PHOENIX, Arizona, September 19. HALEY Anderson joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show with her coach Catherine Vogt to talk about the journey to winning Olympic silver in the 10K open water swim.
Anderson, who has only been competing in open water races for two years, talks about how quickly she learned the logistics of open water swimming and how the Olympic course worked to her advantage. Vogt discussed how she trained Anderson and men's 10K champion Ous Mellouli for their Olympic races and why training in the pool for open water swimming works. The two are gearing up for another collegiate season, in which they are excited about the possibilities of keeping the Trojans in the top national ranks. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Wednesday, September 19th, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. Today in the FINIS Monitor from the University of Southern California is Haley Anderson and her Coach Catherine Vogt. Haley won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics and the 10K Open Water Swim. She is beginning her senior year at USC. Haley and Catherine join us now from Los Angeles, Catherine on the left and Haley on the right. Ladies, good morning, how are you?
Haley Anderson: Morning, I am great, how are you?
Catherine Vogt: Good morning.
Jeff: Good morning, so Haley, I am going to start with you. How easy has it been to go from winning an Olympic silver medal to being on the campus of USC trying to be a regular student?
Haley: It has been really easy because there is so many Olympians here so that everybody does it.
Jeff: It is just kind of a normal thing.
Jeff: I'm an Olympian and at USC.
Jeff: Nobody pays any attention to you.
Haley: Kind of.
Jeff: Well that is understandable. Yeah, USC has a great tradition and USC did really well. Catherine as a coach – how does it feel to know that not only Haley but Rebecca and Ous had some really good swims in London?
Catherine: I mean I think Haley is right. We kind of just come back and get right to business so you know we live in the moment when you are there and as a coach you want to freeze it in time, but now that we are back it is like, okay I am going to get focused on the next thing.
Jeff: Now Haley if I understand this correctly you are pretty new to open water swimming, correct like just barely a year, right?
Haley: I have been doing it for two years.
Catherine: Two years? Yeah.
Haley: Two years, yeah.
Jeff: Two years. That is still kind of relatively new to the sport. I mean compared to everybody else you were racing. I mean some of the people were in the 2008 10K Olympic swim so what enabled you to progress through the ranks and be able to get on the medal podium so quickly?
Haley: Well, with each race I did, I learned so much and just help getting better and so even on I only did like five or six races before London like five or six 10K's I guess my learning curve was really big.
Jeff: And Catherine, when Haley started doing this open water swimming, did you ever get the sense that there was a possibility that you know she would be able to fight with for a medal at the Olympics?
Catherine: Yes, I think you know I always thought that she could win a gold medal, obviously each race she did. She got better and better, but I think the important thing is like she was really willing to learn and kind of have a love for the sport and 10K can really force anybody to learn to like it or want to do it. I think you know she went to her first World Cup race and came back and just – and loved it and so I think that is what I do like okay this is you know I know she can be the best in the world.
Jeff: Why is there all of a sudden this, well I wouldn't say all of a sudden, but why is there been this kind of focus on open water at USC? What was it about open water swimming that made you and Dave Salo say you know this is something that we want to kind of put a focus on and put some swimmers on the Olympic team?
Haley: I wouldn't say there is a focus on open water swimming. I mean I trained like a pool swimmer just do open water races. It is I mean I train like an 800 freestyler like all those pool swimmers do a couple, a handful of open water practices and then do some races and so I won't say there is like a specific emphasis on open water, it is just we happen to be pool swimmers that can do open water.
Catherine: Again, I would add on that. You know like Dave and I really focus on train for the pool and being the fastest possible swimmer they can be and then you know taking the individual and kind of like for Haley focusing on her strengths and open water what she needs to do. So we certainly don't carve a schedule around open water. We just try to do our best to balance it and make it fit.
Jeff: So talk more about this training that you guys were doing. I mean Haley and Ous to be able to win medals and not have much time in the open water, how much time were you devoting to training them in open water versus pool training?
Catherine: I mean like I said we really train in the pool and I know for Ous it was getting ready just to do one event at a time, so for him was the mile and then the 10K. They spent — what did we do, one swim in Long Beach?
Haley: Yeah, I think we did one practice before we broke like our separate ways, separate training camps. We did one practice together in the open water.
Jeff: That seems to be kind of the norm Catherine going around with open water swimmers is they are not putting a lot of focus on training in the open water. They are staying in the pool. Is it just a matter of if you are training for the 10K you have got to increase their volume in order to be able to handle that longer swim?
Catherine: No, I don't think so. I think for this cycle the Olympics like we knew London was going to be a fast race course and it was going to be flat water. So as a coach it is more looking at the conditions and you know working the strategy around that and you know for Haley having the confidence that she is the fastest 800 swimmer in the, you know in the race and then the same for Ous. So you know I feel like you know we do enough training that we know they are a bit it is about I think being smart and you know course definitely set up well for both those athletes.
Jeff: And Haley, the fact that the course was a little bit smooth or not you know out in the ocean or anything, do you think that kind of was an advantage for you that you didn't have to worry about current and wave all you had to really worry about was just traversing the course?
Haley: Yeah, I mean I am definitely more just I haven't had too many races with like waves, currents or drop so definitely I was more used to smoother course so it helped.
Jeff: And how did your sister Alyssa winning a gold medal in that 800 Free Relay motivate you to want to get a medal of your own?
Haley: Well, after I saw her I was like well, she can't get the only one going away from this within that also. I got to step up my game.
Jeff: Yeah, that sibling rivalry always plays – comes into play even if you are swimming different events I guess.
Jeff: So as I said before this is your senior year at USC. You are coming in as the reigning NCAA Champion in the 500 and now that you are in the 10K champion and you know it is kind of weird to say you are 500 Champion and at the Olympics going to 10K, but how does this experience from the Olympics set you up for this senior year?
Haley: It is just going to be a fun senior year, hopefully. Just to repeat what I did last year. I mean just to swim as fast as I can. It definitely helps. It is a confidence, even though – I mean it would be even more of a confidence boost if there is an actual 10K like in college swimming but gotta–
Catherine: We chant 10K before the mile.
Haley: Yeah, yeah.
Jeff: Just think that it s a 10K and you just have to stop after the first mile that is all.
Jeff: So you know this team, his women's team at USC is going to be a little bit different make up. You don't have the big star Katinka Hosszu kind of carrying the team Catherine. What is kind of the mindset of how this team is going to either replicate or improve on how it did last season?
Catherine: I think we are excited. We know we have a young team, but you know we got a great freshman class coming in and so it shifts the leadership now from the senior class and then I think we combine that with our freshman and just all around we are excited to see you know we are not going to replicate everything exactly the same, but different challenges are ahead of us and maybe set some different goals.
Jeff: Well it s going to be a great season to watch you guys; Haley, congratulations, again on the Olympics and best of luck with your senior year. Catherine, congratulations to you as well and we look forward to seeing you guys on deck soon.
Haley: Thank you.
Catherine: Thank you.
Jeff: All right, so that is Catherine Vogt and Haley Anderson joining us from USC on today's edition of the Morning Swim Show. As always we invite you to be part of the conversation either on our article on swimmingworld.com or on Facebook or Twitter. I am Jeff Commings. Thanks for watching.
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