Distance Training for Senior Swimmers by Jon Urbanchek (2003)


You know I respect a lot of coaches. There are not too many coaches out there in the past hundred years who were great scientists and also produced great swimmers. Lately, it seems like you have to be one or the other. Forf (?) was able to do science and swimming on an equal basis. He was able to combine science with the arts, and that’s what makes us special. Not all scientists can come out of the lab with the results from a rat test and a treadmill and be able to produce world class athletes, and I think he is one of the few people, perhaps other than maybe Doc Councilman, who is able to coach and do science at the highest level. I have read many of his books and definitely have looked up to him a great deal in my coaching career. I hope many of you do as well.

A couple of other things I have to tell you about yesterday – how many of you were not here yesterday? Raise your hands – you were all here yesterday. Since most of the time as speakers you know you don’t just tell them once, you might have to tell them twice, and if you are training a horse you might have to tell them 3000 times before they will learn it. There will be some repetition from yesterday, because you can’t really separate the 50 and 100, 400 and 200 guys. So if anything is repetitious bear with me and maybe it will sink in better the second time.

I would also like to apologize to Dick Schoulberg – some of the comments I made to Dick you know, we just got back from three weeks together at beautiful Santa Domingo from the PAN-American games where Bill Rose and myself, Schoulberg and Eric Hanson all shared an 8 X 8 little room, bunk beds, one light bulb, no desk, and no chairs. That was an interesting experience and if we didn’t tease each other or come up with some kind of way to entertain each other, we would have gone crazy. But we had a great time down there because we find a way to make a very uncomfortable situation comfortable – and we projected that into our athletes. Our athletes performed extremely well under a very un-ideal situation. When we arrived, the pool was 91 degrees and I am glad that Dick Schoulberg was there because Dick was out there at night hot-wiring pumps to try to get the water to cool off. He was out there all night, the fuses were blowing, sparks were flying and we tried to do everything we humanly could. Basically it was all American coaches. Nobody else gave a damn. I was very disappointed at the organizing committee – they couldn’t of cared less. As a mater of fact they didn’t even know water temperature made a difference and that is the kind of people we dealt with – so we actually had to do it ourselves. Luckily, OSHA wasn’t there. We would have been locked up in jail. We did so many illegal things! One thing we learned down there is that people are willing to help you, but only if you bribe them – so basically every day I took off my USA shirt because I knew I wasn’t going to wear it again the next day – and I would give it to this poor guy who was cleaning the pool or putting the pumps together for us. I just gave him everything. I didn’t bring home one item from the PAN-American games. I left it down there because those poor people needed it. To be honest, I am glad that we had the games down there because I think that it gave them an idea to do a little bit better in the future – so anyway, sometimes that is just part of coaching. We could have walked in and said oh shit, you know what are we going to do here in 90 degree water – we can’t do anything. We turned things around and made the most of it. So, that is also part of coaching and sorry that Schoulberg is not here, but he is still alive. He could have been electrocuted. Well, lets get started on business here.

Oh by the way, that picture is the Michigan delegation at the Olympic games. Some of you might recognize some of the faces; they are still around, Malchow, Tom Dolan, he’s retired, Chris Thompson, and the rest of the people are retired – except me, I am still around and I will just give you a little bit. I am very fortunate to have a great distance background from Michigan; you have got to create an environment for distance training. It is very boring. I felt sorry for all these kids. I know Larsen Jansen did a hell of a job with Bill – who was pretty much swimming all by himself. It is hard to be a distance swimmer while training at home, but I’ll go into that later on in this presentation

Chris Thompson is the reason I am going to bring this up – the most successful swimmers in our program – they were all extremely well trained. This is what Jack was trying to get across to you, and I am sure he did, about having a great aerobic base. Many of these are athletes who came to Michigan. They made me look good. I told Rick Curl numerous times that if it wasn’t for Rick putting Tom Dolan through 80-100,000K a week prior to coming to Michigan I could not have taken him to the next level, and I have to give credit back to the people that actually did the job, preparing the athletes to make us look good, but the job was basically done, as I said, at the club level before they come to college. Chris Thompson was coached by Jerry O’Shefsky and I think Jerry obviously attacked swimming very much the same way I did, mostly because Jerry swam for me. Apples don’t far fall from the tree, though perhaps I shouldn’t say that. Dave Salo swam for me also, but Dave is a pretty good scientist who is a great physiologist. He knows what is happening. He found a way, and I stood behind him completely through good times and bad times, when things were not going well, but he made it through and is one of the top coaches now in the world. And obviously Rick Curl did a great job with Dolan and Jeff Cooper with Peter Van der Kay who just joined our team last year.

