The Morning Swim Show, Dec. 20, 2011: Peter Andrew On Training His Son Michael to National Age Group Records

PHOENIX, Arizona, December 20. PETER Andrew has coached his son Michael to an impressive run of national age group records this month, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, he talks about the training that has helped Michael achieve his success.

Peter also talks about Michael's long-term goals and how he as a coach approaches each day. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)

Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Tuesday, December 20, 2011. I am your host, Peter Busch in the FINIS monitor today with Peter Andrew. He used to swim competitively in his native South Africa, now he coaches his son, Michael who is only 12 and is showing some incredible promise in the pool. Peter Andrew joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Lawrence, Kansas. Hey, Peter welcome to the Morning Swim Show. How are you?

Peter Andrew: Hey, Peter, good, thank you.

Peter Busch: Thank you for coming on. First of all a little bit about you. You grew up in South Africa. When did you move to the States?

Peter Andrew: We moved 10 years ago now and we have been here since 2001.

Peter Busch: Are you guys permanent residents or you are still working that out?

Peter Andrew: No, we actually, we are not permanent residents yet. We are still working on that and you know, we are almost in the process of moving to Australia but we have a last-ditch effort yet, so we will know within the next couple of weeks whether we stay or go.

Peter Busch: Wow, well, the future of USA swimming might be in the balance the way you son's swimming because he is an American citizen but obviously if you move, he might choose to swim somewhere else. Okay, so you got a 12-year-old son, Michael who is just lighting it up right now. For a 12 year old, let's keep it in perspective. But I mean he is already swimming 20, sub-22 times in the 53 freestyle. A lot of people are just gonna assume he is just being trained too hard as a kid. What do you say?

Peter Andrew: Yeah. We can totally refute that we, we didn't – we don't do a yardage-based program at all. We will call ourselves a non-traditional race specific training is what we do.

Peter Busch: So what does that mean exactly?

Peter Andrew: That means we – everything we do is really anaerobic training. We'll take – for instance when I say specific, we will take like the races that he is going to perform, for instance if we take the 100 free and we want him to swim a 48, we will break that 48 down into 4 25s of 12 seconds each and we except him to swim, you know, 12 seconds on a 25, take a rest of 15 seconds, come back a 12 again and 12 again, so it is very specific if we go over those times then we stop and rest so he can perform on those times again so there is no junk yardage. Everything is timed and it is very specific.

Peter Busch: How many practices does he do every day or every week?

Peter Andrew: We really – he said in an interview the other day that we do doubles but we really do singles and then if we do doubles, it would be more for technique and you know to concentrate on any issues that we noticing in training. We always concentrate on technique while training but you know sometimes, just take him up to the pool and just work on a change that we try to implement and then so we would go doubles but you know, right at the moment we – because I feel we will never really in a fatigue state, we swim at a lot of meets almost every week, we can swim a meet, and because of the traveling, I'd say we really are swimming at most four times a week. And usually the first – the first like the Monday is never as effective, so you know our training is three or four times of good training a week.

Peter Busch: So never fatigued, meaning, does he ever taper or is he always ready to swim top times in season?

Peter Andrew: Yeah, you know, what I expect from him is – and I know this sounds harsh, but I expect him to swim faster every time we swim. So taper, we don't believe in a taper because we don't high huge yardage so his muscles are not fatigued. You know, we will – within our training that we do now, we will swim, let's say we do 20 25s so I'd like to do like – if we are doing 100s to go the race distance so we are doing 20 25s of free. If he gets to like eight and he is not failing, okay, then I will rest him so I know he has reached a fatigue so brilliant training effect that he reaches there and then he might go three more on 12 and then he fails again, so it's another training effect and so at the end of the 20, then we will do a long warmdown – not terribly long, like eight minutes so he is ready to go again for another training set so it is never, he never does that 100s or 200s so his stroke is fatigued and he is tired. He never swims tired. We keep him fresh all the time, and so we when we come to a meet, he is fresh and ready to go and so we expect him to swim faster than he did the weekend before and faster before that, and then you are really, the last three meets that he swam, he's been the national record in the last three outings which is very impressive and it's you know as you can see that he is at his pace every time we go out.

Peter Busch: Well, he certainly is intense. We will get the video of him swam a 100 IM at the Tom Dolan Invitational and he broke the age group record in the prelims, and then his reaction to finals when he didn't break the record again, I mean he seems so, he just, you could tell he was angry. Is that what you want to see out of him?

