Todd DeSorbo’s 2 Favorite Winter Training Sets

While at the 2024 Knoxville Pro Swim, SwimSwam caught up with 2024 Women’s Swimming Olympic coach Todd DeSorbo, who shared his 2 favorite sets to give his athletes during winter training.

  1. 8×50 @ 8:00, Fins + Paddles, ALL OUT (LCM)
  2. 4x (13×25 Kick @ :30 ALL OUT, 3:00 rest, 75 Free ALL OUT)

Contrary to many swim coaches during winter training who want to bury their athletes with heavy workloads, UVA head coach Todd Desorbo wants to continue the work that his athletes have been doing up to that point. That way, his goal is when the athletes come out of winter training, they are swimming FAST.

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ACC fan
4 months ago

Todd is obviously one of the great coaches. However, he said favorite, not toughest. I’m sure they still do longer, probably tougher sets.

samulih
Reply to  ACC fan
4 months ago

if you know how to swim fast 8×50 gets you vomiting….

Meathead
4 months ago

Hands down best swim coach in country

RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

Honestly…imagine if Michael Andrew began training under DeSorbo. I’m sure most commenters will hate this.

  1. He may actually be able to simultaneously grow in both his 50s and 2IM. The training works for current team members. Based on how reluctant he is to race the 2IM internationally these last few years, I am guessing he worries the training could interfere with his “pet” 50 freestyle.
  2. It’s my understanding he has moved on from USRPT slightly, so I don’t think this training would need months to adjust to.
Winter Apple
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

Plus having a training group and not having your dad as your coach

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Winter Apple
4 months ago

Not gonna happen.

tea rex
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

That could be great. Training with a team could be better for Michael’s performance and mental health. Unfortunately it would be devastating to the family brand, especially if Michael improved without Peter Andrew’s schtick.

Last edited 4 months ago by tea rex
chazoozle
Reply to  tea rex
4 months ago

What is the family brand now?

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  chazoozle
4 months ago

I’m guessing it’s the MA Swim Academy. I don’t know much about the mission or product, but I know it’s what he represents in competition.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

A Costa Rican beachcomber.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

Every time I see “MASA” next to his name at meets my brain immediately reads it as a word and I feel just a liiiiiiiiiitle racist for having done so.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  chazoozle
4 months ago

50 meters or bust.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  tea rex
4 months ago

Fat chance!

Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

MA… overrated. Will never bounce back from that last 50 in Olympic 200 IM

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
4 months ago

Will Michael Andrew ever medal in the men’s 100 meter breaststroke or butterfly?

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
4 months ago

no. Not at this point. 1:00 isnt getting him close to a 58 low which is what he will need to even stand a chance in Paris.

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
4 months ago

not overrated.. Just needs to find some proven coaches, which of course will never happen.

mcswammerstein
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

Hes moved on from being good lately too. I think this training style would fit him perfectly and most people swimming 200s and below

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  mcswammerstein
4 months ago

Michael Andrew is overhyped and overrated.

Andrew
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

I think anything is better than Peter Andrew at this point but what exactly has Desorbo done with male IMers?

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  Andrew
4 months ago

Good point. I guess we will find out next season.

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  Andrew
4 months ago

Well, he coaches the men’s and women’s team, right? I think the ladies have done ok.

Andrew
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

The biological, physical and emotional differences between male and female collegiate athletes cannot be overstated. Saying Desorbo does well with ladies does not mean he will do well with men (see the last 5 years of UVA men)

Bill Lumberg
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
4 months ago

I always think this. The talent that kid has is incredible and I feel like he has wasted it by training only under his father. ASU, UVA, Texas.. what could have been….

SCCOACH
4 months ago

“Coaches who want to bury their athletes” is interesting wording. I’m sure giving kids yardage during winter is out of a desire to bury them.

Bort
Reply to  SCCOACH
4 months ago

not necessarily bury them, but so many coaches have this winter training default mode where they are obsessed with the volume. to a point where they neglect keeping their athletes sharp with sets like these

Coach
Reply to  Bort
4 months ago

You can get buried with intensity just as easily (actually mores so and to a greater extent) as you can with volume.

