Preparation of Lotte Friis (’09 World Champ in the Women’s 800 Free) by Paulus Wildeboer (2010)


I’m going to use my retired coaching voice; it hasn’t been taken out of the plastic bag in a year. We want to welcome part of our Gold Medal Clinic, one of the great delights of getting to hear from the top international coaches and we have one of them here today – Paulus Wildeboer, the coach of Lotte Friis and well, we’ve seen on the internet and the Swim News and things like is Lotte’s improvement going form a bronze medalist in the 800 to winning gold in Rome and continuing this year, Europeans, two gold medals and 800 to 1500 gold medals and a youngster getting better and better and better on the international stage and it’s a great opportunity for us to hear from a speaker with whom we would never have any contact and has done a great job of developing swimmers in his nation, Paulus Wildeboer.

[PW begins]
Thank you. Thank you very much. Good afternoon. Everybody can hear me okay, good. I’m not such a fast speaker as the previous guest and that’s probably because my language, my mother language is Dutch and my second language is Spanish and third my language is English. So I have to look for words sometimes. Please — apologize, but I’ll do my best.

I’m of course very grateful and pleasured to be here. It’s for me a great opportunity to share time with people who have the same interests as I have and I hope that I can give you some information which might be valuable for you in your work, because I’m pretty constant attender of coaches clinics and I like to go home with new information or with inspiration. That means that I have — how do you — how can you say that? I have used the information from other coaches to reach the level I have in this moment or the swimmers I have in this moment and it would be a pleasure for me to help you on the way to have the international success.

The idea is that I talk about Lotte and her 800 freestyle gold medal in Rome, which of course can be done in a lot of different ways. I don’t think it’s very good that I’m the third in a row to talk about 800 freestyle, because the coach of Kate Ziegler did that and if I think okay 2:08, last year it was Furniss from Rebecca Adlington and now it’s my turn. I found the presentations from those two coaches on internet. Now a days you can find almost anything on internet and I took a little bit of look because I didn’t want to repeat of course, and what I’ve chosen is to explain you a little bit more my working philosophy and that applies in a practical way to Lotte and of course, other swimmers, and for those who don’t know me at all, other swimmers I coach in this moment is my son, Aschwin Wildeboer; he broke the world record in the 100 backstroke last year with the shoots I know, but he did it like all the others and in this moment, another swimmer who is competing at a very high level is Rikke Møller-Pedersen, a breaststroke girl and she broke the European record in short course last…autumn and in the European Championships she did 1:07 and 2:24 and it is a girl in full progression, so I think she could have end up — at least in the final in London and hopefully a little bit better.

Good. Lotte. Lotte’s best time in the 800 freestyle is 8:15. She won the gold medal in Rome with that, and in the 1500 she came in 2nd and we’re going to talk a little bit about that, because I think she should have won both and I know there is one coach here who thinks that she – Lotte should have been second. We had some extraordinary results in Rome. I don’t know exactly why, maybe because I was new. I moved to Denmark from Spain in 2008 and a new coach is always good to get people going and it’s not only Lotte who did the great job, we had also a very good team results. Let’s take — quickly look at that.

So, one of the secrets of good swimming is swimming good in the heats, better in the semi-finals and even better in the finals. It’s not good enough to swim in the fast in the heats and then you don’t recover and the semi-final is not so fast or you do good in the heats and the semi-finals and then you have nothing left in the final. So that’s something you have to take care and work out that you really try to overstress that so swimmers get used to improving in this row of — heats, semi’s and finals.

So here you have some information from different countries. Number of starts, who swim faster; that of course was extraordinary in Rome, because everybody used in fast use, but then in the semi-finals you swim the same; you don’t get two shots or another one. So then, it’s already a little bit more significant what happens and even more in the finals. If we take countries with more than thirty starts, because in the first list you also have countries with one swimmer or three or four starts and then it’s not really significant, you get this picture and we did extraordinarily well in the in the heats, not so good in the semi-finals and again pretty good in the finals.

Then I have to make a little bit of propaganda of course, not here so much because as a small country we can’t of course not compete, never, ever with countries with like the United States or Brazil or Germany or Australia — not so many habit citizens, but it’s of course a huge potential in swimming. But what I did is calculate how the hell can we produce some results against the rest of the world, because in Denmark we have 5.5 million people living. That means that we can find only a small amount of talent. If you compare that with for example 307 million in the States or 1345 million in China, then you can imagine that in the States you have 80 Lotte Friis walking around and in China, how much is that? 300 — no, sorry. Well, it doesn’t matter, you understand what I mean.

So what I did is a sum of the semi-finals and the finals and then divide that by millions of people and then you get a number which indicates little bit which countries use the talent very good and which countries use the talent a little bit less or less. This is not fair. It’s fine for me this time, but it’s not fair, because in the United States you could qualify for the semi-finals and the finals, hundreds of swimmers, but you can only bring two per event. So max is a complete team, so I should recalculate this with some kind of factor which takes in account a complete team that’s not in this case, but as you can understand we were very proud to be in the middle of Australia and Hungary, countries with big tradition in swimming.

The 1500 meter Lotte was in great shape so we planned to go out pretty fast trying to lead the race from the beginning and take big advantage because we know that Filippi is extremely fast in the second part of the race and the gap has to be really big to keep the advantage, because Lotte is not a girl who can really improve or increase the pace of her race. So that’s what she did. We’re not going to look the whole 1500 as you can understand so we jump a little bit.

This is after the 400. Portugal and here’s Filippi coming. 600, to 600 turn, not really big the advantage. Toward the 800 turn. 1000 meter turn and she’s still turned I think first, because you didn’t hear the crowd really, but now listen to the 1050 turn. Good, and she’s taking a good advantage. It’s getting bigger between the 1000 and 1400. Here it maintains almost the same. So in my opinion, Lotte just knew that she was coming and she let her go, because in the end she fights back. Out of the last – the 1400 meter turn and now she’s trying again. So if you can do that, why didn’t you do that at 1000 or at 1100? And of course, Filippi knew that she was winning the race so she didn’t probably sprint as much as she could, but Lotte is trying again and she comes pretty, pretty close compared to the advantage Filippi has before. Two strokes. Good.

