The Training of Larsen Jensen by Bill Rose (2004)


Coach Bill Rose is a multi-decade star of American coaching.  From his reality changing sets with former distance star Mike Bruner in the 70’s, to his reality changing 1500 man at this summer’s Athens’ Olympic Games, Larsen Jensen, Coach rose has consitently produced some of the athletes with the most exciting and interesting performances in our American Swimming History.  Inducted into the ASCA Coaching Hall of Fame in October 2004 at the World clinic in Indianapolis.





[Editor’s Note:  Workout sets and progressions from Coach Rose’s PowerPoint presentation are at the end of this article.]


First of all I want you to know that I am a fill-in for today. I was not scheduled to talk at this Clinic, but something happened a couple of months ago that all of a sudden I was asked to fill-in when somebody couldn’t be here, so indeed I am going to talk about Larsen Jensen and what we call a distance star in the making. The reason that I am here is really just one sentence: 14:45.29.  For many, many years, in fact right before we went to the Olympic games, I got an email from somebody that has always, always – since I was 22 years old – been to me the epitome of the swimming coach, and that was Forbes Carlile. For Forbes Carlile to actually email me, to even know who I was, is really unbelievable to me. In that email he talked about the Mission Viejo Natadores, which I happened to coach at the Olympics and at the Olympic trials. He gave us a tremendous compliment about our team and about what he called the Sea of Yellow, which really was hundreds of our kids who went every day to see the Olympic Trials, and it worked out wonderfully. He also then went into the fact of how Larsen Jensen could actually swim a 1500 with that kind of a kick. He asked did I teach him that kick, and is that something that I am a proponent of. Then he said, “Also I would like you to tell me sometime why the United States hasn’t grown in distance swimming the way other countries have, including Australia and so thank you for that motivation from the Olympic trials to the Olympics.” I appreciate that.


Also, the other fact is that I am limited in my talk today. There would probably be no other person that I would limit my talk for, but because of the fact that Forbes is going to be talking at 4 o’clock, he wanted me to understand that his talk could not be done in an hour. Therefore, I needed to shorten my talk, so believe me, I am going to do my best Forbes – for you.


Anyway, the 14:45.2 seemed to be a surprise to everyone. Interestingly enough, maybe the only two people that it wasn’t a surprise for was Larsen Jensen and myself because we knew that he was going to do a 14:45. We knew for months that he was going to do that. The only real surprise was that he actually got to that point based upon his background, and so on that it actually happened. Today I am going to talk to you in two parts about Larsen. First, I am going to talk to you about his development as a child and as a person right from where he began to the Olympic Games. Second, I am going to talk to you about his training and what his training schedule has been like right from the beginning of his swimming until the Olympic Games.


Essentially, we will start right with the fact that Larsen’s family lives in – and I know all of you have been there before – Wasco, California. It is right next to a much larger town called Shafter. Now Shafter has about 5,000 people and does have a swimming pool. Wasco has about 1,200 people and doesn’t have a swimming pool. Larsen’s background in swimming didn’t really start very early. In fact, his first trek into swimming was when he was 12 years old and soon to be 13. He never swam on a team in his life so his mother, who happened to be an ex-nationally ranked swimmer in the 60’s and early 70’s, just really wanted him to have that experience, so she talked him into going out for the summer team at the Shafter Stingrays. And if anybody is here from the Shafter Stingrays, God bless you.  His first three months there were not necessarily to his liking. As a matter of fact he didn’t like it at all. He was a young boy that was very normal in his boyhood. He tried baseball, he tried soccer, he tried football, he liked BMX, but he wasn’t very good in any of them, so the fact that he wasn’t very good in swimming those first three months was not anything new to him. He just tried it, so the next year he did not swim. The next time he entered the water was a year later when he was 13, almost 14. This was in June of 1999, and he swam for 3 months at the Shafter Stingrays at that particular point. Then from there, he went on to high school. Realizing he hasn’t swum more than six months in his entire life, he went on to high school, went out for football, and failed miserably. His mother said, “You know, they don’t have a BMX team in your high school, so maybe you can go out for the swim team.”


Before I do that, however, I want to recognize my #1 assistant coach here who has done so much to work on this PowerPoint thing. So, we were talking about the 14:45.2, and I said, “You know, it wasn’t a surprise.” The fact is it wasn’t a surprise because we had that planned since April of this year. What we did one day (it was at the Olympic Training Center and you will hear more about that in a few minutes) is we sat down and said, “What do you conceive and truly believe you could do this year, based upon the training that we have done?”  And we both settled on 14:45. The reason we settled on it was that truly his best time was 15 minutes. Today 14:30 might have been something that we could see but not necessarily believe in one particular swim. But 14:45 we knew was going to happen. He wrote it down. I had him write down every split – every split on a kick board from the 100 to the 1500. What I am going to do now is show you, since it is already out of the bag, what we predicted. I won’t go every hundred, but I will show you what we predicted along the way.


The first hundred we planned that he would go out in 57.2. What we knew at that time is that certainly wouldn’t be in first place, but he is not built for speed, so at that point the fact is that 57.2 would be just about what he could handle. Lo and behold, he went out in a 57.2.  By the 400 we wanted him out in a 3:56.8. That is what we predicted, and, lo and behold, he was out in a 3:56.7. I am feeling pretty good at this time. In fact, I am feeling pretty good because I am not in Athens. I am in Las Vegas at the Caesar’s Hotel in my room with my assistant coach getting the splits off the Internet as they are coming along. So I am feeling pretty good about the fact that at the 400 it pops up that he is at 3:56.7. Our next line of demarcation was supposed to be the 800, and what we wanted him to do was to be out in about a 7:54.7. Well, lo and behold, he was two tenths ahead of that pace. Along about this time I am smiling because I am saying, “You know, this is kind of what we planned.” The next 300 he was supposed to start to move a little bit, and he did, but probably not as close as we should be. I think it is still fairly close at the 1100 mark. He was supposed to be at 10:50.9, and he slowed down to 10:51.1. I am still not worried because the last 400 he was supposed to descend, and if any of you saw it on television, God bless him, he descended. His last 100 was supposed to be 57.8. What was it? It was 57.8. We planned for him to do a 14:45.5 – he beat it by three tenths. That 57.8 we should have planned to be a 56.1, damn it, but I have to give him credit.


