable. I don’t think there will ever be a race in backward running.

Kristina was an ideal pupil. I wish every colleague of mine had swimmers like Kristina. Right from the beginning, we made sure that. she retained her previously acquired perfect technique, and we always made sure she was in perfect technical condition before every major competition.

I have always said one of the most important attributes of a world class athlete is the ability to observe oneself. Of course, this cannot and must not replace the assistance of the coach. For many years, I was unable to get female training partners for Kristina-she was so good-but swimming with boys did not seem to be the ideal solution either. As a result, she usually had to swim against the clock.

I explained to Kristina that the times I set for her in practice are equivalent to scoring a goal in soccer or making a basket in basketball. They are her targets. Her motivation was so high that whenever she did not reach her target time, it was she who would ask me to let her repeat the work.

She thought she would have reached the targeted time, and usually did make it on the second try! Before Atlanta Olympic Games-when I felt she was over motivated- I did not set targets for her in the last half year. I think I was right in doing so, for she was an experienced, creative swimmer at the time, preparing for the third Olympic Trials.

I believe that for Kristina, the mixed(medley) preparation eliminated the monotony of training. We were also able to preserve her perfect technique

The Tree Training Macrocycles We have very few world-class swimmers in Hungary. Therefore, we always plan the three training macrocycles within the yearly program very carefully. This system of three macrocycles was invented by Tamas Szechy, my colleague and coach of the Hungarian men’s team.

Macrocycle No.1 (September to December).

The primary purpose’ of this training phase is to enhance the general physical the general physical capabilities of the swimmer.

Therefore, we do a lot of cross­ training: running for ten minutes; four times a week; lots of gymnastics; plenty of sets with rubber tubing.

I always made sure during this strength-enhancing phase that Kristina’s ideal shape, figure, flexibility and weight did not change drastically.

In 1988, she was 166cm tall(5-5 ½)

and weighed 46kg(101pounds); eight

years later, she measured 174 cm(5- 8 ½) and weighed 56 kg(123 pounds).

In the water, our primary target during this phase is to develop the athlete’s  circulation system.

Therefore, at the end of the macrocycle in December, we clock each swimmer’s times for relatively long distances-BOO or 1500 meters free. At the same time, we continue to focus on improving stroke technique.

 At the beginning of the macrocycle in September, the coaching staff always meets to discuss the technical deficiencies of each· swimmer. As for training, the swimmers spend most of their time swimming freestyle; the other styles are reserved for technical drills.

Macrocycle No. 2 (January to April).

Our primary focus during the second macrocycle is to enhance both quickness and endurance. Look carefully at the patterns of our morning training session illustrated in the accompanying training sidebar (page 12) with their stress on separate arm and legwork as well as on hypoxic training.

In  the afternoon, we combine leg and arm work, focusing mainly on the swimmer’s primary stroke.

At the end of the second cycle, each athlete must demonstrate top spring condition; in the case of younger swimmer, they are expected to clock better than in previous summer.

Macrocycle No.3 (May to August)

In the third macrocycle, we prepare the athlete for the year’s major event. The goal is to swim faster than his/her best time the previous year.

During this phase, everything centers around preparing to swim fast.

Even during morning training sessions, we try to create competition-like circumstances by practicing tactical elements; at the same time, we never lose sight of the importance of maintaining perfect stoke technique.

 

Training Kristina

Here are some samples workouts Kristina did at different ages during her preparation for major competition:

 

Age 12-13

A.M.  (long course)

800 meters freestyle warm-.up breathe every fifth stroke 8×200 meter free on  3:00

8×200 meter back (arms only) on 3:30

2x(4x 100) meter back (arms only) on 1:30

2x(4x 100) meter back (legs only) 800 meter backstroke  technique

4x 33 meter sprints, 1 of each stroke

6,533 meters total

 

P.M. (Long course)

400 meter IM warm-up 8×200 meter IM

30 min. backstroke drill 2×1500 meter free on 21:00 4×33 meter sprints with starts 7,433 meters and drills total

 

Age 14-15

A.M..(Long course)

