PDA

View Full Version : My plan to become a walk-on



SwimMann
January 20th, 2008, 05:41 PM
I'm a 21 year old male, 5'8, around 155 lbs, with 7-8% body fat. I've been swimming now for about 1 year total. My background is in cross country, basketball, and track. I've dropped my times quite a bit in a year;

50 free from 28 high to 26.69
100 free from 1:10 to 1:00.89
200 free from 2:24 to 2:16
500 free from 7:00 to 6:19

I'm from Missouri and I've got one more semester at a community college to get my associates degree, then I plan on transferring to Drury Univesity or Missouri State. I really want to walk on to one of their teams and I figure my best choice is to go the distance route, the 500 and up to have a chance at making one of these teams. Right now I'm swimming 30,000yds/m a week and doing dryland work (weights) 3x a week. My stroke is very solid, keeping me injury free (knock on wood), and I figure I can get up to around 50,000+ yds a week by the start of summer and train like a madman this summer before fall semester. I can swim with a masters team once a week without having to pay a monthly fee and the rest of my training is solo. My test meet will be the end of July, Show-me-State games in Columbia. Any words of advice?

geochuck
January 20th, 2008, 06:03 PM
Some old big 10 records are as follows
500-yard Freestyle 4:15.06 Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan 2004 West Lafayette
1650-yard Freestyle 14:31.15 Chris Thompson, Michigan 2001 Minneapolis

Rob Copeland
January 20th, 2008, 06:45 PM
George, neither of SwimMann’s schools are in the Big 10, so those times are irrelevant.

I suggest (if you haven’t already done so) you talk to the coaches at each school. Talk to them NOW about your interests and see what they say it will take and let them know that you are committed to improvement.

In the mean time find a good coached program, so you can improve your mechanics, as well as your endurance.

geochuck
January 20th, 2008, 07:15 PM
Drurys record times are a little slower than big 10 approx 10 seconds slower for the 500. But what I did not include in my post above is that you should not be putting mileage on and muscle memory learning bad swim habits.

What I was referring to is the 500 and longer swimming is very hard and unless you can swim faster times for the 50 and 100 you will not be a distance swimmer. You should work on getting 50, 100 and 200 times down to a faster time than you are doing now then decide what your swiming forte' is.

You should be working with a coach now that can help you attain faster times.

It sound like you are fit by doing other sports and have lots of time to do this to get to the level that you need to obtain. I as a coach would welcome someone like you who has desire to swim on a team.

Maui Mike
January 20th, 2008, 07:40 PM
Totally agree with geochuck.

pwolf66
January 20th, 2008, 09:44 PM
50 free from 28 high to 26.69
100 free from 1:10 to 1:00.89
200 free from 2:24 to 2:16
500 free from 7:00 to 6:19


I'm assuming those times are yards. If so, they are decent but not in the realm of what you would expect in NCAA comps even Div III. Even for Div III, your goal times should be in the following areas:

50 free - 22.00
100 Free - 48.00
200 Free - 1:50.00
500 Free - 4:35.00

That is not to say that you can't get there but you're not going to get there by banging out 50,000yds a week. What kind of stroke analysis are you getting? As George said, drilling poor technique with high yardage is not a good thing.

Look around for a coach in your area, ask around at the local age group teams, try to find one who does lessons on the side (I've found about half do) and have them work with you. Now, one thing is if you do not feel comfortable with that coach after 2-3 sessions, then find another one. Being comfortable with your coach is a major aspect to enabling positive learning.

Paul

JMiller
January 20th, 2008, 11:40 PM
You know, this is interesting... I sometimes think about finishing University... (I only took 1 year, so 4 more years of eligibility)
Does anyone know the rules on that? Could I still qualify for a Scholarship? I'm 30 now, but still fast enough to score points...

funkyfish
January 20th, 2008, 11:54 PM
First off, good luck in your pursuit.

Second, definitely start a dialog with the coaches of the teams. Many, many years ago a friend of mine swam at Drury and I got to visit for a few days (I went to a tech school that had no sports whatsoever). Their coach was gracious enough to let me do a practice with them. That was as close to college swimming as I ever got.

Third, make sure you haven't used up your eligibility (that might be the first thing, actually). I did grad school at Arizona State and thought I might be able to "walk on", since the undergrad schools I went to had no swim teams and I didn't participate in any sports. Long story short, I was told that your eligibility clock starts ticking once you start college full-time, regardless of whether you do sports or not. Also confirmed this through the NCAA website.

Good luck with your pursuit. :wiggle:

JMiller
January 21st, 2008, 12:09 AM
First off, good luck in your pursuit.

