Changes In Distance Training by Bill Rose (2002)


First of all, I would like to thank ASCA for asking me to do this.  I think that when they did ask me, they asked me to do this looking 25 years backward, wondering if I had anything to say about today and the future.  Interestingly enough, it looks like my future started about three years ago with a phone call.  I got a phone call from the sister of one of my ex-swimmers.  Her name was Barbara Bellagorski.  She was a swimmer at Santa Clara in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  She was a National finalist in the 1500 & 800.  A very, very good swimmer.  Her brother also swam for Santa Clara and was my first recruit when I got the job in 1968 at University of the Pacific.  His name was Jim Bellagorski.  Well, time flies and she is now married and living on a farm about an hour outside of Bakersfield.  She called me one day and said, “Remember me?”  I said, “Sure I remember you!  She said, “well, I got a son who just turned 13 and is now starting to swim year around.  He has only swum in the summers before and I would like to see him be a distance swimmer and I wanted you to know.  I want to know if you can help me from afar?  He just made his AA standard in the 500 to come to the Turkey Classic at Mission Viejo.  I want you to meet him, talk to him, and maybe introduce him to some of the better swimmers just to get him involved a little bit more.”   I said, “Well great!  What’s his name?”   “His name is Larson Jensen”, she said.


Larson was a brand new swimmer, and he has evolved into a pretty darn good swimmer.  I have just been kind of a mentor from afar.  Low and behold, he went 15:04 this summer in the 1500 and is now going to be swimming with Mission Viejo, which puts me on the hot seat.  All of a sudden I am either going to be a very good distance coach, or I am in major trouble.  I want to thank the past and I want to thank genes and the gene “pool” for letting me be a real good coach down the road here.  Larsen Jensen is a great athlete who started late in swimming, and knows no other way of swimming.  We are going to get to what it takes to be a World Record holder in the 1500.  He knows no other way of swimming other than with a six beat kick.  That is what he learned.  He doesn’t know any other way, and he was too old starting to figure out an easier way of doing it.  He is a good athlete and an over-achiever.   You find me a good athlete, that happens to be an over-achiever, and all of a sudden I look to be a good distance coach.  Normally we don’t have those kinds of athletes.


Today’s distance swimmers: are they different from the past?  Should we treat them differently?  What shall we do in the future?  To find out whether they are different or not we need to look in the past.  As I look out in the audience today I see a lot of my peers that have been around a long time, so some of these names may certainly ring a bell to most of you.  Who are our heroes in swimming?  I think that makes a big difference as to what kind of overall swimmers we are going to have.  Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, there were some great heroes.  If you went to your team at that point and asked, “Who do you emulate?  Who do you want to emulate?  Who do you want to be like?  Who is your hero?” Inevitably the following names would come up.  Mike Burton.  Mike Burton was a hero.  Everybody wanted to be like Mike Burton.  He was the American record holder, World record holder, Olympic Gold Medallist and so on.  He was a distance swimmer.  Who else do you want to be like?  “Gee, I would like to be like John Kinsella, man – he is so big and goes to Indiana.”  Everybody wanted to be like John Kinsella – another American and World record holder.  In what?  The distance freestyle.  As time went on in the 70’s, who would you really like to be like?  “Boy, would I like to be like Brain Goodell.”  If anybody ever went to 76 Olympics, or saw the 76 Olympics, or had any idea of the 76 Olympics, that was one of the greatest races I ever saw in my entire life.  Except maybe until a few weeks ago in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was an unbelievable situation, and everybody wanted to be like Brian Goodell.  Brian Goodell wanted to be like John Kinsella.  Brian was one of those guys that wanted to be like Mike Burton.  There were others as well.  Mike Brunner obviously swam at that time, and all he wanted to do was beat Tim Shaw.  Tim Shaw, all he wanted to do was belike Mike Burton.  So everybody was working off of each other and it was the thing to do.  It was cool to be a distance swimmer.  It was cool to be a distance swimmer!