400 meter free warm-up breath every fifth stroke

4x(2×100) arms only; 4 butterfly, 4

back on 1:30

1×2000 meter backstroke, near maximum effort

4x(2×100); 4 butterfly, 4 back on

1:45

8×200 meters on 4:00

1 technique, 2 butterfly, 2 back, 2 breast

1 time target, 2 free

10×200 meter free, breath every fifth stoke. descend #1-5,  descend #6-10

on 2:50

4×33 meter sprints

5,933 meters total

 

P.M.·(Long course) 400 IM warm-up 8x(2×100) meters

2 fly on 1:30, 2 back on 1:30, 2

breast on 1:45, 2 free on 1:20 200 meter easy swim

12×66 meter backstroke sprints 8×400 meter free, descend each pair, on 6:00

4×33 meter sprints

6,333 meters total

 

Age 16-17

A.M..(Long course)

400 meter warm-up breath every fifth stroke

8x(8×100) meters(arms only) on 1:30 2 of each stroke, 4 time

through

4×400 meters (legs only} on 7:00. 1 of each stroke

2×400 meters medley on 7:00 one concentrating on technique; the second is time target

12×100 meters free on 1:15, six

  • breathing every seven stroke, six breathing every fifth stroke

4×33 meters sprints

7,333 meters total

 

P.M. (Long course)

400 IM warm-up

 

 

16×200 meters on 4:00;p 4 fly, 4 back, 4 breast, 4 free

4x(3×66) meters sprints; one set of each stroke

2×200 back on 3:30; 100% effort 2×400 meters breast on 7:00 12×100 meters free on 1;14, six breathing every fifth stroke, six breathing every seven stroke 6,800 meters total


AMERICAN SWIMMING MAGAZINE

Volume 1997/ Issue 4

Pablo Morales- Lord of the Flow

 By: Cecil M. Colwin

 

The Entry and Body Position

We discussed Mary T. Meagher’s beautiful stroke, and how, as her arms enter, her hands actually seem to be higher than her elbows, and she looks almost like a giant condor about to launch itself from a cliff to soar out over the ocean. Pablo agreed, and said: “I’ll tell you who had the most natural hip position, without having a lot of leg drive, was. Summer Sanders. Her balance forward was amazing; the fulcrum at her ups brought her naturally so high out of the water.”

Asked if he allowed his chest to submerge lower than his elbows at the entry, Pablo said: ‘I can only answer your question, by making the motion now, as I talk to you, visualizing, what I do in the water. I can only guess without having looked at it on video, nor having specifically concentrated on it, and I feel like it does; I feel my chest does go lower than my hands, maybe slightly, but, mind you, not so much that tile elbows drop. I had a tendency to over-reach, as a 16- or 17-year-old, because I always Thought that length equaled efficiency.” ‘I did it at to such an extreme that I was over-extending my arms and slipping at the front end of my stroke, and, at that point, I was getting, some elbow drop.”

I asked Pablo if he was entering his arms then waiting out front too long. “Yes, and I would be slipping water and over-reaching so much that my elbows would drop slightly. I wasn’t getting anything out of the catch that I could grab.”

Pablo said that he swam everything in training; “a lot of freestyle, a lot of IM work, even though, as a 13’- to 15-year-old, I didn’t compete in the 800 and the mile, but I trained different sets using these as multiples, and I tried to enter in a lot of events in some meets, using them as ‘training meets. ‘ I would enter the mile, and I would enter the 800, but, as I got older, this became less and less frequent”

Asked what he thought was the difference in arm posture between the crawl and entry and the butterfly arm entry, Pablo replied that he thought the arm is straighter in the butterfly entry.

“When I recover my arms, and when they enter the water, I tell myself not to extend my arms too much, but to enter as my thumbs slide into the water. Having watched myself swimming on video, its looks as if my arms are as extended as far as they can go without really over-reaching. I feel as if my elbows are still up, but not quite as high as when my hands enter the water. In the butterfly entry, my arms probably extend more than than in the freestyle entry Commenting on the feel of the water during the butterfly entry, Pablo said that he felt the water first on his hand, and then on his forearm, as he started to reach forward into the catch. “So, as my arms enter, I feel the water first on my thumbs, then on my forefingers, then wrists, and forearms.”