Now I’d like to review Larsen’s development. Now he is in high school. Understand, he swam three months as a 12-year-old and three months as a 13-year-old. Now he is in high school, and all of a sudden at his high school they didn’t have a very good team. That background was pretty good, and he was basically very good at that time for his high school. He couldn’t make the league meet. He is still 14, but he thought he was pretty good. With the personality that Larsen has, he decided then and there that, since he was the best in his high school but couldn’t quite make the league meet, he wanted to be the world champion.  And if you know him, you know that he will not stop for anybody. He will tell anybody that will listen, and to people that won’t listen, that I want to be the world champion. At that point he started announcing it and joined the Bakersfield Swim Club in May of 2000. He is 14 years old at this point. He goes through that summer with them and watches the Olympic Games. He sees the Olympic Games and sees the guy that he wants to beat. He wants to beat Ian Thorpe.


Well, how does Ian Thorpe swim? He asks his mom to find every tape that she can on Ian Thorpe. She gets him the tapes, and he just pores over them day after day after day and looks at his stroke. Well, if any of you know, Ian Thorpe’s stroke has a pretty powerful kick, and he has pretty much a catch-up stroke. I am not saying that Larsen Jensen’s stroke is anywhere near as good as Ian Thorpe’s, but it is as close as he can come to it. The other beauty about it was that the fact was he didn’t know anything else other than a very strong six beat kick, whether he was warming up or warming down. He didn’t know how to do a four beat or a two beat or anything like that because that is not what Ian Thorpe did. Again, God looked down on him because he didn’t figure out how to get through a workout with this survival stroke. He went through that particular year and his very first senior meet was at the Grand Challenge. The Grand Challenge is held in our area, and indeed it was in May of 2001. In his first real senior meet I was very proud of him. He wasn’t swimming for me, but at that point he had been in contact with me through his mother. Since he started swimming, she would call me back and forth and ask me to give him tapes, ask me to give him things that he could study, and so on. So the very first meet that I saw him was in that 2001 Grand Challenge. He went the 400 free in 4:22, and he went the 1500 in 17:25. A good yeoman’s work for a 15-year-old, but at that meet his mother came up to me and she said, “Can you do us a real favor?” I said sure. “Do you think you could have Chad give my son his autograph?”  I said, “Come on. No problem. Are you kidding me?” Chad was sitting right next to me. I said, “Chad, go give this guy an autograph. You know, will you give him an autograph?” Chad said, “Absolutely.” I said, “Well go ahead.” I talked to his mom. I said, “Bring him on over, and Chad would love to.”  She said, “Well there is one problem. He is too nervous to come over here and talk to Chad. Can you have Chad go over there?” Chad did.


Lo and behold, honest to God, at this point I am not even dreaming of anything at this point, but Chad’s story must have really excited him because over the next two months he starts to improve dramatically at Bakersfield. He gets on the Central Section Zone team. He goes to Maui, Hawaii and all of a sudden, from that 17:22 and 4:22, at Maui he goes a 4:03 in the 400 and 8:21 in the 800 and makes nationals. First national time in that short period of time, and his 1500 was 16:19. It didn’t equate quite the same, but he had a national time. Again, to anybody that would listen he would say, “I am going to be the next World Champion.” He was starting to believe it and be obnoxious about it.


He had a new coach at Bakersfield. His name was Jim Ritchie. I don’t know if Jim is here, but I’ve got to thank Jim because he must have done an unbelievable job. I know he did an unbelievable job. Just putting up with Larsen over that next year. Along about half way through the year he decided to leave Bakersfield, and I kept becoming more and more involved.  He went to his first Nationals at the University of Minnesota, and at that meet he did a great job – a great job. He went 1:54.8 in the 200, 3:58 in the 400, 8:14 in the 800 and 15:48 in the 1500. Man, I mean this is a guy that has been swimming a year and a half. At this point I am becoming more and more of a mentor to him. He comes up to me because they just announced the Rookie of the Meet and he says, “What is this Rookie of the Meet situation, you know?”  I said, “Well, it is given to the guy with the most points as the Rookie of the Meet.”  He says, “What am I mincemeat?” I said, “well, let’s count your points.”  Well, lo and behold, we counted his points and he had more points as a rookie than the Rookie of the Meet. So at that point – poor USA Swimming – I went up and said, “Wrong, wrong, wrong guy got it.” Well, they already announced it, and I said, “Well listen, let’s add these up.” They realized we were right, so they bring him on up and say that this is the “Co-Rookie of the Meet.” That was really important to him. He needed that recognition. It seems to be that every time he gets a little recognition, he believes in himself a little more, and he is  compounding that recognition in training and so on.


Well, as I said, Jim Ritchie had accepted another job elsewhere and so was at Bakersfield less and less over the next several months. So Larsen would come to Mission Viejo and train with us short periods of time. At the Janet Evans meet in the summer of 2002, he becomes a real entity, and this was the first time that I ever really got to spend time with him before and during a meet. And believe me, it was a thrill. He goes 8:03 in the 800 and 15:17 in the 1500. Now he is really set up, but at this point is where it really starts to show. This kid has no idea, and he is still in that mode of, “Oh! Chris Thompson. Erik Vendt. Oh my God!!” It’s like he doesn’t know that he is even in the same race, which was good at the time. So we go to the summer nationals and all of a sudden he goes 3:50.6 in the 400 and 15:04.8. Those that were there probably remember a great, great 1500 race between him and Erik Vendt. Erik swam with him – Erik is so experienced – and Chris Thompson was right in the mix. With about 200 to go we had Larsen kind of take off, and he got about a half a body length lead. Then Erik Vendt just humbled him the last 100 and ended up going a 15:03. But at that point he makes the Pan-Pacific team to go to Japan, and he goes, “When do I get my stuff? I don’t care, but do I get a bunch of stuff to go?” I said, “Yeah, you get some stuff to go.” Jon Urbanchek remembers this, and I am sure Dave Salo remembers this. In fact, it was mentioned earlier.


