Ryan Lochte Only Swam 6x Per Week in High School

Thanks to presenting partner SPIRE Academy, a scholastic boarding school where individuals: excel academically, master life’s necessary personal skills, experience tomorrow’s emerging career opportunities and exceed expectations in their sport or other passion specialization.

Although he has been known for his high-yardage training throughout his professional career, 12x Olympic medalist and SPIRE Ambassador Ryan Lochte swam comparatively few workouts before he arrived at the University of Florida. In high school, Lochte would only train 6 sessions a week, rarely getting over 6,000 yards and always having “Friday Fundays”.

See Ryan Lochte win Florida High School state titles below:

We went to a very special practice in Geneva, Ohio: a SPIRE Academy Swim Camp featuring SPIRE Ambassador Ryan Lochte.  See it the PRACTICE + PANCAKES with Lochte here.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Masters Swimmer
9 days ago

I think there’s a tension for todays kids. If they don’t do all the sessions, if they try and have a little fun between sets…coaches think they are not committed.
All these top swimmers, on the one hand, are urging them to have fun with their swimming but coaches and clubs aren’t providing fun. They want kids to “be professional”and be dedicated. You can’t just do 6 singles aged e.g 16 in a ‘serious’ club. You can’t pick and choose which sessions you want to do. You have to commit to what the club deems appropriate. Clubs want to win, and to win you think you have to do at least as much as everyone else.
Mixed messages… Read more »

11 days ago

I’m about his age and not nearly as accomplished (in swimming). I swam about 6 practices with intermittent dryland/crosstraining in HS and only made incremental improvements. Granted, there were heavier periods of 9-10 per week, but that was just a few weeks per year.
Having stopped growing in middle school didn’t help.
It took 10-14 swim practices plus 3 weights sessions and other cross training to reach as far as I could in college. 5 hours a day 7 days a week for years to close in on my potential.
And, well, he still would’ve absolutely smoked me in nearly every event.

11 days ago

Think Thorpe did something similar.

All that stuff with Phelps never taking a day off might have been taken to heart by a lot of coaches, but I’m not sure it’s necessary for most swimmers to do that much—especially people that race 200s or less

Mr Piano
Reply to  Teddy
11 days ago

Thorpe said that from 13-15 he was molded by grueling swim practices, which probably explained why he was able to go 3:49 in the 400 in briefs as a 14 year old

Reply to  Teddy
11 days ago

I did 9 practices a week for 4 yrs in HS and was “ok”, but was not recruited and ended up walking on at an Ivy. In my freshman yr of college I rarely topped 7 practices and often just 6. I dropped major time in my 2 IM and 1&2 free. Like 8 seconds in my 2 IM and about the same in my 2 free. It was a real eye opener. I had overtrained for years and did times that would made state finals versus barely making states the yr before.

I had a body type not amenable to long practices and in HS i was running on fumes by Thursday afternoon practices.

My underwaters also… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Jimbob
M d e
Reply to  Teddy
11 days ago

No way. Thorpe used to get absolutely smashed by high school age.

Reply to  Teddy
10 days ago

To some extent, a lot of elites lack perspective on what works for regular people. Someone like Phelps can probably train insanely hard, or not that hard, and his body will respond well to it either way.

11 days ago

Some people are just built different.

11 days ago

I hope he never retires. He missed his chance to go out with a bang so how about he doesn’t go out at all.

Competes in the world cup this year. Tries ISL for a season. Aims for a national title in the 200 IM in a non-competitive year. Randomly goes to OLY trials as a 51 year old. Becomes oldest man to do a LC 400 IM under 5 minutes. Breaks all of the master’s world records in the 80-84 age group. Dies swimming the English channel IM order. Jeah.

The Original Tim
11 days ago

It’s been an interesting mindset shift going from my age group swimming era to my age group coaching era.

When I was an age grouper, we swam 9 practices a week for 17 hours in the water from age ~13 on up and also did weights/dryland M-F. Fast forward to the past decade that I’ve been coaching club and our top tier athletes swim at most 7 times a week for no more than 11 hours in the water, with a much less regimented weights/dryland program, as in it’s optional and done outside the team if done at all.