Why do I show you that? Not so interesting maybe but — this is the 800 and of course we adapted the tactic depending on what we saw in the 1500. For Lotte this was a difficult race, because you had the Olympic champion Rebecca, Joanne Jackson, Camelia Potec, really girls who competed at a high level, all have been champions once or twice and Lotte never was a champion at world-class level. So the strategy was go out with them and try to push it harder after 400. The harder the first 400 is, the more the rest will suffer and I’m sure that you can do it because if you can do it in the 1500, in the 800 it’s easier. So that’s what she did. She went out pretty fast, let’s go to the 400.

So these are the positions at the 400 turn. Filippi is swimming – sorry, Filippi is swimming here. Potec, Rebecca and Joanne. So she turns a little bit before the rest and then further on in the race, Lotte has one body length of advantage and Filippi is coming again the same as in the 800. What’s happened here? Yeah. Can somebody maybe try to find the people who are in the charge for the light and so on?

So Filippi is coming closer, the same as in the 1500 but we have a 100 to go here and I told Lotte about 100 times that if you turn with her in the last 50, you’re the winner cause if you can do the last 50 in the 1500 fast, so you can also do it faster in the 800. Thank you very much. And I also have to say that 25 meters more and Joanne wins the race. Good.

Who’s Lotte? Lotte was born on 9th of February 1988. It must be a coincidence, but my father was born on 9th of February. She was twenty years–twenty-one years in Rome which I think is the perfect age for…great results and will be twenty-four in London. Not so perfect in my opinion. Why? If we look at the ages from women in world championships and I also have it in Olympic Games changes a little bit, half a year…then you can see that the average of the age from the swimmers is twenty-two years in this competition. Normally it’s in girls twenty-one something, twenty-one four, twenty-one seven. In this competition, 22.2, maybe because of the shoots and if you want to win the gold medal, the average age is twenty one, silver twenty-two and bronze twenty.

There are only a few events where the average age is high for example in the 50 freestyle because of… Dara Torres, but she is not the only one. There are also other elder swimmers who can keep it up. So it’s not impossible, but we all know that…the age is important when you go for the highest performance.

Let’s take a quick look at the Olympic Games. Beijing and here it was 21.7. Men, for a few interested, twenty-four. That’s also always the same and 23.6. So normally it is twenty-four men and twenty-one girls.

She’s very tall, one-eighty-four and I think that’s one of the strongest parts of Lotte. She has–she is tall. She has…big feet and big hands and that of course is a big advantage. Her length probably will not change, so I don’t need to bother about that and then we have another problem which is the weight. Lotte normally weights about seventy-four–seventy-five kilos in training and she should be seventy-one–seventy-two in competition.

Here you can see the dates 4th of May 2009, October 2009, May 2010 and…June 2010 and you can see her weight changes quite a lot depending a little bit on what’s going on. Here it’s…it’s something special. She was in a perfect weight because she participated in this Dancing with the Stars program. So she wanted to be very pretty and she trained all–the deal was you cannot miss one workout except for a Friday afternoon when the program is and…you cannot miss any workout and then you have to do the dancing. That’s your problem. So she strained four, five, six hours a day and she also danced four, five hours a day. So that was perfect to get her weight on the right place, but it re-bounced very fast–very hard as you can see up to seventy-six. That was not so nice.

Her best results, we saw that are…it’s been said already, and this year in Budapest she did gold in the 800 and the 1500 and bronze in the 400 and the plan was to do gold in the 400. So not so good, but what’s the problem? The problem is that FINA and LEN don’t care about swimmers and coaches anymore and that’s not new. I know that you know that all in the States, but I thought that we had a positive moment last year with the clinic in Singapore and the perfect seats in Rome and now we arrive in Budapest and there are not even one seat for the coaches. So we had to take look at the competition from the stands where the swimmers were, that was in the last ten meters of the pool; the last ten and if you were lucky because you were sitting in the beginning of the stands for the teams. If you were unlucky, you were sitting ten meters outside the fifty meter pool; completely crazy. Why? Because there were so many VIPs and there were so many journalists and photographers.

Okay. Sorry, so they make a program for television of course and what do they do? They put the first two days, not even one distance freestyle event. We have seven days to split up so that could be a perfect program. No, we do first the 800 heats and finals; then the next day the 1500. Why not? Heats and finals and then the next day the 400; the 400 heat after the 1500 meter final, you can imagine. Try to do it yourself and you will see how hard that is.

So we made the decision to not swim the 1500 all out, win it and try to keep something for the 400 and she did that and I think she did it quite okay so she qualified without problems, but then in the afternoon it looked not so good anymore and she could not win the race as we would have liked to because I think she has to focus much more on the 400 to improve the 800, but we’ll talk about that later.

Her best times are these all with the far shoots. She broke the world record in the 25 meter pool in the end of November. Nobody was swimming. Nobody was swimming the 1500. So I said let’s do it before they ban the shoots. Good.

That’s Lotte and now a little bit about me. I’m sorry, but for those who don’t know me at all. I was born in the Netherlands, moved to Spain in 1979, because I wanted to be a professional swim coach and that was not possibly by the time in Holland, only part time coaching. I’m a teacher from…from education and…I’m a teacher. In Spain, I’ve been there almost thirty years from 1979 to 2008 and now I live and work in Denmark. I consider myself as a coach from an average level, nothing special, but I work lot and hard to improve everyday like we heard before. That’s not only for swimmers that’s also for coaches. If you want to be one of the best, you will need to study day by day, year by year, swimmer by swimmer, session by session, etcetera. But I am a very lucky person, because my passion is my hobby and my work.

Lately, I improved the system. I will try to show you what I changed in my work and after many years of mediocre results, that means participating in the big events, but nothing special some final once in a while, European championships, but that’s not so difficult I think, and…now, with the improved system and with more talented swimmers, because you need really talented swimmers if you want to succeed. I have better results.

I am…I see that all the CVs in the United States have this sentence that they are married with somebody, most of them. I am married with the same wife since 1981; that’s also worth a gold medal now a days. [laughter]

Not for me, for her and I have two sons, Olaf and Aschwin both swimmers. Although Olaf probably has finished his career now and one of my ambitions, why not, is working in the States or in Australia and why is that? Because we have big problems in Europe to be able to create the good environment for the swimmers when we talk about competing; competing in many European countries is a dirty word. You have to be socialistic and everybody is the same and why should you be better than somebody else and why should you have more chances than somebody else and why should you have more money than somebody else? Maybe you cannot even imagine when you’re an American, but I can assure that in Europe, in many European countries it’s a big problem.