So he goes to Japan and I mean, he is still looking around. He has no idea, but wanted to make sure that the coaching staff knew that he was going to break the American record in the 800 and of course, the 1500. Well, he goes out, and although Hackett, as normal, blew him away, he goes a 7:52 in the 800 and breaks the American record that had been there for ten years. Oh, now I am really dealing with somebody who thinks he is somebody. Well he made three or four more announcements that he was going to continue to break everything in the world in the 1500.  Well, he did go a 15:06, which was only couple of seconds off, but it was at that point that he started thinking that he could do his own race. As we go along here you are going to understand how much I love Larsen Jensen, but he is no more or no less an adolescent through his teenage years than my sons were during that time. He made a lot of mistakes along the way and I am sure he will continue to make a lot of mistakes along the way because understand, he was 16 years old with no experience at all in this kind of situation.


Anyway, he comes back and his head is in the clouds, but there is no coach or they had changed coaches again at Bakersfield. So he decided, with great trepidation to move to Mission Viejo. However, you don’t live in Wasco all of your life and then up and decide that you are going to move without your family, without your close friends that have been there all your life and so on. To move to Mission Viejo, live with a host family, etc. – that was a big, big decision to make. Well, he did make that decision, and he came. Along the way there were adjustments. Understand that he is still saying to anybody that will listen that I want to be the World Champion, I want to hold the World Record, and I will hold the World Record. But he is in Mission Viejo and nobody is listening to him. He is reaching out trying to: 1) make some friends, 2) to figure out who I was, 3) figure out the changes in life, and doing it without his family. That is a very, very difficult thing, so there was a huge adjustment along the way.


The first couple of months all I tried to do was keep him from going back to Wasco because he hated it, and he would let everybody know how much he hated it except me. We have what we call the Turkey Classic in November, and it is an age group meet. Australia, of course, had their international team training in New Mexico or somewhere in Mexico maybe. Anyway, Pierre LaFontaine, who was a good friend of mine, said, “Hey, we have to go through LA to get back to Australia, is there a meet that we can go to?”  I said, “Turkey Classic. What a great place to bring the National Team.” So he brought the team to the Turkey Classic, and we are talking Stevens, the great 1500 kid that was in the Olympics. He was on that particular trip, and naturally Larsen said, “Who is this Stevens guy? You know, I will have him for lunch.” “Okay Larsen, no problem.  You just go right ahead and have him for lunch.” He forgot that there was dessert because Stevens had him for dessert. He went out. His first race was the 500, and by the 100 he was totally spent, just absolutely could not deal with it. So Stevens along the way just played him all the way through. He seems to have slowed down because he knew how bad Larsen was and then waited until about 100 left – the darn Australian way – and just killed him by about six seconds in a 100. And Larsen just said, “Now who am I going to brag to?”


So, there was some adjustment going on along the way, and he had some great workouts at that particular point, but he wouldn’t accept them. One, every time we did a set we had ceiling times or whatever, and he would do very well. But no matter what, if it wasn’t better than anybody had ever done before, he didn’t like that and would let you know. He was very verbal about it along the way, which was good. All this stuff is good, but the question I get from coaches is why am I putting up with this crap?  It’s okay to do that. So the next thing that we do is go to a training camp at the Olympic training center for Christmas that year. It was kind of an exciting time, and here he is. He’s had about 3 months to try and make some friends and all of a sudden he is making friends but not necessarily acting in the right way. So the team is putting up with these shenanigans. Well, the shenanigans got a little bit too much at the Christmas training camp, so I sent him home. Now, this was a big step because here I am looking at a guy that wants to be the World Record Holder. I am looking at a guy that is not real happy in the situation that he is in, and I am looking at a guy that made a couple of social mistakes at the training camp. But, as President Bush said last night, I had to make some tough decisions. I don’t know whether they were the right decisions. Somebody would think so, but I made some tough decisions. I sent him home and believe me, Coach Jon sitting down here went, “What have you just done?” But the fact was, he did go home. He called his parents. His parents were very supportive of it. They said, “Right on. Great move. Get him out of there if he can’t act like a real man.” Naturally, he wanted to go home.


He actually wanted to go to Jon Urbanchek’s program. I was going, “Oh, not another Jon Urbanchek program.” But he did stay, and it was touch and go for a while. We went through that period of time and finally got to the winter nationals. He still is doing well in practice, and he is starting to understand that I am not going to take what he is going to give, so we are starting to get a little bit closer. We go to the nationals, and this was his first taper. He hadn’t swum very well over that period of time. We had gone to the US Open, and everybody is looking at the new hero here. Well, I refused to taper him. I refused to shave him. I refused to let him wear a technical suit. I refused all of that stuff and he was looking at me like I am crazy. He swims like crap, and he is not used to that. So here is the first time that I said that he could do all of this, that he could taper, that he could shave, etc., and I am a little bit nervous. The very first race that he went in was the 800, and that is when Chris Thompson owned the 800 for several years. He could be an entity there, and we had planned out the race. I said this is one time that you are not going to fight me. You are going to do every split exactly the way I ask you. Well, by this time he is scared to death. So this is why again, I am reaching out to very recently, and I said, “By damn, if you are off more than one tenth on every 100 that we asked you to be, there is going to be hell to pay. Okay?” So, lo and behold, he swims that 800, and we do have – some time you will see it – a tape of it. He swims it, and Chris Thompson takes off. He is like two body lengths ahead by the 400. Larsen, to his credit or the fact that he was so scared, I don’t know, stayed with the plan. At the 400 he was to start moving and doing what he does best, and he did that. He caught Chris and ended up winning by 5 seconds. He realized he was down by two body lengths at the 400, and it was,  “Damn. Hey okay, okay. I believe, I believe.”


