Practice + Pancakes: How to Train at an Elite Level with a Full-Time Job

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.

If you didn’t know it, I have an older brother, Wyatt Hodges, who swims competitively. He swam for Purdue from 2008-2012, graduated from Purdue in 2013, and headed to Cal Berkeley to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. During much of his time at Cal (April, 2014 – February 2019), he wanted to continue swimming at the highest level he could, and trained with the Cal men’s swim team. Last summer, at the Santa Clara Pro Swim, he dropped a nearly 2 second lifetime best in the 100m breaststroke, going from a 1:03.4 to a 1:01.8.

Wyatt now lives in Albuquerque, where he has a full-time job doing research in his field of study. He still loves swimming, and still continues to pursue his goals, one of which is qualifying for a 3rd Olympic Trials. However, his training environment is a little different than in Berkeley. As of late, Wyatt has mostly been swimming by himself, waking up around 5:30am to get in a quality swim/lift between 6-8am before going to work until around 5-6pm. I went to visit him not too long ago, and filmed what is a pretty routine Saturday morning workout for him.

The workout was around 3k of general warmup (similar to a meet warmup), then the goal was to swim 8×50 (no interval) at 2nd 50 of 100 pace (32.9 or better). In 8 50’s, Wyatt was 32.3-33.8, going 32+ 3 times. It wasn’t what he wanted, but granted that he moved 4 months ago, and has been swimming by himself lately, I’d say it’s a pretty solid effort.

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Ol' Longhorn

Really impressive. So I guess …. you’re adopted?


Bold but funny

Curious mile high club

Great video as always. Curious how the altitude has played a role in the training. In the video he seems to have that altitude sprinter heavy breathing for a 50 on no interval. What adjustments has he made since coming from Cali group?

Tony R

Thanks for sharing your brother’s story, that was fun to watch. For myself, even after swimming Div I, all of my best times came at the age of 27. Then came family life….

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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