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Old 04-03-2012
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default Michael Andrew

TI enthusiasts: remember this name.

Over the weekend, I got to watch the swimming of an exceptional young athlete as we finished up our season at the Regional Swim Meet at the University of Minnesota. I see fast swimmers all the time, but this one was so far above the field that everyone stopped to watch him every time he raced. He is twelve years old, and has been breaking numerous national records.

"So what?" you might say. How does that have anything to do with TI?

I have been trying to adjust our practice planning over and over to adapt Terry's ideas and technical adjustments to our swimmers. One of my favorite things to do is a long, drawn out set of 25s where everything is at race pace, but nothing is done as "garbage yards." The interval is me: how long will it take me to summarize the next focal point? I absolutely love coaching this kind of workout, and the results outdo anything else in our practices.

Back to Michael. This kid, who is both freakishly tall but has incredible form and awareness for a 12-year-old, is the top national swimmer in almost every stroke, and has been coached by two Olympian parents. Imagine in your head his weekly practice volume. Write it down. How high is it? seven days a week? 10k a day? 20k?

He often swims three times a week...for 2500 yards.

He practices almost everything at race pace with constant form analysis and expert coaching. Not coaching that says "GO!" but coaching that says "see if you can speed up the hip drive to match your entry". His coach talks constantly about neural training for his swimmers, and he has no time to spend on "junk yards". So much of what Terry has been saying that he wished club coaches were doing was being applied to these swimmers. I was enthralled.

More on this kid later, but take a look at
http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/MorningSwimShow/29083.asp?q=<i>The-Morning-Swim-Show</i>,-Dec.-20,-2011:-Peter-Andrew-On-Training-His-Son-Michael-to-National-Age-Group-Records
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Makes perfect sense because the kid's races are 50s and 100s. Terry did not invent the idea of race-specific training.

What is race-specific training for a 1500?

What is race-specific training for a channel swim?
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  #3  
Old 04-03-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Originally Posted by swim2Bfree View Post
Makes perfect sense because the kid's races are 50s and 100s. Terry did not invent the idea of race-specific training.

What is race-specific training for a 1500?

What is race-specific training for a channel swim?
You are missing the point. All 12 year olds race for 50 to 100 yards. But most 12 year olds swim a volume that is 5-7 times his amount (or more... Dave would know).
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Old 04-03-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
All 12 year olds race for 50 to 100 yards.
No, they do not. There are 200s, 400s, 500s, and (especially 13 & up) 800s, 1000s, 1500s, & 1650s.

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Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
You are missing the point.
I don't think I am. How many 12 year olds read the TI forum? What % of TI forum members are training for sprint events?
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2012
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Default Intensive training of youngsters

I would be interested to see if this young man with such prodigious talent will still be swimming in seven or so years. In the running world (not the same, I know) many young athletes of this age just get fed up or injured with nothing but intensive training and racing. Maybe Michael can go on to win Olympic and world championship medals but for most people life itself is a marathon not a sprint. If he were my lad I would like to think he would still be loving his swimming in 50 years time. At this rate he probably won't?

Martin T.
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Old 04-03-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Originally Posted by swim2Bfree View Post
No, they do not. There are 200s, 400s, 500s, and (especially 13 & up) 800s, 1000s, 1500s, & 1650s.



I don't think I am. How many 12 year olds read the TI forum? What % of TI forum members are training for sprint events?
You're right. there is absolutely nothing that we can learn from this.
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  #7  
Old 04-03-2012
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Default Michael Andrew

I do think that he'll be swimming in 5-10 years because of this approach. It's the 6-15,000 per day that many other elites at this age do that burn them out.

My point isn't that TI is for this kid, my point is that he is training under the principles that make Ti different. He is not doing any pointless yards. There is a focus and a plan to every yard, and his coaches constantly point out that they are trying to train his brain more than his body. I think there is incredible potential for this kid because he has exceptional natural predisposition for being a good swimmer, and his coaches are taking a unique apporach that will keep him positive and constantly improving his skills. They stand firm on the idea that a tired swimmer is a sloppy swimmer, so doing mass volume has a negative impact on form.
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Old 04-03-2012
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachDave View Post
I do think that he'll be swimming in 5-10 years because of this approach. It's the 6-15,000 per day that many other elites at this age do that burn them out.

My point isn't that TI is for this kid, my point is that he is training under the principles that make Ti different. He is not doing any pointless yards. There is a focus and a plan to every yard, and his coaches constantly point out that they are trying to train his brain more than his body. I think there is incredible potential for this kid because he has exceptional natural predisposition for being a good swimmer, and his coaches are taking a unique apporach that will keep him positive and constantly improving his skills. They stand firm on the idea that a tired swimmer is a sloppy swimmer, so doing mass volume has a negative impact on form.
I love seeing that someone is trying this even at the elite level.

When I started TI back in 2009, I changed up my training to only do 800-1200y three times a week, focusing solely on technique. When it came to build for a race, I would then replace one of my 800-1200y sessions with a 3000-4000m session with Masters, but modified for TI (I don't follow their interval rest times, I use focal points on each interval, and I use the TT the whole workout).