As Tim Murphy just said, “I spent some time coaching and then I had to go into the real world.”  I left swimming in 1981 and took a ten-year hiatus.  During that time, it was an interesting era.  The whole thing was work ethic during the 70’s.  The harder you worked, the more you got out of it.  The more we went, the more somebody else went.  The more we compared a set, somebody tried to up that set.  And it just went wild!  During the 80’s there were some tremendous testing going on.  Some of the results of the tests gave us the idea that less is best, and we went for several years with that concept.  We can’t continue to work these one hundred thousand meter weeks.  Where is it all going to stop?  So low and behold, they said, “there has got to be an easier way.”  Lets try this because some of the tests are telling us that we are filling that glass of water too full.  Why do we need to overflow it?  Lets just fill it right to the proper spot.  Less is best.


I want you to know that for distance swimming it didn’t seem to be quite the same thing.   I am not saying for sprint swimming in the 50s and 100s that we didn’t have a great 80’s and 90’s, because we did.  We had such a great 80’s and 90’s in that level that when I came back to coaching I sat down with my swimmers and I said, “Okay, each person – I want you to tell me one person that you want to be just like.  If I can help you be like one person in swimming, who do you want to be like?”  Of all the boys number one was Matt Biondi.  “I want to be just like Matt Biondi.”  One of the greatest sprinters we ever produced and that was wonderful and he was absolutely great.  “I want to be like Tom Jager.  I want to be the very fastest person ever.”  A couple of years later I asked again, “Who do you want to be like?”  “I want to be just like Gary Hall,” was the answer.  I did not have a person pick a distance swimmer that they wanted to emulate during any of those years.  On the girls’ side, every time I asked who do you want to be like, “I want to be like Janet Evans.  I want to be just like her.  Look at what she has done and I want to train like her.”   The interesting part is what happened to distance swimming from the 80s through the 90s in the men?  For the most part we hung in there, but from a world range did the men progress or decline?  I think the answer is obvious.  Women never lost their position.  The point is from one era to another we lost our heroes.  As far as distance swimming is concerned, we had some great heroes.  These guys are great, but the normal swimmer did not feel like distance swimming was the place to go.  When I got to Mission and started back in coaching in ’92, it was a tough situation because my “reputation” had preceded me.  All I heard is, “you are not going to make us do that distance stuff are you?”  A lot of our swimmers decided that “no, I don’t want to be in this kind of a program.”  It was a rebuilding situation.  Time has gone on and I am excited about the future, because I see a change.  I see a little bit of a change in the trend.  I see many coaches out there who are saying, “it is okay again.  It’s all right.  You can be a distance swimmer.  You can do that and we wont make fun of you.”  And more important than anything else, I see some of the swimmers saying, “its okay.”  With Larsen coming to our program I see a lot of our swimmers saying, “wow, are we going to chase his fanny around.”  It is just a feeling that I see.  It is a feeling that I saw in Ft. Lauderdale.  I see it changing and it is something that I hope will continue along the way.  I hope it is continuing along the way with swimmers looking at who they want to be.  If they want to be a wannabe, I would love to see them get into the distance area.  Eric Vent and Michael Phelps are the kids that people are going to want to be like and I think it will help along the way.


Now we look at the characteristics of a distance swimmer.  Over the years, I have found for the most part that when you pick them out they are usually pretty average.  You can make a pretty average swimmer into a good distance swimmer if they indeed have the motivation and the work ethic.  Many times our best distance swimmers that go to Nationals aren’t very good athletes.  They were the ones that couldn’t quite make the JO’s, or couldn’t quite get to the top of their age group.  They were pretty average as they grew up.  Along the way they had a dream and wouldn’t let that dream go.  They knew that they could get faster by simply putting in the effort and continuing to do so.  They could actually measure their effort because the 1500 had a pretty measurable situation going on.  And for many, many years it was the easiest way to make nationals.  I still think it is the easiest way.  I think it is very difficult for a boy, especially if you are not a Michael Phelps, to try to make it in the 100 and 200 in some of the strokes.  Those times are fast!  You have to be fairly strong, efficient, and you have to have some talent.  We have a swimmer named Steve McCloud.  This guy you should never hear of because he is a physical moron.  When I first got to Mission Viejo this kid was 12-years old and we couldn’t find a group for him because he could only swim freestyle.  When he kicked, not only did he stay in the same spot, he was moving backwards.  I still think it is a physical problem, but he walks on his toes.  He can’t get his feet down, so there is a flexibility problem.  We didn’t have a group for him, but his sister swam, and so he was there.  He just kind of floundered, and when we swam backstroke he would go freestyle.  IM?  Forget it!  I finally couldn’t stand it any more and I said, “You just swim freestyle all along.  I give up. You just do what they do.”  He was able to keep up doing freestyle when they did other things.  As time went on he was able to continue that and continue it a little bit.  He ended up making the 1500 National cut as a senior in high school.  He was able to continue on to the University of Cincinnati, and one year he was 8th place in the 1650 at NCAA’s.  He went to the Olympic trials.  He had a good career and is continuing a career in open water swimming.  This is the greatest proof any anybody I have ever seen of being a non-athlete that can actually make it to one of the highest places in swimming.  I don’t think I could ever see somebody do that in a 100 fly or any of the skilled events.