You can see that we have quite a bit of success in the 1650. We have not done that well in meters, but the people that have done well in meters are all basically coming from a very high mileage program, including Brendon Nelligan as many of you still remember. Brendon is from the East Coast, swimming with Dave. And Andrew Herd – the Canadian boy – also has done really well in meters. They are all coming from a very high mileage programs and so that is why they continue to be very successful in the meter department. We have a lot more people swimming a 1650 in our program than perhaps swimming the 100 and the 200, so we have great depth.

We have that distance reputation, and a lot of kids want to come to Michigan because only a few programs in America can actually cater to distance swimmers. I have 90% of the scholarship invested in people that swim 200 and up and this year we will probably have 100%. We don’t have anything invested in sprinting, but as I told you yesterday, I am one of the greatest sprint coaches in the history of American swimming, even though we have not invested a whole lot of money, especially not lately, but based upon NCAA championships… we’re okay! It just shows you the direction that I have been and the direction I am continuing to go.

The 500 people, I showed you this chart yesterday. But again, there is some repetition here because we really can’t separate the 400 meter people and the 1500 meter people – they are pretty much alike, though I will tell you later on what differentiates them. There has got to be a critical speed from where we can base our performance with the 400 and the 1500. There has got to be a critical speed, or the fastest anaerobic speed that one can have before they can go on to more of an aerobic type of success – I will get back to you on that. Again, we did quite well in meters and the yards department. I told you, the only thing that I am going to tell you is that, for the distance people, swimming at what I call threshold, which is where your pulse is anywhere between 150 and 180, is important. The people who want to be successful in 1500s must be able to spend quite a bit of time at their threshold, and I will show you about how much of the day, the week, or the year they should be spending at that 150-180 pulse. I told you yesterday how to calculate a threshold – it doesn’t matter how you are going to get a threshold, but get one if you want to be able to design workouts which are meaningful.

I told you about this set yesterday. No big deal, but I don’t think I explained to you how we got to the interval test. I think Jack brought up somebody that averaged 4:18 for ten 400s and that is exactly the example I used for you yesterday with Tom Malchow. He averaged – we did ten 400 meters on a 4:45 send-off and he averaged 4:18, and from there we determined that his threshold is 1:06 – do you remember that? If you just want to do some easy recovery-type (150 pulse or under) swimming you can design workouts based upon what you got. You have so many options; that is the reason I am going to spend a little bit more time on it. I don’t like to do a hundred 100s. I did that the first 15 years of my life. I figured I would like it, but some of the swimmers did not buy into it, so now I like to do a lot of variety and this will give you an unbelievable amount of variety. If you want to design a workout you do not have to strain yourself (like sitting on the toilet seat) thinking about what you are going to do – what is going to be your main set today because it does not have to be ten 400s or twelve 400s. I just wanted to tease big Joe (?) because he likes to do that – the benefit is the same. It doesn’t matter which one of those charts you are going to do, as long as it’s the right interval at the right speed. You get the same thing, though I don’t recommend for a 1500 guy doing 50s too often. It would be rather boring, but if you mix it in with the 100s and 150s and 200s you can come up with an unbelievable combination of workouts.

I told you this yesterday; for the distance people it is critical to do a lot of the workout at this threshold level, and then again, if you do want to do that same thing, you guys can create your own. It doesn’t matter which one you are going to do and I will show you a picture here in a second. This is an average – I think these are the 1995 charts I made up, and how much of the total yardage – the typical college season from September until the NCAAs at the end of March – how much of that total yardage was at that 150 to 180 pulse, which I would consider their threshold. Now it doesn’t mean that if you ask the guy to hold 2:10 or 4:20 on the set that I designed based upon the intensity that he necessarily has to hold the time, as long as his pulse is in the threshold range. Every five or ten minutes we have an extra 30 seconds of rest built in a workout for a pulse check.

Okay, whether the pulse is 25 beats in 10 seconds or 28 beats for ten seconds – good. Keep on going – everything is fine. Now, if you got some kid whose time is really off and the pulse is 32 – then something is wrong. I either designed the workout wrong or that kid has totally broken down and he is very tired and he is unable to do that workout, so you have two ways to measure if they are doing the job –holding a time you prescribed for them and checking their pulse. If we have the time, and if you have the pulse at the right place you are doing an awesome job. That is an optimal workout.

You know what? We don’t always get it and you don’t always get it from everybody. In a big group, there is always somebody that floats, someone who can’t do it, but thank God in our program we always have a few guys who are always with it and they keep on going regardless of how tough the situation is and keep pushing each other. Though sometimes it is bad too because you might get some kid who is highly competitive and refuses to lose, even if they are working beyond their threshold, and it is possible for somebody to bury themselves. It happened to me a few times. Some kids just literally died, especially the young, immature, or new people who come to our program and so, quite often I physically have to remove them from that lane or ask them to do something else. It they are highly competitive then they could take care of the whole season in the first six weeks and they may never recover.

