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If you are enjoying the recent Track and Field Trials, take a look at the swimming system.
To qualify for the 2008 USA Olympic Swim Team, only the top four swimmers in the men’s and women’s 100m and 200m freestyle, along with the winners of all the other events, automatically qualify for the USA Olympic Team. The second-place finishers in all the other events, plus the fifth and sixth-place finishers in the men’s and women’s 100m and 200m freestyle, may be named to the team later in the week, pending swimmers qualifying in multiple events.
I like this system, which is similar to the selection criteria used in the Canada Summer Games.
I compare a 200m/400m Track and Field sprinter to a 50m/100m freestyle swimmer based on the physiology of times.
Take a look at the longevity of USA Swimmer Dara Torres:
Year – 50m – 100m
1984 – 25.61 – 56.36
1988 – 25.59 – 55.30
1992 – 26.01 – 55.48
2000 – 24.63 – 54.43
2007 – 24.53 – 54.45
Here is a long read from The NY Times November 2007.
I’ve always been a believer in stretching after a workout for recovery, as opposed to the classic pre-workout static stretching.
As for spending $100K for a support staff, that’s another story!
Torres works in the water five times a week, down from 10 to 12 water workouts in her teens and 20s.
“My body definitely takes longer to recover,” she said. “I have my good days when I feel like I’m 20, and then I have my days when I can’t lift my arms out of the water.”
The cost of being a middle-age champion can be steep, but she can afford it. Torres enlisted Bloomberg L.P., Toyota and Speedo as sponsors to help defray her training expenses. She estimated that she would spend about $100,000 this year on her support staff.
In addition to Lohberg, Torres employs a sprint coach, Chris Jackson; a strength and conditioning coach, Andy O’Brien, who also oversees her diet; two full-time personal stretchers, Steve Sierra and Anne Tierney; a physical therapist; a masseuse; and a nanny. She also leans heavily on her boyfriend, David Hoffman, an obstetrician who is Tessa’s father.
Most days, Sierra and Tierney are waiting for Torres at her suburban Fort Lauderdale home when she is finished swimming. They twist and pull her torso and limbs in a vigorous resistance stretching routine that eases her body’s recovery by flushing out toxins and lactic acid.
“People can say I’m on drugs or whatever, but they are really my secret weapon,” Torres said, referring to Sierra’s and Tierney’s torturous routine.
O’Brien, who is on the staff of the N.H.L.’s Florida Panthers, said, “Dara’s really gone a step ahead of other athletes in terms of taking care of her body.”
He began working with Torres last November, introducing her to an ever-evolving regimen that encompasses Swiss balls, medicine balls, bands and resistance cables. The goal of her four 90-minute strength sessions each week is to stimulate her nervous system and strengthen her core muscles through a variety of multi-joint movements.
The results have been striking. Torres’s muscles have grown longer and leaner, with the exception of those in her back and shoulders, which have thickened. She carries 150 pounds on her 6-foot frame, down from 160 in 2000. Her reaction time off the blocks has improved, and she is more efficient in the water.
“Over all, she got a lot fitter,” Lohberg said, adding, “and she’s more balanced in the water.”