NBAC Coach Bob Bowman Comments on USRPT – Video Interview

Swimming video edit by Coleman Hodges

NBAC Head Swim Coach Bob Bowman – Michael Phelps’ long-time coach – comments on USRPT (aka Ultra Short Race Pace Training). This was a followup question regarding the success of age group swim star Michael Andrew. Bowman has been asked this question a few times over the last several months. Bowman maintains race pace training is important, but that he does not solely coach race pace training to his swimmers. He prefers a mix of training.

Michael Andrew is coached by Peter Andrew, his father, aka Team Andrew.

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Joel Lin
7 years ago

Just for the sheer comedy of it, please ask Mark Schubert what he thinks of USRPT.

Admin
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 years ago

We would, but I don’t think anybody brought their riot gear or face shields to Mesa.

Chris
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

I wish I could ‘like’ posts on this site

liquidassets
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

+1

Alex
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 years ago

Usrpt has emerged as an alternative to the boring, traditional, not race specific training that promotes Mark Schubert

Reply to  Alex
7 years ago

Please, do not generalize when commenting. Do you even know what some coaches are doing? Life is not black and white. Why don´t you swim USPROQT and some other kid rope climb while swimming. We all do what feels good and works for us.

Al
Reply to  Alex
7 years ago

Alex – please list the Senior National finalists or USA National Team members who train USRPT solely, most especially in the middles distance stroke races and distance fields – just to be certain there really IS an alternative to the “boring training” you refer to. You must understand – one young swimmer WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT CHANGE SWIMMING.

Windmill
Reply to  Al
6 years ago

Yes! Been waiting for someone to say that. He’s huge and he’s realistically out on his own performance wise. I think we should all just clam up and see what happens in the next 6 years. N=1 means nothing.

Windmill
Reply to  Windmill
6 years ago

Yes! Been waiting for someone to say that. He’s huge and he’s realistically out on his own performance wise. I think we should all just clam up and see what happens in the next 6 years. N=1 means nothing.

7 years ago

I like this. In case I haven’t made my stance on this issue clear- while I personally lean towards the USRPT end of the spectrum, I love and appreciate all kinds of work. If the coach believes, and the athletes believe, just about all kinds of work works.

I’d you’ll allow for a massive over simplification of things, let’s say a 1 is pure Rush all USRPT, and a 10 is pure Schubert volume/aerobic… I’d say Bob is about an 8… and Salo is about a 3. My guess is that Eddie Reese is as close to a 5.5 as I can think of, for reference purposes.

(I’d put myself at a 2.5… it sounds like Sven may also be… Read more »

Joel Lin
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

You see, most blokes, you know, will be going to ten. When Schubert needs that extra push on USPRT, he puts it up to eleven. One louder.

Sven
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 years ago

But why not keep Schubert at ten, but make ten longer and slower?

akk
Reply to  Sven
7 years ago

… Schubert goes to eleven.

Reply to  akk
7 years ago

+1

Jimcanswim
Reply to  akk
7 years ago

+1

Alex
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

When Michael Andrew win a bunch of medals at the Olympics usrpt will be standard in swimming. Until then usrpt will be further enhanced to perfection. It takes patience, especially for those who do not believe.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Alex
7 years ago

These go to eleven.

Sam Perry
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 years ago
Reply to  Sam Perry
7 years ago

Oustanding 🙂 and kind of hilarious that three or four of you immediately went there.

samuel huntington
Reply to  Alex
7 years ago

Michael Andrew with USRPT: a few medals
All other Olympians with traditional yardage: hundreds of medals

I really don’t think USRPT will become standard

coacherik
Reply to  samuel huntington
7 years ago

Do you have the winning lotto numbers too?

samuel huntington
Reply to  coacherik
7 years ago

what, i don’t understand your comment…..

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  samuel huntington
7 years ago

he just meant , your numbers mean nothing yet ! do you have lotto numbers as u are good in numbers ? LOL

Jenkei
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

What about Dave Durden?

Reply to  Jenkei
7 years ago

I have no idea 🙂 I’m only basing the guys above on workouts I’ve seen online of theirs…and I was pretty uneasy about naming known coaches above, as who am I to really say what they do? I’m not on deck with them.

But if everyone agrees that this is all conjecture and guessing… I haven’t seen enough on Cal, but my total and complete guess would be he’s a 3 or 4.