So what you are seeing here is the total yardage per week and we peaked at 90K. It is very difficult in a college program to go a 90,000 a week and, to be honest, I am not shooting for higher than 80. If I can level off, that’s an ideal year. We didn’t have to do a lot of cutbacks for anything. We were able to keep the yardage up, especially during the most important part of the season, somewhere from about mid-September until Christmas. If you can just pound it and keep the yardage up – I know it is long, but you just keep doing it. Here is where you give a lot of workouts at threshold, okay? We don’t do a whole lot of VO2Max or even lactate stuff at that moment yet. We just want to build a base. If you can get through the first three months I guarantee you are going to have a hell of a season in March, but the first three months is critical and if anybody misses any of the times – misses the bulk of the major work, they will have to go to church a lot. In some areas it really can’t happen.

So you see that, once we got to the first three months after Christmas – we did peak at 90,000 at training camp, since you can really hit them hard during that time – and then what happens after the holidays as we are preparing for a collegiate season is that we then drop back significantly how much threshold work we do and try to increase on more of the VO2Max, which would be race pace type of training.

There is no lactate with these sets at all. If there is any, it is insignificant, but I think I am going to talk about it later, because I think it is going to become more important. We just talked to you about how after Christmas we start getting into all the energy zones. Once they are ready – a lot of the guys want to do fast swimming early, saying that they want to get going, and that we are doing too much long stuff. They want to get going, and we tried it a few times and what happened? It’s good. You reach early success, but then you will level off. It isn’t going to happen, so I like to delay that fast swimming, that VO2Max swimming a little bit later even if I lose the first three or four dual meets in October and November – nobody gives a damn who wins or loses in October and November dual meets. It only hurts for that one hour and fifty minutes if you lose one, and then you forget it, like it’s no big deal.

In the summer time we don’t have to go through the real long buildup because I don’t let the kids get out of shape. About a week after NCAAs are over we will have everyone back. We are one of the few schools in America who really make the kids stay in contact with the water. We just don’t take time off, especially for those who have ambitions and who continue on for the summer for international competition. It doesn’t mean that I always succeed, but we demand it. We don’t always get it but if you don’t demand it, nobody is going to show up in your pool for two or three weeks until school is out, and that is too much of a waste of time.

This was Chris Thompson’s exact preparation and taper for the 2000 Olympics, and I must tell you that I almost screwed up on this real bad. I only gave him ten days of taper for the trials. He only went 15 and 13 and he struggled to even make the team and he almost didn’t make it, and that would have been probably my fault. As a matter of fact both Malchow and Thompson – I don’t think they were totally ready for – we kept talking about the games more than the trials, and I think they swam just like that and barely made the team, but both of them made significant drops. Chris Thompson made an 18 seconds drop in 37 days between the trials and the games. Sometimes you know, you also have to take into account over-preparing for the trials. You know you get the uniform – go to the games – have fun and come home with no medal. Or you can prepare yourself instead for 375 days until our trials (or 330 or 342 days) AND whatever else until the actual games – with some people you have the luxury to look beyond, okay. Looking past the trials is possible with some guys but, again, you take a risk. I could have had nobody going to the games and I could be watching it on Channel 4 like a lot of people at home. You take a risk – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Thank God I have been lucky over the years, so for whatever it is, it has got to be luck.

In my program I don’t think we spend enough time working on what I call critical speed for distance freestyle. We know what the critical speed is for a sprinter – it comes for the 50 and I explained it to you yesterday. On the way out, they can hold about 91% of their 50 time. The same thing from a 100 to a 200, but in my mind, when we look at two of our best, three of our best distance swimmers in America today, their best 200 time is 1:50 or a 1:52 / 1:53 and they are going against guys that have best time of 1:45 for a 200 meters – it is very difficult for our guys to swim at that high level. They have to improve. It has got to be done. Somehow we have to do something or find somebody that we are missing. I think Tom Dolan could have been the one, if Tom chose to swim 1500 very early in his career. He chose the 400 IM, and obviously he was very successful at it, but I think Tom had all the tools you needed to be a really good 1500-freestyler, and he had the speed for the 200. He had a good body for that. He had everything, but we let him slip by on that one, even though it turned out to be a pretty good 8 years for him as a world record holder for the IM.

