Ron Aitken Describes 1500 for Time After 70k Training Week at Olympic Camp

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Ron Aitken, the head coach of the Sandpipers of Nevada, the club team that has 4 current or former swimmers on the 2021 Olympic team. Aitken goes into full detail on what his 3 distance girls have been doing at the Olympic Training Camp (which he got to attend and coach at) in Hawaii. This includes a 1500 for time on a Saturday afternoon (2nd practice of the day) after hitting 70k during the week.

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CraigH
2 months ago

In some circles that could be considered abuse.

He said what?
Reply to  CraigH
2 months ago

You would have never survived Schubert’s workouts back in the 70s at Mission Viejo.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  He said what?
2 months ago

Softer generation.

1001 Pools
Reply to  He said what?
2 months ago

70K weekly is just not that much for distance swimmers, even today. In the crazy 80s, that would’ve been a light week … but even in this era of more race-pace approaches, this seems like a normal week.

swimfast
Reply to  CraigH
2 months ago

It depends how the coach forces the workouts, my guy. If he is gaslighting them to make them think they’re lesser that’s abuse. If he is encouraging them and making them feel stronger and more able then that’s great coaching. No matter the amount (to some extent, but 70K is not abuse, at all, whatsoever, if done properly)

trip strauss
2 months ago

are they doing both sc yards and lc meters in Hawaii?

Canuswim
Reply to  trip strauss
2 months ago

Good question as if 70K is mixed scm & lcm not really that high volume for distance swimmers.

Sophie
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

As a (former) distance swimmer (albeit, not at the Olympic level, but still D1 athlete level), I can tell you that 70k SCY still feels like a ton, and 70k LCM feels crazy.

Last edited 2 months ago by Sophie
Canuswim
Reply to  Sophie
2 months ago

Ledecky at in high school years would not flinch at 70K week mix of Scy & Lcm over ten sessions. Ron also said they do more than 70K mileage during peek training weeks and similar our distance group is over 80K (all meters) in peek training weeks. What is impressive is Bella Sims is doing the same practices whiles training only for a 200 relay swim.

Alo
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

70k mileage? How often do they change their oil?!

Joe
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

why is it impressive to be training like a miler for a 200?

Ex-Swimmer
Reply to  Joe
2 months ago

Maybe it’s not impressive as much as it is informative. Maybe some high school aged 200 swimmers should be swimming those sessions.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Joe
2 months ago

Maybe ask Mike Troy, also look at how Caeleb Dressel crushed it in the ISL.

Jack
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

It’s not the volume that’s being touted as impressive. It’s all three of them breaking the OT cut and going lifetime bests in an off event, in a practice suit, from a push, and at 70k volume.

Canuswim
Reply to  Jack
2 months ago

Rather than OT cut more interesting to compare to actual pbs. They were lifetime best practice swims. Grimes was 16:38 is +46s from pb (3s/100) and Sullivan was 16:22 which is only +31s from pb (2s/100) which is impressive at the end of a training week! Might indicate another drop soon for Sullivan.

Canuswim
Reply to  Jack
2 months ago

No one went a lifetime best (Grimes +46s, Sullivan +32s). It was a best “practice time” which are all done in a practice suit from a push. Agree on volume as comment above – 70K mix scy/lcm is an average weekly volume for world class distance swimmer (likely 60K meters). They are all considered top distance world class swimmers so it’s not an “off event”. Swimmers at this level are not focused on OT qualifying times, they are focused on making the team which they did!

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Canuswim
2 months ago

I recall the summer 51 years ago doing 3-a-days as a distance / brute squad (200 Fly, 400 IM, 1500) swimmer & hitting 10K a day or more x 6 or 7 days even back then. The 7th day was more recovery, lake swimming with less intensity. This was considerably before training by heart rate was well known. In that vein, the West German team came to Flagstaff / NAU for indoor LCM high altitude training in the early 1990’s (van Almsick, Hoffman, etc. — but Otto & The Albatross had retired by then). I was living & training there at the time, so got to see their methods in action. After each set they underwent a battery of tests… Read more »

Hswimmer
Reply to  trip strauss
2 months ago

Yes

AmericanDad
Reply to  trip strauss
2 months ago

Yes. Some workouts are LCM and others are SCY. I think this is the same for most of the team.

Woke Stasi
2 months ago

Another nice interview, Coleman. I appreciate your tracking these guys/gals down and providing a platform for hearing their ideas.

Very nice that Coach Aitken was invited to the Hawaii training camp.

Pez
2 months ago

the sandpipers training is insane! clearly it works but that shits no joke, they should have insane confidence, doing 70k at age 15 is crazyyyy

Walter
Reply to  Pez
2 months ago

Really? You didn’t live in the 70s when mediocre people like me swam more than that at age 15. Fun stuff!

StevieT
Reply to  Walter
2 months ago

70k would’ve been the first 5 workouts of the week….

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Walter
2 months ago

Ah yes, looking at the black line on the bottom all those hours… See my comment further above.

Stroker
2 months ago

What a picture. I am sure Ron will cherish it forever. Awesome job, Coach!

RUN-DMC
2 months ago

Ron just described Ultra Long Race Pace Training for us.

Eisenheim
2 months ago

I was #2 in my state in age group swimming when I was 16. One day at practice I wanted to join the big boys (distance swimmers) and did a 100×100 freestyle set with them. Felt like I had something to prove I suppose. I ended up tearing my labrum, only to tear it a second time 8 months later. It never was the same and soon after I ended up having to hang up my cap and goggles for good. I know this doesn’t relate exactly to the article here but I wanted to take any chance I can get to urge current swimmers to stop when they think something is wrong. Swimming at an elite level it is… Read more »

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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