Well he got to the Duel In The Pool, and there is Mr. Hackett. I call him Mr. Hackett because, until he is beat, he is Mr. Hackett, and here Larsen is going against the king. Well, to his credit again, he said, “You know, I am just going to do the best I can. What is the game plan?” We set up the game plan, and he follows it well. Hackett obviously went 14:48. Larsen went 15 minutes flat, but that was a huge breakthrough because he started to believe. Very soon after that he goes home – his best time in the 500 was like a 4:26, which really wasn’t very good – and he got in his first high school meet, which was just a local invitational, and went 4:16.7. I am going, “This is nice. This is working.” We go into the summer of that year, and that was the summer of the World Championships. That was a major adjustment, but along the way he had to make a couple of, again, career decisions.


USC and everybody else recruited him. Since he was 5 years old, he liked the name “Trojans” and wanted to be a USC Trojan. So, by damn, he was going to go to USC one way or another. Well, it was a great choice, and he was very impressionable. All they had to do was blow in his ear in early November, understand that he hated where he was, and have somebody tell him he’s good, and he had an early signing to go to USC. Well, after the Duel In The Pool all of a sudden he is starting to believe in what he is doing. Now he is starting to get second thoughts because he wanted to make the Olympic team, and he was concerned – if I leave now there is another adjustment to make. He wavered and told me in April or early May, “Coach, I have made a decision. I am going to stay next year. I am not going to go to USC.” Well, Mark Schubert and I have been friends for a long, long time. That was a very difficult situation for him to accept, and for me to say, “Mark, you know this guy that you spent all this money on and got your whole team all around it? He may not want to go.” Well, Mark being the competitive person that he is, and rightfully so, is not going to go down without swinging, and the best swing that he could take would have Erik Vendt come up and say, “Boy, we could use you at USC next year you know?” “Oh, okay. I am not going to stay now. Now I am going to go again.”


So we are going back and forth. We go through the summer, and he goes to the World Championships. He does real well in the 800, by the way. He went 7:48, broke the American record again, but had to do prelims, then finals, then he had to go the next day in the prelims of the 1500, and then finals.  Well, Erik Vendt, who I have the most respect for ever and is one of the most intelligent and experienced swimmers in the world, for whatever reason at that point decided not to go in the 800 and to only swim the 1500.


So again, you have got to understand that Erik Vendt owns Larsen Jensen. So Larsen swims the 800 prelims, the 800 finals, and then the 1500. The next day he does okay. He qualifies fifth or something like that, but then he ends up right next to Erik Vendt. I wasn’t there of course, but I had set up what we wanted him to do in the 1500 that time, and I said, “What ever you do, you make sure that you do not follow Erik Vendt. You need to go out literally under 4 minutes. Please go out under 4 minutes. Do not be at his side.” What does he do? Erik Vendt goes out in 4:06. He goes out in 4:06. Erik says bye-bye, and takes off. Larsen is tired from before, and he swims 15:10 or 15:12, something like that. He finishes out of the medals – he is 4th place – and Erik takes a solid second to Hackett. At that point, I know that there is something going on because I am dealing with a person that is not necessarily emotionally mature, but I swallow it and he goes on to USC.


At USC he gets fantastic training. Anybody has to get fantastic training swimming for Mark Schubert. Everything was fine from a training point of view, but we talked about it before. All of a sudden he is adjusting again.  He made the commitment to go to the Olympic Games, and in his commitment to go to the Olympic Games he wanted to swim, go home, rest, come back, swim, go home and do that for that entire year. You can’t do that in college, especially as a freshman. There is other stuff going on, mom and dad aren’t there, and nobody else is there to hold on to him. I am telling you that he still didn’t do that stuff, but all of a sudden now he is depressed because he can’t be a freshman, he can’t do the stuff that freshmen do. He is training hard, going to school, trying to be a freshman, he is getting killed by Erik Vendt on a daily basis, and it got to him very, very much in the head. So along about Christmas time he is going, “I don’t know. This Olympic thing – I can’t do it. It is not swimming any more. I just don’t know what to do.” He was almost clinically depressed.  I called Mark. Mark talked to him. We go back and forth and tried to give it another two weeks, etc. It still wasn’t working.


Again, he made a major decision – I’ve got to go back and just train. He comes back in very early January, and at that point swam in his first meet at the Q-Meet, which is a senior meet in January in Southern California. I wasn’t even there because I had made a commitment with Justin Mortimer to go to a Grand Prix in Minnesota. I am in Minnesota, and I get a call from Coach John. “Coach, we got a problem. He just swam the 800. He is the American record holder at 7:48, and he just went 8:34. He was 3rd place, and one of our 15-year-olds beat him. I think he is a little depressed.” So I call him on the phone, and I said, “Do you have any money?”  “I don’t, but my mom does.” I said, “Well great because I am sending you a ticket. You are on the next plane out of there. You get your ass to Minnesota, no questions asked.”


Well, fortunately it was another  breakthrough. I am going to tell you about breakthroughs along the way. This was a breakthrough because he got there, and Justin Mortimer – one of the finest kids that I have ever coached and a great, great trainer – put up with Larsen Jensen. That even makes it better. So they get there, and they are just going great. All of a sudden, he is the same old guy, he is doing sets, and everybody on the University of Minnesota team is hovering around and looking. That is all he needs – someone to notice him. So they are going gangbusters, and everything is looking great for that week. We come home and literally, all of a sudden, we have two weeks to go before the nationals in February because they were early. Here is a guy that really was, three weeks earlier, clinically depressed and went an 8:34.


We go to the meet in Orlando, and he ends up winning the 800. I think he went like 7:52 and did it very, very well. He went his lifetime best in the 400, and he is not ready to do this after all this back and forth, with 3:49. Then he hooked up with David Davies. David Davies is one of those who are going to be there. Wow, what a beautiful, beautiful swimmer. He swims it so very, very well and is so very well coached. Well, by this time, Larsen has decided again that he is going to break the World Record, and he is going to do it right there and then. So he is out in a 3:56 at the 400, and I am going, “Oh, you are not ready for this Larsen. You are not ready for this.” By the 1000 Davies says bye-bye. Larsen, to his credit, limped on in, and he learned something from it. He showed a little bit of maturity and he says, “I think I probably thought too much of myself again.” I said, “Good thought. Good thought.”