“Pablo A Gentleman-Athlete” says George Haines. When I asked George Haines if he remembered Pablo when he was a young swimmer at Santa Clara, George responded in typical fashion: “Did I know Pablo? I’ve known him since he was knee-high to a grasshopper!” “When Pablo was going, to pre-school, my son, Kyle, who is the same age as Pablo, was there with him. It was right off the campus at Santa Clara High School I could look through the fence of tile athletic field at these kids at the nursery school. They couldn’t see me. I could watch Pablo and my son playing on the swings together. ”

“Well, when he was older, he swam for John Spencer at Santa Clara, and then he swam in Bill Thompson’s group. I was still there, and then, in 1974, I went down to UCLA, and I think, a year later or so, he went up to Mitch’s (Mitch Ivey) group, and Bill Thompson had him for a couple of years before I left. He was some talent. They used to call me over said say: ‘Look at this guy. , And I’d say: ‘Hey son, what’s your name?’ and he’d say: ‘Pablo.’ And I’d say. ‘Pablo, you keep at it!'”

“And then I left to go to UCLA. This boy became a gentleman athlete, and I put him in the same class with Steve Clark and Don Schollander. Pablo Morales never forgot his early coaches. He remembers guys like John Spencer, and he remembers Bill Thompson. He knows who the coaches are who gave him his background. When I went to Stanford, my first year at Stanford, Pablo was a freshman on the men’s team. I was coaching the women’s team, but Pablo came over to me and started talking all about the Santa Clara Swim Club, and what he did there, and who coached him. He never forgot. He said: “I owe a lot to all those people, and to the Santa Clara Swim Club. That guy’s unbelievable! ”

Goal-Setting on the Path to Success

Today, Pablo modestly insists that everything he achieved in competitive swimming involved “only a little bit of ability”, but that the main ingredient to success lies in perseverance and realistic goal­ setting.

Pablo emphasizes that improvement didn’t always come right away. For example, improving his butterfly action only came very gradually.

Pablo set his goals at the beginning of each season. He stresses that he didn’t just set goals and forget about them. Each workout demanded a specific mindset.

Over time, Pablo learned how daily workout performance related to the accomplishment of his goals.                                     “I had to always focus on my goals, on a daily basis, and not only from day to day, and from week to week, but also from each training set to the next, and from repeat to repeat. ” Pablo says that he thought · constantly about his goals, and what he needed to do to achieve them. In time he developed a workout focus that helped him improve, and produce the kind of effort that yielded positive results. More than anything, it was this approach that eventually contributed to Pablo Morales’ success as an athlete.

 

SWIMNEWS

MARCH 1998

 

Australian Coach Profile:

How Doug Frost Prepared His Prize Pupil World Champion IAN THORPE

BY: Paul Quinlan

 

After the outstanding results of the Australian swimming team at the 8th World Championship in Perth,

Australia, SWIMNEWS plans a series of profiles of the Australian coaches who led their swimmers to success.

The home of Doug Frost’s club is the Sutherland Aquatic Center in the southern suburbs of Sydney. The facilities  include 50-m and 25-m pools, both indoor and outdoor.

Training is done year-round in the outdoor pools, while the indoor facilities are dedicated to community teaching, fitness and recreational programs.

For many years Frost has been known for his Padstow Indoor Club, based in his own 25-m indoor pool, where he still operates his development and teaching programs. The opportunity to move to 50-m facility came when Coach Hodge resigned from the Aquadot Club to take up the position of· director at the New South Wales Institute of Sports in October 1997, immediately after the Australian world championship trials.

At those trials a 15-year-old was selected to swim the 400 freestyle and 4×200 freestyle relay events. Ian Thorpe, whose sister Christina is a former Australian team member, had made his national team debut at  the

1997 Pan Pacific championship Fukuoka, Japan. Thorpe swam to second place behind teammate  Grant Hackett in the 400 freestyle. At 14, he was the youngest male to swim for Australia since the legendary Jon Konrads, who has taken a personal interest in encouraging the newcomer.

Frost is a level three(highest level) coach in the national coach accreditation scheme of the Australian Coaching Council and the Australian swimming federation. He has been recognized by his peers with a number of coaching awards including Australian Age Group Coach of the Year in 1997 and the National Coaches Association outstanding coaching achievement prize.

He was member of the national team staff at the 1997 Pan Pacific championships and 1998 world championships, as well as a member of New South Wales touring teams. He has for many years been an active board member of the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association.

Computer technology is core element in planning for his star athletes. He says,” I wouldn’t be without my laptop. If you want to be fully organized in your coaching you need to work with a computer.”

