Bud McAllister & His Predictor Sets Say Goodbye To Western Australia

Earlier this month Dutchman Jacco Verhaeren revealed he would be leaving his post as head coach of Swimming Australia in the fall as planned, despite a year delay in the next edition of the Summer Olympic Games.

Now another coaching change is taking place down under as Bud McAllister will be departing his role at the helm of the swimming program at the Western Australia Institute of Sport, one of the nation’s high-performance centers.

Over the course of his decades-long career, McAllister has coached the likes of British multi-Olympic medalist Jazz Carlin, as well as American distance legend Janet Evans. His prolific coaching resume includes positions spanning Mission Viejo to Swimming Canada to British Swimming to finally Western Australia.

Most recently McAllister had Australian Olympian and 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Blair Evans under his tutelage, along with rising Aussie swimmers Ben Roberts and George Harley.

Prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, we reported how McAllister underwent successful surgery to treat a brain cyst, with additional treatment needed to address a tumor on his spine. These health factors have spurred McAllister to leave his role, but his impact on the swimming community both within Australia and beyond will continue to be felt.

WAIS Assistance Coach Leighton Cook posted, “Bud has been an extremely valued member of the WAIS team and will be missed. Bud shared his favourite memory while at WAIS was getting Blair Evans a personal best in her 400m IM and earning a spot on the 2016 Rio Olympic team.

I think I can speak on behalf of the Australian and Western Australian swimming community how extremely grateful we are to have had Bud in our environment and appreciate the openness he has shown in sharing his knowledge to young and old swimming coaches alike.”

29-year-old Blair Evans told SwimSwam, “[Bud’s] health will take priority and, as sad as it is for us here, we are so relieved he can go and focus on himself.”

IM specialist Evans has already started working with coach Will Scott in Perth, joining national record holder Holly Barratt at Rockingham. She’s still planning on tackling the 200m and 400m IM events in her bid for a spot on the green and gold’s roster for the 2020 Olympic Games taking place in July of 2021.

When asked if she’s nervous about joining a new squad with just a year out from the Games, Evans expressed to SwimSwam that her attitude is nothing but positive.

“Having a new coach is invigorating! As such as I miss working with Bud and his meticulous predictor sets, I feel like I’m learning new things every day which, for someone who has swum for 24 years, is exciting!”

The ‘predictor sets’ to which Evans is referring represent McAllister’s philosophy of repeating the same sets with athletes not only as a means to gauge a potential live race time but also as a means to instill confidence in his swimmers.

The aforementioned Ben Roberts also believed that the predictor sets were key to McAllister’s talent as a great coach.

“Bud’s ability to remember workout times for Predictor Sets meant he was always conscious of where his swimmers were at with their training.

“It is really motivating swimming a key session faster than I ever have before. Bud keeps a small notebook where he records all my times, so even if I don’t know I have swum a training PB he will tell me.”

Roberts also stated that Bud’s ability to keep things simple helped swimmers stay on course. “If you want to race fast, do the predictor sets and keep getting faster. If you keep getting faster doing the predictor sets then you will race faster. some of McAllister’s favorite predictor sets include the following:


  • 20 x 25 @ 1:00 – 100m speed & Stroke Rate
  • 8 x 50 @ 1:30 = aiming to go 2nd 50 of 100m Personal Best


  • 4-6 x (3 x 70 + 130 easy) 210m of fast trying to go faster than 200m Personal Best
  • 3 rounds
    200 easy @3:30
    (3x 100-1:15-1:10-1:05 (or whatever interval they can go to – 1:30-1:25-1:20) all sprinting
    The 3rd 100 trying to hit their 2nd 100 split in their 200.


  • 4 x broken 400m @10:00
    1. Dive 200 @3:00
    2. Push 100 @2:00
    3. 2x50m Push @1:00
  • 40x50m
    16 every 4th fast @:45
    12 every 3rd fast @1:00
    8 every 2nd fast @1:15
    4 all fast @1:30


  • 40x50m 1500m pace @:40
  • 4 x 400 @ 6:00 – 1500 pace
    3 x 300 @ 4:30 – 800 pace
    2 x 200 @ 3:00 – 400 pace
    1 x 100 – 2nd 100 of 200 pb

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2 years ago

An awful man…Doesn’t care about his athletes. Can’t work with people or inspire them. No heart or passion.

Corn Pop
2 years ago

It is not personal but fact is fact . WA swimming went backward . You have to work with the locals & their mindset not impose an alien regimen .

Reply to  Corn Pop
1 year ago

I agree. A coach needs to change their approach to match each athlete. Not everyone is the same both physically and especially mentally and emotionally. Bud was not good at this and expected everyone to do what he had practicing since the 1970s. The problem with predictor sets is burnout and taper. I had trouble dropping time in a race compared to my workout sets. There is something very wrong when this happens.

2 years ago

One aspect of the Myers BRiggs learning and personality inventory is the J and the P. J is a Judging the P is for Perceiving (note : J does not mean your are judgmental!). A good illustration of this would be: my wife who learns via perception, goes out for a run without a watch and feels great about what she has done that day to improve her fitness. Meanwhile as a J and someone who learns through judging, I wear a watch, a HR monitor, I measure everything, I record what I ate and when and then evaluate my performance based on all the data. I firmly believe that Bud’s approach isn’t a “training philosophy.” It is him applying… Read more »

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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