In Southern California we have two major philosophies for coaching.  One is really working, and that is a sprint base philosophy.  Boy, is it working!  I have no qualms about how well it is working.   It is specificity and it is high intensity.  It works, but I think a distance based program works just as well.  I think that we have some history and some people that we can point to the fact that it does work.  There are several people that we can talk about that were great distance swimmers and then ended up being great sprinters.  Lets throw out a few names.  Mark Spitz.  Did you know that he was an American record holder in the 1500?  One of the very first races he was ever great in was the 1500?  Somehow he was able to work himself down to the 100 fly and 100 free.  He was a pretty darn good swimmer.  He started out as a distance swimmer in the Arden Hills program.  If you were ever in the Arden Hills program with Shern Chavour, you were a distance swimmer, no matter who you were.  Does the name Rick DeMont ring a bell?  He is great coach in his own right, now coaching sprinters.  Rick DeMont was the American World record holder in the 1500.  Do you know how he finished his career?  As one of the greatest sprinters we had of the day.  He is now a sprint coach at the University of Arizona.  John Nabor, one of the greatest backstrokers who ever lived, if not the greatest.  He won the National Championships in the 1650.  Tom Jager.  The first race he made nationals in was the 1500.  It wasn’t the 50.  He made it in the 1500, and worked his way to be one of the greatest sprinters ever.  Tim Shaw, a Sullivan award winner and an American World record holder in the 1500, was one of the greatest 100 backstrokers and 100 freestylers at the end of his career.  He turned out to be on the Olympic team in water polo.  Chad Carvin, a multiple 1500 champion many times over.  29 years old, and still swimming.  He now swims the 400 and 200.  He will never be a 100 swimmer, but he is still in the sport getting better.


My son used to tell me, “Dad, I am stronger than you, I am better than you, and I could take you.  But the only thing you have got over me is old man strength.”  That indeed I think is what we are seeing in some of our post-grads.  They are just getting old man strength, and it is a physiological fact.  You are getting stronger, and still in the sport going after it.  If they would put the same work ethic that they had before, with the old man strength, boy would we have something going.  What does this tell me?  It simply tells me that a case can be made for what we call over-distance training.  Somehow these guys were able to become what they could become in a distance-based program.  I believe that you can always come down in distance.  You have heard this before from other speakers.  I think it was George Haines that I first heard if from.  You can always come down to an event during your career, but if you train for the 50 all your life I don’t see many people being able at any time to go up to any distance event and end their career at that.


We have to look at distance swimmers from a technique standpoint too.  The beautiful thing is that they can be anything.  They can be any type. Eric Vent is about 2 foot 7 isn’t he?  That’s the reason in my mind that Michael Phelps got him on that last stroke.  He is taller, bigger and so on.  You give me a big, tall, strong, lanky guy going against somebody that is shorter and on that last stroke he is going to get his hand on the wall a little bit faster.  Eric is my hero, and I’ve just got to tell you right now.  What you really have to look at when you look for distance swimmers is their buoyancy level.  It is always a better idea to be buoyant when you are going to be going up and down the pool many, many times and have to continue your body position.  It is always probably better to have a few slow twitch fibers and to have a great cardiovascular system. You have to test that out.  It doesn’t change my opinion to the fact that those fast twitch fibers can come into view a little bit later in life.  I don’t want to say check the guy out for his muscle fibers, and just because the percentage is different you don’t give them an over the distance based program.  Things can change as they mature and grow.