Frost’s long list of national team swimmers include; Lisa Burnes, ’78 Commonwealth; Wendy Bowie ’82 Commonwealth; Phillip Bryant ’92 Olympics,’94 World and Commonwealth and ’95 Pan Pacs; Christina Thorpe ’95 Pan Pacs; Broke Townsend ’97 Pan Pacs, Ian Thorpe ’97 Pan Pacs and ’98 World; Simon Cowley ’98 World.

After all those years of coaching at the top level, Frost discovered Ian Thorpe in his own club. Also very skillful! in cricket and football, Thorpe was selected for the New South Wales school team from there joined the Padstow developmental squad under Frost’s guidance. At 12, he made waves at the junior nationals. In 1996, he was one of the :,tars of the championships winning nine gold medals and posting some impressive times. It was a natural step from there to the Pan Pac team.

Frost’s computer-planned annual program was gradual and included the following training sessions and mileage.

 

Ian Thorpe    Birthday OCT. 13, 1982

14 years         7-9 sessions per week

40-50 km

  • 15 years 10 session per week

40-70 km

Two best long course sets done by Ian are:

 

30×50 on 1:00- All under 26.5 secs 4x4x100 – Last four under 57.0 secs

– Best one 55.2 secs

 

In 1998 Frost will be preparing his protege for the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the long term he believes that Thorpe’s best events will be in the freestyle, from 400 down to 100.

Already a world champion in 400 free and a member of the Australian 4×200 gold medal free relay team, Thorpe has achieved some of the goals set by his coach. With an impressive 51.35 in the New South Wales a week after the world championships in Perth, he will be a strong candidate for the freestyle sprint and middle distance medals in international competition.

When asked to rate Ian alongside the current top Australian distance swimmers, namely Kieren Perkins, Daniel Kowalski, and Grant Hackett, Frost said,” I have the greatest respect for all of Ian’s competitors, including his Australian teammates. This is why the standard is so high in this country.”

“Ian has a great stroke technique and with his fantastic work ethic should be a force in this arena for many years.”

Commenting on the future of swimming in Australia, Frost remarked that, “With the assistance now available for coaching in Australia it is becoming more financially rewarding, but is still the age-old problem of lack of pool space for training.”

And on the future of the sport world­ wide, this top coach said,” I am hoping that FINA can keep our sport DRUG FREE!”

 

SWIMMING WORLD AND JUNIOR SWIMMER JUNE 1999    .

 

Madame Butterfly in the Wings

On the 17th of February, Australia ‘s Susie O’Neill broke the oldest world record in the books­ Mary T. Meagher’s short course meters mark in the 200 fly, set over 18 years ago. Now her sights are set on what has until now been the untouchable-Madame Butterfly’s long course record set in Brown Deer, Wis., In August 1981.

By: Craig Lord


 It was just a rhetorical question for a reigning Olympic champion: “So, you want to win the 200 meter butterfly in Sydney 2000?” Susie O’Neill gave her answer succinctly, her caution somewhat surprising:”Probably”

But don’t be fooled by her answer nor her reaction to her coach, Scott Volkers, when he prompted the newly crowned world short course world record holder to be a little more assertive:” I think you mean I do want to win.”

There’s the mildest hint of a sigh as she argues:” Yeah, but I’m not going to slit my wrist if I don’t win- it’s only a sport.” Yeah, right!

O’Neill likes to downplay her priorities. Take her marriage to Dr. Cliff Fairley last fall-or spring if you happen to live Down Under.

“Was it a good day?”

Yeah, it was a good day… more than a good day… basically, I said ‘I do and that was it.” Yeah, right!

Her mocking smile tells of a happiness way beyond her words; the term ‘seeing is believing,’ fits this bronzed, blue-eyed blonde more snugly than her racing cap. It is not that she speaks to deceive. She is sincere. Diversion, not deception, is the greater game.

Nature helps to explain her character: a bird flapping about on the ground, one wing apparently broken, seemingly near death. When you get close, the bird rights its wing and takes off, the fittest flyer you ever laid eyes on, its theatrics revealed as a ploy to divert your attention from the nest egg. The act is more instinct than intention.

So it is with O’Neill, trough in her, there is greater complexity.