Recreation sport, let’s go for that and competition sport or high performance sports that’s not considered normal. You’re very asocial, not social, right, the contrary of social if you do that. The schools don’t want to know anything about sport and university, forget it. So I understand. I never lift that situation, but I heard it from coaches who work in universities in the States or coaches who worked there that in many universities they are proud about their sportsmen, I can assure you that that in Europe is completely the opposite and I would like to work during a period in an environment where competing is considered something okay. Good.

To give you an example, Lotte is world champion, third in the Olympic Games, couldn’t get into university. Not high note enough or something like that, the average was not good enough. World champion, still not possible and this year, she has been neglected again access to the university, the study she wants to do and I don’t understand it. So you cannot compete, that’s not good, everybody applauds when she gets the medal, because then whole Denmark is proud of her, but when she needs a little bit of help to get into university because she’s busy five, six, hours a day with training, then it’s not possible. Then she has to be like the rest. Where does Lotte come from? I’m sorry that I tell you my frustrations. Well, this is not my frustration, it’s Lotte’s frustration.

This is a progression curve which shows the progression from a swimmer related to age. Not his age. So that means when you’re young swimmer, you swim like 1:40 in 100 backstroke. This example is from the backstroke…and to reach the Olympic final, you need to swim something like 53.5. Now it looks like it’s already faster. So this year has been tremendous in backstroke, but we’ll see. This estimation is before the shoots so we’ll adapt it in the end of the year and this has been the real progression from Aschwin.

The prediction from times to enter in the finals for World Championships or Olympic Games is done by several coaches all over the world and it’s not too difficult to do and you would be astonished to see how exact it is. So then I get a table. I made that with the Excel sheets where thousand points is not the world record, but thousand points is the time you need to enter in the final of the Olympic Games. Can you see that or is it too small? Good, and then you can calculate back of course what you need in every age. What progression you need to follow those steps. Good.

There are other curves, like the Rudolf curve and this is a comparison from my curve and the Rudolf curve as you can see, almost the same. Rudolf wants them to improve them a little bit faster when they’re younger. I don’t like that too much. I think you spend time on technique when they are young not so much on trying to get them swim really fast, and Lotte’s curve…here are the times I could find from Lotte from her age group swimming and in the short freestyle, you can see that’s she not so good in the 200. She was okay when she was fourteen-fifteen, but then she drifted away from the desired level and from the 100 and the 50 better not speak about that and in the middle distance or in the distance events, you can see that Lotte is top level from here that is fourteen till now.

Okay, so you could see here that Lotte with right program could reach the level she has now. So this is a nice way to monitor your swimmers and to be aware that if you have somebody on the right level or they are too fast or they are too slow and especially when they are too fast, you have to be very careful when they are young and they are up here, you have to be very careful.

Now in Denmark we have two swimmers who are far above this level and I tell the coaches to slow down, take it easy, it’s going too fast, but some of them think that they have Michael Phelps and that it’s okay to move here. I think it’s very dangerous if you are at too early too fast.

And then here, to show a little bit, this is…can you see that? Yeah. This is the progression of the world records since 1961 and as you can see in the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s swimming really developed….training, methodology changed completely and improvement were terrible; then there is a period where it’s all the same, improvement of 0.2, 0.4, not more. This is of course because of the shoots and now thanks to FINA we are exactly on 0. Very motivating for the swimmers and the coaches I would say, but that’s not their problem. That’s our problem.

Strong and weaker qualities from Lotte; strong, length. Not so strong…weight. I can show you another thing from Lotte, this is her weight from when she was sixteen up to twenty-three and you can see, I’m sorry, here’s…where’s the weight? Blue is the weight. So up and down all the time and her fat–body fat is also moving quite a lot with some critical points here. Here she had a knee injury so she didn’t train so much and then immediately she gains weight. She has a very good aerobic capacity. Later on I will try to explain what I consider aerobic capacity and not so good or maybe even bad anaerobic capacity. She has really low lactate levels at high intensity. So she can swim really fast with low lactate and she has problems to produce high lactate of course.

She is very good in swimming and very bad in dry land, because she didn’t do that enough when she was young. Freestyle is her best stroke and I try to teach her medley and fly because I consider general training extremely important. You try to improve as much as you can with the general work so you still have the specific to go on improving. If you use the specific work too early, the progression stops early, but in Lotte’s case she did this year for the first time in her life 400 medley and 200 butterfly and that’s a pity. I’m sorry.

Frequency; she can swim at high frequency, but she’s not so good in distance per stroke. She is very good in pulling and extremely bad in kicking. Bad means bad so when I see it, I get so nervous because for me kicking is the most important part of the training and so I have a lot of swimmers who can kick really good. Many swimmers who swim perfectly under three minutes in 200 meter sets and then Lotte comes in with in 3:50 or 3:45. So I get really nervous and upset about that, but it improves very slowly and the curious thing is that here her lactate is very low but in the kicking her lactate is pretty high. Much higher than with other swimmers so probably she didn’t use her legs in whole her life until I came to Denmark, because when I came she didn’t want to run, she didn’t want to jump, she didn’t want to do gymnastic and she didn’t want to kick, of course.

Good. She did a good volume as an age grouper. Her coach as an age grouper is famous of doing quite a lot of mileage so that was good to develop her aerobic capacity and she did no dry land. She’s able to perform above expectations. So she can really compete good, but she’s little bit lazy in work out. She’s the first distance swimmers…distance swimmer I train who is a little bit lazy. Strange, but I accept it because it’s much better that you have a lazy swimmer who can compete exceptionally good then you have all those hard workers who when the competition comes nothing. So for me it’s fine that she’s a little bit lazy and she is of course good in the distance and not so good in the shorter events and I’m very anxious to know what she could do in a 10k. That’s also a gold medal. We forget it too easy, but it’s the same gold medal as in the 100 freestyle and I think that Lotte is a great individual talent and we have of course a problem, because there’s not really Olympic tradition in swimming in Denmark and it’s a very small team. So I think that Lotte in a team like Australia or like the United States would compete even better because you’re supported by people with big traditions and all of them go for the medals and in Denmark, the main focus is to qualify for Olympic Games and then individually there are some swimmers who would like to achieve something more.

