Michael Phelps Swimming Program Moves Into Open Water Swimming

Courtesy of Swim Across America. Many thanks to Open Water Swimming Ambassador and founder of Openwaterpedia, Steve Munatones, for bringing this information to my attention.

Michael Phelps Swimming and Swim Across America partner on BREAKOWT Open Water Training.

About BREAKOWT Open Water Training:

Jessi Ahart is a coach of BREAKOWT. (Image courtesy of openwaterpedia.com)

Jessi Ahart is a coach of BREAKOWT. (Image courtesy of openwaterpedia.com)

BREAKOWT is an intensive, 3-hour instructional session for pool swimmers who want to take on the challenge of open water swims, including those organized by Swim Across America. The session is taught in the pool by top trainers from Michael Phelps Swimming. The MPS program is dedicated to excellence in the sport of swimming by training people all over the country in the method of instruction that Michael Phelps himself blossomed under.

The course will include training in sighting, stroke mechanics, breathing techniques, shifting currents and other open water dynamics. It will prepare you for an open water swim, and give you the confidence you need to nail it.

The session will use the details of a premier Swim Across America open water event (the course, water conditions, etc.) in order to prepare you for your local SAA swim, or any open water event.

Where & When 

In 2013, BREAKOWT will be launched in two cities: Baltimore & Seattle. There is limited space (25 people per session) and high demand. Each session has a cap that cannot be exceeded.


  • Saturday (9/7): 9a – 12p (Meadowbrook Pool)
  • Saturday (9/7): 1p – 4p (Meadowbrook Pool)
  • Sunday (9/8) :9a – 12p (Meadowbrook Pool)
  • Sunday (9/8): 1p – 4p (Meadowbrook Pool)


  • Saturday (8/17): 8am – 11am (Mercerwood Shore Club – 4150 E Mercer Way Mercer Island, WA)
  • Sunday (8/18): 8am – 11am (Samena Swim & Tennis Club – 15231 Lake Hills Blvd. Bellevue, WA)

 What You Will Learn:

Developed in coordination with Swim Across America organizers, the training sessions will cover:

  • Breathing and breath control in dynamic water
  • Basic principles and techniques to increase stroke
  • Handling open water emergencies such as cramping,
    fatigue, etc.
  • Dealing with the anxiety of swimming in crowded
  • Sighting, current shifts, temperature, and other
    aspects of open water swimming
  • Plus, procedures and instructions for your local Swim Across America Open Water Event.

3 Hour Agenda: 

  1. Introductions and brief swimming history of each participant
  2. An over-view of the specific event logistics and course
  3. Anxieties and emergencies with open water
  4. Open water swimming strategies (sighting,  breathing)
  5. Over-view of the 4 B’s of swimming
  6. Stroke analysis of each participant
  7. Maximizing your stroke for your body type
  8. Training strategies to get you to race day
  9. Questions and answers


$50 to register
$30 if you are currently registered for an SAA event

*The registration fees are directed towards MPS

About Michael Phelps Swimming

Michael Phelps Swimming is a program dedicated to progressing the sport of swimming by conducting professionally run education and training programs around the country.

About Swim Across America

Swim Across America is a nonprofit that organizes local pool and open water swim events to raise money for cancer prevention, treatment or research in those communities.

The information above was provided to swimswam by Swim Across America.

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9 years ago

haha tricky title, i knew it

9 years ago

I suspect Phelps would experience the same things Hackett experienced in his open water foray…a marked man with a giant target on his back unprotected by lane lines.

Reply to  LarryP
9 years ago

Ous Mellouli was/is able to do it, Olympic and world champion in the pool and open water 😉

Reply to  Jón Bjarnason
9 years ago

There’s no doubt MP has the tools to win any race in any body of water. But with all due respect to Ous, he’s not an icon like MP or Hackett that some would go out of their way to “rough up.”. Pretty sure that Ous didn’t have the same treatment/targeting by the fields that Hackett had to endure. Then imagine how they’d go after MP…

Lane Four
Reply to  LarryP
9 years ago

If that happened I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bowman jump in the water and start knocking heads together.

Reply to  LarryP
9 years ago

i wasn’t aware of this. what exactly happened? were they extra violent to hackett because they sensed a threat?

if it was that then wouldn’t they want to attack thomas lurz, since he’s now an 8 time world champ and clearly someone to get out of the way?

Reply to  LarryP
9 years ago

they targeted hackett? i wasn’t aware that happened. was it because they sensed a threat?

and why wouldn’t they target 8 time world champ Thomas Lurz in the same way?

Reply to  mcgillrocks
9 years ago

You need to have a lot of nerve to sustain your emotional at pace.Is another sport.Poliana Okimoto, 10K World Champion, even had a perforated tympanum in race some years ago.

Reply to  mcgillrocks
9 years ago

One account…http://www.theage.com.au/news/beijing2008/hackett-misses-out-but-hurst-earns-olympic-spurs/2008/05/04/1209839454865.html

I think some of the open water guys see themselves as the blue collar neglected stepchildren of the elite swimming pantheon. Maybe not as much today now that open water is more prominent, but definitely several years ago when it was seen as more of a sideshow. Lurz has long been part of that fraternity and was never a pool icon. Its one thing to lose to “one of the guys” like Lurz, but there’s always going to be a major bounty on an icon like Hackett (or Phelps).

9 years ago

Seriously misleading title for this article. I was thinking Phelps was perhaps trying his hand at open water swimming.

That being said…I wonder how Phelps would do in a distance event.

Reply to  James
9 years ago

not too bad. Phelps set many NAG records in the 400/500 and even held the American record in the 400 in 2003

i once read Bowman used to have Phelps swim a timed 5,000 every so often, and he also could hold :56 pace for the entire thing (in yards). That converts to roughly 1:04 pace for LCM and a 53:20 5k

the winning time this year in the 5k was 53:30. So Phelps would have been roughly ballpark for sure. He would be a lot slower because of waves and packing, but he would be tapered, could draft and would train more for distance

Reply to  James
9 years ago

That’s exactly what I thought amd for a glorious moment, I was looking forward to seeing what he would do in such events

Reply to  James
9 years ago

Yes, it should have been: “Michael Phelps’ swim school moves into open water swimming’. Anyway, we all know that Phelps has never been interested in swimming open water events.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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