So, we start training well again. We go from there to a three and one-half week training trip with Chad Carvin, Justin Mortimer, and Larsen to the Olympic training center, and pretty soon we will show you some results of that because it was unbelievable. We go there, and we have a great trip. We come back and essentially we are about ready to go to the Olympic Trials, and the taper goes well. He goes to the Olympic Trials, but there were a couple of problems along the way though. In March, and this was before the April thing, he did an interesting thing. He went 8:03 in the 800, which normally would be a good thing, but Erik Vendt was in the race. I repeat, Erik Vendt was in the race. I mean, because Erik Vendt to him was a hero, he can’t swim or beat Erik Vendt. I am going, “God blessed!!” He let Erik Vendt do exactly what Erik Vendt did to him on a daily basis at USC or any other place they swam against each other. He just said, “Here swim with me. I will show you how to do it.” And then, POW!! He took off and killed him in the last 150. I worried some of the people on the deck because we were nose to nose, and I was so red that people thought I was going to be physical with him. But it was the very best thing that I could ever do, and to this point, he has not been scared of Erik Vendt. He has been plenty scared of me, but he has not been scared of Erik Vendt. That was another breakthrough along the way.


We went to the Swim Meet of Champions. Again, we are talking about his development here, and he is still developing. Remember, he is 18 years old, and he was the youngest swimmer on the Olympic team for the men. Our Swim Meet of Champions at Mission Viejo is a great meet that has lots of great people. Chad Carvin wanted to win the overall point total. Chad is 30 years old now and did a great, great job along the way. Chad could do some things because of his experience. So Chad didn’t necessarily come on time to warm-up, didn’t necessarily warm-up the way that other people do, but he swam well.  Well, Larsen wanted to be just like Chad, so he decided, “I am not going to warm-up. Why should I warm up?” So he swims like crap and we go in my office before the 1500 and have another talk. We have had several talks. He comes out of the office and I said, “We are going to go and warm-up together.” I just hovered over him at the warm-up, would not let him go, walked him to the blocks, and he goes a 15:05. All of a sudden, we have another breakthrough.


He understands that he can’t be like somebody else. He has got to do what he has to do and do it properly. Great breakthrough. It lasted two weeks. We go to the Janet Evans meet at the Olympic stadium. “Ha!! I just went a 15:05. I guess you guys know who I am.” Well, the problem was that he swam the 400 first because I didn’t want him to repeat the 1500 – you don’t repeat good stuff two weeks later, but let’s do a good 400. “Sure, why not? I am Larsen Jensen.” In the prelims he goes a 4:03.8.  I am going, “What?”  He makes the bonus final or something like that. He comes back and does a 3:59, which for some people would be very good, but not leading into the Olympic Games. I am back in his face again. It didn’t work this time. The next day he does to the 200 and goes a 1:58.7. I am going, “I want to die.”  I mean I had gone through hell with this guy. I want to die because I do not want to deal with this, so I sent him home. I said, “You are not swimming any more.” I go, and I am depressed. I am not going to send this guy home and him have a party, so I called him at midnight that night said, “Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you. We have a workout today at 6am here.” He had to go from Mission Viejo back to Long Beach after getting the call at midnight. It was done just to get back at him, so we did that and that helped along the way.


We get to the Olympic Trials, and things worked out very well. He went 3:46.9 in the 400 and made the Olympic team. He dropped his best time in the 400 by 3 seconds.  He went 1:50.6 in the 200, which is big for him because he has no speed. Then he goes in the 1500, and who is he next to?  Erik Vendt!! I am going, “Please, not this again.” So we set the race up because we have to beat Erik Vendt. We have to get the monkey off his back, so we set the splits up so that Erik would not be comfortable doing this. If he were going to make Larsen play his game all those times, then it was time for him to have to play Larsen’s game. So, I had Larsen go out very fast at the 400, and he followed orders for the first time in his life. Erik is going, “Okay. Well I guess I will stay here.” I told him to ease off until the 600 and then take off again. I don’t care if you die a dead man’s death. Do what I tell you to do, and he did it very well. Erik Vendt didn’t respond. He got so far ahead that even though he died a dead man’s death, he goes 14:56. People wonder, “Well, he broke the American record.” Then he said, “Oh that’s good, but that is not going to do anything.” You understand that I knew he could go 14:45 then, but the reason that I was happy was he learned to play the game properly when he had to.


He goes on to the Olympic training camp. As I said, I didn’t go to Athens. I give all the credit to Jon Urbanchek, but I will tell you one thing. He had the training camp of his life. Why? Everybody wanted to see this, so he was showing off the whole time. Before they left the Olympic training camp, they did a set of eight 400’s, and I think it started at 5 minutes for the first two, the next two were at 4:45, the next two were at 4:30, the last two were on 4:15, and he had to descend them. Well, he kept descending and all of a sudden he is on 4:15. His seventh one was 4:04 on 4:15. He takes off on the 4:15 and goes 3:49. I mean everyone is going, “Holy God! Where did that come from?” And that kind of set up the fact that we knew that he was going to be alright at the Olympic Games.


He goes to the Olympic Games and has a little bit of a setback when he gets to Athens because of all the travel and so on. But then he goes on to Majorca and Jon Urbanchek – Jon, I love you – got a hold of him, and he got right back on track. The rest is history. That is what I am dealing with, and he is now back at USC. God bless him. He is now a freshman acting like a freshman, and I don’t have to worry about it. So everything is beautiful so far.


His training – I have to hurry here. I am so sorry. At Bakersfield, it was just like a mentoring situation. At Mission Viejo he was never happy with his results. Then we started doing some workouts and started to do some real good stuff. Here you can see a set where he descended 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 on a 1:10 base short course, and we wanted it to be quality along the way. So he went a 4:33, 3:39, 2:42, and 1:45. Those were pretty good times for October 2002. He had only been there for a month and ended up at 1:45. Alright, the next workout that we are going to show up there was a set of ten 500’s on 6 minutes, and effectively the idea was to go a 200 plus three 100’s descending because that is the way we wanted him to swim it. He did all ten there, and, as you can see, he just kept coming down. He ended up I believe at 4:44, but that was on his tenth 500 after descending all of them, so I was proud of that. Now we look at a February test set. This is chronologically, and that was a nice workout. We were going to swim a 500 setup and record a 1650, then swim a 500 set up and record 1000, etc. His times were 15:24 for the 1650, 9:17 for 1000, 4:30 for 500, 49.8 for 100, and 23.5 for 50, and that added up to 15:01, which we were happy with.