Good, before I continue, I would like to thank a lot of people and…the list is long. So…I’m not going to read it and let me explain a little bit about it. I’ve been very luck in my life I think at least in swimming and with my wife…because I met a lot of good coaches who were willing to teach me what they knew and that’s fundamental. You can do that on your own or at least I think it’s not possible on your own and that’s of course also one of the reasons why I’m explaining a little bit more than I should about my way of working and what does that mean? It’s not so logical that you explain the competence, what you are doing to achieve good results. My wife says don’t explain them, why should you? Do you think that good cocks…cocks? Is that an English word or not? [Laughter] Yeah, I know. I know. That one I know. [Laughter] Somebody will prepare really good food. What’s the name? (Chefs.)

Chef. The good chefs don’t explain their secrets and that’s true. So many times when you go to a congress you hear the coaches speak and when it’s finished you think…and when it’s finished you think why didn’t he explain a little bit more? Because he doesn’t want to explain the secrets. That’s logical, but I think I’m in great doubt with many coaches and I think therefore that young coaches should have the possibility to learn from those who achieve the good results.
Okay, and now maybe it’s getting a little bit more interesting. This is a resume of training zones. As you know, everybody does a little bit the same, but everybody calls it different. And during the years, I have seen so many things that it’s almost impossible to make a resume. This is a very interesting sheet and I didn’t even think about people making photos. Normally, I don’t give that except for people who ask for it particularly, but I can of course not forbid you to make photos. Why? Because this sheet has a complete methodology and I build it from sets and intensity and rest and so on which has been developed over many, many years. Good. It’s just to show that there are a lot of names for the same.

I’ve been influenced a lot by East German coaches, because I think that they had the best system and you can say what you want about doping and so, but if you really know and look inside the system they had, then you can learn a lot from it. So what I learned is you should try to move the three minimal points to the right and how do you do that? Mainly by increasing the volume. At the same time, you should try to move the six minimal point and if you move this one then everything move to right and that’s exactly true. I’ve seen that many, many, many times.

So I trained like a hard working man and my swimmers work very hard trying to do this and I think I over tried so much that I reached to the conclusion that my swimmers trained harder than others, but didn’t swim so fast and I couldn’t find out why. During many, many years I tried my swimmers–with my swimmers to reach these levels. So let me explain this a little bit.

The example is 200 meters, 2 minutes. It’s completely true that if you want to swim two minutes, that’s your goal, and you’re able to swim 2:12 to 2:11.8 with three minimal lactate you’re going to swim 2 minutes. So you put a goal for a competition and then you have a goal for training and its’ also through and we keep on going with the distance–I’m sorry with the distance swimmers, it’s also true that if you can swim 2:06 with 6 points lactate, you’re going to swim 2 minutes. So that’s a good training goal to train for. It’s a little bit slower for the middle distance swimmers and it’s of course slower for the sprinters, mainly because they are able to reach higher lactates. So that was my obsession.
Now after Sydney, I was in Sydney and it was how do you call that? Humiliating. How Australia and Asia pushed Europe under the grass. So that was by far the worst Olympic Games for Europe ever and I consider myself European and I worked in Europe so I was really upset on one side and curious on the other side. What the hell do they do what we don’t do? So their swimmers swim so fast and we swim so bad, and I tried to find out and find out and find out and find out, and that has been a long journey and again, without help, I would not have found out, but I think I found out what is going on.

So I changed a little bit my mindset. It took me years to slow down in the mileage and to push the people around an aerobic threshold, because if you did that for twenty years then it’s not so easy to say goodbye, because everybody trusts quite a lot what he does and where he has achieved success. It’s not so easy to make the step to a new system. So now I work with this training zone model and I’m not going to explain you the details, there has been written a lot about it, and again if you want individually, I can of course give you more details.

And it’s split up like this. What is under three minimal lactate, I call that – not me alone, but let’s say that I call aerobic capacity and what is lactate production maximum? So you try to swim as fast as possible in a short period of time is anaerobic capacity. And then in the middle we have the power. Aerobic power and anaerobic power. Later on, I will try to put it more in so you can understand it better. In this model, it’s not so easy to see. Completely separated from that is speed and I hope that everybody agrees with me in that.

The model of this icon or cone is presented by Cliff Ruston in his book Swim Formation, and I have his permission to show it to you and I worked a little bit on it to maybe make it even more understandable, because this helped me a lot. Jan Olbrecht explains exactly the same, but he does it in a very scientific way. Difficult to understand and Cliff Ruston does it in a more comprehensive way and now I try to show you my way.

What do I do different now? I develop first the capacities, the aerobic capacity and the anaerobic capacity. Those are the two extremes from the cone. So this would be clean aerobic capacity and this would be clean anaerobic capacity. We’re talking about longer distance or volume–high volume and we talking about for example 50 freestyle or 50 breaststroke; 50 meter as fast as possible. So that’s what I train first. No threshold anymore and after improving the capacities, I work on the power. Also you could call that [Indiscernible] [00:52:19]. It’s similar to [Indiscernible] [00:52:25] work or at least very close to [Indiscernible] [00:52:28] work.

So we could say that aerobic capacity is something like the 10k or between 2k and 10k. If you swim that really good, you have a good aerobic capacity. An anaerobic capacity would mean swim really good at 50. Swimmers who are going to swim 50 freestyle in 22 seconds have really good anaerobic capacity. Good, and in the middle we have aerobic power, let’s say middle distance and anaerobic power between 200 and 100.

Related to anaerobic capacity, you have the strength, the power and the speed plus of course perfect technique. Now what happens, if I work on the aerobic capacity, my base gets bigger and if at the same time, I improve my anaerobic capacity so I swim faster in 50, this happens. My cone, my triangle in this example is getting bigger and I have available more potential to swim good the 1500, 800, the 400 and the 200 and just think a little bit, it’s very logical. If I can swim a 3k or a 4k extremely well and at the same time I improve my 50 meter time, everything in the middle I can swim it faster. So training only the capacities, I can improve the rest and its’ true and it doesn’t work only in distance swimmers. It also works in sprinters, because I’ve tried it with 100 meter swimmers, the world record in 100 backstroke and with Lotte the world record in the 1500.