Last edited 4 months ago by Coach
ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Coach
4 months ago

Yes but when a swimmer is ‘buried’ it’s probably 99% of the time due to volume, not intensity.

CoachR
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
4 months ago

False.

zThomas
Reply to  Bort
4 months ago

an offshoot topic: I cannot remember who it was but one of Sandpipers stars said that they don’t use winter break as an opportunity to ramp up and instead they come down a little bit and enjoy the holidays. This is only possible because Sandpipers sets their own schedule and don’t follow the early December taper, recover and then build for a March taper schedule. I think it is one of the unfortunate things about swimming, that it is setup to not allow for a winter holiday break.

zThomas
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
4 months ago

Who was it from Sandpipers that said they did this? I think you did the interview?

Aquajosh
Reply to  Coleman Hodges
4 months ago

That’s because March is summer in Australia. Our breaks come in the summer too, it’s just different timing.

Admin
Reply to  zThomas
4 months ago

It sort of depends on your geo. There are a lot of early December championship meets in a lot of places that would allow for a winter holiday break. Then there are places where it’s not set up for that (NCAA, Texas, Indiana, etc).

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  Bort
4 months ago

It is the only time during the season where the team is comprised of just “athletes” and not student-athletes. Increase the volume and expect them to spend time throughout the day recovering because they don’t have classes or conflicts. Once the semester begins, decrease the volume because their focus between 8am and 5pm should be on academics and not athletics.

It take it more as: we do it because it’s the only time we can versus we do it because we have to.

swimgeek
Reply to  SCCOACH
4 months ago

Sure, “bury” has pejorative connotation — but if we’re being honest, cranking unusually large amounts of volume has long been the tradition during winter break. “Kids aren’t in school and can just take extra naps – let’s do TRIPLES!” Most coaches increase the load on purpose. DeSorbo doesn’t, and he’s pointing that out.

chazoozle
Reply to  SCCOACH
4 months ago

That is how it seemed when I swam. See how many brutal sets we can fit in during a week.

Tea rex
4 months ago

That’s so much rest! I wish I was a college swimmer nowadays.

Unknown Swammer
Reply to  Tea rex
4 months ago

If you’re really going all out, they’re exhausting

Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
Reply to  Unknown Swammer
4 months ago

Not 10×400 IM in am and 10×500 free in pm exhausting

Here Comes Lezak
Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
4 months ago

Counterpoint: They are both really exhausting.

This is coming from someone who was a sprinter in college and is now a middle-distance triathlete. They are different kinds of hurt.

chazoozle
4 months ago

Do UVA men and women programs practice together?

YEah
Reply to  chazoozle
4 months ago

Yes

swimgeek
Reply to  chazoozle
4 months ago

yes

Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

whatever he is doing, he’s doing it right.

Swimz
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

well for the woman at least

IU Kicker
Reply to  Swimz
4 months ago

Give it time. His men’s team has been dropping impressive amounts of time. They simply have lagged behind the women in terms of recruiting. I think that the potential exists for the men to start to move up. They need more sprinters to pull it off though.

Noah
Reply to  IU Kicker
4 months ago

They’ve consistently grabbed top 20 and HM recruits – their distance guys just don’t drop and their high school heavy hitters only drop a small amount compared to other men in college

Andrew
Reply to  IU Kicker
4 months ago

Uhhh that Jack Walker class was absolutely stacked and they seem to get a plentiful amount of top 20/HM/ sub 3.00 power index guys.

The excuse that the men don’t get enough good recruits is tiresome

Expatswimmer
Reply to  Swimz
4 months ago

He inherited a much stronger women’s team and then managed to get traction with recruiting once he had Douglass and Nelson. The true test of whether he can do it with the men is going to come the next 2 or 3 years. With Williamson and Heilman committed, the momentum is there and he should have the scholarships to build more for the following class, too.

RAP
Reply to  Bill Lumberg
4 months ago

Except wearing the wrong size hat

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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