Forget About Laps – Introducing ‘Speedo Fit’ Water Training


Commentary by Casey Barrett.  
Introducing ‘Speedo Fit’ Water Training… Featuring Lochte, Missy, Cullen… and Mr. Laird Hamilton

It’s not often that Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, and Cullen Jones are overshadowed when they’re standing around a pool. They’re three of the most recognizable faces in the world of swimming, and on Tuesday morning in New York City the trio was serving as ambassadors for Speedo’s latest initiative. Their sponsor is launching Speedo Fit – think of it as cross training in the pool. Complete with running shoes, compression shorts, and an assortment of exercises familiar to dry land workouts, but seldom executed underwater.

It’s an interesting though less than revolutionary concept. (Water aerobics, aqua spinning, underwater hockey, they’ve all been ‘things’ for awhile now…) And that’s just what the event’s main attraction was quick to point out. “The first underwater cross training was introduced by the Polynesians a couple thousand years ago,” he said. His name is Laird Hamilton, aka world’s greatest Waterman – and with all due respect to Kelly Slater, the most recognizable surfer on earth.

Lochte, Missy, and Cullen might be superstar bold-faced names in the Olympic orbit, but Laird has transcended all those pool-bound glories. Seeing him speak to the assembled 60+ media, with the Speedo stable looking on, was a bit like watching Michael Jordan showing up at March Madness. Sure, the players on the court are riveting in their own right, but we’re talking single-name icon here.

With Laird’s inspiration, coupled with a partnership with human performance gurus, EXOS, Speedo has forged a program that “takes the laps out of pool training.” For a retired swimmer like myself long burnt out on laps, but who still deeply relishes every moment in the water, this was an appealing pitch. That pitch fulfilled its promise when 18 of the braver media members assembled slipped into Speedo’s ‘swag’ and tried out the workout ourselves.

Lochte, Missy, and Cullen hopped in too, standing in the middle of our group and offered some pointers. From the pool deck, EXOS founder and president Mark Verstegen, led us through the drills. Verstegen’s company has trained an impressive assortment of professional athletes – from “over half of the NFL Combine” each year to a range of Major League Baseball players, loads of Olympians, and plenty of others. It’s hard to imagine a founder who more looks the part of the business he started than Verstegen. Ripped and electric with energy at 46, he’s served as the perfect complement to Laird’s laidback wisdom. Or as one magazine editor in attendance put it: “He’s legitimized the science behind Laird’s intuitions.” It’s a formidable partnership, and Speedo’s earned some props for looking beyond the laps and the strokes that define – and sometimes suffocate – our sport.

Swimming, they’re saying, is about a whole lot more than butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Indeed, the most telling part of the event was what wasn’t said. Not once during the morning’s presentation were any of the four strokes mentioned. There was zero mention of anything recognizable as a traditional ‘swimmer’s workout.’ If not for the three American swim stars there, it might have been easy to miss the connection at all.

And that’s a good thing. The sport has long held itself back with its over obsession on competitive swimmers’ notions of what it means to be a swimmer. If you’re not doing laps and racing the clock between a pair of lane lines, then you’re not really swimming, you’re just in the water. Which isn’t the case at all, but we can all get caught up in that assumption. Laird was there to help disabuse us of that thinking.

“It’s all about breath,” he said. “Something we take for granted when we’re standing around on land. But when you’re under the water, breath is foremost on your mind.” This from someone who has spent many minutes of his life pinned under mountains of white water. Fall off a giant wave or two and you’ll never take breath for granted again.

The ‘Speedo Fit’ program is “all about the benefits of water for sustainable high performance,” he said. “But it doesn’t just make all athletes better. It makes humans better.”

And as we wrapped up our aqua workout – which it must be noted felt nothing like water aerobics – Laird and Verstegen led us in the most relaxing warm down ever. Everyone grabbed a noodle and a kickboard. We stuck the noodle under our shoulders, the board under our thighs, and we were instructed to just lay back and breathe with eyes closed.

Lochte, Missy, and Cullen joined us.


Official Press release courtesy Speedo USA. 

SPEEDO USA, a division of PVH Corp., today announced the launch of the first phase of a new total body aquatic training program, Speedo FIT, ushering in the next evolution of fitness. Created in partnership with EXOS, the global leader in human performance, Speedo FIT is a platform designed to inspire and equip athletes at all levels to explore the unique science and power of training in the water.

