Senior Training by Eddie Reese (2005)


Introduction by Josh Davis: Hello, my name is Josh Davis. Eddie has produced many great swimmers. Of course, the popular ones these days are the world record holders, Brendan Hansen in the breaststrokes, Aaron Peirsol in both backstrokes and Ian Crocker in the 100 fly. These are the fastest human beings that have ever existed in those respective events. I had the good fortune of training 14 years with Eddie and the guys. Most guys just get 4 years but I got 14 and I loved every minute of it. I still sneak in to sit in on team meetings just so I can hear more of Eddie’s stories and laugh at his jokes. I never get tired of it so with that I will introduce what I believe is the greatest coach on the planet and the best father figure and person I could ever get to hang around with and that is Eddie Reese.

Coach Reese: Senior swimming: It is real simple. You have got to find a way to make them go faster. For the last ten or fifteen years every talk I have made had to do with what to do with 10 and unders, 11-12 and 13-14 year olds. The focus was on how to put their body’s physiologically in the best position so that they could be the best they could be when they got older. Sometimes somebody peaks at 14. Occasionally that is the truth, but rarely is that the way it should be. There are no males that peak at that age. Have you ever heard of burn-out? That is not just from the neck up. It is just when you quit going faster. Fun is going faster.

I blew the college season this year. By November 1, last year, we were so tired we couldn’t move forward aerobically. We couldn’t make any gains because we were already too tired. We had started going fast too soon. Of course I didn’t know this at the time. I had a theory and I was going with it. We had indications along the way that something was definitely wrong so we changed the next season in April. I try to judge what our program does leaving out Brendan, Ian, Aaron, Neil and Nate Dusing because those guys have been there, done that. They have that huge background of water work and in the weight room that they can fall back on. A lot of these other guys don’t have that. So I look at their swimming to judge whether I am going in the right direction or not. Obviously, I am concerned about the other guys, but to be honest, you can’t judge by who wins. I just judge by who goes faster. From April on, we did mostly aerobic. Now aerobic is not easy swimming.
To increase the aerobic ability for a swimmer that is older, for girls maybe 16-18 and guys that are 20, when their physiological maturation is slowing down, you have to swim at 160 or 180 heart rate. Senior guys are not gaining 3-5% in strength every year just by walking around. They now have to do something to increase their strength and something to get aerobic. That is hard. It is not real hard, it is just hard. It is a moderate continuous level of pain. That brings to mind, marriage. I have been married 41 years and I tell my wife, most of them have been happy. I do not tell her that much.

Back to swimming, why do you need to do that just speaking from an internal mechanism point of view? It is sad we do not use the kinesiology department at the University of Texas. They are all geniuses. They have all the records of Lance Armstrong’s training, his physiological changes and everything for the last 12 years. They have taken more blood out of him than any drug testing they have done during the tour or anytime. Personally I am 99.99% sure he is clean. They have got everything he has ever done. They are so far advanced. So, I went in to see them and I said well, how do you increase aerobic ability because it is difficult to increase. You have got to be persistent. You have got to be consistent. They have got to exercise with the heart. This scared me, but not for long. You have got to work at a rate where the heart contracts fully and fills fully. You have got to increase stroke volume to increase aerobic ability for most 20 year olds. Now I have some that all they have to do is get in and swim and they get better. I took a kid from Mississippi, a number of years ago (actually he is at this clinic) that was 47 in the 100 free and 54 in the 100 fly. It was a lot of years ago and he ended up going 43.5 or 6 and 47 low in the 100 fly. We went eight 200’s one day – yards – on 4 minutes and his goal was to break 2 minutes on all of them. We were 2:07 on #7 and 2:14 on #8. That is not hard to do, 200’s under two minutes on 4 minutes for somebody that is fairly fast, but he did not have an aerobic background. That is your fault – not really – it can be just where you are. It can be pool space. The greatest story I love to tell is about a guy named Nate Dusing. He swam for the Marlins in Cincinnati. He is from across the border in Kentucky. Nate, as an 11-12 year old swam once a day. He swam 5,000 yards a day. It was all aerobic – well not all of it – nothing is all anything. He was going 5,000 yards and not much of it was all out because if you go all out you are not aerobic very much longer. When he was 15 he made his first senior national cut in the mile and the 800 freestyle. I remember it was at the Pasadena Nationals he swam that. He went to juniors and swam the 100, 200 and 400 free, but his first senior cuts were the 800 and the mile. Two years later he was first in the nation for the 100 fly and 100 back. It doesn’t mean he had worked less. For kids, their bodies change. So if you have somebody who is a great miler as a 15 year old and goes 15:17.00, which is really good, sometimes they move out of that. It is not anybody’s fault. It is not the program’s fault. Three years later for Nate he makes the Olympic team in the 800 free relay and one year later he wins the NCAA’s in the 200 back and the 200 IM. The 200 IM was an American record until Ryan Lochte had his phenomenal year last year. A couple of years after, he makes the Olympic Team on the 400 free relay. You never know where it is going to take them. 5,000 yards a day doesn’t sound like a whole lot. We know one a day isn’t very much.

