Thursday, 17 December 2009


Let's go to the sets. You have to swim fast every day if you're going to swim fast. How many people sprint the first day? God bless you. How many people sprint the second day? Same people. Why not? Every single day you have to be swimming fast if they're going to swim fast. We trash more people including myself during pre-season than I can possibly imagine.

The book goes into precise sets that we do. I'm going to give you my favorite sets. My first favorite set is what I call speed development, where we have blades on our hands, hands are straight out, we kick, and we keep really high feet.

I don't think we have too many good sprinters right now. There was a time when we had some people going 19.2, 19.3, and a whole bunch of guys in America swimming really fast. And why don't we have people swimming real fast right now? Why don't we have people swimming real fast right now... I love Dennis Pursley as a person, more than you can imagine.

He's a great father. He's everything that everybody should try to be. But taking short course out of the swimming equation in our country is wrong. You can develop speed better in a 15 yard pool, a 12 yard pool, than in a 50 meter pool.

I know we were swimming better in 1974, 1976, than we are now. Why? Because it was the height of... and it's not the only answer, but short course swimming develops speed. A 20 yard pool is really important. A 15 yard pool is really important.

So the drill: head out, full speed, and they have to max out. HAMMER DOWN. MAX OUT! Our whole society doesn't do that. We always hold back. Don't hold back. GO NUTS! And I wasn't afraid to jump up and down and scream and holler and go nuts, while all the other cool coaches were quiet.

A guy that I love, I'll never forget, called me a very dirty name at the Southeast Conference Championships, because I got too emotional. It's okay to get emotional, because we're dealing with the human spirit, it's an emotional thing. How many people when you see "Running Brave" don't feel something special when you see Billy Mills coming out of nowhere in the 10,000 meters. It's an emotional thing.

Hands out straight, feet up. Four of them, maxing out. With blades, head up, water polo stroke, full speed. MAXING OUT! Take the blades off. Head up. Four, no interval. Interval? You put an interval on something they can't max out. The key is learning how to max out.

You have to supervise that. The next thing you do is take your blades off and you either do it with fins and then you max out. And that used to set people pretty well.

Next thing: weight belts. All that weighted swimming is paramount. The one that used to make people blow lunch more than anybody else and would make every swimming coach proud that you had them do it, is that you would put a 10 lb weight on a swimmer, have them dive off the block, and have them descend 5 x 100's.

First length underwater with a 10 lb weight, freestyle with head up out of the water, butterfly with head up out of the water, and then no breath coming back with a 10 lb weight. Descend five of these. Guys: I was as close to getting beat up in that set than any swimming coach in the world. It's a very good one. Swimming underwater, 100's, 50's with the first length underwater maxing out.

The other thing is, don't breathe when you sprint. This longitudinal rotational thing that I've always been taught and you've been taught, it's wrong. Good-bye.

For 200 meters, 400 meters, distance swimming, if you don't longitudinally rotate, you're hurting. But the fastest way to theoretically swim is to try and square your shoulders and get them up out of the water as high as you can. I know I'm blowing your mind. Try it, you'll like it.

1 comment:

  1. Sam, in total agreement and that has been my discovery also in teaching youngsters to sprint "shoulders dry".....would love to speak w you on the subject .Tim 413-530-5262 SC "76" PKSS 68-80 :)