A Glance At the Training of Michigan Standout Freshman Letitia Sim (Sample Sets Included)

letitia sim michigan - NCSA

A Glance At the Training of Michigan Standout Freshman Letitia Sim (Sample Sets Included)

From the January issue of Swimming World Magazine

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Letitia Sim arrived on the University of Michigan campus in the fall as CollegeSwimming.com’s No. 1-ranked recruit from Alabama and 15th nationally. She has not disappointed, opening up her college season by winning her signature 100-200 breaststroke events with lifetime bests.

Her final year as an age grouper was one to remember.

She began by winning several Alabama high school state championships in record time: 100-yard breast (1:00.11) and 200 IM (1:57.72). At the NCSA Spring Invite, she finished just seven points behind Texas commit Campbell Stoll for high-point honors. In Orlando, she won the 100-200 breast (59.18; 2:09.50) and 100 fly (52.77), finished second in the 50 breast (27.64) and 200 IM (1:57.43) and third in the 50 fly (24.02).

Wave II of the Olympic Trials found her making the semifinals in the 100-meter breast (1:08.81/11th) and posting a 2:17.30 in the 200 IM (29th of 51) and a 2:33.47 in the 200 breast (31st of 47).

At the NCSA Summer Championships, she won the 50-100 flys (27.50; 1:00.53) and 100 breast (1:08.59), while notching second in the 200 IM and 200 breast (2:17.27; 2:30.94), fifth in the 50 back (30.01) and sixth in the 400 IM (4:58.78).

A former gymnast, Sim began year-round swimming in Daphne, Ala. at age 9 with TNT Swimming head coach and founder Jan Mittemeyer. Her early years, age 12 and under, were focused on aerobic conditioning and stroke and skill development. As luck would have it, Sim practiced with a talented group that was “fertile ground for developing her love for competitive swimming,” Mittemeyer said.

Barely a teenager, Sim began qualifying for finals at LSC Championships, and at 14, she made her first NCSA Junior Championship cut in the 100 breaststroke. “At that point, Letitia started to add land training and two morning practice pool sessions per week. She has always been very consistent in terms of attendance and effort, and she made the most of her extra time in the water and in the gym,” said Mittemeyer.

Letitia Sim Sets

TNT senior swimmers train race pace at every practice, as well as several aerobic and threshold sets per week. Elite TNT athletes rarely exceed 4,000 yards per practice. The following sets are all SCY and done in just three lanes for an hour-and-a-half at a time. Race pace sets include every stroke, says Mittemeyer.

• 12-24 x 50 breaststroke @ 1:10-1:20 (holding 31s from a push)
“This is basic speed endurance mainly for the 200. Letitia can do this fly and back on a similar interval, holding :27-:28 for back and :26-:27 for fly. She has been 1:57 for back, 1:56 for fly and 200 IM,” he says.

• 12-24 x 25 of the aforementioned with 20-second rest between bouts
“This is race pace for the 100, holding :14-:15 for breast, :13-:14 for back and :12-:13 for fly and free. We also go sets of the above mixed strokes for IM.

“For aerobic and threshold work, we regularly go a straight 2,000 for time—mixed IM and strokes. The swim is a reverse order 400 IM, 300 IM, 200 IM, 100 IM, going one direction, and 400 free, 300 back, 200 breast and 100 fly, going the opposite direction. Letitia’s best time for this swim is 23:35.

“For aerobic/threshold breaststroke, Letitia has done 8-10 rounds of 100 breast @ 1:20, followed by 50 whip kick on kickboard @ :50.

“I’ve rarely seen Letitia miss an interval or even have a bad set or practice,” says Mittemeyer. “She is a very tough and determined athlete with impressive underwaters. She is also a team leader during land and pool sessions and especially at meets.”

Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach, golf and swimming writer. His critically acclaimed coming-of-age golf novel, “Too Much Loft,” was published in June 2021, and is available from store.Bookbaby.com, Amazon, B&N and book distributors worldwide.