Second, definitely start a dialog with the coaches of the teams. Many, many years ago a friend of mine swam at Drury and I got to visit for a few days (I went to a tech school that had no sports whatsoever). Their coach was gracious enough to let me do a practice with them. That was as close to college swimming as I ever got.

Third, make sure you haven't used up your eligibility (that might be the first thing, actually). I did grad school at Arizona State and thought I might be able to "walk on", since the undergrad schools I went to had no swim teams and I didn't participate in any sports. Long story short, I was told that your eligibility clock starts ticking once you start college full-time, regardless of whether you do sports or not. Also confirmed this through the NCAA website.

Good luck with your pursuit. :wiggle:

Thanks, I don't know though... My life is pretty much on track at this point... I'd probably finish University just to participate in the intellectual discussions, and hopefully contribute something of value. Maybe when I'm retired, that would be a good way to spend the time.

CreamPuff
January 21st, 2008, 09:15 AM
Training with a team trumps training alone IMO.

As someone said, you don't want to pound tons of yardage with the wrong technique.

Having a coach and teammates will give you new ideas and perspective and push you beyond what you think is possible. I swim much faster with teams as compared to swimming alone.

Is there a reason that you are planning on training alone and then 1x/ week w/ masters? Without a doubt, I'd swim with your community college (just talk to the coach), high school team, OR preferably with a USAS team. This would give you the best shot at getting up to speed. Many coaches are very accommodating and would let you try out a few practices.

Good luck!



I'm a 21 year old male, 5'8, around 155 lbs, with 7-8% body fat. I've been swimming now for about 1 year total. My background is in cross country, basketball, and track. I've dropped my times quite a bit in a year;

50 free from 28 high to 26.69
100 free from 1:10 to 1:00.89
200 free from 2:24 to 2:16
500 free from 7:00 to 6:19

I'm from Missouri and I've got one more semester at a community college to get my associates degree, then I plan on transferring to Drury Univesity or Missouri State. I really want to walk on to one of their teams and I figure my best choice is to go the distance route, the 500 and up to have a chance at making one of these teams. Right now I'm swimming 30,000yds/m a week and doing dryland work (weights) 3x a week. My stroke is very solid, keeping me injury free (knock on wood), and I figure I can get up to around 50,000+ yds a week by the start of summer and train like a madman this summer before fall semester. I can swim with a masters team once a week without having to pay a monthly fee and the rest of my training is solo. My test meet will be the end of July, Show-me-State games in Columbia. Any words of advice?

knelson
January 21st, 2008, 10:31 AM
50 free - 22.00
100 Free - 48.00
200 Free - 1:50.00
500 Free - 4:35.00

Did you mean to say 1:40 for the 200 free? 1:50 isn't in-line with the other times. Actually, these times would be very quick for Division III. Most of these would probably get close to being able to place at NCAA's for Division III.

cowsvils
January 21st, 2008, 11:22 AM
For perspective:
D3 Cuts
50 free: A: 20.69 B: 21.25
100 free: A: 45.67 B: 46.66
200 free: A: 1:40.80 B: 143.32
500 free: 4:32.80 B: 4:39.99

stillwater
January 21st, 2008, 12:53 PM
Division III has some very fast swimmers.

The top qualify for the Division I dance.

I don't know if Junior Colleges are included in DIII anymore, however, when I was a younger man the JC championships in California were a very competitive meet.

fatboy
January 21st, 2008, 01:45 PM
SwimMann,

Don't be too discouraged by the times posted here.

Talk to the coaches at the schools you are interested in. They will tell you if the want you to swim at their school. I don't know the schools you mentioned. Some teams and coaches will have room in their programs for swimmers that are not able to make Nationals cuts.


Good luck!

ande
January 21st, 2008, 04:18 PM
contact the college coaches and
find out what it takes to walk on their teams

if really you want to walk on
you have to be MUCH better

Read and apply
Swim Faster Faster
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4229

train 6 days a week
do doubles on 3 of them
lift weights 3 times a week
train with the best club team and club coach you can find
you might have a chance

lastly I'm a positive guy, but the gap between
where you are and
where you need to be
might be insurmountable





I'm a 21 year old male, 5'8, around 155 lbs, with 7-8% body fat. I've been swimming now for about 1 year total. My background is in cross country, basketball, and track. I've dropped my times quite a bit in a year;

50 free from 28 high to 26.69
100 free from 1:10 to 1:00.89
200 free from 2:24 to 2:16
500 free from 7:00 to 6:19

