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opeleroy
June 3rd, 2017, 02:55 PM
Thought at least some of you distance folk might get a kick out of this story about Jay DeHart (https://www.yourswimlog.com/this-coach-had-his-swimmers-train-36000m-a-day/), a coach who in the summer of 1995 had his swimmers build up to a "distance challenge" week where they did 36k a day for 7 days....

That's 252,000m for the week...


The story goes back to an article that was published in the November/December 1995 issue of Swimming Technique magazine, featuring an American coach named Jay DeHart.

Over the course of late fall to spring of 1994/1995 he decided to take a group of seven volunteer swimmers, and had them train every day of the week.

During this period they took only two days off (Christmas and New Years), and on Saturdays would do “distance challenge” days where they would swim between 12,000 and 17,000m.

This would lead them into a week of training that would start once school ended, and they’d have the full day to swim and recover.

“It would cover seven straight days, three, four, and sometimes five sessions per day – swimming an average of nine hours per day, and close to 36,000 meters per day,” wrote DeHart.

But what about the shoulders?

The thought of doing this kind of mileage probably makes anyone who has ever had bad shoulders from swimming recoil a little bit.

DeHart emphasized that stroke technique would not falter over the course of the workouts, and that shoulder soreness would be dealt with a pre-determined procedure.

“Once we got into the training, the kids were pretty tired after the first day of 36,000 meters. But it wasn’t until completion of the second day that they really started to enter into the valley of fatigue. It was there they spent the next five full days, their minds and bodies questioning the very cores of their mental and physical constitutions and previous preparation for greatness. There was complaining. There were revelations. But each time our toughness and team support rose to meet the challenges.”

(Emphasis mine.)

How did the swimmers end up doing?

Prior to this season of highly elevated training his elite squad had only found mild success, with a couple swimmers qualifying for Juniors, “while the rest of the kids were struggling with Senior Regional level meets.”

At the Speedo Junior Nationals later that summer in Tempe, Arizona, DeHart would send just five girls and return with the women’s team championship.

The improvements were epic.

One swimmer dropped 8 seconds in her 100 breaststroke to place second amongst a field of much older swimmers, and dropped 17 seconds on her 200 breaststroke to qualify for Olympic Trials.

“Corrie Murphy won the 1500m in 16:55.15 and placed 2nd in the 400 free with 4:19 48 – both times were Olympic Trials qualifying times. Other swimmers were equally as successful: Karen Jacobs reduced her 800 freestyle time by 26 seconds to 9:00.71 and her 400 IM best time dropped by 18 seconds to 4:55.55. Hayley Thompson reduced her 100m breast time by 8 seconds to 1:13.68 and knocked 17 seconds off her 200 time (2:37.73).”

While the times on the scoreboard were impressive, it was the confidence and toughness that come from that exceptionally high amount of training that stuck with him.

"Most importantly, the kids developed a sense of toughness that will carry with them further still. They want more than ever to train and compete. And for myself, I won’t stand for anyone telling me they know what an athlete’s limit is before that athlete has been tested."

So what happened next?

This kind of training was not without controversy, as you can probably guess. The club board got together and fired him. The team itself, the Husky Swim Club, formerly based out of Seattle, Washington, doesn’t seem to be around.

The last club results I’ve been able to find online were from 2002, and from all indications, Jay DeHart has been long out of the sport, frustrated with a system that punishes innovation, “particularly if the innovation looks like hard work.”

gobears
June 3rd, 2017, 03:05 PM
Not sure this is "innovative." Go back to the days of Mission Viejo in the 70's and 80's. Yardage was God.

sunruh
June 3rd, 2017, 04:09 PM
i saw the headline and laughed.

thats just 1 week.

you really dont want to know what the blue and gold yardage gods did for 9 weeks straight.
but
the results of *our* team spoke the loudest
1984 Olympics - results
1500m - Mike O'brien - GOLD
800m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD

out of the top 16 in the mens 1500m, 7 of them swam with us. not to mention those that would make the team years
later!