I was at a clinic where Bob Bowman had trouble remembering whether Michael Phelps started doing doubles at 14 or 13. He started after he went 1:59, 200 fly at US Nationals in late March or April when he was 14. Then he turned 15 and started going two doubles and made the Olympic team that summer. So it is how they are swum that I really believe is important. I got to hear Mark Spitz speak. You know him as a great 100/200 flyer or 100/200 freestyler. Freshman year in college he swam the 50 freestyle. Did you know that he held the 1650 freestyle American record when he was in high school? Yes he did and he didn’t just do it, you have to train to do that. There is always someone in this country that wants whatever you got, whether it is a time, a place or whatever and that is a great thing. So I really believe that aerobic training for 12-14 year olds is absolutely necessary and that helps senior swimming. I made a point of what Ian Crocker had done. Aaron Peirsol had gone at it a little differently. He swam high level aerobic most of his career until he came to college. His freshman year we had him go a 1650 back in a meet, un-rested and unshaved. He broke 16:30. He didn’t do that because of me. He did that because of his past. It is very, very important to get a background. Gary Hall, phenomenal sprinter, phenomenal talent. Sophomore year in high school he was a 200 and 500 man. He swam for Pierre LaFontaine, head of Canadian swimming. You may not know much about Pierre, but he used to run 50 miles so we know that he is missing a digit in the IQ test. Gary used to come to ten workouts a week.

Aerobic swimming plays a part in everybody’s success down the line. Why is it important at a younger age? I think USA Swimming says that you need to get your aerobic swimming done before puberty. Well, that is when the body, the internal system is most elastic. You can make some changes if the kid has got potential to have the great system like Miguel Endurain who was a Tour de France champion before Lance. This guy’s resting heart rate was 28. He didn’t start training until January. Lance takes only a week to ten days off except for before #7, because he wasn’t sure he was coming back. He has been on his bike three weeks now. He doesn’t get off his bike. Lance Armstrong’s aerobic ability has increased 18% over the last ten years. It already was good. That is amazing. The friends he used to race against from Europe would call him in October and say, Lance, why didn’t you answer the phone. Lance would say I am in my office. They would say well, what does that mean? He said I am on my bike. They usually do not start training until January. He has thrown that whole race world into a tizzy. They didn’t like to have to do that. It is kind of like when we first started swimming hard in this country. We are going singles and then at Indiana with Doc Councilman and USC with Peter Daland, they started going doubles. They are going 3,000 in the morning and 6,000 in the afternoon. It was almost like a cold war swimming. We got ten nuclear subs so the other team has got to get 12 and that has made us better. Are we to diminishing returns? You bet we are. Is somebody going to pay that price? You bet they are. Somebody out there is going to pay the price. Every once in a while we have this hypothetical discussion, especially with my older swimmers. It would be great if we could just go singles. I just tell them, well you wouldn’t be winning because the less work you do, the more the genetic talent plays a part. There are no secrets out there. We just have got to work. You know the best age grouper there ever was? A guy named Chas Morton. He came through 20 some odd years ago? He was an 11 and 12 year old and first in every event for his national age group. He still has some times that are lasting. He swam 51.8 for 100 yards butterfly, age 12 and 1:56.6, 200 IM. Those are big time. He swam four workouts a week. I know because Chris Kubic who coaches with me, coached him that year. He made him play football on Saturday, little kids football. Everybody wanted him to go doubles, parents, everybody else. He wouldn’t let him go. Now Chas did not win all the way through his career, but he had a very good swimming career through high school. I know, I recruited him and lost. He went to college and got better. Chris said he didn’t do much fast work. You know, granted, he was different. He matured early, strong. He wasn’t tall, so the stronger you are, the shorter the limbs, the faster you go at that time, but he was taking care of Chas Morton for the future. It seems like all I am doing is telling stories. I don’t want to do that all the time, but I have a great story for you.