One thing that we are doing a lot more than we did in the old days is efficiency of movement.  We really do care technique wise, and I thank the 80s for that.  I think that our sports science has just gone in unbelievable leaps and bounds over the last several years.  We as coaches are a lot more aware of efficiency of movement.  Looking at what kind of balance points do we have, and all the good technical things that we are talking about.  I think and I have heard other coaches talking about this a couple of years ago and I really wasn’t sold on it.  But after watching Grant Hackett and watching some other great 1500 swimmers I am convinced that if you want to be a World Record Holder you are going to have to swim a 6 beat kick.  You have to swim at such a high rate of speed for so far that I am not sure you can do that without a 6 beat kick.  In our training I think we have got to stand up to the fact that the Australians indeed have that in mind and the great ones you can see are doing that.  There are still some great 2 beat, 4 beat kickers doing a great job.  Lately I am convinced if we want to look forward to 2004 and 2008, you are going to see somebody with a motorboat behind them.  Emulate Thorpe if you must.


To digress a little bit, Chad Carvin, before the 2000 Olympics, used to swim the 400 or anything else when he was going out the first 50 meters he would go a 6 beat kick.  Maybe even for the first 100.  Then he would go into a crossover 4 beat kick and stay with that until the last 100, and then turn it on as best he could just to finish.  He was 27 years old.  He agreed that this whole next year we will work on a 6 beat kick.  He said, “I promise you that I will never swim another 400 without having a 6 beat kick the whole time.”  For somebody that old, who has been swimming that long, can make such a major change at that time was tremendous.  It did have benefits.  Low and behold, he made that Olympic team.  I am not so convinced in girls, simply because of their difference in buoyancy levels and strength levels.  Maybe I will change my mind with them as well.


If you want to be a distance swimmer I think you have to start at an early age.  I think you have to start not in training at an early age, but in teaching it’s okay to swim distance.  It’s okay to swim the longer distances and get that in their minds.  It is okay to be like, or to want to be like distance swimmers.  The Mission Viejo Nadadores were trying to put little bits and pieces into our program that we do not train anyone under the age of 12 other than what your normal program might be.  What we do is initiate what we call a distance club.  Four times a year we set off a Saturday to where we bring all of our parents in because we ask them to be the counters and timers, and we have a distance club special.  The 8 & Unders will swim a 500, and we have time goals for them.  If they make it, it’s a big thing.  The first thing is making it.  If they make it, they get a cap.  If they make it under a certain time they get a cap and a distance club t-shirt.  You are never too old or too young to get reinforcements and little stuff.  So if they make that 500 they get something.  If they get under a certain time, they get another little something, and so on.  The parents dig it because the parents are involved in it.  Without them counting, and without them giving “the motivation” every time these kids come in to make that turn you know, they feel all of a sudden that they are responsible for this whole thing and they get a big kick out of it and we get the fact that they enjoy doing it and the parents were not against it.  As they get older, 9 –10, we up it to 1000 yards, 11&12 2000, 13 and up 3000.  Sometimes we go 10×300 yards on 3:30 All of our swimmers, whether they are young, or they are good, have great experience or no experience, there is something that they can get from just completing it.   That’s one thing that we do along the way.  When we get to the question and answer session, maybe you can tell me some of your ideas, because I would love to integrate some of these things into our program.


