Becca Mann, one of the toughest and best junior swimmers in the world, will be spending this week living and training with Michael Andrew, one of the best male 14-year old swimmers in the world, and his family at their home near Lawrence, Kansas, and will share her experiences with us. Becca, who trains in Clearwater, Florida under Randy Reese, was a member of the 2013 U.S. World Championship team after finishing 2nd in both the 5km and 10km at last year’s National Championships, and placed 8th in both the 5km and 10km race in Barcelona. In 2012, at the U.S. Olympic Trials, the then-14-year old Mann qualified for finals in the 400 free, the 800 free, and the 400 IM.
Hi SwimSwammers! I have some training videos for you today, a small interview with Peter, and my opinions on USRPT.
DR. RUSHALL’S SEMINAR
Today the seminar was focused on technique. The doctor emphasized the importance of propulsion and the negative effects of drag. Dr. Rushall believes in a streamlined body position for all four strokes. Because of that belief, he says that kick should specifically be used for balance. He stated that when your legs get out of line with your body (whether it be above the surface of the water or below), they are causing drag and creating more harm than benefit.
Dr. Rushall also doesn’t believe in having a long glide. When you glide, you are wasting time and slowing down.
MY THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ON USRPT AND THE SEMINAR
I know that there are a lot of arguments on the subject of USRPT and I wanted to voice my insight. I love the idea of USRPT, although there are a few small details that I don’t agree with.
First I want say how well the program has worked for certain people. Michael and Michaela have both thrived on the program. Constantly swimming at race pace can definitely be an amazing program for athletes, especially sprinters. I think USRPT can be extremely beneficial to sprinters (anything from a 50 to an 800). If I was totally a sprinter, I would take up USRPT in a heartbeat.
Since I have never done 100% USRPT, I can’t say whether or not it would work for a distance swimmer like me. I think that if I did the type of training that the Andrews do, the biggest hurdle would obviously be training for the 10k, the 5k, and the 1500. I don’t believe that training 3000-4000 meters/
I also have to disagree with Dr. Rushall’s dryland and drill ideas. A few years ago, I started doing pilates and there was an immediate improvement in my swimming. Pilates strengthened my core and increased body awareness. So many of the top swimmers do dryland.
I think that every individual needs a different dryland program. The stronger your core is and the more body awareness you have, the more your mind will understand how your body is working in the water. Since dryland can be dangerous and cause injuries, I also believe that you need a dryland coach who knows what they’re doing and how to help you improve in the pool.
Before I contemplate on drills, I want everyone to know that I have never been a fan. Drills have always been extremely boring to me. But it’s not that I don’t work hard during drills. It’s just harder to go fast when I’m so focused on making my stroke perfect.
Even though you don’t do drills during races, I think drills can be beneficial to technique. You can always apply technical improvements during fast swimming, but I think that drills can help you get a real feel for whatever you’re trying to improve. And they can help when you just can’t make the improvements happen while you’re going fast. When you’re drilling, you can also over-exaggerate the technical improvement so it’s easier to do once you do regular swimming.
USRPT is amazing. I think that all swimmers should do some form of race-pace training during their practices, even if they don’t do it quite as the Andrews do it. I really believe that USRPT is the future for sprinters, even if it isn’t right for some distance swimmers.