4x200m free relay - Rich Saeger - GOLD

400m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD
200m Butterfly - T - do i really need to say my lanemates full name? Mary T Meagher - GOLD
100m Butterfly - T - GOLD
200m Backstroke - Amy White - Silver - my other lanemate every afternoon
4x100m free relay - Dara Torres - GOLD
4x100m medley relay - T - GOLD

last american to win the 1500m before mikeo? oh that's easy it would be
Brian Goodell - GOLD also from MVN!!!
shocker..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the only 2 american men to win the 1500m in the last 35 years

opeleroy
June 3rd, 2017, 06:32 PM
i saw the headline and laughed.

thats just 1 week.

you really dont want to know what the blue and gold yardage gods did for 9 weeks straight.
but
the results of *our* team spoke the loudest
1984 Olympics - results
1500m - Mike O'brien - GOLD
800m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD
we could stop right there...no team has ever produced BOTH the mens and womens distance GOLD medalists before
but out of the top 16 in the mens 1500m, 7 of them swam with us. not to mention those that would make the team years
later!

4x200m free relay - Rich Saeger - GOLD

400m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD
200m Butterfly - T - do i really need to say my lanemates full name? Mary T Meagher - GOLD
100m Butterfly - T - GOLD
200m Backstroke - Amy White - Silver - my other lanemate every afternoon
4x100m free relay - Dara Torres - GOLD
4x100m medley relay - T - GOLD

last american to win the 1500m before mikeo? oh that's easy it would be
Brian Goodell - GOLD also from MVN!!!
shocker..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the only 2 american men to win the 1500m in the last 35 years

It was 36,000m per day. For a full week. Not 36k for the week.

They were doing some pretty solid yardage in the lead-up to that week as well, including 12-17k Saturdays.

opeleroy
June 3rd, 2017, 06:34 PM
Not sure this is "innovative." Go back to the days of Mission Viejo in the 70's and 80's. Yardage was God.

Still very much is in some corners. The local club team here in town left their workout up on the board earlier this week. They had a 9,200m "recovery" morning session written up.

Chris Stevenson
June 3rd, 2017, 06:46 PM
I grew up swimming in the 70s and 80s. At the time I didn't question the idea of "more is better" that was prevalent in that era -- though I do remember a memorable few weeks training with Jonte Skinner who was promoting a different style of training that was innovative at that time (my fingertips still tingle with remembered pain from all the LA tests).

But now after all this time I am still a little amazed that such an approach worked at all for people who weren't distance swimmers.

How does training all those yards -- similar in duration to what cyclists might do for races like the TdF -- prepare for races that last 1-2 minutes? What is the physiological explanation for the success of this type of training? (I do not think it was purely psychological, "building mental toughness" and the like.)

opeleroy
June 3rd, 2017, 06:50 PM
Greater efficiency perhaps? A better feel for the water? Alex Popov did a lot of yardage as well, regularly doing 100k weeks of training; I suppose you do enough deliberate swimming that your stroke is going to get more efficient, something that will benefit the sprinter as well as the distance swimmer. (The key word there is deliberate, obviously.)

cinc3100
June 3rd, 2017, 07:46 PM
i saw the headline and laughed.

thats just 1 week.

you really dont want to know what the blue and gold yardage gods did for 9 weeks straight.
but
the results of *our* team spoke the loudest
1984 Olympics - results
1500m - Mike O'brien - GOLD
800m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD
we could stop right there...no team has ever produced BOTH the mens and womens distance GOLD medalists before
but out of the top 16 in the mens 1500m, 7 of them swam with us. not to mention those that would make the team years
later!

4x200m free relay - Rich Saeger - GOLD

400m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD
200m Butterfly - T - do i really need to say my lanemates full name? Mary T Meagher - GOLD
100m Butterfly - T - GOLD
200m Backstroke - Amy White - Silver - my other lanemate every afternoon
4x100m free relay - Dara Torres - GOLD
4x100m medley relay - T - GOLD

last american to win the 1500m before mikeo? oh that's easy it would be
Brian Goodell - GOLD also from MVN!!!
shocker..NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the only 2 american men to win the 1500m in the last 35 years

How does this helped middle aged masters swimmers. Its good for young swimmers but the body breaks down with age.

ElaineK
June 3rd, 2017, 09:19 PM
How does this helped middle aged masters swimmers. Its good for young swimmers but the body breaks down with age.

Exactly! ​ I'm living proof of that. :toohurt:

quicksilver
June 4th, 2017, 03:26 PM
Not sure this is "innovative." Go back to the days of Mission Viejo in the 70's and 80's. Yardage was God.