Using this method, I was able to drop my Alcatraz crossing time from 42-44 min down to 34 min. but yet not feel winded or excessively tired from the race.

I may alter this to increase my other 2x technique only swims to something closer to 1500-2000y at some point, but not until I am sure that my pure technique work can "survive" that distance, meaning that it doesn't break down due to some element like fatigue either mental or physical. And certainly my busy schedule limits workouts in general, so sometimes I only have time for 30 minutes which equates to about 1200y max.

But trying this style of training for swimming does work well for me!
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2012
ian mac ian mac is offline
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Default Kids, intensity and training mindfully

Oh swim2Bfree, you so do stir things up. Although you always have so many wonderful things to say, even though your wit is appreciated - I wish that you would be somewhat less caustic toward some of my more sensitive TI brethren.

So many great points were brought up, but when it comes to children especially, I strongly feel that it is less about what parents and coaches do physically than it is about how they develop kids mentally and emotionally.

At this year's upcoming USA swimming Trials, approximately 1250 young men and women will be vying for a maximum of 52 spots - less than .05%. Since several of the most talented will be swimming multiple events, it is an even smaller actual number.

Forty years ago my younger sister was National champion as a ten year old in the 50metre butterfly with a time of 36.3. Friends and relatives were always asking her if she was going to the Olympics as if it were a predetermined fait accompli. At swim meets, many wanted her to lose. Not easy stuff to assimilate emotionally when you're ten. By 13, she had quit the sport. In a study of US swimmers, it was found that in the past 50 years, almost no children who were National Champions at ten successfully made the US Olympic team.

As father of 5 children (3,8,10,13 & 14) I often dwell on the best ways to motivate them, give them love and assurance and encourage them in their passions and endeavours. Yes, I set the bar high - but try to be realistic regarding their successes and failures. Ultimately it is up to them to find their inner drive and as parents, hopefully we can encourage them to do well rather than push and cajole beyond their unique individualism.

As a distance swimmer during my teens and twenties back in the 70's it was not uncommon for me to train between 14,000 - 20,000 metres/day. I fondly recall once covering 32,000 before tapering for my first Nationals back in '74 when I was 16. My only regret is not the mileage, but that it was far less mindful than what my training is today. Sadly, youth often is wasted on the young.

Regarding Andrew, it would seem that both of his Olympic parents are wisely keeping on the reins, appreciating how long the journey is. This seems to be true of many parents who have excelled athletically and to this I say, "Bravo".

Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern day Olympics once famously said, "Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical values." I suspect that regardless of whether or not Andrew makes a US Olympic team, his parents will have instilled this in him and ultimately make him an Olympian in life.
ian mac
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2012
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDave View Post
I do think that he'll be swimming in 5-10 years because of this approach. It's the 6-15,000 per day that many other elites at this age do that burn them out.

My point isn't that TI is for this kid, my point is that he is training under the principles that make Ti different. He is not doing any pointless yards. There is a focus and a plan to every yard, and his coaches constantly point out that they are trying to train his brain more than his body. I think there is incredible potential for this kid because he has exceptional natural predisposition for being a good swimmer, and his coaches are taking a unique apporach that will keep him positive and constantly improving his skills. They stand firm on the idea that a tired swimmer is a sloppy swimmer, so doing mass volume has a negative impact on form.
Dave, I have true respect for your experience and especially for your huge enthusiasm. It requires both these attributes to make a really good coach. I have admitted many times on here that I am not an experienced swimmer (although at 71, thanks to TI, I have just entered a 4.5 mile open water race on the UK coast feeling that speed not distance would be the limiting factor). But for the sake of discussion, not argument, may I say that in the game I do know something about, running - the strategy, 20 or 30 years ago, of intensive interval training and insufficient recovery miles as coaches hammered their charges to perform or get out led to disenchantment at best or physical and/or psychological failure at worst. I believe Terry recognised this in his book.
I am not saying for one moment this would be the case with Michael and his coach but it has happened often enough to be questioned as a practical way forward.

I do not believe that humans young or old were physiologically designed to move only at anaerobic speeds (and I imagine that is what we are talking about with this young man) whether running a mile on the track or for sessions in the pool. Even middle distance track runners run more aerobic training miles than anaerobic because they know it builds the base of a pyramid from which they can climb. 'Garbage yardage' is simply yardage where the quality has been allowed to drop. Relaxed swimming without dropping standards could be called recovery swimming and might allow a swimmer to re-sense what he/she is doing in the water?

The human body responds pretty much the same way to training and racing stimuli whether swimming, cycling or running.
For what it's worth, my opinion is that we evolved to run aerobically for miles at a time across the veld, occasionally sprinting to catch breakfast - or sprinting to avoid being something else's breakfast. Rather more like today's fartlek training. Yes, many of us did series of hill repetitions and track intervals but they only amounted to 20% of the weekly mileage and we weren't kids.

I think 12 is very young and even Michael's bone structure will not yet be fully developed but I am open to and interested in other views.

Martin T.
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