This is important, the best hold about 95% of their 200 time for the 400 and the average person can only hold 92%. How do I know this? I didn’t make this up. I took all the guys and girls who swam – oh by the way this presentation is basically more for a college-age men. For those of you dealing with women and younger age group you might have to make some modification on it because this is very specific to that small number of college age men. I really feel that there is a need to improve in this area (going out speed) and I am not sure if we should spend more time improving the 200 meter time. I am not sure if this will have an affect down the road because if I look at some of these guys the mean average time for the 200, on the way to the 400 meters, is about 91% of their best 200 so that means a person who is a 1:50 200 freestyler is going to be able to hold around 1:59 or two minutes – that is an average. That means some people are above it and some people are below it. All of the guys I mentioned, Thompson, Jensen and Eric Vent, swim way higher than Grant Hackett, who can only hold 90.7% of his 200 time for the 1500. Our guys are 94% – they are already way above the norm and I just don’t think they can go any higher than that. It is physiologically almost impossible, so we have to improve on the 200-meter time. I told you this yesterday; for elite athletes about 95% is the average from a 200 to the 400, and about 95% or 96% from the 400-meter time for the 1500.

We will go to the 400 first. A person like Chris Thompson is about 1:52 for the 200 and, based upon that, he should be a 15:15, 15:16 type of a 1500 guy. But Chris is better than average – he goes a lot faster than that. Chris Thompson can hold about 97% of his 400 time. That is way above the average of 95%, and I can’t see him going up to 98% in order to be able to get a faster time. So the only way he can go faster for the 1500 is to bring his 200 time down a little bit, maybe a 1:49. Well he made a little improvement this year. He went from a 52 to a 51, but we don’t have four more years to get down to a 48 or 47, we only have 308 days, so like I said, we are running out of time. If you look at someone like Grant Hackett whose best time is a 3:42, he is right at 95% of what he can hold for the 1500 – so we are already behind 5-8 seconds. That is my philosophy. I don’t know if I am right or wrong, but I think we have to make some changes or we have to find somebody in a hurry. Michael Phelps can’t do everything. I wish he could, but we can’t use him for every event from a 100 to the 1500 and for the IMs and for the backstroke

My gut feeling is Eric Vent is about a 3:49 and he is holding about 95.5% of that 400 time, so we are already above the mean. If you look at the 200 – which I think is a critical speed to determine how fast one can go. I did study this with all the college swimmers and all the world-class athletes to see what they were able to do. Is there any human being who can hold 98% of the 200 time? No way. Chris Thompson goes 1:53. He has never done it – but I assume he can do it. He has done a 54-something a couple of times. I would say the best he can do is a 1:53, so for him, if he goes to 1500 based up on that, he is about a 15:16 – no, he is way faster than that – he is just about holding 95% of his 200 time. There’s no way he can go any faster. He cannot go faster – he cannot go faster than that and I don’t think he can aerobically do more. He is already at the limit. He works as hard as he could and he does a really good job, but I do not think he is capable to swim a 1:55 for every 200 right now if his best time is 1:53.

Eric Vent is about 1:50 flat for a 200 meter freestyle and he is right on the mean at about 1:59.7, I think – he just barely went under 15 minutes – he is right on the average which is 92%. The majority of the athletes are going to go about 92% of the their 200 meter time in the 1500. Think about the kids you might have and put them into that either yards or meters – it works either way – so we have a rough time with Grant Hackett going almost 1:45+. He’s only holding somewhere between 90 and 91%. Thank God he is not as fit aerobically as our guys are, but he has got a lot more speed. He has an edge on all of us, so the biggest job right now is, what are we going to do about this?

Well, I know what we are going to do. I think we need to improve the critical speed for the distances– if any of you have any ideas, I don’t mean this to be a lecture by Jon Urbanchek. I am willing to listen and learn from somebody – there are great coaches out there, and I was going to make today’s presentation more two-way. Yesterday I lectured to you and we talked about jokes and this and that, but this is serious stuff. The Aussies are way out there, and we have got to find a way to get them in the next 300 days, unless they suddenly slow down for some reason, and that is not very likely.

Alright, so if you have no more comments, and I am not getting any help from you guys, I have to keep going here. What are you good for?

Comment from the floor: The question was what if I just have a 25-yard pool? How I am going to train for the 200 meters or 400 meters well?