Real training for distance swimming really doesn’t start as soon as you might think.  Before puberty we try to train our kids for the 200 IM.  We feel that that is very, very important.  That is the #1 race that we try to get them to be able to do, and to do well.  Deb Montrella, who is our 10 and under coach, just bragged to me about 20 minutes ago.  “Did you know that our 10 and Unders had more points in the 200 freestyle and 200 IM than any other team in Southern California?”  That is a great brag as far as I am concerned!  She has bought into the idea that she is training her kids for the 200 IM, and that was a reward that she was looking for.  I am very happy with that, because all of a sudden she is training them and they are happy to do it.  Once they get past that, during the 13-14 year-old era, and depending upon again, whether they are going through puberty, we try to up it a little bit.  We train for the 400 and 800 freestyles. Do we train for the 1500?  Not with everybody.  Those that will step up and say I really want to do that type of thing, we will train them for that.  If I can do it, I would have 100% of our kids in the high school area train at that 800 Free and 400 IM level.  Why?  Because of another name I want to bring up, Bart Kizierowski.  He just won the European Championships for Poland with a 22.1 in the 50-meter freestyle.  He came to us as a 14 or 15 year old from Poland.  He couldn’t speak English and was a great sprinter for Poland at the time.  Great meaning that he had done like 54.8 in 100 meter free.  I said, “that’s good and I am proud of you.  In this program we are going to train you for the 400 IM and 800 free.”  One time he went a 3000 for time during his junior year of high school he went 28:22.  For a sprinter who ended up going 22.1 in the 50, that is a very good situation.  He laughs about it now, because every time he comes here to see us or to work out with us a couple of days he says, “no, no, no!  I am now no longer doing what you think I used to do.”  He is the very first one to say thank you.  My job for 90% of the kids is to get them to college and hand them over to a program that indeed is going to create the area of what they are going to be best at.  They may be best at a 50, but the fact that I train them for the 400 IM, and I trained them for the 800, does not mean that they are going to lose their chance to be the best that they can be.  If I trained them for the 50 throughout all those years, and I messed up and they should have been a 200 swimmer, or they should have been a 200 flyer, they would never see it.  They will never see it happen.  The fact that I am a club coach, I am going to do what I can to give the swimmers the very best chance to be the best that they can be.  They are not going to be the best that they can be as high school swimmers no matter what we think.  The training has to be accepted, and they have to accept the fact that we are going to train down to whatever event they want to really swim. That is what we are going to continue to do.  100,000 yard or meter weeks?  Somebody said, “Hey, have we done that lately?  Are we into that lately?  Is that a bad word?”  I think it was a bad word for a long time but I am looking at a few coaches here that are doing 100,000 meter and yard weeks.  I didn’t say years, I said weeks because in the middle of our season maybe that is what we may do.  We may spike it up to that and hold that for two, three, maybe four weeks.  I think that it is now starting to be acceptable


I am a little bit concerned about whether I am giving my swimmers a chance to recover properly. I just was fascinated by that talk earlier, and at the same time scared to death by it.  The reason I am scared to death by it is I probably have two or three swimmers that would be honest with me as for the need to recover or not.  I have very intelligent swimmers who could probably figure out what they would have to say to me as far as their heart rate is concerned after that pre-set, to decide whether they should be in a fast lane or a recovery lane.  I may all of a sudden have nobody in the fast lane at all because everybody wants to recover from those four weeks!  But if done correctly, I think there is a lot to say about recovery type training and I am going to really try to study and look into it.  Maybe not as a full squad, but for those two or three people that indeed will accept something like that.  I threw in 100,000 yard or meter weeks because we are going to do that.  Didn’t we do it in the past?  More in the 70s than we did in the 90s or the last couple of years.  I am going to bring it up a little bit.  Why?  Because I have a guy that can do it.    Why?  Because I think that the times are changing and the acceptance will be there.  I am not afraid to go back to that and I don’t think that I am an old codger because of it.  We are going to up the ante along the way here.  Coach enthusiasm and motivation is a huge thing.  You cannot run a distance program or run a distance type of group unless you want to do it, unless you are enthusiastic about it, unless you want to stay late, unless you want to walk up and down the pool hundreds of times.  It is not being a good distance coach even if you say, “Okay, we are going four 1500s today. Ready, go.” And go off somewhere and have coffee.  You have got to be physically and mentally involved.  If you cant do that, don’t even try to coach distance because you are going to be doing a disservice.  I feel sorry for your swimmers.  You simply have to have that motivation, you have to have that desire, and be enthusiastic about it.  I have got to be more excited that these guys are going four 1500s right now than they do.  I have got to show that to them and give them the attention that they deserve.  Sometimes if I can’t do it, I have got to designate somebody to go ahead and do it for me.  If it is a swimmer that is injured and can’t get in the water, I put him on there and say, “Hey – I’ve got to go over here with the sprinters for a while.  While I am doing that, you just bounce up and down the pool and start cheering for these guys like it is the Olympic games as they are doing their repeats.”  Somehow these distance swimmers have to get the same attention, if not more, than the sprinters do.  Understand that.  I think that is a very important point.  Constant feedback.  Constantly giving them their times, or their heart rates, or whether they are negative splitting.  Continue to talk to them as much as you possibly can and recognize them when they do something.  Not only to their lane, but stop the whole workout and say, “Hey, wait a second!  Do you guys know what these guys just did?  Do you know what their times were?”  And let the whole group give them a round of applause.  Make sure that they get the same, if not more, recognition than anybody else.  I think that you really need to work and separate them as much as possible.  It is real hard with school, especially in a club program, to get distance camps.  But even weekend distance camps, or anything you can to separate them.  Give them special attention and get them somewhere they can work together and maybe bring in other people into the fray.  All of a sudden they are special.  All of a sudden they are recognized.  All of a sudden it is okay because I am going to this camp and these other guys aren’t.


