As a freshman at the University of Michigan, I had one of the most memorable practices of my swimming career. As you know, there are some workouts that just really stick with you. Before I share mine, I encourage you to close your eyes, think for a moment, and allow yourself to be taken back to the emotions of one of your best practices.
Kicking was always my greatest strength in the sport and I relished any opportunity to do a great kick set. Under Bob Bowman at the University of Michigan, Tuesday afternoon’s were typically our chance to unleash a great kick set as a team.
On a Tuesday afternoon during the Fall of my freshman year, I found myself sandwiched in a lane between Erik Vendt and Michael Phelps.
The pool was set up SCY (short course yards). Using a kick board (pulling into walls & flip turns were a no-no) the set was 30 x 100s kick, best average. For the ‘A group’ the intervals were 10 x 1:25, 10 x 1:20, 10 x 1:15. The spirit of the set was not to “just make the interval”. Kicking between Erik and Michael, I figured that out quickly.
The first ten, the three of us held comfortably at 1:09-1:10, getting about 15 seconds rest. The next 8, we stayed true to the interval of 1:20, maintaining the pace. With 12 x 100s to go, Michael was apparently restless and unimpressed by the interval and proposed we create our own group. Erik and I accepted his challenge, and the three of us finished the last 12 on 1:10 holding 1:06-1:08 pace…just enough time for a casual open turn at every 100 🙂
That was the first time I was challenged in practice by the greatest swimmer in history but it wouldn’t be the last!
Coach Bowman always liked the days we challenged one another before he challenged us. As you know, working towards a common purpose with teammates & creating a culture together is something we all cherish as swimmers!
Just another reason #WeLoveSwimming
Photo credit: Mike Lewis