By the way, he learned at this point. He needed to control his distance per stroke, and we didn’t want a drop-off. When he went to 15 minutes he, for the first time, really controlled it along the way. Also, he used to have a problem where he would breathe on the left side going one way and the right side going the other, and every time he breathed on the right side his split was 2-3 tenths slower. However, we didn’t know that until USA Swimming caught that at the Pan-Pac’s. So instead of trying to teach him to do both I said, “Why don’t you just swim it on the left side every time, and you will be faster.” So he does that now, and he controls his splits.


We will move on here. Duel In The Pool – like I said, he did a great job there, and he has his arm around his hero. One of these days maybe the other guy will put his arm around him. And there he is. He loves to kick, and he went that 4:16 along the way. I want to thank Justin Mortimer and Chad Carvin because they were his training partners, and it was a great group of three. They just went through hell together for the last year. The Olympic training camp probably had the greatest workouts. This is at altitude, understand, and they were super. They did a set of ten 300’s that they were supposed to descend 1-10, and this is the mind-set. If they didn’t descend, they had to quit. They didn’t have to start over. They had to quit.  Psychologically I am going, “Yeah. On the second one I am out of here.”  They are not of that mind-set, and so you can see the results. Effectively, both Justin and Larsen did that. Chad is not of that mind-set, by the way.  Justin and he went on down and ended up going 3:04 and 3:06 on the tenth one and did all ten. Then the ninth workout there the main set was 5 rounds of a 200 setup on 3:00, a 250 descend each round on 3:00, and on the last round go a 300 on 3:30. I thought these were good times in the fact that he went to a 3:01 and did it exactly as he was told, and, again, this is at altitude.


We will move on. One day we thought 80 100’s might be fun, so we went 80 100’s on 1:20, and every 5th repeat they had to be under 1:02. So these are the fifth repeats. I was very proud of that because by the 80th one, to be able to go 55 was a solid situation. It was boring, but it was solid. On the twentieth workout we did the same set we did on the fifth workout. Exactly this set. I was not very pleased with it the first time, so I told him at the time I really wasn’t very pleased, and I said, “We will do that set over on the 20th workout.” So, we did it. What you are seeing there is the fifth workout on the left side and the twentieth workout on the right side. There was quite a bit of difference. I don’t think they wanted to do it a third time, so that was solid. We had a goal setting session at that point, and that is where we came up with the goal for 14:45. And as I say, “Bingo,” it was placed on his kickboard. It was placed on his refrigerator. It was placed on his bicycle that he rode every day. By the way, it was a six-mile trip back and forth, and he rode it to practice twice a day. He wrote it every place that he could see it. Every day and we lived with that for the rest of the time. On the twenty-ninth workout was four rounds of six 200’s, which started at 2:40 and dropped 5 seconds each repeat. The last one of each round was on 2:15, and then you go directly into the next round. The results I thought were outstanding because this was a pretty long set, and both of them descended to 1:55–1:56. For us that was very good.


At the Olympic Trials he set the American Record. He moves on to the Games, does his job, and that is what he did. I am going to stop there, and I am going to thank you very much. I am going to also say that if anybody leaves this room for Forbes Carlile, I will be nose to nose with you. This next talk is going to be something that I came for, so whatever you do, stay. And if he goes over 5 o’clock, so what. Stay here for it, okay?


Thank you very much.







Bill Rose – PowerPoint Presentation

The training and preparation of Larsen Jensen for the Olympic Finals: 2004, 2008…


The Plan vs. The Outcome

Actual               Predicted

100                    57.2                 57.2

400                   3:56.7               3:56.8

800                   7:54.5               7:54.7

1100                 10:51.1              10:50.9

Last 100            57.8                  57.8

Final                 14:45.29                        14:45.5


Mission Viejo Nadadores

September-December 2002

Sample Workout With Test Set

Thursday, October 17, 2002  3:00 p.m.

MVN National Team Workout


Swim 4 rounds of:

200 choice on 2:40, 100 I.M. on 1:30, 50 drill/swim I.M. order on :50, 100 kick on 1:45 …descend by the round


Pull 4 x 400 on 5:00  …descend 1-4  … “as you feel”


Kick 6 x 150 (125) on 2:25 …add a 25 FAST each repeat from the back end

Swim 100 EZ on 3:30


Swim 2 rounds of: 4 x 50 on :45

…# 1-3 = variable sprint, # 4 = 200 pace

Swim 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 on a 1:10 base, preceded each repeat by 2 x 100 set-up on 1:40

…each repeat is to be QUALITY & RECORDED


Warm-down  …Swim 150 pace on 2:00, 100 moderate on 1:30, 50 EZ on :50

7,000 yards


Test Set Results

Thursday, October 17, 2002  3:00 p.m.


Swim 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 on a 1:10 base, with 2 x 100 on 1:40 preceding each swim

…Record each swim at BEST EFFORT!


Name                500       400       300       200       100

Larsen               4:33.7   3:39.8   2:42.2   1:45.3     50.7

Chad C.             4:49.6   3:48.1   2:48.0   1:44.6     48.8

Erin K.              5:11.9   4:08.6   3:04.6   2:17.2fly  59.6

Peter F.             4:47.4   3:48.4   3:08.0bk  1:55.5bk    53.4bk

Nick D.             4:55.0   3:54.1   2:54.7   1:54.8     55.0

Paul D.              4:57.5   3:59.8   2:59.0   2:21.6br    66.9br

Natasha M.         5:18.3   4:12.8   3:07.4   2:19.9IM    68.2fl

Richard H.         5:16.1   4:11.8   3:03.9   2:40.6br    67.5br

Steve Mc.          4:57.0   3:57.0   2:53.5   1:55.5     55.5

Jose Aroesti        4:54.7   3:58.4   2:58.2   1:53.4     54.2

Lee Muse           5:22.8   4:20.5   2:59.0   2:17.1IM    70.0fl

Hiro Sugimoto    5:21.5   4:12.8   3:10.4   2:04.4fl      57.4fl

Katie Cattolica    5:31.2   4:25.2   3:16.7   2:27.3IM    66.5fl

Eduardo Ciuffo   5:10.5   4:14.5   2:54.4   2:17.3IM    54.6


Workout Example (Nov)

Monday, November 04, 2002  3:00 p.m.

