SwimSwam Podcast: Olympic Champion Tom Dolan Gives 400 IM Master Class

On SwimSwam Podcast, we’re giving you an in-depth listen at all things swimming. Host Coleman Hodges welcomes guests and guest co-hosts alike to get perspective on our ever-changing swimming universe and break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Tom Dolan, the master at mid-distance racing, especially the 400 IM. Dolan won back-to-back gold medals in the 400 IM at both the Olympic Games (1996, 2000) and World Championships (1994, 98). He discusses the mechanics of IM, which his strategy was for beating his opponents, and what his surprisingly best stroke was.

*WARNING: There is a very accurate Coach Jon Urbanchek impersonation that contains colorful metaphors, NSFW*

Dolan also dives deep into the controversy surrounding the 200 IM final at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, where the Italian swimmer who won gold, Massimiliano Rosolino, was suspected of doping.

Music: Otis McDonald


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Swimmer Dave

awesome to hear and re-live from the insiders of insiders view TD himself. Thanks great fun

Dolan – the man… I didn’t became a Dolan diehard fan until the 4:08 500y free. That was a wow moment in college swimming history.

Bad Knees

I was there for that swim. I believe he flipped to the feet at 1:37 at the 200 and the crowd knew something special was happening. He also swam his 1650 in the afternoon as opposed to the final.

Sean Justice

I thought that he swam the 1650 in the final in 1995. In 1996 he was in the afternoon heats, I know this because I was in his heat for the mile that year.


Good point Dolan makes about how elite 400 IMers tend to stick around for a long time rather than come from nowhere, with gold medalists grinding their way through the finalist>medalist>winner process over the course of several international meets.

Interesting contrast with that other endurance fest, distance free, where you often see teen gold medalists come from nowhere to gold over just a year or two.


as a former 4IMer I really enjoyed this. Those are some crazy times for 1995 lol. But seriously I really agree with what he said about middle 200 of the 4IM being historically under-focused and under-trained. I also agree 100% with his take on how someone could beat the phelps record. The person who came closest, Lochte, did so by having an insane middle 200. It just so happens that it may have been a little too extreme and his freestyle suffered. (and tbh with a bodysuit he might have gotten the record).

Sidenote: I had always thought of tom dolan as someone who was quieter, but man that guy can talk!!


Neither Phelps or Lochte wore bodysuits in 400 IM in 2008.

Ol' Longhorn

They had full leggings that weren’t textile and very floaty.

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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