SwimSwam Podcast: Olympic and World Champ Tom Jager, The Godfather Of Speed

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 Jager, the man who held the 50m freestyle world record longer than anyone else to date. He got into the nitty-gritty of how he developed speed, including learning to listen to his body and do what he needed to do, not necessarily what every coach at the time thought he needed. This eventually evolved into his trademark set, 10×50 all out (this was in the late 80’s… sound like anyone else in our current swimming community?).

Jager also enlightened us on what he and Matt Biondi tried to change in terms of swimmers getting paid, by USA Swimming and by outside sponsorships. He speaks openly about how upset he was that athletes were getting scraps compared to what coaches or officials were taking home.

Music: Otis McDonald
www.otismacmusic.com

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Sam
1 year ago

I think it’s an interesting point to claim / figure out who the best overall athlete is – swimmers vs ? I heard from rowers that they think they are in much better shape than swimmers. I spent some time in training camps with wrestlers and they were stronger than anything their size including the animal kingdom, I couldn’t keep up with them in most exercises. Swimmers have to deal with the resistance of the water and wrestlers have to deal with the resistance of, basically a wall. I am sure most super-humans like Ledecky and Evans choose swimming, so the answer probably is: it depends…..

Samesame
Reply to  Sam
1 year ago

I thought years ago it was decided that cross country skiers are the fittest . Or was it Ironman triathletes ? One of those

Sam
Reply to  Samesame
1 year ago

cross country skiers are definitely up there with both cardio, upper body strength, sprint, etc. Triathlon is 3 sports so I I feel like it’s a different animal.

NM Coach
Reply to  Sam
1 year ago

Interesting tidbit of irrelevant info here…but in the BUDS training for Navy Seals…the 3 groups that are most likely to make it all the way through…MMA fighters, Wrestlers, and Swimmers!

Sam
Reply to  NM Coach
1 year ago

Tom Jager talked about it, and at least one reader (me) was interested 🙂

USAUSAUSA
1 year ago

Tom bringing the fight to Coleman for best hair in swimming.

Reply to  USAUSAUSA
1 year ago

…can’t believe it, but, yeah, I think Tom earned the gold. Coleman’s definitely got the silver in that competition.

AndySUP
1 year ago

Great Interview. An amazing passion Tom still has for the sport and is still hard to contain to keep the conversation coherent. Only Mel and Coleman could handle a personality that energetic in a web meeting. Well done. I would kill to see the outtakes that hit the floor in that interview though. Tom Jager is truly one of the greats of our sport.

Reply to  AndySUP
1 year ago

Nothing left on the the floor. It’s all there. We hit record and went… Tom will came back. We need to dig into more topics with him…

anonymous
1 year ago

Swimming 10×50 all out with 5 minutes rest in between each 50 is not USRPT training.

Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

Very true…but most people think it is….

John Leonard
1 year ago

Great Job Mel and Tom! Tom you were and are a fabulous leader for our athletes and now for your teams!

Great interview, honest, direct and RIGHT! (and love the hair man!) All the Best, John Leonard

T Hill
1 year ago

great interview it’s good to share the history and struggles. Out of conflict can come progress if we’re willing to listen and care about our future & others.Yes, swim all the events as age groupers, you’re best events will find you. Coaches insurance ? Keep bringing some history & forward/creative ideas, weather they are right or wrong, no limits will stimulate better ideas.

Reply to  T Hill
1 year ago

…thanks T HILL…. Tom was an exceptional team captain and leader. Being the man to hold the 50m free WR the longest in history is impressive, but it’s those moments of his leadership that sticks with me.

AZswummer
Reply to  T Hill
1 year ago

The Dash for Cash races were great to watch. Remember one at a Juniors- so cool to see legends like that up close. Swimmers have been clawing for $ to support themselves with as way back as the 80’s. Been some progress but not enough.

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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