I'm from Missouri and I've got one more semester at a community college to get my associates degree, then I plan on transferring to Drury Univesity or Missouri State. I really want to walk on to one of their teams and I figure my best choice is to go the distance route, the 500 and up to have a chance at making one of these teams. Right now I'm swimming 30,000yds/m a week and doing dryland work (weights) 3x a week. My stroke is very solid, keeping me injury free (knock on wood), and I figure I can get up to around 50,000+ yds a week by the start of summer and train like a madman this summer before fall semester. I can swim with a masters team once a week without having to pay a monthly fee and the rest of my training is solo. My test meet will be the end of July, Show-me-State games in Columbia. Any words of advice?

pwolf66
January 21st, 2008, 04:24 PM
Did you mean to say 1:40 for the 200 free? 1:50 isn't in-line with the other times. Actually, these times would be very quick for Division III. Most of these would probably get close to being able to place at NCAA's for Division III.


Yep, fat fingered that one it was supposed to be 1:40ish. And those were to provide an idea of target times and were not intended to discourage but instead to point out that banging out yardage on your own will only get him so far. He will need to get some focused technique work along with all the things that Ande has recommended.

Paul

Blackbeard's Peg
January 21st, 2008, 10:34 PM
Yes, the Division III cuts are very competitive, not too far from Division I cuts. There is a huge gap, however, in depth at the Division III level.

As an example, since it was mentioned, lets look at the 500 at 2007's conference championships. In D1, very few swimmers in the men's 500 who are slower than 5:00 at the conference meets. In the ACC, for example, not known for its swimming, had 20 people make B cuts. 42/43 people were under 4:55 (slowest guy was 5:01). The Colonial Athletic Conference (GMU, UMBC, etc.) featured a few B cuts, and their absolute slowest guy was 5:18.

However in D3, I found one conference where only one heat was UNDER 5:00, and someone finished in 7:00. The North Coast Athletic Conference (with Kenyon and Dennison), probably the nation's fastest d3 conerence, has only two heats under 5:00, and their slowest guy at 5:46.

Swimming D3 gives him the best chance at making the team. But he's still got a long way to go and a lot of hard work.

pakman044
January 21st, 2008, 11:15 PM
Not having ever swum competitively in college, those times are decent, but...you need to beef them up. When I was 15 and stopped swimming USA Swimming (2001), I was swimming times in that territory (27 low/59 high/2:20/6:20). But the only people I was beating were 13 year old guys, if I was lucky. I'm quite impressed though you've done most of this one your own, with the amount of swimming experience you have. Certainly your growth curve looks to be greater than mine was, even with my sucky practice regimen (3/week generally).

Certainly make sure you're working on your technique. Only been swimming for a year? There's certainly gains to be made from improved techniques, and serious gains from my experience. But getting someone else to coach you is a must; there's only so much you can see yourself from inside the pool. It might not be cheap (cheap in the student-sense!), but if this is what you want to do, it's a worthwhile investment. (Some teams have a student rate, or might be cajoled into giving one).

One thing I might also advise, especially given the short period of time, is to take a look at your other strokes too. It may be that your freestyle is your fastest stroke, but you may also be assuming that given that the barrier to acquisition of freestyle versus other strokes is lower. It might be a gamble of sorts, but an experienced coach may be able to pick up that you might be better at another stroke. Granted, developing alternative strokes takes time, but I wouldn't ignore it (even though it takes time--it took me seven years to get a legal breaststroke kick!). My coaches were big believers in not specializing too early.

Make sure you aren't training at the consequence of your schooling. I knew a female gymnist at my D1 school who walked-on, but more or less walked-on because her GPA was great and helped out the team's GPA (of course, she was a decent gymnast too!). Any bonus you can tack on to help seal the deal is always helpful. I'm not really sure what kinds of numbers would be good here, but certainly a GPA > 3.0 wouldn't hurt, and > 3.5 would be fantastic. And make sure you don't just go somewhere just because of swimming. You want to get an education too, right?

But let's say you improve your times, but not insanely so. There are likely D3 schools that would take you with sub-optimal times because a) they want swimmers (some of the programs are tiny), and b) they'd love someone with a great attitude and work ethic, despite how fast they are currently.

Example: As I alluded to above, I had a coach who did the intermediate level 13&U's at my club, before departing to head coach in D3 (he's at his second post, on the West Coast). Had I continued to swim through high school (this schooling thing interfered), even with times moving up the growth curve as they were but certainly not phenomenal, I think he would have taken me (his program is very small, 6-12 swimmers I think). He knew (trying not to be boastful here) that I was fairly mature and had a great work ethic.