Dan O
7 years ago

It is sort of silly for Bowman to say “it’s all good.” There is plenty of stupid training out there.

Almost nothing done in 1976 as Bowman mentions was done with the benefit of scientific analysis. That is what is different today – started by Councilman. A lot of coaches still don’t like science. They don’t want to change.

USRPT hasn’t been done on a large scale for a number of years yet. No one here believes that Nathan Adrian would be as fast as he if he were training with Bowman, do they?

anon
Reply to  Dan O
7 years ago

I actually think the training group is equally if not more important than the training style. You need someone (or many people) who push you to swim harder. Michael Andrew trains by himself…and based on the little that I’ve read, it would be very difficult to train with him because it seems to require a lot on 1 on 1 coaching time. He’s only 15 now so it’s all fun. But I honestly think he’ll get bored once he gets older. You need your friends to make practices fun.

Adrian could be equally as good if he trained with Bowman. But, he has an incredible sprint-based group at Cal (including Ervin, Shields, Coughlin).

Tee Bone
Reply to  anon
7 years ago

Keep in mind that Adrian came from a distance oriented program as a club swimmer. In fact, lots of our top international sprinters fall in that category.

RL
Reply to  Tee Bone
7 years ago

Yes Tee Bone, but we had never heard of him back then. That is not proof that the club distance oriented program made him what he is today. Perhaps they were holding him back. Maybe he would have never reached the elite level with a Greg Troy type program (I know that is not who he swam for). I worry about the kids who physically or psychologically burn out or get overuse injuries from massive yardage. And you can’t change the composition of your muscle fibers. That’s genetic. Someone like Adrian most likely has predominantly fast twitch. Sometimes I think some of us are attached to the romance of the masochism of the sport. I know part of me is… Read more »

coacherik
7 years ago

What I see: Regardless of whether or not he agrees with training it exclusively, the bottom line is the very accomplished coach that he is (in a more traditional sense) considers it a legitimate style of training. There are a far greater number of coaches out there who can’t even hold Bowman’s clipboard, bashing USRPT without care or consideration. Those who are so bold as to brush it off as a fad or not a means for sustainable success just got served.

swimfan
Reply to  coacherik
7 years ago

Not sure what you mean by the statement, you just got served. Race pace training is part of every good swim program just as Bob stated. I think his comments hit the nail on the head. This type of training has been around for years as Bob states but it is not a sustainable program for a team with any numbers. It sounds like you are a coach. How does your team fare with this type of training. How many national level swimmers do you have on your team? What kind of facts can you share with us. Are you a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal club? I wonder how many of these top 200 swim teams us USRPT for… Read more »

coacherik
Reply to  swimfan
7 years ago

My point was that those who knock it without giving it time and the attention it deserves just heard from a very successful coach that it is legitimate. Its hard to tell which clubs are doing it 100% and having the success you demand. Considering many clubs have not been doing this for that long, its hard to say. We have been trying to implement this for about 1.5 years within two of our training groups, one of which is able to do it year round. The other has a 14 week HS season in the middle of it.

We don’t have national level swimmers and we aren’t a bronze/silve/gold medal club. What we do have is some pretty convincing… Read more »

swimfan
Reply to  coacherik
7 years ago

Ok, looked at the website. I looked at the teams listed by the states. It doesn’t help me realize this is anything new as Bowman states in his video. This type of training has come and gone and quite honestly is getting blown out of proportion because of one swimmer and social media. I looked up coach McCaffrey. It looks like a little success but nothing impressive. The only difference with USRPT is the buzz word and social media is helping bring up discussion about this. Garrett is co-owner of swim swam, which is the avenue for all this discussion. They talk about belief base coaching and evidence base coaching. They talk about things being inefficient and harmful. Well, I… Read more »

Sven
7 years ago

Seems to be giving it more consideration than that speech at ASCA back in 2011. I approve of any coach who can stop himself from digging in his heels and stubbornly refusing to acknowledge “new” ideas.

PKSS Grad
7 years ago

USRPT is new in the way the Andrews and Dr. Rushall have packaged it, but the concept has been around for decades. Coach Silvia from Springfield College in the 50’s through 70’s and Coach Megerle at Tufts in the 80’s and 90’s were very into this type of training.