I know part of it is just swimming getting faster over time, but quite a few of these kids are… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by The Original Tim
Reply to  The Original Tim
11 days ago

>15-16 hours in the pool per week (especially during the school year) is too much, even for distance swimmers. By the time you factor in school demands and dryland, your athlete is not getting enough sleep at night. Lack of proper sleep is the #1 reason for a blown taper. VO2 Max essentially levels off several weeks into a training season, so why are we swimming endless yards? It’s madness. Case in point. Last summer my swimmer was only doing singles, but it was a 3 hour session 6 days a week starting at 4:30 AM. By the time champs rolled around, he couldn’t taper correctly because of lack of sleep. Even after a couple of days of rest, he… Read more »

The Original Tim
Reply to  WestCoastRefugee
10 days ago

I’m not entirely sold on that amount of swimming inherently being too much from a time perspective, but I caveat that with me thinking about my and my friends’ workloads from 20+ years ago; I’m not sure how much school workloads have changed since then.

It was pretty manageable for me and my compatriots–PM practice 4:30-6:30 M-F, AM practice 5:00-6:30 MWF, Saturday practice 7:00-9:30, and weights/dryland from 3:45-4:30 M-F (weights MWF, dryland TTh). Finals was the only time we ever had big time crunches, otherwise sleep was quite manageable. We’d go straight from the pool to school in the morning and then straight to the pool after school in the afternoon before going home.

I had teammates who went on… Read more »

Reply to  The Original Tim
10 days ago

I was discussing this with a well-known coach yesterday, and I more-and-more believe that we are splitting the modern swimmer wrong. Instead of “sprint” and “distance,” we should be splitting their training by “twitch” and “not twitch.”

I think a “twitch” athlete needs less total hours, more speed variation (some intentionally slow, some intentionally fast), with lots of gear-changing, and “not twitch” needs more of the classic Gregg Troy “10,000 for time” type of workouts.

That’s my hypothesis. I’m not working on digging through the science to see if any research exists to validate that. I suspect that the research won’t be specific to swimming, but there is probably something out there for running or cycling or similar.

The Original Tim
Reply to  Braden Keith
10 days ago

I can get behind that. I see that quite a bit with my masters swimmers, where I see way more variation in type of swimmer than I see with the kids.

I’ve got quite a few who fall in the not twitch category, are distance animals and train for the 1000/1650 or open water. They will take the longest, most monotonous sets with aplomb, and thrive on it.

And then on the other side, I’ve got the ones who absolutely need the variability and doing more of the not twitch type training just crushes their souls.

As a somewhat amusing anecdote, my wife is the poster child for not twitch swimmers. She and a group of her friends from… Read more »

Reply to  The Original Tim
10 days ago

We had a once in a lifetime real world experiment on training loads during Covid. Kids spent less time in the pool because of lockdowns and social distancing, and went completely ape on the record books. If that doesn’t clue you in to things we need to take a different look at, I don’t know what will.

Reply to  The Original Tim
9 days ago

I don’t know how a kid with such an intense swim practice schedule would have time to do homework, practice a musical instrument or do other arts practice, socialize with other kids, attend religious services, engage in family activities, etc. It’s not healthy (spiritually, emotionally, physically) to do nothing but swim and attend school.

Fred Lewis
11 days ago

This is true. I had a family, that had a beach House in Daytona. They use to drive to Daytona after our Friday night practice and train with Coach Lochte on Saturday mornings. Every Saturday morning Coach Lochte had donuts for everyone on the team after a 90 minute workout.

Coach Macgyver
11 days ago

USA swimming’s vision is to develop champions in the pool and in life. Ryan Lochte has shown how he’s achieved both and continues to do so, even though he is clearly past his prime as an athlete.

This was a great interview and I appreciate the content and his willingness to share more about his experience and how he developed as an athlete.

Hate him or love him, the guy is resilient and is a great role model for our youth.

Last edited 11 days ago by Coach Macgyver

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 …

Read More »