Peter Andrew: You know, I love his – you know Michael really hates to you know, he focuses and he mentally prepares himself that he believes he is going to perform a certain time and when he doesn't, he is upset with himself. I mean, we never tolerate a tantrum or anything but you know, to himself we can see is that you know, he just didn't do what he set out to do but he is very smart. Michael is way beyond his age and that he can mentally prepare himself for a race, you know, he can cut out his surroundings and his mental work is really, really effective. I mean he knows when he wants to swim and what he wants to achieve on each 25 and you know I think what also is right now on his age is you know in the prelims especially is to come back and go fast after prelims. It is tough you know on his, he is a 12 year old and we always he is 12 but as he gets stronger and he fills into his body, you know, he will be able to come back harder every time but he is hard on himself when he doesn't make his times but I mean he can – once he has done that race, he puts it behind him and he moves on to the next race, which is an incredible thing that he does.

Peter Busch: When you coached him — I am wondering this is a very not unconventional training style, especially for a kid that young. Was this something that you learned as a child in South Africa? Is this how you used to train or do you have some other people who kind of have helped you formulate this?

Peter Andrew: Yeah, you know, if he trains like I train in South Africa, he would be in serious trouble. You know we have been so blessed to be working with – I believe the greatest swim science man in the world today. And you know we met Brent Russell at actually at ASCA conference, … and then we made contact with him and we've been working with Brent now and our relationship is getting stronger and stronger and this is just amazing you know, the results with with the way Brent trains his athletes.

Peter Busch: Well, going forward, you know so he is 12 now and the big question will be how he develops into his teenage years and then hopefully into college years and things like that. I mean what are things that you are holding back for him to learn as he gets older or that you hope he still improves on as he gets older?

Peter Andrew: Yeah, you know, holding back on him, we don't really hold back on anything. We – you know, with our training we've done, to use any form of tools, nothing anything like a kick board, you know, if you are swimming, you know, with your kick, you never kick flat, your kick is always you know, your kick is rotating all the time, so anything that doesn't make sense with swimming, we leave out so you know, with going forward, you know, I think our times will just get faster and we will just hold to better times. I mean our training will stay relatively the same, he's just gonna get faster and better and you know, by eliminating junk yards, and I mean we definitely, he is gonna be very ready when he is at an older age, coz we make sure, I mean concentrate specifically on technique, I don't want tohave any issues with his shoulders, you know, with the butterfly and the breast stroke, we can do that at top race pace and we do very little of it, you know, coz it puts a lot more stress on your shoulders and you know with that backstroke, we don't over reach. We make sure that your hands are coming in at the right spot so we don't over rotate our shoulders so you know, we are keeping — his body will be very ready when it comes you know for instance 2016 as we would like make an entrance on to the big stage and so there.

Peter Busch: What if he wants to play a different sport? What if he came to you and said, you know, dad this is pretty intense, you got me traveling around every week to a different meet and I just wanna pull back for a little while.

Peter Andrew: We, you know, we do, we discuss it. I mean, I am so blessed being able to coach my son's relationship. You know he believes in me and it is a wonderful thing. We do encourage all sports, Michael is an incredible soccer player. He loves playing goalie, and in fact for dry land training we go to the football field behind our swim pool out here, and we play a game that we used to play when we are kids, Gaining Ground. He loves to kick a football, so we do a lot of kicking, a lot of place kicking, I mean he's got an incredible boot on him, so you know, we encouraged any sport that he wants to get involved in and you know, we've always say to, if he wants to kick for a team, that would be awesome. I am not sure about football coz I don't really want him to break an arm or anything but you know, something where he's gonna get hurt and you know, we encourage it in you know with me being his coach, he can play another sport because we can work our training around another sport, you know, so everything will work but you know, we basically believe after Michael and he loves swimming and he loves to travel so you know it's a real family affair right now when we really enjoying it so we are really having a lot of fun.

Peter Busch: Peter thank you very much. Very interesting conversation. I am sure a lot of coaches, I am sure some agree with you, some don't agree with you but it is very, very interesting and if it's working for you and your son, we hope it continues to and good luck with working out all the residency stuff with the US government as well. I know that can be frustrating.

Peter Andrew: Yeah, thank you very much, Peter. Thank you for the opportunity for having us on. We really appreciate it.

Peter Busch: All right. Thanks again, happy holidays Peter.

Peter Andrew: Thank you, you too.

Peter Busch: All right that's Peter Andrew joining us in the FINIS monitor today and that is it for today's show. I am Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down up to finish.

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