After that, you train the capacities. Green means aerobic power. I’m sorry, after that you train the power. Green means aerobic power and red means anaerobic power. So that means you do specific work for a distance trying to improve that even more and what do you get? Satisfied swimmers and satisfied coaches, because it’s a really nice system to work with, not so stressful as the old system.

You can also over train the power. So if you work too much in the power zones something terrible happens. What happens? You lose your base. You lose your anaerobic capacity, I’m sorry and everything goes back to where it came from and that’s something we noticed, all of us, noticing too hard in the specific work little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more and suddenly it falls apart and the progression is not there anymore.

Another example is we all have swimmers who train a little bit too lazy and then when the competition comes or the last repetition of the set, they are the best. Yeah, exactly! They do aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity work the natural way without knowing what they do and then we have those who push themselves every day, every day hard. Every day hard, and we–me, not you, me and you, we are happy with those swimmers. Or I’ve been happy with those swimmers many years, why? Because illusion is a beautiful thing and when you see that somebody tries and he swims fast, you want to see him swim even a little bit faster. Oh, looks good, let’s try the last one a little bit faster. And what are we doing? We are over training the power zones.

So now I’m a coach who during the major part of my training slows down swimmers instead of pushing them. 70% of the work is done in aerobic capacity and I slow them down everyday. End speed or end velocity, understand me, not in technique because I like that very much from Sean. Sean? You say Sean. I like very much what he said. You have to count the volume and technique in perfect technique. One ten can be easy, yes, I agree that’s fine, but now do it with frequency twenty-nine instead of thirty. Then it’s not so easy anymore and you’re able to do one ten with frequency twenty-nine. Good, now do it with twenty-eight. So you can make it difficult in technique but not in intensity. It has to aerobic not mixed.

What to do? I’ll try to speed it up a little bit. What to do to improve the aerobic capacity? Long story. This is my Meso cycle. I do first dry land speed and then technique, four weeks. So a Meso cycle is fifteen-sixteen weeks. Then I developed the aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity as general as possible. Remember what I said before, medley, butterfly, all the other stuff. Not freestyle and here the first four weeks, I do it on dry land. Rowing…Nordic skiing, we have very low volume–swimming volume in the first weeks; high volume in aerobic work but not in the pool. Then I tried to develop the aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity more specific and then I start with the power work, do that’s about the first cycle. I do a complete taper here trying to learn more about the swimmer and we compete in 25 meter pool in the first Meso cycle and then we do a rest week.

In the second meter cycle it’s almost the same but in a fifty meter pool and you have to qualify for the summer. In the third Meso cycle you have to reach your best performance. Okay, so to develop the aerobic capacity that’s everybody knows that, so, I should not spend too much time on that. There are many ways to do that of course, and you have to follow a good system. Sorry. What system you choose, not so important, but it has to be a good system. It has to be built up not today it’s sunny lets do this. Today the swimmers don’t feel like it. Oh let’s do this. Okay, kicking.

I told you I consider kicking the most important part, because big muscles and if you have them in great shape, the body, the body is in good shape. Cyclists have the lowest rest heart rate of all the athletes in the world, why? Because they train all the time. The biggest muscles in the body. Pulling is excellent of course for aerobic capacity work. Again always try to decrease the frequency and increase the distance per stroke, but don’t sacrifice the velocity. What about the anaerobic capacity? It’s from general to specific. That means in my case from dry land to swimming, because the anaerobic capacity improves much more if you work good out of the water.

Why? To swim really fast in a short distance you need strength, you need power, you need explosivity. There is a really good speech about it in this coach’s clinic or at least I read something about it so I think it’s here. That will explain it better because it’s explained by a specialist who knows much more about that then I do. After I improved it on dry land, I tried to improve the swimming speed. Increase the frequency. Here you have to increase the frequency. Lactate is produced because the muscle has to do contractions. The more contractions he does in a shorter period of time, the higher the lactate. What you want with the anaerobic capacity is learn to produce a lot of lactate in a short period of time. I repeat a short period of time. For me it’s between twenty and forty seconds, not more because if it’s longer it’s more tolerance not production. First increase the velocity or the speed and then the distance. I’ll show you a table I made to do that. From that speed that means the first fifty with a start. You could do, this is of course speed work, but you could start for example with thirty five meters.

Now you can put the goal. My swimmer, I want this swimmer to swim twenty three this year in the summer so he has to learn to swim the 35 meters in 15 seconds, 15.3. When he swims this, make the step to the 40m, but don’t start with 50s at the speed of 25. That’s too slow.

Make him swim 35 meters or 40 meters at the speed of twenty-three and then little by little you build it up towards the fifty and back end speed then would be fifty from a push off, the same philosophy; very important the second twenty-five. Once you do fifties, check the second twenty-five, not the first twenty-five. Make swimmers aware of the speed they have in the second twenty-five, not the first twenty-five. Everybody always wants to know the first twenty-five. The second twenty-five are much more important. Sean said it, you win if you finish fast. You saw that with Lotte, if you don’t finish fast everybody will go for you. I do this also a lot in kicking. Probably it’s good to do it hypoxic because I see all the time more swimmers breathing less in the sprint events. The race of all timer is probably the best example from that.

When you do this workout normally two times a week, not more, because they need a lot of recovery, make sure the energy levels are high and the motivation very high. How can you make sure that the energy levels are high? By doing aerobic capacity work; keep it calm. You can make it difficult by volume, not by intensity. Lotte’s level is aerobic capacity, her personal best is thirty-three, forty one in a 3k. That’s really fast and the goal could be thirty-three but I’m not so worried about this. Her level now is around twenty-eight, four when we do for example for fifties every three minutes. It should be something like twenty-seven. Here you see an aerobic capacity resume from all the tests that we do, let’s go to Lotte then you can see her progression. So Lotte went from thirty-six, is that the first one? No, the first one she did in November 2009 was thirty-five, forty-eight, so now she’s two minutes faster. That means that we improved the aerobic capacity quite a lot, maybe too much. I think I over trained the capacity this year. Not on purpose, but shit happens. [laughter]

So, you can see that this is a good race, a good test. First fifteen-hundred, sixteen fifty three and a second fifteen hundred sixteen forty-eight, that’s quite good in training and what I like most, sorry, what I like most is her swim index. That’s frequency related to distance per stroke. Her swim index has improved from 2.97 to 3.26. It’s getting better. It’s getting better little by little, it’s getting better. Remember that I said that’s a weak point from her.