It’s pretty tough, but it can be done. There are many examples like Michael Phelps. Michael swims in an environment that is, I am not sure, but I think is split yards and meters 50/50 – Michael will do whatever Michael wants, probably. He can swim yards, meters, widths or whatever and he is going to do well in any one of them, but you could train 125s instead of 100s and 250s instead of 200s, and you just keep gradually going up, because the energy expenditure between yards and meters is unbelievable. Meter swimming is a lot more demanding on the body, and I told you yesterday, I think I might have made a mistake. I did a lot – we did a lot – of meter swimming for a long time with no yard swimming. (The mistake lies in that) If we are going to work on this critical speed for my distance guys, we need to do something different– probably some short course training, just on special days, to make sure that their fast-twitch fibers are still twitching. I read some place that the energy expenditure between 200 yards and 200 meters is about 40% difference, so that is how much more stressful – that is how much more energy you need. In breaststroke it would be even more, because of all the pull-downs. There is no comparison. That is it exactly why the charts I gave you are good because it goes 125s, 175s, etc, etc. Many of you can create your own chart, just put on a mathematical scale and you can do whatever you want with it. If you want to download all the charts – we have it, and you can get it, and it is all adjustable. You can design how many seconds apart or tenths apart you want to design it, whatever you want to put. Like I said, everything I tell you here today you can download from our Wolverine Swim Camp site. Just go and download a page and you can get everything you want.

I read this, I am not sure, maybe we have some scientists here; I’m more like a pseudoscientist. I just pretend. I’m not doing a good job at it either, but I read someplace that the difference between yards and meters is maybe as much as 40%, and I think that was when I was working with Barrowman one time, the difference between 200 yards and 200 meters breaststroke is 40%. I would say freestyle and some of the strokes where you pop right up might be closer to 20%, so you have to do a little bit more. But so many of you are training in a short course pool and have done really well, so you all know how to figure that out, and I am not an expert. When we do yards we are thinking about yards. Unfortunately, I am in a situation that I have to keep my college kids happy for the collegiate season, so we have to go back and forth. We have to think yards, and then some guys have to think meters, and we just got to go back and forth. We try to meet both groups in there, because some kids will never go to the Olympics, or even the Olympic trials, but we have to meet their needs. We have to swim yards without hurting the people going for trials. Any other questions on this chart? Sharon.

Oh, that’s a good question. I will come back to you Sharon. I failed to tell you this yesterday – that 3000 or 2000 or whatever you use to find out what the threshold is, I only do it four times a year. Three times during the collegiate season, which is about 30 weeks. The first one is October; you saw that on one of the charts. And then we do one just before Christmas break. That all depends on final exam schedules and all the crap that’s going on, with travel here and there, but we try to get one before Christmas training, especially if I am going to go meters. If I do altitude training I have one so we can have meter times. If I am going to go to a 25 meter pool, then we have to do it in 25 meters so we can figure it out, so I like to set this up because we do have two or three weeks of pretty heavy training at Christmas time. That would be my second one, and then the third one will be about four weeks before taper. I used to joke around and tell them that if they weren’t improving enough, then they weren’t ready for the taper yet, so they usually put a good effort in. So I say, well it looks like we need a couple more weeks – you are not quite there yet, because what will happen is that you take a typical kid – some kid that has not done much swimming the whole summer, or finished on July 27 at World Championships, and they were sitting scratching their butt or stretching it, or whatever, and sometimes if they have that much time off, they’re going to come back in September completely out of shape, so we have to build them up for the first four or five weeks, until I get up to close to about 60 or 70,000 a week. We start at about 30,000 – we will go up to 40-50 and usually by the fourth week we are up to about 70,000 and gradually we go up to 80 and try to level off around in the 80,000 range, so we will have the first one in October

I feel it is a real critical time to build a base and build the right base from October until Christmas. Like I told you, that is the most important part of the season. If you screw up on that, then you have nothing left. You go on a vacation at Christmas time and forget about the rest of the season and then we go until – whatever we are tapering for –some kids taper for a conference meet. Obviously they can start earlier. Also there are those that swim through the conference meet and go to the NCAAs, and those who are only going to senior nationals – and this year it is going to be extremely different because we got some people who may not taper at all until June, so it is a 7-ring circus. I don’t know about you, but this summer was unbelievable – we had people tapering for June, July, and August. I was going crazy with all that. It would be fun to just have one group taper for one effort. If the whole team is going in one direction it would be great, but it doesn’t always happen that way. It’s chaotic, but we made it through, thank God.

So basically I am telling you that we have three during the collegiate season and then I have one at the beginning of the summer so that I don’t have to have another one. Like I said, I don’t let my guys get out of shape. They are pretty much in shape all the way through from March and right on. May 1st we usually start hitting the heavy summer training because Michigan gets out of school. We got out of school on the 20th of April last year. We get out early, so that would give us plenty of time to really get ready for a good summer. As a matter of fact, we have so much time that I can kill them over the summer.

I think that is important not to just to do it once. I don’t like to do anything too many times; it becomes boring, and you know you are not going to get the results you are looking for. I don’t even call it a test. They’re training sets, not tests. Sometimes I record them. If they’re worthwhile I will make notes in the book.