Double work outs and anywhere from 7K and upwards (per work out) was commonplace for the distance athletes on our AAU club (mid to late 70's). We had a super human/freak of nature on our team...Bobby Hackett (Gator Club) who had a long term rivalry with Brian Goodell (Mission Viejo Nadadores). They went one/two for the 1500 in the '76 Olympics.

...The summer leading up to the big show down, Coach Burnal had Bobby do a distance set. 100 x 100 yards on a minute send-off. He averaged :53 per hundred, and finished off the set with some :52's. He didn't come home with the gold, but that has to go down as the most grueling and sensational "work-out" ever.

Frank Thompson
June 4th, 2017, 04:07 PM
[QUOTE=sunruh;321222]i saw the headline and laughed.

thats just 1 week.

"you really dont want to know what the blue and gold yardage gods did for 9 weeks straight.
but
the results of *our* team spoke the loudest
1984 Olympics - results
1500m - Mike O'brien - GOLD
800m - Tiffany Cohen - GOLD
we could stop right there...no team has ever produced BOTH the mens and womens distance GOLD medalists before"

This statement is false. At the 1968 Olympics both Debbie Meyer and Mike Burton won the same events and also won the 400 Free as well and they swam for the Arden Hill Swim club that was coached by Shem Chavoor. A book was written about this called the "50 Meter Jungle" and is one of the most famous books ever written about swimming.

sunruh
June 5th, 2017, 10:28 AM
i stand corrected

orca1946
June 5th, 2017, 10:50 AM
Not at my age now !!!

knelson
June 6th, 2017, 02:56 PM
This kind of training was not without controversy, as you can probably guess. The club board got together and fired him. The team itself, the Husky Swim Club, formerly based out of Seattle, Washington, doesn’t seem to be around.

I'll have to ask my coach about this. He was definitely coaching in Seattle at the time and I'm sure he would remember this.

knelson
June 7th, 2017, 11:43 PM
I asked my coach about it. He remembers it well. He said he thinks one year they swam 500,000 yards over winter break. He said they'd do something like alternating a day of 20,000 yards with a day of 40,000 yards.

tomtopo
June 8th, 2017, 07:46 AM
This is a blurb that I wrote that talks about the opposite of yardage based training. I think it's the way swimmers should have been training for 60 years. Wow 36K --

Do your swimmers now their SPOT?
By Coach Tom Topo:argue:lski

I would like to take the mystique out of what coaches are calling Ultra Short Race Pace Training (USRPT) or for short High Intensity Training (HIT). HIT is not a new idea and in fact is a concept that exercise physiologists have used for decades, even before the Doc Councilman era.

HIT, requires following the same truisms that are at the core of all successful sports training. These sports training maxims have and will always revolve around specificity, recovery, regularity and progressive overload. The difference of HIT from past and current training is the laser focus it has on specificity. The way coaches habitually train swimmers is the way their swimmers will perform. HIT coach’s habitually train their swimmers to acquire speed. The most important measuring parameter is a twenty-five sprint push-off time (25 SPOT).

Every season should begin with goal setting and every swimmer should have a set of short-term, seasonal and long-term goals. Once these goals are established and written down, swimmers should know what their twenty-five yard, sprint push-off time (SPOT) is for every stroke and at every distance. The only reason a swimmer does not know their SPOT, is that coaches do not measure it often enough. Coach must test for SPOT’s often, record them and post them.

Speed specificity training does not ignore the importance of skill sets that improve, endurance, pace, pain tolerance (lactate tolerance), strength / flexibility (becoming a better athlete), pulling pattern and stroke efficiency, mental acuity, as well as other important facets needed to become a faster swimmer. With that said, improving SPOT is the primary focus of USRPT / HIT, and to me, that is the difference between what coaches do now and coaches who use speed specificity training.

Until SPOT times are acquired, skill sets like lactate tolerance sets, endurance sets and pace sets take a back seat to training (not to be ignored but to be emphasized much much less). Until a swimmer’s twenty-five yard time is fast enough to reach their end-goal, everything else is a mute issue. To solidify this point, a swimmer who has a SPOT time of 15.3 seconds cannot break a five-minute five hundred until they that time becomes a 14.9 ( very little room for debate, right?).