Now certainly, those kinds of places aren't the best of programs in the world. But they exist if you're willing to look for them, and I think someone would be willing to take you.

If this is what you want to do, then I wish you the best of luck with it. It certainly is something well worth working towards.

Patrick King

SwimMann
January 24th, 2008, 09:58 PM
Wow, I didn't think I'd get so many replies. I really appreciate all the advice.

1) I only go swim once a week with a team because of tight financial issues, I asked if I could come in once a week for help with my strokes and so far the coach has been very helpful.
2) I know that I've got a really long way to go but I believe in my heart that I can make it and contribute greatly to either of the teams. (got a 3.2 GPA, will work my ass off, and I'm always positive, was captain of cross country team my senior year of high school).
3) I absolutely love the sport, the way I feel after completing a good workout is amazing, plus I like the way it has transformed my body from the skinnier runners physique.

Other than the obvious here are some things I need to work on:

1) To stop drinking/partying as much, keep in under better control.
2) Increase my pain tolerance, there is a time when I'm swimming a longer workout that I start to puss out and this is definantly a time that training with a team would be beneficial.

I don't know if this will be allowed but I'd like to start a little blog here, it'll help keep me honest.

1/24/08
Afternoon workout---SCM pool, Southside YMCA

Warmup---600 straight swim (100 fr + 50 bk)x4 + 4x25 fly w/25 bk recovery + 200 flutter kck w/board
Main---4x(400 free rest 25s + 300 pull r 20s + 200 kck w/board r 20s + 100 IM) r 30s between sets
400 frees in 6:00, 5:58, 6:00, 6:11 (pussed out)
300 pulls in 4:24, 4:21, 4:20, 4:18
200 kcks don't remember times
100 IMs 1:39, 1:38, 1:37, 1:38----breaststroke is so weak
R 1 minute 30s
600 straight swim (100 bk + 50 free)
Sprint set---4x25 no breathers (18.1, 17.8, 17.2, 16.9)

Total---5700m, felt really good.

After swim I did a pretty intense core workout and 100 pushups

jmeyer
January 25th, 2008, 06:27 PM
I admire your enthusiasm. You'll definitely need to get faster, but it can happen with the right coach. I'd bet that your technique needs help. Try to find a USA Swimming team in your area and contact the coach about getting some feedback. Check http://www.usaswimming.org.

jmeyer
January 25th, 2008, 06:28 PM
P.S. If I lived near you, I'd make a deal: you train me to complete a marathon, and I'll get you on that swim team. Cross-country is tough stuff.

SwimMann
January 25th, 2008, 10:52 PM
Friday, Jan. 25th

Morning Workout---Southside YMCA
Wup---400 free + 300 straight swim (75 bk + 25 br)x3 + 200 kck w/board + 100 IM
Main
4x200 free r 20s (3:07 down to 3:04)
3x100 flutter kck w/board (2:01 to 1:58)
2x50 bk strong (46's)
R 1 min.
3x200 pull smooth (2:58-59)
Cooldown---100 kck w/board + 100 bk

Total---3000m, a nice easy workout.

Evening Workout
Downtown YMCA---SCY
Wup---600 straight swim (100 free + 50 bk) + 200 kck
Drills---4x50
Main---4x(5x100) r 20s
1st 100s easy
2nd 100 75 easy/25 hard
3rd 100 50 easy/50 hard
4th 100 25 easy/75 hard
5th 100 hard
o) free e)stroke
Pull--500 smooth (6:44)
Cooldown—100 ez

Total---3600 yds, felt a little tired.

Total for day---6600yds/m

ande
January 25th, 2008, 11:19 PM
what matters most in your training is how fast you go on hard swims
your only chance is to push your limits day after day
you need to attempt to beat your best times in each training session

phdude
January 26th, 2008, 08:25 PM
I just wanted to reiterate some of the encouragement that has been given on this board. I'm doing a 5:40 on the 500y now, and it's taken me about a year to get to that time from not being able to complete it at all! despite that not-so-great time, I was a real fast swimmer 10 years ago, hoping to get back to those times. the moral is, despite where you (or I) are now, we are capable of much, much better. i think you have less of a struggle than i do over the next couple months because you are already in great shape for endurance exercise, and I'm still working towards that. just work hard on your technique. it helped me to pick up "swimming fastest". i would just encourage you to get the most out of your workouts with proper nutrition, and do your best to avoid getting sick-the last thing you need is any interruption to your workout regimen. Good luck!