Competitors might be fooled, but this art of understatement has as much to do with self-defense against the inner dangers of over-confidence and arrogance as O’Neill prepares to do battle before a knowledgeable and partisan crowd in Sydney that has spent years counting her every stroke and leaning on her every word in newspapers and magazines; on airwave and satellite.

Nothing that O’Neill, Australian Sportswoman of the Year in 1998, is recognized by more than 90 percent of Australians and was among the top 10 in a survey of” all-time Aussie Sports Stars,” Volkers sums it up best;” She’s hugely well-known in Australia, but she’s coped really well. It’s her nature; she’s not at all big­ headed.”

When she smiles, it’s a captivating smile that floods the room like an Australian dawn. And it draws myriad more from everyone around her, their reaction as predictable as the grin on a baby’s face when Mom peers over the crib.

It’s just that it’s hard to imagine anyone not liking Susie O’Neill.

History in Malmo

Sitting in the seats overlooking the Aq-Va-Kul pool in Malmo, Sweden, Don Talbot, Australia’s head coach, asserts: “Our girls have a lot to do. Sam(  Samantha  Riley)  and  Susie are going well, but even there, Susie needs to get away from all the promotions  stuff. She’s been doing too much, and it’s bound to affect the way she swims. She’s still got some work to do.”

Within a few hours, as if.to taunt Talbot, the Queensland flyer had broken the oldest surviving world record, lowering the legendary Mary Meagher’s world short course record from 2:05.65 to 2: 05.37 in the 200 meters butterfly. Here was sun in a winter sky, a flower blooming on a parched plain, the end of an 18- year drought.

Doubtless, Talbot was reminded of a year ago when he roasted Volkers on the deck in front of O’Neill, accusing both of complacency after she was beaten by Mette Jacobsen of Denmark. The Olympic champion, who remains unbeaten in long course competition over 200 meters since 1994, refused to speak to Talbot for five months in a very public falling-out. She told reporter Nicole Jeffrey of The Australian: “… He yelled at Scott about me-on and on and on-about how every race I’ve had in the last four years has been too easy, and now that’s caught up with me, and I won’t win again unless I improve things.”

The pair have long since made up, and both are now better for it.

O’Neill’s been working harder, recently training 160,000 meters during the two-week period before the European rounds of the World Cup compared to 101,000 meters during the same period last year. Talbot, as well, has changed. He offered-for him- a rare apology:” There’s no bigger fan of Susie O’Neill than me;” His long experience and vast success make that assertion all the greater a compliment.

One of Susie’s biggest attributes is also her greatest weakness; she can easily be talked into something…. and talked out of it just as easily.

When she’s talked into something, she’s then able to carry it out as you want it. That’s really valuable when it comes to stroke  correction.

“She’s a great athlete as well as being the kind of girl you’d love to have as a daughter,” said Volkers of his charge. “As far as female athletes go, Susie’s one of the top ones to train. She’s a hard racer, tough inside. She likes her personal space, and she used to be really bad with that- no one was allowed in that space. But she mellowed out. The stability of an athlete is important. She needs to be helped along when she gets down, as they all do. My job is to help her focus.”

 

How They train Susie O’Neill

 

Workout# 1

(Monday A.M., Short course Meters) 3×500 freestyle and another stroke on 7:30, descend ·

4×50 on 1:15 first 12-1/2 and last 12-

½ fast 299 easy Main set

7 x 300 fly with fins on 5:00, holding heart rate at threshold (approx. 180 heart rate; 205 max HR)

Bes.t average is about 3:28 per 300 200 dive effort with fins under 2:08 (PB is 2:05,3)

400 choice easy

500 freestyle hypoxic; breathing every 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th stroke by 50 meters

30x 50 on 50 sec. with fins. Alternate freestyle/choice/frestyle/fly

200 easy

Total

6,600 .meters

Workout #2

(July 23,1998, P.M., short course meters)

200 swim

100 kick no board 200 freestyle/fly

2x 100 kick with board on 1:40 200 drill

100 fly, short rest, hard

. 200 drill

2x 100 fly, short rest 200 easy

Main set threshold to maximum heart rate  ·

8 x 100 freestyle on 1:30

100 easy

7 X 100 freestyle above threshold

(3 on 1:30, 4 on 1:40)