John Leonard told me this story. He was at a meet, I don’t know where. He has a friend that coaches in the Asian community. After prelims of some meet he asked John, he said, John, come back this afternoon at 1 o’clock and watch this kid from an Asian country train. He was a 13 year old boy. Of course that ruins the story me telling you that. He went three 100 meters free on 1:05. John timed them all. He held .57’s with a 30 second break for 20 rounds. Is he any good for age 13? Two years later he is 15:07. That is still not as good as he was at 13. This was the system that he used when he was 9, 10, 11 and 12, going doubles and going 12-15,000. We don’t know where that kid is now. We haven’t heard or seen any times even though I think the times are amazing. I am going to go home and try it in yards with my guys.

Okay, I will get down to business here, one more story. There is a guy who coaches in Australia named Glen Barrengen. He went to the institute when Dennis Pursley was coaching there. He did the greatest breaststroke set I have ever heard of in my life: 50 meters breaststroke on 45, 100 meters breaststroke on 1:25, 150 breaststroke on 2:05. He held 38 on the 50’s, 1:17 on the hundreds, 1:58 on the 1:50’s, ten rounds consecutively. I have guys that can only do that in yards and I have good breaststrokers. That is an amazing set. I have a simple equation about my college swimmers. My seniors laughed at the incoming freshmen about it because every year we try to do what Mike Walker described as more and better. We try to find a way to go more. Every year I change my program, 10-25%. Now I don’t just change it for change sake. I try to think about it and use any resource I can. I talk to a hundred people a year. I email people. Okay, I got another story. I knew you wanted one. There is an age group coach from the east coast. He coaches good 11 and 12 year olds and second line 13 and 14 year olds. He has 80 kids. Everybody can break 30 minutes for the 2,000 freestyle. 75% of them can break 24 minutes for the 2,000 freestyle. That sets them up for senior swimming because you can never get away from the aerobic. You have got to do it every year. Back when Doc and Peter were having their big NCAA battles and loading the Olympic team with 4-8 people each or breaking American records in practice for their 5th 200 backstroke, Mike Stam breaks the American record on the 5th repeat 200 back. They had great swimmers. That is where they came from. See, give aerobic background and you play a part in the kids life.

I have been asked a lot. How do you get to coach in college. Believe me it is not a level up it is just over here. It is just a different dimension. I have as many problems as you do. They just are probably different. I have fewer parent problems, but I still have the parents say, well, my son is real disappointed in his first year. He dropped from 1:55 to 1:47 in the IM and 51 to 47 in the hundred back, but he was used to winning where he came from. The parent, she said he didn’t win. I am old enough now to say look bitch, I didn’t say it though. You know, sometimes just thinking it helps. I said, you know, I just try to be factual and straight forward. I said look, he improved so much that he can hardly believe it. I know this is coming from you and I understand it because the dimension you are in as a parent. There are more parents that kill good swimmers or kill their career than there are coaches by many times. Coaches coach 100 swimmers or 50 swimmers while a parent just has two or three, yet parents will do more damage. You Age Group coaches get to work on that.

We have upgraded our dryland this year. We have got a lot of guys that are 6’3” and 145. You can tell how they are too skinny. You hold them up to a light and you can see their bones. You know, it is a good anatomy lesson. It is tough for the seniors, despite how I had treated them their freshman year, but I always treat my freshmen differently. They get out of doubles earlier. They get off weights earlier. They go home for Christmas earlier. It doesn’t matter where they are from. It is a different environment and the work load for the most part is more difficult, mainly because of the dryland and the weights. We have, as I described the other day…well one of the seniors said it is the best. I think he said, it was the hardest and might be the best, but I changed that around so it looks like it is the best and the hardest dry land. All in all, we are just doing stuff on a minute. We do wheels up a ramp, 35 meter ramp or 35 yards, depending on which country you are from and at a pretty good angle. It is on two six inch lawnmower wheels. You know, you talk about core. Holding yourself steady for core is fine. That is static and there is nothing we do in athletics statically. People get to where they can hold themselves laying down on their elbows for a minute and then a minute this way. I am not putting it down because that is a place to start, but you need to work the core with movement.