Sam Perry
Reply to  PKSS Grad
7 years ago

Paul Blair (RIP) at Little Rock Raquet Club did this type of training as well. I swam with him in 1988 but I was a 200 Backstroker wishing there was a 1500 Backstroke sadly, obvioulsy wasn’t a good fit for me. USRPT isn’t a good fit for everyone (not sure Ledecky, Yang, et. al. would benefit from it), but making comments like:

“Michael Andrew with USRPT: a few medals
All other Olympians with traditional yardage: hundreds of medals

I really don’t think USRPT will become standard”

is somewhat moronic. I know a lot of medalists Olympics on down who have benefitted from this type of training although it may not have been called USRPT. It is very similar and… Read more »

hooked
Reply to  Sam Perry
7 years ago

Yep! Paul Blair loved it! And we loved Paul. Made swimming fun and taught his kids to train like they compete. Just ask Noel Straus, Tom Genz and John Hargis!

samuel huntington
Reply to  Sam Perry
7 years ago

hahahahaha LOL so I’m a moron, that’s really adding to the conversation in this thread.

All I said was there is no Olympic medalist to my knowledge who has only trained USRPT – fact. so I doubt people will suddenly switch to this philosophy – people are conservative by nature and slow to pick up new things.

BTW, I didn’t even come close to criticizing MA, I actually said he is going to get medals.

swim1
Reply to  samuel huntington
7 years ago

“Michael Andrew with USRPT: a few medals
All other Olympians with traditional yardage: hundreds of medals
I really don’t think USRPT will become standard”

I wanted to point out the exact point you criticized MA. Right there.

samuel huntington
Reply to  swim1
7 years ago

I don’t understand. Even though MA is only 15, I believe in him and think he will succeed at the highest level. And I also believe that USRPT will not become a big thing in training. Two separate points, neither criticizing MA. Hopefully everyone understands what I am saying!

Swim2
Reply to  swim1
6 years ago

Your analogy that one swimmer has fewer medals than every Olympian ever is ridiculous. Because this program is not currently the “standard” means that there shouldn’t be as many swimmers as the rest of the swimming world. And then saying that it will not become the standard because it is not currently the standard is moronic.

DIIIer
Reply to  PKSS Grad
7 years ago

While they were great coaches I am not sure I agree with these analogies. Silvia was revolutionary, in part because of the coaching tree that he put out, but many of those swimmers attended Springfield because you could essentially major in athletic coaching. And nobody did less with more talent over the years than Megerle, although he was certainly hampered by having a 60 person team in an 8 lane pool. Even more, their success was at the DIII level, which is great (I was a DIII athlete) but is nowhere near the same as DI or olympic level. How many senior national qualifiers did Tufts have over the years? Probably less total than are on the Michigan team this… Read more »

easyspeed
7 years ago

Thank you coach Bowman! USRPT is a silly fad, will be glad when we move past it. Andrew is a talented swimmer and a nice kid, hopefully he will get proper training at some point in his career. His dad did a good job as a coach getting Michael proficient in all four strokes, just need to work some endurance in there.

Admin
Reply to  easyspeed
7 years ago

easyspeed – you must have watched a different Bowman interview than I did. I heard nothing indicating that Bowman believes that it’s a “silly fad”.

Reply to  easyspeed
7 years ago

I can’t tell if you are trolling or not… but if not… you really don’t understand their situation very well. What you are suggesting (training ‘right’ with a ‘real’ coach) is NEVER going to happen.

From his 200 backstroke at the NASA Showcase meet:

Prelims: 24.27/26.35/27.03/26.37 = 1:44.02
Finals: 23.81/25.72/26.82/26.80 = 1:43.15

His ‘endurance’ is just fine. At one point when he was around 1:44 mid his last 3x50s were scarily even. And then he goes out faster.