100 easy

8 x 100 freestyle at max. heart rate on 1:40

1000; 500 choice + 5 x 100 IM

10 x 100 fins on 1:20 to 1:30

5 x (200 + 4 x 25 on 30 secs.,

alternating 25 easy, 25 hard)

700 swim down

TOTAL: 8200 meters

Workout #3

Quality (Aug. 3, 1998)

500 freestyle and choice-explode to 25 meters

400 freestyle-explode to 25 meters

400 IM explode to 25 meters

300 IM explode to 25 meters

200 main stroke-explode to 25 meters

100 easy

2 x 100 easy at HR 50 beats below max.200 at HR 30 beats below max. 4 x 100 dive effort

500 swim·

Broken 200 by 50s- Dive, push, push, push on 1:40

Swim-down 4 x 200, alternating freestyle/choice, then 50 kick 200 easy

TOTAL: 5200 meters


SWIMMING  TECHNIQUE

JANUARY-MARCH 2000

 

Distance  Greats of the early ‘70s

The Australians and Americans dominated distance swimming back in the early 1970s, thanks in large part to swimmers Bobby Hackett, Tim Shaw, Stephen Holland, Brad Cooper and Rick DeMont.

By: Chuck Warner

 


“Four Champions, One Gold Medal,” the acclaimed book by Coach Chuck Warner, chronicles the preparation for the 1500 meter freestyle at the 1976 Montreal Olympics by four of the greatest distance champions in the history of swimming: Americans Brian Goodell, Tim Shaw and Bobby Hackett; and Australian Stephen Holland.

All four were dedicated, focused, hard-working swimmers, and in the course of their careers, all four performed spectacular feats. But only one man could win the 1500 in Montreal.

Warner’s book records the development of each of these four champions from childhood through the ’76 Games. He reports their ups and downs, their successes and failures, and he delves deeply into the training and technique work each of them did under the tutelage of master coaches.

The book is both an outline on how to produce a distance champion and an inspiration to young swimmers everywhere who hope, someday, to stand atop the victory podium at the Olympic Games.

Here are two excerpts from Warner’s book:

Training Fast

One autumn day in 1974, Bobby Hackett sat in Coach Joe Bernal’s living room with his mother and father. Just as Bernal had done each fall, ha invited each swimmer to come to his house with his parents to discuss their general season plan, particularly in regard to meets and travel- one of the advantages of having his small Gator team.

The coach began to explain his plan for the year as young Bobby Hackett continued to brood over his embarrassment in Concord, Calif. (site of the ’74 U.S. summer nationals).

The 15-year-old interrupted, “I’ll do anything you want, Coach. I’m ready to work.”.

Bobby’s self-esteem had always come from athletics. He had not given up baseball to become an average swimmer. He was determined to whatever work his coach deemed necessary a great one.

Through the evening’s conversation, Coach Bernal outlined the expected travel plans and expenses for Bob and Joyce Hackett. But he was distracted. The coach had noted the serious tone in Bobby’s voice and sincere vow of commitment.

Bernal outlined a plan to train exclusively for the summer national championship in Kansas City. This would mean training through the World Championship Trials In June. He didn’t feel Bobby had much of a chance to make that team, and he didn’t want to lose valuable training time tapering for the Trials. They talked about Bobby winning the 1500. at summer nationals in Kansas City, just as they had talked about him winning in Concord.

Bernal knew about the “animal lane” in Mission Viejo. He had heard the stories about training that approached 17000 meters per day up to six days per week.

Coach Bernal believed that Hackett could compete with Brian Goodell and the swimmers from Mission Viejo with significantly less training volume if they did their swimming at higher quality. However, he also recognized the need for Bobby to increase his volume from previous year and do more work than his teammates.

The coach and swimmer agreed that Bobby would eliminate his traditional two days rest for local meets. Bobby also agreed to increase the volume of his training by completing additional warm-up at each session  of his meets for a total of 3500 yards. This added 7000 yards each day of a prelim and final meet.  They discussed the time goal of 15:30 in  the 1500 at the Kansas City Meet.

Hackett began the fall with usual dryland exercises, stroke work and games. As he entered the month of December, his training emphasized over distance work. Sets such as 3x1500s of backstroke, descending and swimming particularly fast on the third were Hackett training always progressed and built up to the team’s training trip during the Christmas holidays. When the team went to Puerto Rico during the school vacation, Coach Bernal increased Bobby’s volume to as much as 11-12000 yards per  practice.

