McAllister’s Insights on Jazz Carlin’s Preparation and Performance

by SwimSwam Staff 4

July 07th, 2013 Europe, International, News

Jazz Carlin stole the show at last week’s British Gas Swimming Championships and World Championship Trials. On the second day of the competition she won the 800 freestyle in a world’s best time of 8:18.58, eclipsing Olympic champion Katie Ledecky‘s season’s best of 8:20.64. The very next day Carlin won the 1500 freestyle in a time of 15:47.26, this time she just missed Ledecky’s top ranked time of 15:47.15. On the final day of competition she took the 400 freestyle in a time of 4:04.25, which was the fourth fastest time in the world this year.

After the meet SwimSwam had a chance to catch up with Carlin’s long time coach at Swansea University, Bud McAllister. McAllister was kind enough to share his thoughts on Carlin’s preparation for the British Trials and for the World Championships in Barcelona.

“Mentally she is one of the toughest swimmers I have ever coached. She does not like to lose and prides herself on winning close races.”

How were you able to help Jazz get over her disappointment of missing the Olympic team?

I really didn’t have to say or do anything. There wasn’t much to say. I think her way of getting over the disappointment was to swim really fast this year.

What was her mindset when she returned to the pool this year?

She just got straight down to business. She went to the distance lane on day 1 and stayed there.

What adjustments have you made her training this year?

Even though she did some distance training with me the first few years we really focused on the 200 and 400 free. She didn’t enjoy swimming the 800 and refused to swim the 1500 so I tried to work on her speed for the 400.

This year I had her going 7000 metres each session instead of 6000 (70K/week instead of 60K/week) and instead of doing quality/race pace sets on Monday- Wed-Fridays, I followed the weekly cycle that Jon Urbancheck and Bob Bowman use:

Monday – anaerobic threshold (150-180 HR)

Tuesday – active rest

Wednesday – max vo2

Repeat that Thursday through Saturday

It took her a few months before she really adapted to the training and started to go fast.

Over the years Jazz has gone from having success in the 200 and 400 and has transitioned, especially this year, into someone who looks like she has her best shot at gold in the 800 and 1500. How has that come about?

She does not like the longer events. As her training kept improving through the year I kept telling her that her 1500 would be very good and should be

Jazmin Carlin (Photo by David Crawford /

Jazmin Carlin (Photo by David Crawford /

ready to break 16:00, which would have a good shot at a medal at Worlds this summer. She really wanted to swim the 200 instead of the 1500 at our trials. The schedule was just not possible in my opinion as she would of had only 20 minutes after the 200 semi-finals before the 1500 finals, not to mention having swam the 800 just 24 hours earlier.

What stage of preparation is Jazz at right now? How rested was she going into the competition last week? 

Jazz is in great shape now – even better than I thought as evident by her 15:47 the day after the 8:18!

I was not happy with the order of events at our trials and told a few people how I felt about it. She had a 10 day rest/taper for the meet, but she does not have a lot of muscle mass so she doesn’t need much rest. We did, of course, reduce the size of the quality sets the 3 weeks or so leading into the meet, which also allowed her to develop a little speed. 12 x 400 to 9 x 400 to 7 x 400 etc.

In a previous conversation you said you expected the time you saw in the 800, but not the 1500, how has that been reflected in training?

She was doing so well in training. I started giving her some old Janet Evans sets and she nailed them.

In fact, I told her she was ready to do some fast swims because she was doing around the same times Janet did. The 8:24 she did in Leeds in April was completely unrested, so I really thought she would be able to break 8:20 if everything went right. She did have a sinus infection and had to go on antibiotics just a couple of weeks before the meet so I wasn’t sure if that would affect her swims or not.

In the distance events Katie Ledecky is the Olympic champion and has been the fastest in the world (up until Jazz posted the world’s best in the 800), how much do you pay attention to her results?

I watch everyone’s times constantly and tell my swimmers if they don’t already know. Jazz keeps track herself.

“What will she swim in Barcelona? The 400, 800 and 1500″

What do you feel Jazz can do in Barcelona?

Her starts and turns will definitely put her at a disadvantage in the 400, but I do think she can go a 4:03 and possibly a 4:02, so then it depends on how fast everyone else swims. Our goal will be a best time and to run down as many people as possible on that last 50-100.

800 and 1500 – I think she can go faster having people in the race and someone (or several people) to chase and pull her out. She has been consistently improving on the hard sets we do so we’ll have to see if four weeks is enough time to find some more improvement. Now we just have to see how fast everyone else goes as to who wins the medals.

Are there any training sets or swims that she has done that have really impressed you?


1) 8 x 300 – scm

[email protected] 3:45

[email protected] 3:25

2 @ 3:45

2 @ 3:20 (3:11 – 3:10) * Janet did this set long course and went 3:16 – 3:17 on the last 2 in 1988.


2) 30 x 50 @ 1:00 – 29 high – 29 low – 28 low/ 27 high x 10

3) 200 – 2:25 – scm* this was designed to be a threshold set just focusing on keeping the HR 150-180, but she went after the 600 – 400 – 200 and held 1:05’s or faster.

400 – 4:50

600 – 7:15

800 – 9:40

600 – 6:45

400 – 4:30

200 – 2:15

4) 15 x 100 @ 1:40 (lcm) she held 13 – 1:03’s (foot touch) and then 1:02 – 1:01

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Michael Keeler
8 years ago

Best article ever on swimswam. Pure coaching. Love it

8 years ago

Thanks for this indeed.

“She went to the distance lane on day 1 and stayed there”. Hahaha, a right attitude.

8 years ago

“I watch everyone’s times constantly and tell my swimmers if they don’t already know. Jazz keeps track herself.”

Very refreshing. Unlike those swimmers or coaches who claimed they had no idea what everybody else did and claimed they didn’t keep track of records etc.

It reminds me of the story of Michael Bohl who kept telling Stephanie Rice what Katie Hoff was capable of everytime Rice was slacking off in the lead up to Beijing, and look what it did to Rice!

8 years ago

Thanks guys, this is great stuff… Keep it coming 🙂