Sharon, you had a question. Okay. So what you see in October, someone is going to go a 1:06 threshold, and maybe the second one, if they do the optimal work and everything is going along well, he should have a good two-second drop to the second one, because a major aerobic improvement is going to happen in the first six weeks. If you hit it well the guy is going to go a 1:06, and is probably going to be a 1:04 by Christmas time, provided they do the work along the way and nothing interferes with them. Then you have just one more before you start the taper – the critical one. Okay, you are ready for your taper – now that is good. You are aerobically set, now we can start going down and start getting ready. We used to do this – even with the sprinters. I think Gustava Borges started out with 1:04 in October and 1:02 and probably a minute flat just before taper time, and he was a sprint freestyler who likes to train. He would love to go with the distance guys. I think he always wanted to be a distance man, and he liked to do the distance work, so you will see some progression. Now if the improvement levels off, if you go the other way, then you have to examine what went wrong. You could be over-training. If somebody is very conscientious and never misses a practice, the only thing could be wrong is over-training, but I don’t believe in over training. Just like Bill (Sweetenham) said, there is no such a thing as over-training. The way I designed this program, in which I think I am correct, is that every single kid should be able to make it through and adapt to this program. The reason they don’t adapt is because they will not go to bed at 10:30 every night to make sure they are up at 5:30 to be at workout at 6. They are going to stay up until midnight, and even that is early for some, as you probably know, all you college kids. The amount of partying going on and the amount of drinking going on – what effect does it have on their recovery? A great deal.

Now we don’t take that into the equation when I design a workout. It is easy for Bob Bowman to train Michael – he has Michael by the elbow and that is why I told you, sometimes you are better off being home one-on-one with your coach, and he is watching you – and you all know what it is like when you go out to the big college environment. Peer pressure is unbelievable on the college campus, and so it is tough. If they take care of their body, eat well, sleep as much as they want it would be great, but we don’t always get it. I must tell you about Chris Thompson. He came to Michigan at 15:24, and he was one of these guys who was not in the group – and he is still not in. He has tried, but he is not in; he decided that he was going to focus in and make the Olympic team. He did not drink for three years. He had his fist beer in Sydney and somebody told me that after one beer he was under the table. He didn’t drink at all. He didn’t party, and I don’t know if he has been lucky with any women yet – he is trying, but I don’t know. He is one of those guys that is willing to give up something for something more important, but those guys are few and far between because for most kids, being in an in group and being the life of the party is most important. He was able to make those choices. There are some others – Tom Malchow related at the training camp at the Olympics that he had four beers the whole season, and I wasn’t sure what he meant by the season. I figured the whole year leading up to the Olympics he only had four beers, though of course, he made up for that lost time afterwards as most of you guys do. You know, you wish that we don’t have the last night at the NCAAs, or the last night any major meet because it seems like it is a lost time and they all have to catch up and in some cases it probably hurts.

Did I answer your question? I am not even sure Sharon. I haven’t even got that far yet. I am listening to Eddie Reese a lot, going way off. I hope I find my way back. Oh yes, I believe we have made changes. I mean, I told Jonty yesterday – one of the major changes I made this summer in my program is that we have kicked real hard, we used the legs a lot more than we have in the past, and we pulled extremely hard, not just long easy pulling sets, but a lot of interval sets, 3-4,000 meter pulling in the morning. We have maybe 1500 worth of kicking, very hard kicking. I told you yesterday that sometimes we don’t use a kickboard. What I found if you put the big paddles on your kids, they use the paddle as a kickboard with the tip up. I find it very beneficial. It takes away some of the floating they like to do – so that it is not as easy. Then you can combine the kicking and also maybe some fast swimming. You can go 100 this way and a 50 the other way with the paddles on, so I did make some changes. I hope it will pay off down the road.

Okay, right now most people are retired this summer but I think, like I told you yesterday, this summer was not as important as probably building for the next one because there is no next summer as far as I know. Some of these things I threw up here to you and I said to you yesterday, you can use these, what I am doing here is showing you a race to create some exciting workouts. It does not have to be an even pace. You can go 400 white, 400 pink or however you want to name it, but just create some kind of excitement in it, and then you can still go 4200. I put this set down here just for the hell of it, okay? I don’t know how often I do this: 12 x 400s – but how do you deal with the people and someone whose threshold is 1:04 to 1L06? I might have two lanes of this, and hope to have maybe more than that. Then you have a couple of lanes of 1:07 to 1:08 type of people and then might have some of the slower distance guys and maybe some of the better girls might be into this department here so if you want to design a workout for lane 1 & 2 we will do this workout, lane 2 &3 and lane 4 & 5 will do this and if you have more groups, you can actually put the backstrokers and breaststrokers way over to the other end at the 1:20 pace, and then you can design a workout.