For reference, here are all the NCAA guys who swam the 200 back in 143.0-143.5…

30 Signorin, Connor SR Florida 1:42.96 1:43.03
24.42 50.21 (25.79)
1:16.61 (26.40) 1:43.03 (26.42)

30 Teduits, Drew JR Wisconsin 1:39.84… Read more »

Mackboron
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

Your splits actually disprove your point. Looking at the back three 50’s prelims was okay but MA had that 27.0 in there, a 2.8s difference from his 1st 50. Only one of the NCAA swimmers had that big a fade. While his finals swim was faster it was not split as well, relatively speaking, there is a 1.1s difference between his last 3 50s! Just about all the NCAA swimmers are tighter on there back 3. Interestingly the outlier is Florida’s Blyzinsky who came home 1.3s faster then his 2nd 50! Perhaps with a ‘wholistic’ approach MA would be going a 1:41.xx or even a 1:42. Two 26.5s on the back 100 is just what the doctor ordered.

Or perhaps… Read more »

Reply to  Mackboron
7 years ago

He swam a 1:44 with three 26.8s earlier this year… what he does in most of his races is gets it well split and then starts taking it out faster. If you look specifically at his 200 back progression that’s what he does- Learns how to finish then takes it out harder. Learn how to finish that, take it out harder.

Who’s to say that swimming the last 3 identically is correct?

1 Murphy, Ryan FR California 1:39.16 1:37.35N 20
22.76 47.13 (24.37)
1:11.98 (24.85) 1:37.35 (25.37)

2 Ress, Eric SR Indiana 1:39.25 1:38.69 17
23.25 47.66 (24.41)
1:12.47 (24.81) 1:38.69 (26.22)

3 Nolan, David JR Stanford 1:39.72 1:39.17 16
23.42 48.53… Read more »

Mackboron
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

PERHAPS they are all in need of a more wholistic approach. This data set matches up with what you were saying a little better. I was just pointing out that your data didn’t really match what you were saying. It may be because you were in Hulk mode as opposed to Dr Banner mode.

That is a pretty electric environment for the A final. I’d suspect some of them to be going out a little fast and going for the gold as opposed to swimming their race. A lot of people are different and may pace races differently. However, Rushall in his papers suggests that a race should be swam pretty evenly if done correctly.
“Going out “too… Read more »

Sven
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

Mack- I guess what I don’t understand about your point is the nebulous nature of the term “wholistic.” I get that it refers to the whole spectrum of training, and I’m on board with that, but I don’t see how a more wholistic approach would help him even split? I would think that if you want to even split, you would pick the desired split, and then try to make that happen over and over again in practice. If you try a split that you aren’t fully adapted to in a meet, you’ll fall off. I’m not asking for specific sets or anything, but what aspect of wholistic training would be “what the doctor ordered?”

Mackboron
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

I’m not saying a wholistic approach would or wouldn’t. That’s why I put perhaps in caps. ‘Wholistic’ is pretty vague. I was more commenting on the data set not matching up with Hulk’s point. Could just be he needed to go out just a smidgen (.2) slower. Did you read the footnote? 1st half of it ‘This is an important point. Hypothetically, if a swimmer were to go out in the first lap of a long course 100 m event 0.2 seconds too fast, the fall-off in the second length could be anywhere from 0.6 to 1.0 seconds more than would be expected with correct pacing. A good rule-of-thumb is that the dive-lap should be no more than two seconds,… Read more »

Greg Tucker
Reply to  easyspeed
7 years ago

You just trolling or you really believe this way?

Having now seen USRPT through a complete girls HS season and almost a full boys season, I can sent lots of examples how it works.

Maybe I should just have ignored this message.

PsychoDad
Reply to  easyspeed
7 years ago

USRPT is a spread offense in football. Spread offense worked until people figured it out; now it looks silly and stupid. USRPT works for MA, but cannot work for serious and large programs. As noted, elements of USRPT are used in all major programs, especially in National Group level. They do not call it USRPT, they call it a practice.

coacherik
Reply to  PsychoDad
7 years ago

Do you have proof that serious programs cannot have success implementing this style of training? How do you know it won’t work for either a serious or large program? What makes a larger program better anyway? What’s the benefit or prestige in training kids 9 per lane?

The size of a program and its relevance at the national level does not necessarily means it is more successful. It could mean that it has a larger population to choose from and may have more opportunities to find that kid or those kids to be at that level. Any good coach will tell you, there is luck involved in getting these athletes. Retaining them, along with psychological and physical development of that… Read more »

Lane 0
7 years ago

Thank you Bowman!

USRPT, not a fad, not necessarily any new.

Race pace training is good. And so are drills, weightlifting, and Aerobic capacity… And climbing ropes!

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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