32 year old crossfitter Kaitlyn Johnson qualified for US Summer Nationals swimming a 25.82 50 freestyle on May 21st.
Johnson told SwimSwam that she “train(s) for crossfit 5 days a week and swim 1 day a week as ‘recovery.'” She decided to swim the 50 LCM freestyle at the Renee McCutchan Invite in Morgantown, West Virginia a few weeks ago.
There she swam a prelims time of 26.07 in a six year old racing suit. A local club swimmer allowed Johnson to borrow a newer kneeskin for finals where Johnson swam a 25.82 to win the event by over a second.
That time puts her at the 43rd fastest time in the country this year. It also was only 0.07 off her best time of 25.75 which she swam at the 2016 Olympic Trials to place 27th.
Johnson described her training more stating that when she swims once a week, it is only about 2500 yards and is around 30 minutes. She mixes in drills, underwaters, and kicking during that span.
When asking Johnson what she thinks of what the swimming community can learn from this, Johnson said “I feel like there’s not a lot of talk about what swimmers do in the weight room or what their dryland strength training is like even though it is definitely an important part of training…It might be interesting to see how a sprinter could do spending equal parts in the pool, focusing on speed and technique, and weight room, focusing on strength, rather than 75% pool/25% weight room. With CrossFit, sometimes there are workouts that are 2 minutes long and other times workouts are 30-40min or even up to an hour long, so you’re still getting that mix of aerobic and anaerobic work.”
Johnson also spoke on the differences she feels when training Crossfit compared to when she was a swimmer as “the last 15M of my 50 feel a lot stronger than it ever did when I trained full time as a swimmer.”
She is still deciding whether or not she will attend Summer Nationals that are set to occur from July 26-30 in Irvine, California. If she does not attend them, she said she will be competing in a smaller, local meet in Ohio or West Virginia. Johnson said she definitely will attend Winter Nationals as she hopes to get her Trials cut there.
The 2024 US Olympic Trials cut stands at a 25.69 for the women’s 50 freestyle. This is just slightly faster than Johnson’s best time.
Johnson competed for Division II Clarion University in college. She graduated from there in 2011 and was a 28x Division II All-American. She then trained with West Virginia University before 2016 Olympic Trials and retired after those Trials. She then took some time off and began Crossfit in 2017.