I love those zone distance camps.  I coached those for years and it was exciting.  You  just don’t know how many great distance swimmers came out of those zone distance camps that were just little kids floundering around.  A lot of them have come back to me.  “Remember me from 1995?” “Yea, sure I do!  What is your name?”  “Well I was in that distance camp in Ft. Wayne Indiana.”  “Oh yeah, yeah, you were the guy.”  He was just second at the NCAA’s.  Believe me a lot of people came out of that.  It is unbelievable. If you can do the distance camps, do them locally, nationally, or by zone.  I think in your training distance swimmers you’ve got to understand that they are racehorses.  They are thoroughbreds I guess.  The fact is that they have a tank of gas and they have got to learn how to use it.  They are going from here to San Francisco, but not from here to Mustang Ranch.  If I had to go to San Francisco, I better make sure that I am efficient with that tank of gas. What we have to do for 500 people or 800 people is teach them that they have to know pace.  They have to know splits.  Yea, we do a lot of negative splitting, especially in practice.  The more you do in practice, the more it is going to come out in a race. The body is a creature of habit.  If that is the case, and I negative split them all the time, and certainly make sure that they kind of have that inbred to them, when they get to the big race I am not going to hope that they do it.  They are going to do it because they are creatures of habit.  So we work a heck of lot of negative splitting, and taking that tank of gas and using it all at the right time.  Finishing with nothing, but still finishing the race.


Early season training, in our case, is the time for just aerobic and low intensity swimming.  I believe that is the time that we really work on our technique, that we really get down what we are trying to do with the old famous slow distance swimming.  The fact is, however, we don’t go as far as we do during the season.  Our repeats aren’t as far as they are during the mid-season, because we really want to make sure they are doing it right.  We want to make sure that they know how fast they are going.  Mid-season are our competitions. That is where we give our challenging workouts.  Taper for distance swimmers is a little bit different.  Obviously we don’t do a lot of drop dead tapering and you have heard it a dozen times now and you are going to hear it for the 13th time.  Taper needs absolutely nothing, because what we are simply going to do is rest.  What we are simply going to do is tone.  That is all we are going to do and if we have done the job during the season, we have a great last swim meet.  It had to do with what have you done along the way.  Naturally, when they get older, the taper is going to be a little bit different as to when they are younger.  I did a 4-page handout here on different workouts.  What I tried to do was take a week in 1999, a week in 2000, about half a week in February of 1999, a full week in the summer of 1999 and then a full week in the spring of 2000.  We are not going to have the time to go over them, but you can kind of see as far as our workouts are concerned how we broke them up and how we did them.


Thank you ASCA, you guys have done a great job.  It is unbelievable and I want you to know I have not used any of the expensive stuff that they have had to pay for.  Something you don’t understand or you want me to explain on these workouts I would be glad to do it because another thing that I think is important in distance training, I try on a daily basis to do something that will fool the swimmers into doing more than they ever thought they could do.  Fool them into going further than they thought they could go.  Everyday I do that, and hopefully some of these things you may have seen before.  I do beg, borrow or steal from people, but the important thing is you have a duty to your distance swimmers to try to keep their mind going and to keep their motivation and their interest up.  Sometimes four 1500s cannot not necessarily be the greatest interesting thing in the world, but how you do them might at least make them think along the way.




The question was, “What do we do or what can be done for swimmers to be able to have more opportunity to swim the distance events?”  Obviously they take time, and some of the meets cut out the ability for distance events.  You need to create.  Go to the point where they do at Santa Clara, and we do it at Mission Viejo at our swim meet of champions.  Do whatever you can to make sure that they have that opportunity.  Also, as a coach, create swim meets that have distance.  Create an over the distance meet if you will.  Create opportunities for them.  If there are swim meets that don’t have that opportunity, look for them or create them.  That is the best answer I can give.