MVN National Team Workout


Warm-up= 1100yds

2 main sets:

Kick either 1000 or 13:30, whichever comes 1st

… record either 1000 or how far kicked in time limit



Larsen 12:28 Hiro 12:07 Jose 900yds Nick 900yds, Paul 970yds, Brent No. 13:20, Nicolette 950yds, Katie 900yds, Eduardo 970yds,, Natasha 900yds, Peter 12:30, Lee 850yds, Richard 900yds, Brent Ne. 875yds, Erin 875yds,


Swim 2500 on 29:00, 2000 on 23:00, 1500 on 17:30, 1000 on 11:30, 500 on 6:00

… progressive, descending set (i.e. get 2000 split on way to 2500, which becomes ceiling time for 2000, etc.)

…ceiling time given for 2500 to begin



Name:       2500    (2000)    2000   (1500)   1500     (1000)   1000    (500)     500

Larsen  26:02.7  20:48  20:34.0   15:28  15:07.1   10:06  9:58.5    4:59.0  4:46.8

Nick      26:29.1  21:05  20:56.1   15:40  15:34.7   10:24  10:19.7  5:07.1  4:59.7

Jose      27:18.0  21:52  21:45.7   16:05  no time    n.a.    11:05       n.a.     5:25.4


11,100 total yards in this workout


10x 500 @ 6:00

Monday, November 11, 2002  3:00 p.m.

MVN National Team Distance Workout


(4000 yards of general warm-up and preparatory swimming, kicking, and pulling)


Swim 10 x 500 on 6:00

… = 200 form, 300 comedown by the 100

… descend total time 1-5 & 6-10



1                       2                     3                      4                      5

2:05.0               2:00.7               2:00.5               1:59.2               1:58.8

59.0                  59.9                  58.6                  58.6                  57.8

58.6                  58.7                  57.9                  58.0                  57.7

57.0                  57.2                  56.8                  56.7                  55.6

5:00.2               4:56.2               4:53.8               4:52.6               4:49.9

6                      7                      8                     9                    10

2:04.3               2:01.5               1:59.4               1:58.1               1:56.2

1:00.1               59.2                  59.2                  57.9                  57.0

59.6                  58.7                  58.3                  58.1                  56.7

58.3                  57.2                  56.9                  56.5                  54.4

5:02.4               4:56.6               4:53.6               4:50.6               4:44.3



Swim and warm-down …6 x 100 on 1:30 …descend 1-3 & ascend 4-6

9,600 – 6,600 yards


Mission Viejo Nadadores

January-April 2003

February Test Set

Friday, February 14, 2003  3:00 p.m.

MVN National Team Distance Workout


2850 yards of general warm-up, kicking and pulling sets,



Alternate Swim or Pull 500 set-up on 6:00 with the following:

Swim 1650 on 18:00

Swim 1000 on 12:00

Swim 500 on 6:00

Swim 100 on 1:30

Swim 50 on 1:00

…1650 is for time & recorded

…other swims are to be added up to 1650 & recorded

…may pull the 400’s


Warm-down …Swim 300 pace, moderate, EZ

9,450 total



Swim or Pull 500 set-up on 6:00               Record 1650 on 18:00

Swim or Pull 500 set-up on 6:00               Record 1000 on 12:00

Swim or Pull 500 set-up on 6:00               Record 500 on 6:00

Swim or Pull 500 set-up on 6:00               Record 100 on 1:30

Swim or Pull 500 set-up on 6:00               Record 50 on 1:00

…Add up the 1000, 500, 100, & 50 and record 1650 time*


LARSEN           NICK                BRENT

1650…  15:24.7              16:10.0              16:51.1

1000… 9:17.4               9:41.6               10:10.8

500…    4:30.1               4:48.3               4:54.6

100…    49.8                  52.4                  52.4

50…     23.5                  25.7                  24.0

(added *1650 )

15:01.8              15:46.1              16:22.8



SAWAMI          ERIN

1650…  17:08.3              17:40.8

1000…  10:19.2              10:37.2

500…    4:58.6               5:20.4

100…    54.2                  1:00.1

50…     25.8                  28.5

1650…  16:36.8              17:25.9

(added *1650 )


We like to test these guys.

Friday, February 21, 2003  3:00 p.m.

MVN National Team Workout


The first 3100 yards were general warm-up and building sets.

Then we broke into specialty, sprint, and distance:



Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05 (2:15), 10 (8) x 100 on 1:05 (1:15)

Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05 (2:15), 10 (8) x 100 on 1:00 (1:10)

Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05 (2:15), 10 (8) x 100 on :55 (1:05)



Warm-down …Swim 300 O.Y.O. (more for distance if needed)

9,400 yards


Larsen’s  Results

Friday, February 21, 2003  3:00 p.m.


Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05                 Swim 10 x 100 on 1:05

Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05                 Swim 10 x 100 on 1:00

Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05                 Swim 10 x 100 on :57

…everything is straight through (no rest between sets)

…200’s are “set-up”, 100’s are make the base



Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05     Swim 10 x 100 on 1:05

  1. 1:57.2 1.  56.0             6.  56.9
  2. 1:58.8 2.  56.4             7.  57.3
  3. 1:58.6 3.  57.1             8.  56.4
  4. 1:59.5 4.  56.7             9.  56.5
  5. 1:56.6 5.  56.9             10. 57.2

Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05     Swim 10 x 100 on 1:00

  1. 1:57.0 1.  55.6             6.  57.1
  2. 1:55.8 2.  56.2             7.  57.3
  3. 1:56.2 3.  56.9             8.  57.1
  4. 1:55.2 4.  56.5             9.  56.8
  5. 1:56.1 5.  57.1             10. 57.6

Swim 5 x 200 on 2:05     Swim 10 x 100 on :57

  1. 1:59.5 1.  53.3             6.  55.8
  2. 1:57.2 2.  55.0             7.  55.6
  3. 1:57.2 3.  55.7             8.  55.3
  4. 1:57.7 4.  55.8             9.  54.2
  5. 1:56.8 5.  55.9             10. 53.4


Typical Training Day

Thursday, April 17, 2003  2:30 p.m.

