Practice + Pancakes: Arizona State Perfects Long Course Technique (Video)

SwimSwam wants to give you an inside look at what a normal day-in-the-life looks like for any given swimmer, and how that differs from team to team or city to city. We send our head of production, Coleman Hodges, to be a fly on the wall at practice, then relay what he discovered back to you over pancakes. Or at least breakfast.

Everyone knows that in long course, there’s no hiding. If you’re technique is shaky, it is revealed on a much bigger scale than in the yards pool. So getting a jumpstart on it early in the long course season is never a bad thing. Take it from the men and women at Arizona State, who had a long-axis technique day when SwimSwam came by for some pancakes.

After warming up, the sun devils had 2 sets: 1 freestyle and 1 backstroke. The freestyle set was as follows:

Snorkel + Fins


2×50 kick on stomach Position 11 (arms out in front)

100 swim w/ mid pool flip

2×50 kick on back position 11

2×100 swim w/ double flip at the wall

2×50 3 tap drill

100 swim with submerged flips

2×50 single arm

2×100 swim

You never get too old or experienced to focus on technique, especially with freestyle, which every swimmer does so much of. Basic drills like these that work on hand entry and body position in the water, coupled with carrying speed into/out of your walls, can pay huge dividends down the road. Moving onto backstroke:


50 rotation drill (controlled)

50 pause drill

Add Paddles+Band

200 descend 50’s (4:00)

Equipment off

2×100 #1 smooth #2 strong

200 smooth free

The sun devil staff implemented the “backstroke with paddles and band” last summer, and they said they’ve gotten a lot better at it. It sounds easy. 4:00 for a 200 long course should be a pushover interval. But when your legs are reduced to deadweight and you have to focus on keeping your tempo up (with paddles) and engaging your core just to stay moving in a straight line, things can get pretty rocky. I recommend trying this one out on your own… but be sure to give yourself plenty to time.

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6 years ago

Couple of things I cannot reconcile, given ASU lack of success at NCAAs this year.
First, Bowman is known for hard practices, but teams that fail in March are known as teams that do not practice hard (long yards), are half rested all year, but exhausted in March. Which way is it?

6 years ago

A lot of good take-aways from this video. For example:

Bands are great resistance equipment.
When you double flip at the wall, you don’t end up swimming back into the wall.

But the biggest take-away from this video is: When you snooze, you lose!

Zach Poti #1 fan
6 years ago

thats one good looking dude

6 years ago

It seems like ASU is going all out on social media and media in gereal. Trying to overshadow what has happened in the pool?!? They have gotten lots of hype all 3 years that Bowman has had the job and yet still only 20th and 20something place at NCAAs. How many other 20th place teams get this much publicity? How many of these recruits will graduate with this class?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Superfan
6 years ago

Bowman was not only Phelps/Schmitt/Kalisz’s coach, but also the head coach in Rio. That gets you some free, and warranted, publicity. Hell, look at all the marketing Dave Marsh gets, and he’s not even coaching a Division I team.

Reply to  Superfan
6 years ago


6 years ago

Where is their head coach? Looks like the assistants are doing all the work!

Reply to  MECoach
6 years ago

I’ve heard that isn’t too uncommon with Bowman, of course these are just rumors that got passed around but even back in the NBAC days apparently he spent most of the practices in his office. Again I am not presenting this as facts, I’m simply saying what I’ve heard

Reply to  Dudeman
6 years ago

Being the head coach of a combined Division I program is more office time than deck time. It’s as much about managing coaches than coaching swimmers. That’s one reason why so many great assistants flop as head coaches.

Reply to  MECoach
6 years ago

He was in the video..

Becky D
Reply to  MECoach
6 years ago

Depending on the personalities involved, the only time you might see the head coach is if a photo op is involved.

AZ Loop
Reply to  MECoach
6 years ago

What work? They werent even looking at the pool

6 years ago

Was this before or after they all transferred?

Reply to  Hmmm....
6 years ago

In the middle

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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