[audience member]: Is that short-course-meters or long course?

[PW]: Long course.

[audience member]: What about dry land program?

[PW]: Again from general to specific and distance swimmers need to do high volume in the pool and I already said it but not always. The general aspect from the aerobic capacity, the cardiovascular system, does not need to be in the water. The heart doesn’t’ know if you’re running across country, skiing, or on a bicycle. How should he know? The specific part where the cell, the muscle cell has to adapt, that has to be done in the pool in the specific stroke, but not the general part of it. I keep on, in my case, I’m not only the coach from Lauder, but I’m also the head coach from Denmark, I keep on hearing coaches who start the season with fifty sixty kilometers a week. Why? Swimmer, when you really want to do volume, the swimmer will be up to it. Keep it low.

Do aerobic work the same hours or the same time, but in a different way. Then it’s of course important to understand that strength, power, explosivity, flexibility, you can train that much better on land than in the pool.

We do 30% of dryland average and it’s also very good as injury prevention and weight loss. Here you can see a little bit of how I built it up during the sixteen weeks; we start with sixty percent of dryland and I finish around ten fifteen percent of dryland than the rest swimming. Total 31:69 rounded. With younger swimmers I would do 40:60. This is the same schedule as for swimming, so the methodology and the heats and the series, I’m sorry, the sets and the rest and so on, but if you’re interested then ask me. I don’t use too much weights or machines; much more own body weight and every time more and more and more. What’s this now? Before it worked. Well, I’m not going to lose time with this, I’m very sorry, it worked, the internet worked, somebody saw it, I tried it before. This is an extraordinary page from the Norwegian Olympic Committee, and it can help you a lot to get an autovision on dry land. It’s fantastic and it is for me a great inspiration. Whenever I need new ideas, I visit it a moment; take a look at the different clips and it’s extraordinary. I know there are a lot of Norwegian coaches here, thank you very much for this page. Don’t close it down please. [laughter]

Flexibility. I wouldn’t train it like this but; let’s go back to the pool and those who are sitting in the dark, wake up. How to improve the power? First make sure that the balance between the aerobic capacity and the anaerobic capacity is the right one. Try to do the power work close to race space and also the frequency close to race space. Start with broken distances. Try to keep the velocity and the frequency and increase the distance. So if you do 8×25 to start with, then 4×25 and two fifties and builds it up to four fifties and then maybe two seventy-fives and a fifty. If you are able to do a hundred fifty in a fifty at a race space, then you can go to the competition without any problem. Try to do it always with even on a negative split. For me it’s not so important in aerobic work, it’s much more important in the intensive work. If you do the second part of the race of the set at the right pace, you are sure that the intensity is okay. If the set falls down, the last repetitions are slower than the beginning, probably the beginning has been too fast, to intensive. It should always go up.

For the mind the most important part, if you finish a set good, you’re happy with your set. You can swim as fast as you want in the beginning, but if in the end you cannot make the goal for the set, you don’t feel good. Frequency should never drop, probably increase. Use the recovery in the middle of the sets to increase the lactate clearance and to overstress the aerobic system. Everything I swim in the middle they have to do that at aerobic two pace, not three. I’m going a little bit faster because I want to show you something more interesting. I found a set from Rebecca which the coach showed last year and we did the same set and casualty again, we did it on the same day, but two years later. It’s a set where you swim 5×100, and 1-100, intensive so that’s aerobic power reaching maybe a little bit of anaerobic power, but aerobic power set I would say, and then recovery 300 kick pool. Build it up, so one, two, three times; build it up to 800 race pace.

These are the times from Lotte and Rebecca, very similar. Rebecca didn’t have lactate dates here, but we took lactate. I use heart rate only in the beginning of the mesocycle. Once I have done the tests, the step tests and the aerobic capacity test, I only use the lactate. So the second set, very similar as you can see, but Lotte is higher in frequency, I knew that, and the last set for me is spectacular, that’s all fifty meter pool. Because if you can do two, three, eight, in the last 200 with a split in the last 100 from one, zero, zero, nine, you can win the 400 freestyle in the European Championship, but not after the 1500 meter. [laughter]

When to start with the aerobic power or the anaerobic power and how much is enough? Again, remember the capacities before the power and do that eight, nine weeks. Make sure there is a good balance and that’s individual; depends a lot on if it’s a sprinter or a distance swimmer — it’s not the same for everybody. A distance swimmer of course, has to have a really good anaerobic capacity and a sprinter of course, has to have a really good anaerobic capacity, but there has to be a good balance between the two if you want to use the power in a positive way. We try to reach our goal for the power work in week 13, 14, not in week 15 or 16. Don’t’ push them too close to the important competition. In Lotte’s case, we make sure that aerobic capacity doesn’t go down. And how do we do that? We keep the volume pretty high. During the last weeks we decrease intensity, not so much the volume.

She needs rest, it’s not somebody who can swim really fast in competition out of a tough workout, but 72 hours can do miracles with her. She needs to get nervous and feel the challenge in order to focus, so it’s not so easy for her to focus when she’s not nervous. What does that mean? She needs to see the opponents or she needs to be in the competition pool to really get focused on the competition. How does altitude training fit into this? This is an example of a general plan for the last mesocycle in the season from Rome, where we did altitude training in Flagstaff. I put my — I started as a, when I heard about altitude training, that was 1991, I started with altitude training. I started the normal formula. Three weeks high, three weeks low and compete, but then I changed that to three weeks high, four weeks low because my swimmers competed better in the end of the competition and then I changed it again, because the Australians and the Dutch team used — they used the altitude training more to make the basic conditions very strong to do the specific work at a higher level and that’s what I do now and I think it’s the best way. Well, there’s another way, but even better but I’m not going to explain you that because I want to keep that for myself to prepare Lotte. [laughter]