Speed is an elusive skill set a swimmer can only improve upon by specifically training to get it. Here is the mystery, during the age of Mark Spitz, coaches espoused specificity training but did just the opposite and trained their athletes around “yardage” and more was always better. Today, a majority of great coaches still train swimmers and most of them will swim less that one minute per event, with miles of swimming and much of it at threshold race pace times. Training swimmers to drop times by adding recreational yardage sets throws speed specificity training out the window.

On the other hand the yardage using USRPT / HIT or speed specificity training is likely to cut yardage in half or more because it all but eliminates redundant or recreational swimming (long monotonous and arduous sets with little relevance).

A colleague of mine posted a sheet of paper that had on it: “6 points to a Meaningful Practice” by USC Head Coach David Salo. He acquired the list while attending a Michigan Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association Clinic and it looked like this:
1.) Race Pace
2.) Varied Stimuli
3.) Hard
4.) Fun
5.) Faster-Faster – More Faster
6.) Relevance

The 6 points made sense to me and to make sure that it was saying to me what I thought it was, I looked up some articles about Salo and tried to learn something about his coaching philosophy. The two articles I liked the best are listed below and you will probably enjoy them as much as I did. I look at coach Salo as one of the coaches who are helping change the way swimmers will be trained now and in the future.
http://www.rittersp.com/rittersurge/...-for-swimming/
http://www.swimmingcoach.org/publications/11mag01.pdf

The following information is not from Coach Salo, it’s from me. I have simply looked at his list and put into words what I think they mean to me. The first is;

1.) Race Pace
I use the term “Race Pace” as a baseline from which swimmers and coaches should create their training programs. I believe the most important baseline time is a push-off twenty-five (swim, kick, pull). I do not allow swimmers to use a kickboards or allow them to scull or use any propulsive motions with their hands when they record a kick or pull time. I want to isolate their kick and pull times to gain a true account of their effort.
If you want fast swimmers then your practices must concentrate on lowering their twenty-five yard times. If you can’t break fifteen seconds in a twenty-five yard freestyle, you are forever stuck at that multiple forever; A sub five minute five hundred – Not!; A sub two minute two-hundred – Not!, A sub one-minute one-hundred free – Well with a good start a fifty-eight (you get my point).

2.) Varied Stimuli
I use the term Varied Stimuli to describe the concept of measurable stress and adaptation to stress. The ability to effectively manipulate stress during a season is knowledge that both coach and swimmer must understand to become successful. The word “Plateau” is usually looked at by athletes as a painful thorn in a season but it shouldn’t be. A plateau is an important announcement that training stimuli or methods must be altered to break through it.
These methods may include but are not limited to: taking time off to rest, increasing yardage, shortening rest periods, increasing intensity, increasing resistance, restricting breathing patterns, improving the strength / resistance baseline.

It is easy to increase stress but it cannot be arbitrary / subjective. If you measure everything you do and establish a baseline for everything you do, effectively varying stimuli to increase stress becomes possible.
Most swimmers judge the success of a practice on how they feel after it. I have had swimmers praise the workout I gave them because it made them throw-up (it’s true). If “throwing-up” is what a great practice is all about; I told them I could make them throw-up all the time. It is ironic to me that swimmers who tell me they had a great practice because of the pain they feel, cannot tell me the most important thing that makes a practice great.

The most important measurement of a great practice should be improved baseline times. Pain and nausea are subjective feelings and cannot be relied on to measure the effectiveness of a practice. So, if you are a coach and measure your practices on how your swimmers tell you they feel, you are fooling yourself.

Training sets without baseline times are often a waste of a swimmer’s time. Why introduce a set that does not measure something? Varying stimuli for the sake of breaking monotony is almost a guaranteed waste of a swimmer’s time. If you want to break monotony, have your swimmers listen to music or train with different swimmers.

3.) Hard
To me “Hard” is all about measured intensity. You can make a set hard but is the intensity measureable and specific? A set of 5 x 500 on a difficult interval is hard but they do not become necessarily intense until the set is repeated with improved times. This is where I think many coaches get confused and make their practices monotonous and unproductive. Sets that do not allow swimmers to measure intensity are simply sets that keep them busy and tired.