I wouldn’t recommend 400s for breaststrokers, but I am just using an example so this is one good way for you to get a good workout in – I think it is 4800– so pretty close to 5,000 meter sets – and what you do is you prescribe for them what you would like them to swim. This is what Tom Malchow does, this would be Malchow at 1:06. Dolan and some of the better guys, based on their 1:04 threshold, this is what they have to do in the first three, and the next three, and the next three, and they have got to be moving down here. I found out from Ted that Grant Hackett can go four minutes or 4:02, any day, all day and all night, so obviously some people have a lot better threshold – just find out their threshold. This is 60.7 – something like that – so they are about 3-4 seconds ahead of us, even on the straight 3000 swim per hundred, so we have a hell of catching up to do and I am not sure how we are going to do it.

Anyway, this is an example for you guys if you want to implement this type of training with different groups, and you can put it in and there is nothing special about that set you know, though it is a long set. Oh, this is a good one though. If you are working with a distance freestyler if you go eight 200s and after each 200 put a 50 easy in there so that it is basically 8 x 250, now descending 1-4 – once again, down to your fourth one which is maybe a 2:06 or 2:04 or 2:10 – whatever, now you’ve got to hold that. What ever you get down to, you better be able to hold it all the way through the set. So then you go into 150s – descend twice on that (1-4 and 5-8 in the hundred) and descend down to hopefully an 800 pace, so it should maybe be 59s or 58.5 – if he can do that in the fourth one then you have to go 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and the next 5 have got to be 58 so it is pretty challenging because you are only going to get some active rest in between because it wont take you more than 35-45 seconds to swim down to the other end of the pool and go again, so I think that is an excellent way to get some race pace in, and then if you want to work at the 400 pace there you go a 50 and get down to the fourth one and then, 4-8 to hold 28 flat or 27s – whatever your goal is. We talked about this already I think.

I told you yesterday about one of my favorites, especially for yard swimmers, remember we really do not differentiate between 400 and 1500 type of guys, I just don’t have a 1500 workout, though I think this year I am going to make a sub group for the distance people. I am going to deal with those who predominantly focus in on 1500 and the 1500 only. I am trying to experiment a little bit, and trying to meet the needs of some of these people. Now this is my favorite set on Wednesday and Saturday for distance guys because we do not do a whole lot of lactate work up to this point – but okay, for a 1:04 threshold type of guy it is good to go 400s, 300s, 200s, and 100s. The intervals are increasing – you are giving them a little bit more rest so by the time they get down to the 100s at the end here – you are definitely getting about a minute rest, and that person is supposed to hold 58 which, will be pretty much which would be ideal race pace for someone who wants to be a world class 1500 guy. This is an actual set from Chris Thompson – the year he broke the American record – or was it a collegiate record that one year? This was about six weeks or five weeks out with 30 x 100 – this is yards so this is the average – he was supposed to hold 51.5 and he started out at 52 and got down to 50.4 and maybe he got 49.9, but for him to go 49.9 is a miracle and I figured he should be able to hold about one second. We used to do this with Dolan a lot and so I figured about one second difference between what you can hold on this and what you should be able to hold in competition, so I figured he would definitely want to take Tom Dolan’s record. I said that it would take a 52.5 to break Dolan’s record and it was predicted 26.2 and ended about 4:26 – oh, that was pretty close, so I should be a gambler.

But going back to Chris Thompson, he is a very unique guy. You know he is not the life of the party, but he is one of the nicest kids I ever coached. He is very calm and considerate and always does the job; sometimes he irritates the other guys who might like to cut out a hundred here and a hundred there, and Chris wouldn’t. If it is a 600 swim down he does a 600, not a 400 and stop and talk. He is one of these guys who does everything right so I am very happy for him to get the medal which he got in 2000. I don’t know if it is possible for him to medal again or even make the team, but he has definitely decided he wants to do it and I am behind him 100%. You want to do everything you can for somebody who respects your program and does a lot for you, so I am going to help him, and with God’s help maybe he just has a chance to make it again, but I am just sharing with you some of the things we have done and some of what we are going back to.