But what I do now is, in week, this is a small cycle, fourteen weeks, you see, but in here, five, six weeks out of the main competition, we finish the altitude training. That means that when I want to finish to develop the aerobic capacity and the anaerobic capacity, is when we go down. Then we do the specific power work and the taper at sea level. For the coaches who want a little bit more specific information, what I do is I lower the volume the week after the altitude training camp, but then I go up again and then, little by little down. This is an example of what we do in altitude training. Again, if you’re interested I can give you more details. I want to show it completely but then you can see nothing anymore. So what we do is four day cycles, okay and in the four days, we do triple, the first day, triple, one, two, three workouts; the second day, two, the third day, three workouts and the fourth day, one work out, recovery. The first workout is always aerobic, the second workout is always intensive and the last workout, number three is technique and speed. Before the technique and speed, we do the strength training. And that gives us very good results. How long, altitude training, I would say three weeks, but you can do it longer, but not so easy for the motivation. You have to leave everything behind. You go up to the mountain and there you are and it’s pretty boring so, I would do three weeks; not less, and not longer. How often? You start or we start the Olympic cycle with one altitude training in the season, but we’ll finish the Olympic cycle with three altitude trainings in the season. So you build it up from one to three; one in every mesocycle. How high? Here you can choose. Font-Romeu, 1800, La Loma, 1900, Flagstaff, 2200, Sierra, Nevada, almost 2400, Mexico City, 2400; in Columbia you have three places 2600, Toluca Mexico, 2700 and then you have a place in Argentina where you can train, swim at 3400. I visited a lot of places in South America this spring because I need to bring the swimmers to different places.

We always go to the same and that’s not so exciting anymore, and because I want to do more altitude training, I looked for other places. Okay, I am going to skip this part, I’m sorry, — how can you take a picture like that? Okay, what to expect from the future. We talked about the age, Lotte is pretty fresh, she’s not a girl who has been training so much that she’s like tired of training and I think she can improve a lot of her anaerobic capacity through dryland work. She can also keep on improving her swim index and we can improve a lot in the breathing pattern, I think, but we’ll see. She can of course improve a lot in kicking and turns. Her margin of progression, it’s difficult to say, because I need another year to cool down from the shoots. Let’s hope that FINA doesn’t bring them in again.

What’s that?

Oh yeah, the tests explain or give me the information that she is still in a moment where she can keep on improving. So, the curve, the progression curve is very nice. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be horizontal from now on. She can gain an experience. It’s, I think for her still, important to swim with the best swimmers in the world to get more experience. That means tough competition. And I also hope that we can improve her weight and with that, relative strength, strength related to body weight. Then I have some things in mind to improve the altitude training. Lotte is sponsored by Arena and this is her web page. Motivation, a lot of competitions but the LEN doesn’t organize, in my opinion good enough so we don’t know where our European championships will be, in 25 meter pool, maybe, I’m going to skip that one.

The last year of the Olympic cycle, only swim, train and think about 50 meter pool. We don’t know where the European Championships Long Course will be in the spring of 2012, very important. I heard for the European coaches, I heard in Budapest bad news. France is not bad news, [Indiscernible][1:27:30] would be terrible. Innovation, that’s what I said, I am not going to tell you that. I’m sorry. And then to finish, let’s take a look at this. It’s always dangerous if you change things, because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. It might have been a good change for another coach or certain swimmer, but it doesn’t mean that it will be also a good change for your swimmer. So you have to be really careful with changes. And this video shows that a little bit. So a small change might mean a lot. So I told you it’s not possible for us to compete to big countries like the States and when you have once-in-a-while swimmers like these, it gets even worse. I’m lucky that at least now the best swimmers I have, don’t have opponents like these. They have very good opponents but not that kind of superstars and that’s all. [applause]

Any questions? Yes

[audience member]: What would you do if your season was 24 week, [Indiscernible][1:29:53] cycle?

[PW]: A season of 24 weeks or you mean a period of 24 weeks I would split it up and I would do the first eight weeks only capacity training, but with a good competition in the end. Then the second cycle, a little bit as the model I showed. That’s what I would do. I would not split it up in two short ones. I mean two short ones that means 24 you said, twelve and twelve, I would not do that. I would try to get good results with only the capacity training and then repeat the capacity work and do the power work in the end. No more questions, Yes?

[audience member]: What is the typical volume total, what is specific with volume totals [indiscernible] [01:31:05] goal that you are trying to set?

[PW]:: In my opinion all the, little bit dangerous, I think that it’s not possible to reach on top of the world, with less than two thousand, two-thousand two-hundred kilometers a year, even if you’re a sprinter. So the volume should be I think between two thousand two hundred and two-thousand eight hundred or something like that. Eight hundred for the distance swimmers will need more volume, but that changes during the life of a swimmer. So, my philosophy is first you have to reach the best improvement with an increment of volume. And once you’ve reached max volume, you go for more intensive work. If you start with intensive work to early, you use that and those swimmers don’t want to go back to volume. You understand? It’s easy to go from volume to intensity. It’s very difficult to go from intensity to volume.

So you should use the general way volume is for me more general than intensive to get the best results. Once you reach a limit, then you go to more intensive. Once a swimmer has reached that max volume, I have for my swimmers, I have the dates from their life, how they developed and what is their level. So, I know what I aerobic level they need to perform. So, with all the swimmer is I do is I try to come close to that best level. I don’t try to improve it anymore, but I try to come close. Then it depends of course a lot on the mindset of the swimmer, if he’s willing to do a little bit more or not. So, I would say with adult swimmers it should be very individual, but as a system it should be between 2.2 and 2.8. Yes?

[audience member]: What type of things for a swimmer during competition [indiscernible] [01:33:47]

[PW]: You mean when the training volume drops?

[audience member]: Yeah.