This idea of “Hard” also applies to exercise and strength training. Dry-land programs should not be a list of things to do but a list of goals or things to accomplish. Attaining failure is a goal; a specific number of repetitions and then adding another repetition is a goal; adding resistance and maintaining a set standard or number of repetitions is a goal. A list of exercises needs to mean more than just keeping athletes busy. Dry-land practices that are hard do not mean they’re intense. Get the most out of your dry-land program by setting goals within them.

4.) Fun
To me “Fun” is all about keeping swimmers in a caring, positive and productive environment.
Athletes perform better when they are surrounded by people who genuinely care about them on many levels.

Great coaches are great for many reasons but all of them know how to foster a positive and inclusive training environment. One of the best things an athletic program has to offer is an opportunity for athletes to make friends and friendships. When the coach creates an environment that encourages swimmers to make friends or life-long connections, fun becomes an integral part of fundamentals. A coach creates the “Fun” in a practice and it is a refinable and incredible motivational coaching tool.

The last piece in pursuit of fun is a component that cannot be overlooked and that component is safety. If swimmers do not feel safe, their performance will be compromised. Coaches must do everything in their power to eliminate hazing, bullying, inappropriate rituals “rites of passage”, and inappropriate behavior in the locker room, on the pool deck and away from the pool deck. I am convinced that attrition rates in swimming programs are primarily due to swimmers feeling unsafe in some way with other members of the team.

When intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are given for individual training, swim meets and personal improvements / achievements, attitudes get better. If you want them to have “Fun,” establish baseline sets that measure endurance, pain tolerance, pace, speed, technical improvement (DPS), recovery, strength, and find ways to make them “Fun.”

5.) Faster-Faster- More Faster
To me Faster-Faster-More Faster means that speed is the most elusive component in swimming and all training should revolve around it. If you cannot swim a twenty-five fast will you ever swim a hundred fast? Endurance is not elusive but speed is!
To swim any race faster, a swimmer must improve his sprinting capability. Again, it’s hard to get fast, so don’t do things that will impede that goal. The focus on speed does not mean you neglect other objectives: Pace / Endurance / Pain Tolerance / Technique – Efficiency / Strength / Flexibility. Speed should be viewed as the center of a wheel and the other components are the spokes of that wheel.

6.) Relevance
To me “Relevance” joins the six points. Relevance relates to yardage and sets that are clearly defined, measurable and have a specific purpose. If your practices are relevant, they revolve around the first five points and they accomplish something to help your swimmers swim faster. If the things you do to train your swimmers can be supported with objective data that in turn supports faster times, your training regimen is relevant.

Case in point; Coaches of other sports are bewildered with morning practices and I too question the relevance of them in a majority of high school swimming programs. There are few high school sports that require their athletes to train in the morning and after school. Two-a-days should be used as a “last resort” stress-increasing method. Anytime you take away the opportunity for high school students to sleep, you risk compromising their immune systems. Science and common sense should override a coach’s rationalization for the need to subject their athletes to this sleep-depriving practice but this is another tired historical practice that will be hard to kill.

New and novice coaches who start coaching teams with a tradition of two-a-days, will find it difficult to wean their high school away from the ritual (getting up in the morning is tough and tough means faster? -Not!). When majorities of your swimmers are improving times, an extra morning practice is not necessary. Increasing effective technical training should be attempted first and then other plateau breakers. A coach should only add a morning practice (s) to increase stress and it should be used as a last resort.

All swimming coaches write and use workout or training sets. When workouts have goals that can be objectively evaluated, they become relevant. Relevance becomes a driving force in writing workouts and adds focus, motivation and fun.



The question I get most from swimmers is; how can I get faster? I tell them, become a better athlete and focus on dropping your SPOT, everything else will come together after that. So, improve body type (weight and strength), ankle flexibility, pulling pattern effectiveness (Timed DPS), lactate tolerance (pain). As coaches create a baseline of objective measurements, which are accumulated and recorded, swimmers should be responsible for following the prescribed course of action given by the coach. When a swimmer is doing everything the coach is telling them and they are not dropping time, the responsibility for finding an answer as to why a swimmer is not improving now falls on the shoulder of the coach.

Dropping times, using specificity speed training is the most effective and fun way to train and I hope you use it. Good luck swimmers and coaches.

tomtopo
June 8th, 2017, 08:41 AM
No thanks, I value my rotator-cuff.