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Thread: Highest yearly swim totals

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Highest yearly swim totals

    One of our swimmers on the Elgin Blue Wave Masters team brought up a guy who [ allegedly ] swims 14,000 yards a day each and every day to achieve his yearly total. I find this really difficult to comprehend. Has anyone heard of such swimmers?

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    There was someone with over 2000 miles swam last year. When I see the people who are already at 75, 100+ miles 15 days into the new year, I assume they are mostly open water and marathon swimmers. To get to the 1500+ marker in a year though these people are swimming twice a day, every day, 90ish minutes each practice. If I extrapolate out what I can do in 90 minutes, and did it twice a day every day, I would average about 70,000 yards a week so 3,640,000 yards a year or 2068 miles. That's assuming I do workouts. If I just swam straight for ninety minutes (shoot me in the face that sounds awful), the yardage would be higher. And I read back over this post and say, "yeah no way in hell that is happening." Personally, my body (shoulders, and really just the left one) wouldn't hold up to that kind of punishment for 365 days. Also my wife would kill me. Don't have 3 hours a day to devote to in water training.

    Yikes. Kudos to the people who pull it off!

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Swim programs in the 80ís had that kind of volume, and even some elites in recent years. Bowmanís group at NBAC did like 14-16K every day. But that was with guys like Phelps. Itís not impossible, but for a masters swimmer itís unnecessary to the point of being ludicrous.

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Phew! I just wish that when we swimmer were talking about his much distance that we could use miles instead of yards/meters. I don't want to have to do the math to figure out 14,000 yards is eight miles.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Just doing the napkin math, I think during peak training I was averaging ~ 50,000 a week in college. I probably hit close to that a few times as a post grad in my mid 20s. Now on a great week I am 22-27,000 a week.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    This guy made 3,000.99 miles in a year!
    My shoulders hurt just thinking of that!
    Must be an exceptional body to withstand this yardage!

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    There was a 2015 Sorts Illustrated article about Michael Phelps. It's really long, but when it got to distance numbers, it said his 2002 to 2008 workouts were about 85,000M or more per week. That's 53 miles a week. More than a marathon a day. 2800 miles per year.

    https://www.si.com/olympics/2015/11/09/michael-phelps-rehabilitation-rio-2016
    (long article, but pretty good)


    It said that Phelps before 2012 was typically missing 2 days a week. Part of the deal he made with his coach to come back in 2016 was that he would make all the workouts, but they would only be 50- 60 km per week.

    After I read that article, I was coming on her with a bug up my butt about overtraining. In part, because I blew out a shoulder overtraining (or at least ramping up too quickly) when I turned 60 in 2013, but partly with this idea:
    If the guy who is best in the world (by far) could do it in 30 miles a week, why would ANYONE do 50 miles?

    I still think there are potential champs who drop out because the good programs won't deal with people who resist overtraining.

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    PS - my typical yearly totals are about the same as Phelp's weekly totals at his peak.

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    This thread makes me want to just give it up, entirely. Probably average a little over 3,000 yards per workout, and 4-5 workouts per week on good weeks. That's like 400-500 miles. And I thought I had been doing well. ugh.

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    I average about 5km per week.
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:36.0/100m-1:19.5/200m-2:55.5/400m-6:14/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m before the end of 2020.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    It depends on your goals, if your goal is to swim as much as you can in a day or year, fine. If your goal is to swim fast, then I doubt this mega-yardage is especially good for that. If you are doing marathon type swims, then it probably is worthwhile. Anyone know many of these mega-yardage swimmers are making Top Ten, or All Americans?
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    Just doing the napkin math, I think during peak training I was averaging ~ 50,000 a week in college. I probably hit close to that a few times as a post grad in my mid 20s. Now on a great week I am 22-27,000 a week.
    same 10-12/day 4 days a week and then another couple days of 6-7k... and that was low compared to what I did in club before college. Now? 12-14/wk rather than per day. Come to think of it... maybe that is why I am so much slower!

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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    It depends on your goals, if your goal is to swim as much as you can in a day or year, fine. If your goal is to swim fast, then I doubt this mega-yardage is especially good for that. If you are doing marathon type swims, then it probably is worthwhile. Anyone know many of these mega-yardage swimmers are making Top Ten, or All Americans?
    Georgia Masters members Pat Eddy (60-64) and Chris Greene (55-59) both went over 2,000 miles last year. Chris is a marathon swimmer and doesn't compete in the pool, but Pat does. Here is his Top Ten record: https://www.usms.org/comp/tt/topteni...wimmerID=08AMK

    I wrote profiles on both of them, if you want more info. about their backgrounds. Just let me know!
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Quote Originally Posted by JSC910 View Post
    same 10-12/day 4 days a week and then another couple days of 6-7k... and that was low compared to what I did in club before college. Now? 12-14/wk rather than per day. Come to think of it... maybe that is why I am so much slower!
    When I was doing the napkin math I came up with the following (from my recollection):

    I trained in what we called the "upper mid-distance" group. We sort of carved out the group amongst 5-6 of us who raced the 200/500 or 200s of stroke, and felt we needed more training than the typical "middle distance" group, but didn't need the 1000/1650 race specific work (or absolute volume) of the "distance" group.