[PW]: Good. A big, a big problem for all of the coaches all over the world are the restaurants in the Olympic village. So when you go to the Olympic Games you have 24 hours a day free food and there is also a McDonalds in the restaurants, because McDonalds must be one of the sponsors from IOC. So, I’ve seen swimmers who can not control themselves and they go every day, eat at McDonalds or McDonalds and then maybe they sit a little bit with the team. Some sports have people with athletes to control it. You will never see gymnastic girls entering alone in the dining hall. They’re always with somebody and they tell them what they can pick or not. What they can pick because they cannot pick anything, so if they could tell them what they could not pick they would stand there all day. [laughter]

[PW]: Good. In swimming it’s not like that or at least I’ve not seen it. It’s more liberal, it’s more we treat them like adults. So they should know and that’s what I do. I try, I check the weight, I tell them what to do, what they should eat, what they should not eat, if they want I make them a diet or I have somebody who helps them to do that, but it has to be their decision. I’m tired of opening bags where the mothers put in cookies and chocolate. I don’t know if you have that in the States, but in Europe, it’s all over the place and I cannot fight against that, so I don’t want to do that. It is the swimmer who wants to know what should be done and at this level, you should think that’s no problem. I would say it’s not a problem with 90% of those athletes. But, for example, with Lotte it is a problem. She sees chocolate and gets crazy. [laughter]

And the more motivated she is, then what I said, she needs to be really nervous and gets close to the competition so then she can during a week say “no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no and the competition is over and she starts again. Because it is still superior to her and that’s of course a big problem, but I’m not willing to be like the gymnastic coaches or supporters where they really are on top of them.

My opinion, a coach is first educator and second he should try and make them swim fast. In that honor, I don’t want to be placed over that over lot of things maybe, but not over that. I think that’s something they have to decide and they have to be willing to do that. They will always find a place in the moment to eat what they should not if you control them over and over again. I know coaches, I’ve never done that, but I know coaches who do next thing. Your perfect weight is seventy-two, what is it seventy-three, here you have a kilo put it in your swimsuit and train. Which is not a problem with one kilo, but if you have to go with four kilo up and down, I think your missing the purpose of the training. It’s not bad of course that swimmers sometimes feel what it means to have over weight. I think much more.

The big problem with swimming is, that we get the kids when they are small and they look up to us and I’m pretty tall, so that’s a long way and that’s day after day after day after day after day so there mind gets… I think the swimmers in particular are much more coach dependent then other athletes. Because we get them so young and they have this, this tradition of listening to us in this way. So, I think there are far too many swimmers not independent enough. When I came to Denmark, Lotte said to me, what competition, what do I have to do? You warm up, yeah but what, you warm up, I don’t know you have to tell me what warm up I have to do. Twenty years, no I’m not going to tell you what warm up you have to do, you have to know and to feel what warm up you should do. I’ve never done that. I need you to tell me what warm up I have to do she says to me. No, no, no, I’m not going to do it. I don’t care if you swim backwards, I don’t care, but you’re doing your warm up. Now we’ve reached a level where Lotte is doing the warm up and sometimes she asks advice, what kind of pace work she wants to do. That’s fine with me. You understand what I mean and that’s not only in that case, but it’s all over. Swimmers are, I think too much coach dependent. No more questions? Yes.

[audience member]: You mentioned you want to see that improvement within her breathing pattern what are you looking for?

[PW]: Did you hear the question? The question is if you want to improve the breathing pattern how would you do that?

[audience member]: What are you looking for?

[PW]: Yes, so if somebody swims at frequency thirty strokes per minute, for me it’s fine that they breathe every two. But if you swim like her with frequency forty-four, forty-five, in competition then for me it’s stupid to breathe every two. Because you breathe forty-five times a minute what the hell is that? You don’t even have time to get the air out and in. So, it’s half breathing. That’s what she does, I’m sure. [Panting] you understand, no time. So if you have frequency forty five, why don’t you breathe every three? Yeah because I didn’t learn it. Okay, good, then learn it. Yeah but it’s uncomfortable etcetera, etcetera. Okay. So, my motivation is every time you breathe you slow down. Everybody knows that. Why do the sprinters swim the fifty meters without sprinting when they swim the world record? Because it’s slower?

No because it’s fast. So, every time you breathe you slow down. I have to make an observation in the end, but so breathe less and if you swim at a low frequency it’s not possible because you should. [Breathes in] okay that’s not possible. But if you swim at a high frequency it is possible and if you can not do it from breathing every two to every three, then do every two, three, two, three, two, three, two, three, two, three, but rhythm. Because the rhythm is the most important part to keep the energy production level the same. If there’s no rhythm in the breathing, there’s no rhythm in the oxygen use. So, I think she can improve there by breathing less. But again let’s see because she’s now twenty-two, going for twenty-three, not so easy anymore to change everything. That has to be done when they’re young. Then I want to say something about breathing less means swimming faster. That’s not always the case. I had now a discussion with the Ronald, European championships, a friend of mine, he works in Belgium and he asked me, take a look at this swimmer whose doing butterflies, it doesn’t look good and we found out together that it would be better for her to breathe every stroke instead of breathing every two, because it changes her body position and her kick comes better out when she breathes. So the arm movements where you have to the opposite because it helps with the technique from that individual person but the rule is of course the less you breath the faster you swim, because every movement, every breathing is movement up and down or side ways.

[indiscernible question from audience]

[PW]: Repeat the question please.

[indiscernible question from audience]

[PW]: We do testing two weeks before altitude training because I’m not going, I’m not going on altitude with swimmers who don’t have a particular level. I don’t believe in the articles which are written who say that there are swimmers responders and non-responders in altitude. You heard about it, I don’t believe in that. I believe swimmers will go in, I’m sorry, sportsmen will go in altitude without being prepared and sportsmen who are prepared. So, I have my levels which swimmers need to have if I need to take them to altitude. To know the level I need to do testing. The same I use the testing not only to evaluate but also for the training rhythms and I want those training rhythms as exact as possible before I move up. Two weeks after we come down, I repeat the same test to see if they progressed and to get the new training intensities for the specific work toward the competition. That’s all lactate stuff. Step test, aerobic capacity test and aerobic capacity test. Then I have these portable machines of course and in the build up when we do aerobic capacity work and anaerobic capacity work I don’t use them so much.

Once in a while to make sure or to show a swimmer that he’s swimming too fast. Okay. But when I do the power work I use them a lot because it gives you so much extra information. And especially we do a lot of training competitions I would not do so much training competitions, but there are no competitions so we have a very poor competition schedule. So I organize training competitions and in these training competitions I also take a lot of lactate. For example I ask them to swim at the split from the first part of the race and then we take a lactate to see where it is compared to etcetera. And during altitude training, quite a lot also, so that’s a little bit expensive, but high performance swimming is not cheap.

No more questions. Thank you very much.

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