Practice + Pancakes: Garrett McCaffrey Sets the Pace at Phoenix Swim Club

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.

Garrett McCaffrey is no less than a swimming legend. He’s a pioneer in producing swimming media, and he is a co-founder of SwimSwam. Since 2011, however, he has embraced a new challenge, one much closer to the water than sitting behind a desk. Garrett is now in his 6th season as the head coach of Phoenix Swim Club, and when SwimSwam was in the Phoenix area recently, we got to catch up with the coaching machine and see what a practice looked like at PSC. He even made me pancakes… what a guy.

Garrett’s senior group was just getting back into the swing of things when I visited. I came on a Wednesday, and they had just started back up again that Monday after taking 2 weeks of break/optional practices. The warm up incorporated a lot of out-of-the-water movement, like dryland or stretching, plus a lot of in-the-water drills and kicking. It seemed like a really good way to not only get the kids warmed up, but get their bodies back into the swing of certain movements and motions without taxing them too much.

The main set was very simple: 4×50 @ 2:00, primary 100 stroke, looking for 2nd 50 of your 100 pace. Garrett said this is a set they build off of all year, eventually getting to a point where they can hold their goal pace for 10-12 50’s. Today was all about setting a mark, about seeing where they were and giving themselves something to build on. You can hear many of their times, and some of the feedback they were getting throughout the set.

Garrett had a secondary I really liked:


  1. kick @ 1:00
  2. Race Kick Count (underwater) + 3 cycles @ race pace off both walls @ :50
  3. FAST @ :40

I want to do this set myself. It seems like a good challenge that’s all about making of the most of your recovery on the kick, keeping your integrity on your walls and 3 cycles on number 2, then giving it your all on number 3.

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3 years ago

Garrett, I miss hearing your thoughts on swimming. Anytime you want to come back into the swim media, I’ll tune in.

Sam Perry
3 years ago

Congrats Garrett! You should be very proud of what you and everyone has done at PSC!

3 years ago

50#3: FAST

I like it

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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