    M: 3k morning/7.5k afternoon (between 7-8k usually) [10.5k]
    T: 7k afternoon [7k]
    W: 4k morning/6k afternoon (Wednesdays were off the block) [10k]
    H: 7k afternoon (recovery) [7k]
    F: 3k morning/7.5k afternoon [10.5k]
    S: 8k morning [8k]

    10.5 + 7 + 10 + 7 + 10.5 + 8 = 53k yards per week

    And that was really only from last week of September to the third week of November. Training Trip was first week of January which was a different animal unto itself, and then maybe the above formula might repeat for 2 more weeks after that and then we started winding down for conference. I would imagine over a six month period (mid-August to mid-February), we actually averaged out to closer to 40k a week. 53k was just peak, and then probably 65-70k for Training Trip week.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    For most swimmers it seems they either swim great distances but have little speed, or the opposite. Then thereís the other <1% of us, like the other steve, with top 10ís in all distances

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    I had a coach in the early/mid 80s in high school who subscribed to the 'Animal Lane' mantra and the summer I was 16, we would do doubles MWF, triples on TTH and another single on Saturday. We'd be going ~12K LCM on our doubles days, maybe ~16K LCM on our triples and ~8K on our single. So, ~75K LCM a week. I swam out of my mind, but it was brutal. When we tried to do it the next summer, it just wore us down.

    These days, I aim for 15K SCM a week when I get up to steady state training and maybe get a few weeks in the upper teens, possible to 20K. I train for fitness and to race in the pool, along with open water (up to 5K in the summer) and this is more than enough.

    I have a number of friends who've done the monster OW swims like Catalina, English Channel, etc. and none of them train 14K a day. Hey, if that guy loves it and it brings him joy, more power to him ... but I can't see how that volume is desirable or needed from a conditioning standpoint.

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    pwb you need one more blog entry on USMS. it's 2020 now, not 2019. :P

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Quote Originally Posted by pwb View Post
    So, ~75K LCM a week. I swam out of my mind, but it was brutal. When we tried to do it the next summer, it just wore us down.
    Jeez

    PWB, were there kids who "coulda been a contender" but dropped out just from the harshness? Do you think the coach may have been a sadist? (both serious questions)

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    Quote Originally Posted by MickYoung View Post
    Jeez

    PWB, were there kids who "coulda been a contender" but dropped out just from the harshness? Do you think the coach may have been a sadist? (both serious questions)
    As to the second point, Having been coached by people who I once swam with, and having coached myself, your coaching style/philosophy is often times a product of who you were coached by. If your coach was a high volume kind of person, and either you or others around you succeeded in that system, you might be inclined to also coach that way. Also coaches who do high volume who see (some of) their swimmers succeed may also feel their system is validated. I think that last point can be dangerous though because maybe it isn't the coach's philosophy that is working so much as finding the occasional swimmer who was destined to succeed in that system.

    Sorry if all that seemed rambling. Musing now over coaching and coaching styles. I came from a yardage based system but as a post grad worked in a refined "lower volume"/"quality over quantity" system and came to incorporate both into my coaching style.

    EX:
    Having the collegiate girls I coached (distance group) do 20x400 LCM over training trip. But we would also do main sets like this one: http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?438...sday-1-14-2020

    (forgive the shameless advertisement of my USMS blog)

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    Re: Highest yearly swim totals

    So true, Calvin. My club program was insane yardage probably to everyone's detriment in some ways, my college program was a mix of fast swims and the necessary grunt work for the distance crew (I was a 200 BR, 500/1000/1650 person depending on the year). I think that has informed how I write workouts for myself and when occasionally help out with the local middle school team. The short stuff and constant working on technique is just so important... Also- loved looking at your blog! Will definitely be stealing some workouts. I am in a weird spot where my current masters team is a pretty poor fit for me- no one else really near my base time (one guy but we are very different swimmers) and never ever do we do stroke or technique or race pace or really anything other than aerobic repeats. Swimming on my own is fine but I just really wish I could workout with a local club or college team- but that would just be weird as an old lady. Do your athletes mind you being there? If you didn't have the prior coaching connection with them, would you pursue swimming with a group like that?

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