Practice + Pancakes: Michigan Men Get Innovative with Power Work

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 catch our Pancakes with the Michigan Women, you should probably go check that out. Because right after they got out of the water, the men got in. It was a Friday morning, so both men and women were working on getting some good power in, in their own ways. The men had a few different stations they were working through.

First off were the power racks. What I really liked was that while the sprinters were just swimming against the racks on the way down and then letting the racks pull them back on the way back, mid distance was actually using both sides of the resistance. They would swim against the rack on the way down, and then swim with the rack on the way back, serving to give them a little extra power and keep their heart rate up the whole time (so they essentially did 50’s fast instead of 25 fast 25 ez).

There was a video review station where head coach Mike Bottom was working with the men on technique. It’s always fun seeing facilities that go all out for their athletes, and those that have invested in these huge screens that let their swimmers watch themselves on a 10-20 second delay are seeing the benefits. Just on the other side of the pool in the dive well, there was an underwater station where they would hook up to the power racks (yes, they have 2 sets of power racks in this pool) and go underwater bursts for 15 yards.

The last stop was run dives with a twist. Everyone would do 1 run dive with a chute on, and then 1 run dive without the chute, again providing some resistance and then some speed.

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Why are the men’s and women’s practices so different? The girls didn’t focus on technique like the boys did… Aren’t they a combined program?

Coleman Hodges

Combined doesn’t necessarily mean practice together all the time. I know on this day particularly, Rick wrote the women’s workout while Josh wrote the mens workout in the AM, then they came back and did a combined kick workout in the afternoon


Gotta imagine many/most combined programs frequently run different workouts for the men & women.


Michigan will be dangerous again this year. Back on the rise after bumpy years. Big ten better watch out.


Do you mean mens or women’s team??

I would assume Cucumber means men’s, because that 4th place at NCAAs is a bumpy year for most programs. But I don’t know that for sure.


On paper, it does seem to be a 2 horse race for the Big Ten Team Title between Michigan and Indiana. But we will see how teams develop. Indiana is gonna have strong relays again this year and also has a huge diving advantage.

I say it regularly, but relays have very little impact on conference championships. It’s very rare that you have a team win that also wouldn’t have won if the relay points for all teams were excluded. It does happen on occasion, but not often. Even with last year’s relatively-narrow 40.5-point margin of victory, Indiana still would’ve won, by single-digits, if there had been no relays.

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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