We were tested with three other good college teams that had been doing core exercises. They said they couldn’t understand why we were better at core strength. My guys started laughing and gave them a set of wheels. They just tried to go up the ramp once and got ¾ of the way up the ramp. They couldn’t go any more and didn’t know why. Your arms don’t hurt. Your body just gives out. These aren’t the only answers. There are no only answers out there. We have got the history. We have the tradition. We have been doing them since the 70’s. I told my brother that I needed body scooters for distance men to go to class in. I wanted something for them to put books in and then they had to go to class with their arms. Some people are always in good shape because they are always walking, supporting body weight. I want to do the same thing but use two six inch lawn mower wheels bolted into a 14 inch 2×4 inch plank and wrap foam around it with athletic tape. It gets real dirty. You put those below your knees and you get in a pushup position with the wheels holding up your lower body. Because you are going up a ramp you are not very flexible. You have to turn your hands in to go up a ramp.

We do one ramp on a minute and then we lunge up a ramp. Lunges, I just love lunges. They are the greatest thing going. In fact, I like them so much some day I am going to start them. I actually did personally start them and stopped them. I shouldn’t have. You can’t ever stop them because it is too hard to restart. Then, we will do wheels on a minute, lunge on a minute and then we will run down four flights. We start on the third flight or third ramp and we will run back up two flights. That is on a minute. Actually they do not make it in a minute and they will do that three cycles. That is the first day. The other half I have got in the weight room with me and they are doing pull-ups just for twenty seconds, sit-ups for forty seconds, pushups for thirty seconds and do that all on a minute. They do three rounds of this. Now, as time goes by we are going to add exercises to this and number of repetitions for this. You know, you remember the 70’s when the East Germans were taking steroids? Why did they take steroids? They took them to get stronger. Did it make only their swimming muscles stronger? No, it made their bodies stronger. It did not make them stronger specifically. We do not do exercises specifically. We don’t worry about if they are swimming exercises.

I have said for years, we don’t have a way to measure total body strength. The way I determine it, is when I shake hands with somebody and they just bend my hand up. I know they are strong. Grip strength is one of the measures that kinesiology people have come up with to measure total body strength. It doesn’t always work. I want a socket in the wall, you can stick your finger in and it says you are 20 pounds or your body is 20 pounds strong or 20 oranges strong, something like that. I want to come back to dryland. In four weeks they are going to be at 25 repeats and you know what? They will be faster. I am a firm believer that our 200 and under people get faster because of mostly the strength work. We don’t let up on the water. We still work hard in the water and we try to work harder there. We are adding the kick component to repeats this year. I mean, I would love for Ian Crocker to go 50 meters butterfly on 30 and 50 meters fly kick on 40. If he could do that four times, that sucker is in shape. Four times consecutively, that is 50 fly and 50 fly kick on 1:10 four times. He will be able to do it.

We do not have a sprint group on my team. It has shown in the 50 this last two or three or four years. I haven’t been happy with our 50, although we had a guy that couldn’t jump up on that first step down there go 19.3. Now I honestly do not know how. He went 22.4 for meters and he is going to get nothing but better. Actually, I do know how, because he can kick like a demon. He is not the fastest guy the first 10 meters, but from there on he is coming. If you have ever watched Anthony Irvin, Anthony’s start wasn’t good, but if he had raced 100 meters straight, nobody would have beaten him. He just keeps coming. It is like they say about all the great sprinters in track, they are all about the same at their fastest for 5 meters. It is who doesn’t slow down the most. That is what it is for us, especially in the long course swimming.