One of Hackett strongest qualities had long been the ·acceptance of personal responsibility for his success or failure in swimming.

During the previous summer, he had lost that sense of personal accountability, and with it, a measure of his own self-discipline.

It is easy to understand his difficulty since self-discipline comes from having high self-esteem. When Bobby had struggled to fit into other people’s standards at Fordham Prep, he’d lost sight of his own standards. Five months had passed since the Concord Nationals, and Coach Bernal designed his training system to increase progressively in intensity over a three-week period. He began the first week with more volume and progressed to more and more quality each week.

Coach Bernal was challenging Bobby more than ever.

Bobby, his focus renewed, was meeting all the challenges. With each successful day, his pride and self-esteem were growing.

Coach Bernal designed his training system to increase progressively in intensity over a three-week period. He began the first week with more volume and progressed to more and more quality each  week.

In previous season, Chuck Felice or another of Bobby’s teammates might challenge him on the sprints or other high-quality work during the third week. But not this season. Day after day and week after week, Bobby harnessed and focused his energy toward tremendous training. Quality work increased during the season as the coach included more 200 and 100 repeats. Broken 1650s were common.

Bernal’s favorite set began with 500, then 400,’300, 200, 100, 75, 50, 25.

On the first round, Bobby swam as fast as possible on very short rest. Hackett might repeat the set two or three times, going up and down the ladder. Each round of the set, the . rest interval would became greater, and with the increase in rest, Bobby pushed himself to swim faster.

As the Gator team became more and more successful, swimmers flocked to the program. The number of athletes per lane swelled in the little Fordham pool. There was now an average of 10 swimmers per lane. The team members would swim a circle pattern in each lane with each individual leaving three to four seconds after previous swimmer.

When Bobby and his teammates were swimming fast, a whirlpool effect took place in the pool, which helped them swim even faster. As the fastest swimmer on the team, Hackett would repeatedly catch up and pass his teammates in the circle. Occasionally, he would flip just. before a wall to avoid hitting someone.

At practice in January 1975, the team was doing a series of swims on  a short rest, followed by a  short break, and then as fast 1650 as each could go. The coach planned to repeat the set at least twice through. Bobby was breaking through the “pain barrier” by working on technique and sending his body into auto pilot when the pain became severe.

He was swimming particularly fast that day. When he finished his second 1650, Coach Bernal looked at Hackett and looked at the clock. He said, “Bobby, you must have miscounted. You have another 50.” Bobby rarely miscounted. He had developed the habit of turning at the shallow end of the Fordham pool, rolling a little more than normal onto his side, and glancing behind him to see the pace clock hung high on the wall. He always checked his splits. In doing so, he knew the pace he was holding in his training set. He had been working toward breaking 15 · minutes in 1650 and knew it was necessary to split his 500’s at about 4:35 to have a chance to succeed.

That is about what he thought had been his pace on the previous 1650. Coach Bernal had timed his last 1650 at 15:02, which he thought was too fast to be correct because the American record at the time was 15:15. He thought that Bobby must have miscounted. When Bobby’s teammates finished, they said, “Bobby, what was your time on that one? You were swimming fast!”

He told them, “About 15:29,” adding the time for the extra 50.

“You went an extra 50?” one of his teammates questioned. As happens with many teams in swimming, a disagreement ensued over who had miscounted and who had not. Coach Bernal wasn’t sure either.

The coach rarely divulged when practice would end. He continually challenged his swimmers with hard sets until he became satisfied with session’s work productivity.

Hackett did each set like it was the last one of the session.

Then Coach Bernal might announce an additional set to the tired swimmers. When that happened, Bobby reveled in the challenge to still train fast on to next set. So , Bernal commanded, “Let’s do it again.”

This particular day, the next swim was a 1650 for time.

Hackett again raced around teammates, under them, and, occasionally, over them. If anyone hung on the wall, it meant someone could be turning on top of them.

Naturally, the most likely candidate to turn in top of another swimmer was Hackett..

Sometimes he would turn a few yards ahead of the wall to avoid a collision.

When Bobby completed the swim, the coach’s watch read “14.58” Although aided by the “whirlpool’ and occasional short-cuts, Hackett had swum 17 seconds faster than American  record-in practice!