I think we are going to be done – how soon are we done? Bill, are we done already? Yeah – great question – this is where coaching comes in – this is where we have to use our arts and intuition The kid was up all night studying for an exam. I like to do this test every Monday afternoon, assuming that Saturday they are not going to go out and get wasted, okay? Drink too much. Tell them ahead of time. This is going to come. I would like you to prepare your body to the best of your ability and Monday afternoon comes and the kid doesn’t do well. We will find out – maybe he was sick. I tell the guys – if you don’t feel up to it don’t do it – I think Dolan missed two or three during his college career with me. He wasn’t ready and I didn’t want Dolan to go something bad because he would get down on himself if he didn’t do his best time every time, so I told him he wasn’t ready. I think two or three times he did it by himself so I usually asked, hey if you are not 100% don’t do it or if you are not 100% do the intervals instead. We have some guys and I tell them, hey you do better on the intervals than you do on the straight 3000. The straight 3000 is best only for the 1500 type of guy – the highly aerobic people. If you can’t go 3000 and push yourself don’t do it. Well, you can go ten 300s and I can figure out your threshold from there. I can figure out your threshold from anything, but in our program it is kind of important so I put a lot of emphasis on it. Now, I don’t want you to fail. I want you to do well. That is the purpose.

So you know some guys overdo it like Jason – here is Jason Lancaster – one of my great butterflyers and all purpose swimmers at Michigan and I think I screwed him over before the Olympic trials in 96, but sometime in December he did a 3000 straight freestyle– he did it twice or something – I don’t know why. He wanted to be so ambitious so once was yards and once was meters and he wanted to both because he thought he was going to be the world’s fastest butterflyer – more is better, after all. Well, he screwed up his shoulder – pretty much ended his career and probably it was as much my fault because I didn’t tell him no, you can’t do that, so I learned from that – it would never happen again, I hope.

Bill: yeah it is okay. The correlation is so close. We are not flying to the moon to be that close you know, we are going to hit it. We are close and you can estimate it. Some of the guys I worked with at the Olympic training camp in 200 had no clue about what their threshold was, but I kind of figured it out for them based on where they were swimming, and I put them in with them so you can estimate. That is what we are getting paid for, you know, so we have to do some of that. Any other good questions?

I don’t want to talk to you about some of the things you are not interested in. I would rather share something with you that you are interested in. I said, I don’t have all the answers – I wish I did but I don’t have all the answers. I will share with you everything I try to do and sometimes – I have been very lucky, but I think the luck came from their background. Compared to some other programs – we don’t do as much. You might have gone 90,000 – we don’t go 90,000 – there is not enough time in the college season, especially in the collegiate season to go 90,000. We go less yardage, but we go higher intensity. The way you can create the higher intensity by making that threshold, create some kind of a table which will tell – give them the higher closer to race pace training, but with that the problem you could overdo it and you could possibly breakdown if you don’t really take really good care of the body. We have to control that. We do a lot of hypoxic swimming – like it or not – we do a lot of kicking with fins. Chris Thompson is extremely good with his fins but worthless without. One of the things that he can do is he can kick continuously and he kicks maybe 10 meters off the wall and then he goes from 6 to 4 kicks down to two. Well, that doesn’t get you anywhere any more. Maybe some of the girls can get away with a two beat kick, but a man with a big body – it’s not going to happen. If your legs drag too much you have to get your legs up and changing maybe the body position so you float a little bit higher, but it is things that can be worked on.

I showed you this. I showed you everything I think. I am going to run out of things to say. I want to say more to you guys about – yeah, let’s take one or two more questions – Tim – that is a great idea. Yes, go ahead.

Yes, I have the workout printed out ahead of time, every lane has a paper on the deck. They know exactly what they are going to do and some kids like it. Mike Barrowman didn’t like it. Mike Barrowman liked to fold the workout. He will only see warm-up and then – he was very meticulous – and he would fold it down, okay next, then next, then next. He was different. He was a different person. He didn’t want to know ahead of time. He just wanted to be surprised. Then I have many other guys who preferred – they would rather have it. They want to know how far the workout is today, and sometimes they would grumble about it, but you know, that was very seldom – they kind of accepted it. They know it is for their benefit. It is not to please me it is to please them, so yes, I print the workout ahead of time. I write the workout ahead of time – not too many days ahead of time, because I like to see what happens. If they are really going to swim like crap, if the whole team looks like crap, I have to find some ways to liven up a little bit, so I am willing to change. I am not really stuck like okay, it’s got to be that way. That is not my personality.

Oh yeah, that is a great question. Obviously not every swimmer is as energy efficient as others. I mean it would be nice to have everybody you know doing the six beat kick and beautiful stroke and all of that – like Eric, but I think Eric could be one of the guys I would feel, if he gets down to a 1:48 flat for 200 meters, his 400 will come down. His 1500 will come down. He is the mean – he is the mean. No, I don’t think so. I think Eric has got a beautiful technique. Chris Thompson is limited. Like I said if we had Tom Dolan coming in, somebody with a long tall body and kind of tough, lean and mean and willing to train I think we could have another Grant Hackett, but Eric is doing the best he could do with that – 5’8” you know – he thinks he is taller than 5’8” but he is right up to here with me, but you know. Thanks a lot you guys – this has been fun.

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