Our strength program is something that for age groupers you should not do. They are not ready to do weights. Their joints are not ready and you do not want to take that chance. I am a firm believer there are steps to get there, wherever there is. Actually, I do know where “there” is. “There” is the best they can be and there are steps to get there. If they can’t do 40 pushups, good pushups in a minute, they don’t need to be in the weight room. They are not strong enough. Maybe some distance men never should be in the weight room. We do what “” has talked about when Inga deBruin came on the scene. She used to come to our American short course championships with phenomenal starts and great turns. She just didn’t quite finish. She was fast. She just didn’t quite finish. She didn’t have the strength to finish. She started climbing a robe hand over hand, no feet. After that she was doing sets of 4 in the weight room. I am a firm believer that women are the best endurance animal on our planet versus men. It is evident. Men are 12% ahead in sprints and 8% in distance. The English Channel record is held by a woman and if it goes any further than that, they will beat us there too. Taking the 25K, it is real close. So where are men and women different? In strength. The East German women, they took steroids. It takes three years in a strength program to get them up there yet strength is different for everybody every year, for every swimmer every year. I could take this whole group and some of us could do 5 pushups off our knees every minute for 5 minutes twice a day and we would get stronger. Some of us would have to do a set of 20 and the person that is doing a set of 20 on a minute five times twice a day, at the end of three weeks, that is not going to help them get stronger. They are not going to get stronger, strong relative to speed. Something has to change.

When the Russian weight lifters were winning in the Olympic lifts, they didn’t do much bench press. They did pushups because that is more of a core body exercise than bench press. That is a support the core exercise. They would do pushups with tremendous amounts of weight on their back. It is the same as bench press. Now I have tried the pushup deal. I got to where I was doing 300 to 500 pushups a day. I don’t do as many any more. I always was real careful. You know, I am over 40. I was debating whether you would laugh at that or not. I swam. I was a real slow individual medley swimmer in college, but I could repeat within 4 or 5 seconds of my best time. I’d do it five times with a couple of minutes rest. There is no pain like that. I am not going to know that feeling again. It is beyond what I need. I had this talk with my post-grads. The older they are they will have a different view of pain than they did when they were coming through school.

Once again, I have no sprinters in my program. I have got guys that want to be sprinters, but any time we are good in the NCAA’s all my 400 free relay comes out of the middle distance lane. We have held the American record at different times. One year we had the two guys that went 1, 2 in the 200 individual medley and one guy that was top 8 in the 500 on it. I can’t remember the other guy, please don’t tell him. You know, they don’t come out of the sprint lanes and that is for yards much less meters. In the 88 Olympics there was one guy in the final of the 200 meter freestyle that didn’t come out of the 400 meter freestyle. That was Matt Biondi. The next Olympics, Barcelona, there were two guys that didn’t swim the 400 but they had both been under 3:54, which is you know, a good time. They were both Americans, Doug Jorgensen and Joe Hudepohl. So I believe you have got to swim up, you have got to increase.

I have written down a lot of different things I want to do this year to make it harder on my swimmers. As I said the other day, when I put kick in the swimming sets, I don’t know whether it helped this summer or not. I know that Nate Dusing has red cheeks. He told me it was difficult, but I don’t know that. If we go the following set in yards for Aaron Peirsol of 400 free, two 300 kicks, three 200’s free, four 100’s free kick my goals are as follow: the swims have got to be done at a minute base or the 400 on four minutes. Kicks have to be done on a 1:20 base, all the way through that set. That is what my goal is. We have already set goals this year. For senior swimmers, you know how they can pinpoint what they want to do and get ultra specific and just aim for that one thing. What made them good in your program, swimming distance free and swimming IM’s? What made them good in my program? Aaron Peirsol swam the 500 free. He wanted to do the IM and I said no, you are swimming the 500. The 500 will help his 200 back. So, I have goals for them. Before they move out of the distance side of the pool, Aaron Peirsol has got to break 4:25 in a 500 free. Ian Crocker has got to break 4:30. They have got to be that fit before they can move.

Ian Crocker wants to break 50 in the 100 meter fly and he wants to swim a great 100 meter free which he will. The reason he hasn’t swum one is my fault. I have not rested him enough. I would love for him to swim one. I told him I didn’t care if he time trialed a 50 for a 100 on a friend’s watch at the World Championships. I knew he would have been fast, but I did not get Ian ready for freestyle. For butterfly, all he has to do is pull on a jammer and he is ready to go, but for freestyle he needs more rest than he does for butterfly. Racing freestyle takes more strokes, faster strokes, so it makes sense. Rest is not just muscular rest, it is neuromuscular rest. The nervous system takes longer to rest than the muscle side of it. So, for senior swimmers, “more better” keeping in mind “more better” is relative to what they are used to. I wish I could give you percentages in specifics, but that doesn’t work, not with me. I am not good enough to do that.

