33 Meters: Aly Tetzloff Goes from Good to Great

by SwimSwam Partner Content 2

January 09th, 2020 News, Training

In swimming terms, Aly Tetzloff’s appearance on the national stage was like the blink of an eye. At Auburn she was “just” another great swimmer at a school with a long history of great swimmers. A versatile talent who could race equally well across free, back, and fly, from 50 to 200. Through college Aly was a workhorse able to step up and cover a weak spot on a relay or pile on points in strong events. She swam seven events at NCAAs including four relays and three individuals, changing the line up as her team needed. One year might be the 800 free relay instead of the 200 medley. Another year might be the 100 back instead of the 50 free. As such, she never had those couple of events to focus on that would make a name for herself by following the usual path of U.S. Junior National Team then National Team. This article looks at Aly’s jump to the elite and what she’s doing now to make the ultimate leap to a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team.

A Spark
Aly built her reputation as a workhorse in high school, moving freely between events as diverse as the 100 fly, 200 free, and 200 IM. Whatever the team needed, she was game. But moving to the next level, U.S. Nationals, would be based on her sprinting ability. The big goal in high school was just to be recruited by a top 25 college. When Aly won the Indiana State High School Championships in the 100 fly her junior year with a state record and a new best time by almost two seconds (52.70), she became SwimSwam’s #11 recruit and the biggest teams came calling. She signed in November of her senior year with Auburn. The success was a blessing and a curse. The rush of it all made Aly want to move on to the next level. “I felt like I had gone as far as high school swimming could take me and I was ready to move on.” She wanted to start swimming in the big leagues, and now! Mentally checking out didn’t help her finish high school on a high note. She got second in the 100 fly with a slower time. She wasn’t happy with the result, but by this point she was on cruise control, biding her time. Almost immediately after graduation she moved to Auburn to get acclimated and get moving.

Auburn: From Start to Finish
Aly’s first three years at Auburn were under the guidance of Brett Hawke, whom she credits for developing her early speed in races. “Brett’s quality over quantity approach helped a ton with the front-end of my races. You never knew what was coming in practice. He was constantly experimenting, making up the practices as we went.” But while Aly’s raw speed developed, her ability to finish races remained a weakness. That changed her senior year.

Coaching changes can be a nerve-wracking experience. As a high school recruit, you get to interview several candidates to be your college coach and find the best fit. Presumably you develop a good relationship with your coach. And then he or she is replaced by someone the athletic director hires without your input. Luckily for Aly, the hiring of Gary Taylor filled in the missing puzzle pieces. He brought with him Gideon Louw, a standout Auburn sprinter and Olympian, and Duncan Sherrard, a decorated Florida Gator swimmer. Both have a strong track record with sprinters and they have helped round out Aly, strengthening that weakness that her finishing speed once was and helping propel her to a third place finish in the 100 fly at 2019 U.S. Nationals and a spot on the National Team.

Aly says practices like the one she did this past Saturday (see below) have significantly improved her last 25 meters. It laced in fast swims throughout the workout, challenging her to maintain speed as fatigue set in.

Saturday 1/4 Morning Practice at Auburn

  • 6 x 100 @ 1:20
  • -80%/90%/95% then 85%/95%/100%
  • 400
  • -200 pull with band only, 200 with kicking band
  • 5 x 100 @ 1:15
  • -desc 1-3, hold 4 and 5
  • 2 x 200
  • #1 pull with buoy
  • #2 50 free, 50 back, 50 breast, 50 free
  • 4 x 100 @ 1:10
  • -desc 1-3, hold 4
  • 200 kick with fins
  • 3 x 100 @ 1:05
  • -desc 1-3
  • 200 easy swim
  • 2 x 100 @ 1:00 FAST
  • 200 easy swim
  • 1 x 100 @ :55 FAST

Her training under Louw and Sherrard also incorporates a lot of heart rate-based swimming like this practice she did this past Monday afternoon:

Monday 1/6 Afternoon Practice at Auburn

  • 4 Rounds of 3×100 and 4×50:
  • 3 x 100 @1:30
  • -RD1 #1 heart rate 150-160/#2 heart rate 170-180/#3 MAX heart rate
  • -RD2 #1 heart rate 150-160/#2 MAX/#3 MAX
  • -RD3 All MAX heart rate with paddles
  • -RD4 All MAX heart rate with fins and paddles
  • 4 x 50 @ :45 MAX heart rate
  • -RD 1 & 2 paddles only
  • -RD 3 & 4 fins and paddles

Aly was around :56 for the 100s, :25 for the 50s with paddles, and :22 for the 50s with fins and paddles.

And no sprint group is complete without kick sets that make your legs go numb, like this Brick set:

  • 2 Rounds (2nd with fins):
  • 4 x 75 @ 1:40 kick with chute in streamline dolphin + snorkel
  • 2 x 50 easy/fast on 1:20 with Brick
  • 4 x 75 @1:40 kick with chute and Brick
  • 2 x 50 @ 1:20 with Brick
  • 4 x 75 desc with Brick @ 1:30
  • 2 x 50 @ 1:20 max effort with regular board

We have less than six months to Olympic Trials, but with sets like these one of Aly’s biggest challenges will be staying focused. “I’m prepping my mind for the grind.” Aly says with a laugh. But now that Aly is a post grad, she only has one concern- herself. No more being a workhorse. She’ll be working towards a spot on the Olympic Team in the 50 and 100 free and 100 fly, and sees three weaknesses that have to improve for that dream to happen- more speed in and out of her turns, getting stronger in the weight room, and of course, closing speed. She made a big leap in just a few months when she turned pro. She’ll have another few months to make an even bigger leap that very few see coming.

You can support Aly on her journey to Tokyo by following her Instagram and Facebook pages, and you can get the latest Fike Swim news, product updates, and videos by liking them on Facebook and subscribing to their YouTube channel. And you can get a candid look at Fike Swim’s journey to help swimmers SWIM DIFFERENT by following them on Instagram.

About 33 Meters
These articles are meant to shine a deserving spotlight on our ambassadors, who are usually living between two worlds: the swimming world and the “real” world. As any competitive swimmer knows, life outside the pool is a juggling act, one that gets even harder when you are no longer a student-athlete and have to pay your own bills.

About Fike Swim

“We design products exclusively for the toughest sport in the world.  We unapologetically place swimmers on a pedestal.  The rigors they embrace on a daily basis can only be understood by another swimmer and they deserve a company focused 100% on helping them succeed.  Whether you’re just starting out or training for Tokyo, we stand behind you.”

James Fike, Founder

Fike Swim Products was born when founder James Fike put a brick on top of a kickboard and transformed just another legs-only kick set into a total body workout felt into the next day. Since then it’s been our mission to create unique swim equipment with the single-minded goal of making you faster. We don’t sell toys. We create tools to help you reach your potential.

Swimming news is courtesy of Fike Swim, a SwimSwam partner. 

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3 years ago

Love these mini-bio/inside look articles of elite but under the radar (for now) swimmers. Good luck to Aly in her professional swimming career!

3 years ago