Amanda Weir Still Owns 11-12 NAG in 50-Yard Freestyle; The Training That Produced This Success


Amanda Weir Still Owns 11-12 NAG in 50-Yard Freestyle; The Training That Produced This Success

I first saw a picture of Amanda Weir in 1998. It was in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd, which was celebrating her for setting an NAG record in the 50-yard freestyle – a record that still stands today. Amazed, I wondered how a little 12-year-old girl could go 23.15. Only later did I learn she was actually 5’9” and growing.

Fast forward to the 2016 Olympic Trials where I interviewed her four times on her way to her third Olympic team. Standing 6’1”, weighing 165 I saw a skilled, technically proficient, powerful athlete.

Like Regan Smith, Weir began swimming in Apple Valley, Minnesota. At age 10 she had a tryout with SwimAtlanta where Stu Wilson, who was to coach her for four years, observed “you just knew she was going to be good.” Wilson, now head women’s coach at the University of Evansville, says “when she was 11, Amanda found herself in a very good summer training group. All were in the top of the team in their respective events as 12-year-olds nationwide.

Just how good? Let us count the ways. One swimmer was Eric Shanteau, who became a 2x U.S. Olympian, 2x gold World medalist and American and WR holder. Then there were the Hupman sisters. Christie was 2x Georgia High School swimmer of the year, 5x state champion and four year varsity swimmer at UGA. Andrea was 5x state champion, 9x CSCAA All-American at Northwestern and U.S. national team member.

“It was a tremendous group for Amanda and she enjoyed being around them. It was tough trying to keep her with her friends, whom she loved, because you knew if she trained with the senior group she would not be happy.

“One LC training set was a turning point for her. We were doing 30 x 50 on a minute. She started out holding 31’s and dropped to 29’s for the last eight-to-ten. Shanteau was doing 38’s breaststroke as a 12-year-old. There were guys going 28’s and 29’s and they did not want Amanda beating them. But she made them better.

“Summer of 1998 at senior nationals in Long Island Amanda went 27.54 in the 50 free and was named Rookie of the Meet. The following January she went 23.15 and then earned Olympic Trial cuts going 22.99 in the American short course championships and then 26.16 at long course nationals. “Her confidence just grew after that,” says Wilson.

“When she was 13 at Indianapolis she was right next to Amy Van Dyken (already 4x Olympic goal medalist). I remember Amy checking her out and doing her usual spit in your lane routine. Amy beat Amanda but I don’t think it phased her. She is very laid back, a very good and considerate person who didn’t like to stir things up.

“Believe it or not Amanda didn’t care that much about competing, but behind the blocks she was a very competitive person.” So competitive that in high school she was a part of four consecutive high school championship teams, was the first Georgia high school female swimmer to go eight for eight in individual state championships and was named Georgia 5A athlete of the year. In 2005, her one year at the University of Georgia before turning pro, she was a 7x CSCAA All-American and anchored four relays for the NCAA champion Bulldogs. She was also recognized as the Atlanta Amateur Athlete of the Year.

  1. How good did Weir become?
  2. Very. While she set an American record in the 100-meter free (53.58) at the 2006 ConocoPhillips National Championships, Weir is probably best remembered for the four relay medals she won in three Olympic Games: 4 x 100 free (silver, 2004, 2016); bronze, (2012), 4 x 100 medley (2004). In addition, across long and short course world competition, Pan Ams and Pan Pacs, she amassed 27 medals (11 gold, 14 silver, two bronze).

Her lone world record came in December 2009 at the British Gas Duel in the Pool in Manchester, England. There she anchored the medley relay team of Margaret Hoelzer, Jessica Hardy and Dana Vollmer with her 52.55 (3:47.97) to help break Canada’s old mark by 1.48 seconds.

Training Sets Done as an 11-12 Year-Old

“We did a lot of drill work and a lot of kicking in 4,000 yard practices,” says Wilson. The workouts below are ones Weir did when she was 11 and 12 leading to her current 50 yard freestyle NAG mark of 23.15.

#1 – SCY

20-30 minutes of dryland – abs and body weight exercises

1 x 300  choice

4 x 200  50 kick, 50 swim, 50 drill, 50 swim choice                                                                3:45

4 x 100  25 right arm, 25 left arm, 50 swim

One of each stroke **breast – 25 3 kick /1 pull, 25 2 kick/1 pull      1:50

4 x 25    one of each stroke build                                                                                              :30


8 x75     Odd -50 dolphin kick on back, 25 Up-touch back

Even – 50 dolphin kick on back, 25 underwater pull fly                                         1:30


2 x 150  50 fly, 100 back —  work the back                                                                            2:30

3 x 100  50 back, 50 breast –- work the breast                                                                    1:40

4 x 75    50 breast, 25 free –- work the free                                                           1:20

6 x 50    free – 25 build, 25 fast                                                                                  1:00

12 x 25  #1 stroke – Amanda did back

Odd – easy, even – fast                                                                                 :30

Held :13 high 0n backstroke

Warm down


#2 – LCM


This is the set before she went 26 in the 50 free long course and 23.1 in the winter

1 x 200 choice



4  x  100   25 right arm, 25 left arm, 50 catch up with straight arm breathing every 3  2:15

2 x 50 build                                         1:00


1 x 100  casual kick w/ board     2:30

2 x 50    kick fast                               1:00


6 x 100  pull – fingertip paddles

Odd – last 25 fast;

Even – last 50 fast           1:45


30 x 50  best average                      1:00

Amanda was holding 30’s and 31’s – the last 8-to-10  29’s

Warm down

“I used to do a lot of descending sets with Amanda. Some examples:

6 x 100 Descend 1 to 3 and 4 to 6

1-3 IM                   1:45; held 1:04’s and 1:05’s

4 – 6 free              1:30; frees were 55+


8 x 75 descend 1 to 4, 5 to 8 backstroke  on 1:20

#4 – 46+, #8 45+


3 x 200 free descend on 2:50

This was impressive for a 12-year-old


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2 months ago

What’s more, on March 11th, 1999 (her 13th bday) she went 22.99 in Austin, TX. Should’ve swam that a day prior!

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