We will have about, 11 lanes, about two or three guys per lane. I know you all have the same thing. I will go through and I will talk to this lane and say you need to hold 55’s on this set. You need to hold 52’s. You need to hold 58’s. You need to hold 56’s. I will tell them what they need to hold because 55’s is the same as 58’s relatively speaking. Then you have always got the people that want to go faster. Then you have got to get them to check their heart rate because if they are 200 they are not where I want them to be, at least for until the middle of November. I have got to make a change aerobically and set my group up for the summer. We are easy to beat in dual meets through the middle of January. We are considerably better afterwards. It is because of where we are. Lets say your season is going to end in (I am not even going to say December) say your season ends in March, alright? You have got an important meet the third weekend in October and the second weekend in November. If you let up for a week before that meet you just give away that practice even if you may have given it away for a right reason. But, how long does it take you to get back to the level that you were training and the fatigue level and the stress on the body level the week before? The week before the meet, before you let off, before you backed off, cut out mornings. You do that a couple of times, let’s say it is a week before, lets say it is a week and a half after. You do that two times, it is five weeks. I do not believe that you can give that up. If you can, you have very talented swimmers and don’t tell any of the other college coaches about them.

I think I need to open this for questions. Yes sir that is what I have been told. The scientists, the guys that do the research, they do a lot of heart research up there. That is a great question that I left out. The answer is it depends on how good the swimmer is. It is about in hundreds, about 15 to 20 seconds rest, 200’s is about 20-25 seconds rest. The speed determines the heart rate so 12-15 100’s for people that are not far along. Then, I am a firm believer if you are training a miler and you are doing mostly short course, most of your repeats need to be 200 yards instead of 100 yards. They can kill 100 yards. Ian Crocker can kill a hundred yards. Ian Crocker could go 30, 100’s yards on a minute and make it without a problem. He could break 19 in the 50 in the middle of March this year. He has a goal in the 200 fly too. His short course meters is 43.9 for 100 yards butterfly. If I was that fast I’d have to be thinking about breaking 1:40 for a 200 yard butterfly, but you have got to train to do that. That doesn’t just happen. Let me point out, do you ever watch Michael Phelps swim in the prelims? Disregard that 400 meter free at the World Champs because that definitely was not him. He doesn’t swim slow in the prelims even though he can. Some meets he can go slow and easy and still final. He never does. He swims like he trains. I was lucky enough to watch a couple of practices. He just picks a high level and goes all the time. You know what, he kicks ten 100 yard flutter kicks on 1:10 holding 1:05’s and l:06’s. He then goes a minute on the last one. You got to be able to kick and you have got to progress them. You have got to keep moving them up. You got to stretch them. I go to a lot of meets a year, but not 38, but wherever I go I get names and write down things about sophomores and juniors. For the most part when I come back the next year I write down names of sophomores and juniors again and I wonder where the seniors have gone. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens. We must move them on. You can’t be satisfied that somebody from their sophomore year to their junior year went 1:22 in the hundred breast as a sophomore and 1:08 as a junior. You can’t be satisfied that the workout got them to do that. The workout plus maybe 90% of the kid got him to do that. I look at my swimmer’s success as 90-95% them. I play a 5-10% part of that equation. So if it is them, I have got to help them. I have to move them up. Any more questions?

I would like to say that I love the 18 and Under Championships. I went to the Nationals then went home for a couple of days and came back to that meet. We need it. It is not a Junior Nationals, it is an 18 and under. We have got some swimmers out there. They look great. Now, I don’t want to come back to that meet and see the same age groups doing well without different swimmers. Coaches have got to move them on and that is what we have got to do.

Question? “He wants to know if you train altitude or not and if you do it before the Olympics and/or the World Championships”? No and yes. I have trained altitude. When Mark was at Texas we went out there for about 15 days to Colorado Springs, but I have not done it since then. I wouldn’t mind doing it. Actually we were up there. We used to go up there right after exams were over. The very next day my college team would pay their own way up to Colorado Springs. We were up there one year when Ian Thorpe was up there. He was incredible up there. We would just go 13 workouts out of 14 opportunities. We would go doubles every day but Sunday. For us it was purely aerobic survival and then I would send them home. Then they are back in shape from exams. I would like them to swim while at home. Some of them don’t, but I don’t worry too much about it. It is alright for them to go home and not do much if they are in shape. If they are out of shape that is terrible. Would I train altitude if I could? I have not got a whole lot of faith in altitude, but I don’t know any more than what I read about it. That doesn’t make it right or wrong. It is purely an opinion. I have been wrong before and will be wrong again because I know a lot of people like altitude. The research I read says you have got to swim the first day down or after being down two weeks. I am not that good of an organizer.