MVN National Team Workout



Swim 2 x 200 with :10 rest …descending, but aerobic

Swim 3 x 100 with :10 rest … back/free, breast/free, fly/free

Kick 200/Pull 200


Swim 3 rounds of: 5 x 200

… Round # 1 on 2:45, # 2 on 2:40, # 3 on 2:35

… each round = pace on 1st and add 50 solid per repeat


Swim (with fins) 8 x 50 on 1:00

… = 15 meters UH2O streamline + breath on 3rd stroke after breakout

Pull 600 on 8:15 …come down at the 200


Swim 12 x 50 on :55

… odd = variable sprint order, even = descending 1-3 & 4-6

Swim 100 EZ on 4:00


Swim 3 rounds of 10 x 100

… Round # 1 = 2 x 100 on 1:30 set-up, 8 x 100 on 1:30 @ 140 – 160 HR

… Round # 2 = 2 x 100 set-up on 1:30, 8 x 100 on 1:35 @ 160 – 170 HR

… Round # 3 = 2 x 100 set-up on 1:30, 8 x 100 on 1:40 @ 170 & up   HR



#1 = 1:06.8 – 1:07.2 – 1:06.4 – 1:06.2 – 1:05.9 – 1:05.9 – 1:05.7 – 1:05.6

#2 = 1:03.2 – 1:02.8 – 1:02.9 – 1:02.9 – 1:02.1 – 1:03.6 – 1:02.9 – 1:01.9

#3 = 1:00.8 –    59.2 –     58.5 –    58.5 –    57.7 –    57.6 –    57.1 –     56.7


Kick/Swim + Warm-down …

300 k/s/k on 5:30, 200 k/s on 3:40, 100 swim EZ

9,400 meters


A Competitive Training Environment

Tuesday, January 20, 2004  4:00 p.m.

Workout (Justin & Larsen)

  1. Warm-up

Swim 400, then 4 x 200 with 2 red marks rest

…build a 200 drill/swim I.M. from the back


  1. Swim 8 x 150 on 2:00

… = odd 25’s I.M. order, even 25’s I.M. order by the repeat


  1. Swim 10 x 100 on 1:30

… = 75 free solid, :05, 25 no breath fast


  1. Kick 8 x 125 on 2:00 …odd 25’s fast, even 25’s moderate
  2. Swim 100 EZ


  1. Pull & Swim 5 x 1000 on 11:00

… descend 1 – 5 “as you feel”

… 1st 2 repeats = pull

Larsen:  10:20.6 – 10:16.7 – 10:10.6 – 9:53.5 – 9:23.9

Justin:   10:20.6 – 10:16.7 – 10:10.6 – 9:53.7 – 9:24.1


  1. Warm-down …Swim 300 pace, moderate, EZ

9,800 yards



Training Camp, O.T.C., Colorado Springs
April 26-May13, 2004

Various Training Sets:

April 26 –day two

Swim 10×300 @ 4:00

Descend 1-10(must stop if you do not descend)

Object is to control speed, but not to get to failing adaptation



Larsen              Justin

3:39.2               3:38.9

3:34.7               3:35.5

3:32.6               3:33.3

3:29.3               3:30.5

3:27.7               3:29.5

3:23.4               3:27.1

3:19.5               3:24.1

3:17.7               3:22.2

3:14.7               3:19.5

3:04.8               3:06.7



April 30th –Ninth Workout

Swim 5 rounds of:

200 set-up @3:00

250 Descend 1-4 by the round @3:00

The last round will be a 300 @3:30


Results of the 300’s

Larsen               Justin

2:46.4               2:46.5

2:40.7               2:41.4

2:32.1               2:40.4

2:34.9               2:40.4

3:01.5(300)                    3:10.7(300)


May 3rd 13th Workout

80 x 100 @1:20

Every 5th repeat under given ceiling time.



















May 7th    20th Workout

Repeat of main set on 5th Workout of Camp.

The results were unacceptable.

We did the set again today:

1500 @ 20:00

800   @ 10:30

400   @   5:20

200   @   2:40

100   @   1:30


Comparative Results

Larsen                          Justin

18:41.8—16:38.3            18:41.1—16:43.4

10:05.2—8:32.5              10:04.0—8:28.7

4:57.6—4:10.0                4:59.9—4:15.9

2:25.1—2:02.6                2:26.6—2:02.9

1:10.4—57.0                  1:13.2—57.0




May 13th    29th Workout

4 Rounds of:

6 X 200

Start each round  @ 2:40 and drop :05 each repeat.  (last 1 @ 2:15)

No rest between rounds.

Object is to swim to the interval with the last repeat of each round descended 1-4 and record.



Larsen                           Justin

2:09.9                           2:08.7

2:06.3                           2:04.1

2:01.6                           2:00.2

1:55.7                           1:56.9


Best Times Progression

2001 Best times              AGE: 15                                    2002 Best times  AGE: 16

1500 LCM free               16:19.41                        1500 LCM free               15:04.83

800 LCM free                 8:21.91              800 LCM free                 7:52.05 AR

400 LCM free                 4:03.54              400 LCM free                 3:50.68

200 LCM free                 1:56.64              200 LCM free                 1:54.56

1650 SCY free                16:11.66                        1650 SCY free                15:14.98

500 SCY free                  4:40.27              500 SCY free                  4:26.99

200 SCY free                  1:45.61              200 SCY free                  1:42.05


2003 Best times              AGE 17                         2004 Best times AGE 18

1500 LCM free               15:00.81                        1500 LCM free               14:45.29 AR

800 LCM free                 7:48.09 AR        800 LCM free                7:53.29

400 LCM free                 3:51.13              400 LCM free                 3:46.08

200 LCM free                 1:51.4               200 LCM free                 1:50.62

500   SCY free                4:16.7


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