A general weekly cycle is changing this year because of the recovery talk.  Monday morning we worked with essentially aerobic type of training with an emphasis on a main set of kicking.  Our only fast swimming on Monday morning was kicking, and everything was aerobic.  On Monday afternoon we worked on threshold swimming and essentially what we tried to do was create an ability to hold heart rate, change heart rate, hold heart rate, etc. Mainly it was a threshold swimming type of thing.  On Tuesday morning we worked on individual medley no matter who they were, whether they were distance swimmers or not.  Everything was set for individual medley and pace work.  On Tuesday night we have always done it and we call it our butt buster workout.  There is no kicking, no pulling, no anything.  You just get in and swim set after set after set.  We call it our 30 second workout, meaning that you have no more than 30 seconds between any set, and therefore whatever set we had, whether it was 5×400 on 5:30.  After the 5x400s were done you had 30 seconds rest to get ready for 20×50 on :40.  Then you had 30 seconds rest to get ready for the next set.  The sets were somewhere between 1000 and 2000 meters or yards, but they just continued.  They were not quality sets they are sets indeed which indeed your heart rate is set in the area of 140-160 and we try to hold it the entire time and get as much as we possibly can in for that period of time.  Wednesday morning we take off.  Wednesday afternoon is our recovery day.  Until two days ago, I hated the word recovery.  It means that we can’t train, and I hate to coach when we can’t train.  It means play time. That means I have to have fun.  I have the worst time in the world having fun.  I don’t know how many of you are like that, but I cannot stand it.  In fact, I have said to some coaches, “I am backing off right now.  Take the frigging workout, because I am not having fun today.”  So they take the workout, they have fun.  Thursday morning is exactly the same as Monday morning.  We work on aerobic and main set kicking.  Thursday afternoon, as I say this is all going to change, was our quality time, our test set time and this would depend upon what we were working on, whether it was 100s, 200s, 400s or whatever.   It would be tough set of which everything would be timed.  That is when we tested everything, and wrote it the results down.  Friday morning was the same as Tuesday morning and the fact that everything was IM work and technique type of work.  Then Friday afternoon was a threshold day but we tried to up the heart rate a little bit more.  Saturday morning was what we call a potpourri day.  That was a day when I did what I darn well pleased.  If I didn’t like what I saw through the week, I worked on what I wanted to work on.  If I didn’t think we did a good job on that week and took the rest of the weekend off.  I am going to change that a little, because we must recover.


Duration on my threshold sets again will probably be anywhere from 15 minutes to 25 minutes of threshold work.  At certain times I will go two sets like that.  In other words, if they had to do two rounds of it, I may do that set, do something else to break it up, and then do another set.  The duration is very seldom as slow as 15 minutes but somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes of threshold swimming.

I wrote that down and my dry land guru is in the audience here so I really should have him say that.  I have been very, very fortunate to have him on staff the last year and he is trying to teach me the value of weights.  I have never been a weight fan and so I have never really done them, so we just kind of started last year.  I am a fan of medicine balls and I am really getting to be a fan of core strength, core stability training, and circuit training.  In that area we are going to really be working on circuit training with both medicine balls and core strength type of work.  How much weight do we do for distance swimmers?  I am only talking about distance swimmers.  How much real weight program we do for that is going to be on an individual basis, usually four times a week.


There have been times in my life where we worked 6 ½ days and there will be that time again.  Am I going to do it all season long?  No but maybe for that three or four week period, why not?  If I want to have the very best, I am willing to do it.  I am willing to do it if that is what it’s going to take.  Very good point.  We do have three hours in the afternoon and depending upon who the swimmer is we do have up to two hours in the morning so we can get five hours in a day for certain swimmers.  Do we all have a high school issue?  I have a tremendously tough high school issue.  Our kids are going to school at 7 am so we start at 4:45 in the morning.  You know that is a tough situation, and then we start talking recovery.  We need to recover more.  How we are going to do that?  It going to be tough, and the kids are going to have to be tough, but I am going to have to balance it somehow.


Thank you very much for even listening to me.  I appreciate it.




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