Yes sir: I believe some of the new altitude testing says that it is not really the training in the altitude, it is the rest in the altitude. The new altitude tester tends to find better results out of dividing, forcing itself to rest at the high altitude rather than forcing itself to train at high altitude. Alright – the comment is it is better to live at altitude? In fact, I have heard the theory, you need to live at altitude and train at sea level. I will tell you what, nothing takes the place of training and increasing in progression.

Yes sir? “In your experience, would it be found that the biggest challenge is moving kids from being good national level competitors to being international”? You know, when I first started, Brendan, Ian and Aaron are aberrations to my program. I usually get and this isn’t always true, but I love the guys like a Shaun Jordan who was 47 for the hundred free and a 1:43, 200 free, 6 feet tall, 135 pounds with a great kick. You know he ended up making two Olympic teams going 19.2, 42.4, and 1:35.2. Those are the kind of guys I like. It is always real difficult to get those guys to ever believe they can win. You could get them to always believe they can improve.

It is like when I was talking about motivation the other day. I don’t know how to do it. You just work on that self-image every day. You can’t always be positive. If you are not critical there is no change. They are not going to change anything, but there are good ways to do all of that. The way to do that is not something like they do in the movies where you give them the one sentence and they do it. It is a long term deal. You have to get them to see if they go this fast, that will take care of their place. That will take care of their winning. That is the way that I approached it. There are some people that you just can’t stop. They are going to do it any way. You know, Brendan Hansen, when he got 3rd at the Olympic Trials in 2000, he didn’t know he was that good until about the second time he got 3rd. Then he realized what he had missed. He came in and he was a man on a mission. He is still on a mission. He is an incredible trainer and he has got to go a good 500 free. See, I am pointing him for the 200 and the 400 IM this year because he is going to swim them shaved in March. In yards he improved from 1:53 to 1:46 in the 200 IM. His other goal is to break 1:50 for a 200 yard backstroke. All of this will help his breaststroke. I see the people that aim for one thing end up going slower. I remember the kid that won the 200 breaststroke in 1984 and was second in the hundred. His coach was a nut and said we are going to train for the 100 next year and break the World Record. I told him that none of us are good enough to train for a hundred. We do not know how to do that. Well, he went a lot slower in the 200 and slower in the hundred. I do not believe that you can just focus on one thing and make that your only goal.

Aaron Peirsol is supposed to swim a great 200 meter free and a great 400 meter free. He even wants to do a good IM. Ian Crocker is all over. He is going to grow. We want him to go 1:45 for 200 yards IM. It gives them something to work towards. It is hard to beat your head against your lifetime best all the time because you will never do it until the end of a season. You want those little successes along the way that all your swimmers get. Even college swimmers get some by off event swimming. I am not a specificity person. The best way to get aerobic ability is by doing something that is at a fast stroke rate. Freestyle is the best, even if they are not going to ever race it. Backstroke is next. The rest of it is very difficult because the stroke rate is slower putting less demand on the O2 system.

Yes sir. “You are talking about you are changing your dryland. Are you doing a little of it this year? Will not that affect your taper a whole lot, if you change the weight program?” Alright, we are changing the weight program too. But, the question has to do with will the changes in the dry land program and the weight program affecting my taper? Yeah, I will probably miss it. I know for a fact if you think about adding something within three weeks of the taper that will help them, you are wrong. Leave it alone and it will help them more. There is nothing you can do. Do you know one thing we never talk about? We never talk about a couple of things such as neuromuscular training. How important is it just to go? It doesn’t have to be fast. Just keep the nervous system firing for a period of time. We need to talk about that somewhere. I cant remember what the other one was. It was the most important one though. I will probably remember it tomorrow at the other clinic. I will tell them and email somebody in Texas and they will tell you guys. I think we need to break up here. Thank you very much.

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