“Speedo USA is looking at the water a bit differently these days; it’s an all-in-one fitness center that offers more benefits than the land,” said Jim Gerson, President of Speedo USA. “It’s no secret that swimming is one of the best full body workouts, but this water training goes beyond swimming laps, shifting the workout from purely horizontal to vertical, including cardio, resistance, weight-lifting and stretching. As we advocate this new training environment, we are using our expertise and medal winning performance in the water to provide the best quality and comfort in aquatic training apparel and gear, backed by a regimen developed in partnership with EXOS, to make training in the water both challenging and accessible.”

In partnership with EXOS, Speedo USA used a science-based approach to identify the key benefits of water to design specific water training techniques. The workouts complement land-based routines and allow for customization based on fitness goals including Power, Endurance and Recovery. The comprehensive Speedo FIT program is available at, including information on the five major benefits of water; more than 60 training and swim tip videos, and Speedo USA’s innovative assortment of fitness suits and water training gear.

“EXOS has relied heavily on aquatic training to fulfill our responsibility in helping the best get better,” said Mark Verstegen, founder and president of EXOS. “Immersing our clients in aquatic training environments has given them a competitive advantage by improving their performance. We’re excited that Speedo, the global aquatic leader, is committed to sharing this training platform with athletes of all backgrounds who will benefit from high-intensity training programs proven to decrease pain and elevate performance.”

In addition to the partnership with EXOS, Speedo USA is teaming up with legendary waterman and surfing legend,Laird Hamilton. Hamilton has spent his life as a passionate advocate of water-based training, and his expertise is regularly featured in national fitness publications. Additionally, his innovation within this environment makes him a credible collaborator to work alongside Speedo USA on future hard goods training products and accessories essential for a complete aquatic workout.

“I am excited to partner with Speedo USA, a brand that has been committed to water-based activities longer than I have,” said Laird Hamilton. “The opportunity to join forces with a company that is looking for ways to have people enjoy and function better in the water couldn’t feel more natural and I am eager to share with them all I know and have learned about the water as an everyday training environment.”

As part of the launch of Speedo FIT, Speedo USA will introduce a 360 advertising and marketing campaign, including a 60-second TV commercial to motivate consumers to #GetSpeedoFit. Featuring five of Team Speedo’s elite Olympic athletes – Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian and Cullen Jones – the spot highlights a variety of exercises that can be done in water to inspire all athletes to embrace the power of the water. The spot will run digitally beginning in April before it airs nationally this summer. Speedo FIT will be supported through a dedicated page on and featured across all social channels, at activations nationwide and in select retail stores. In addition, Speedo USA is engaging its roster of Team Speedo athletes and coaches to drive awareness of the benefits of water and water-based training, as well as focus groups with some of the top trainers in the country. When exposed to Speedo FIT one professional trainer commented, “You created a new modality…its’ like you’d be doing all these (things) outside of the pool. Now (you) can do it inside.”

There’s fit, and now there’s Speedo FIT.

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Maritere RdzArana
7 years ago

Alejandro Castañeda todoenelaguaforeverandever

Lin Tozer
7 years ago

Brandon Gillespie … something different …

Jen Thompson
7 years ago

Lindsay Swiderski-Taggart…this is so cool!

Karyssa Nelson
7 years ago

Mike Nelson

Sirkku Henkari Tampio
7 years ago

“500 – Internal server error. There is a problem with the resource you are looking for, and it cannot be displayed.”

Adriana Addison
7 years ago

Is there a guide! Or is this a program at a YMCA?

7 years ago

Yup! Go onto They made a ton of videos showing you how to do all of the movements!

Betty L Millis
7 years ago

Not at our YMCA

Adriana Addison
7 years ago

Betty L Millis ?

Adriana Addison
7 years ago

Is there a guide! Or is this a program at a YMCA?

7 years ago

Jibber Jabber!
I was doing water running 15 years ago
Herschel Walker write a great book more than 20 years ago
Difference is – no kit was required so there was no profit in it
Every pool I’ve been in Japan has had at least one lane for people to do their own water exercises and they all seem to manage without any equipment

Alicia Swiderski-Caraballo

That’s awesome!!

Veera Kivirinta
7 years ago

Jenna Laukkanen Mimosa Jallow noi kahvakuula voltit ??

Mimosa Jallow
7 years ago

Noi kaikki näytti nii hauskoilta ku noi tekee ne ? ite ku tehää nii ei ois varmaa kyllä yhtää ton näköstä ??

Jenna Laukkanen
7 years ago

Se ois sitä mein tamppausta 😀

Aiden Smith
7 years ago

Jaden Harris Drew Ross-Ashby

Drew Ross-Ashby
7 years ago
Reply to  Aiden Smith

Winter training.

A Monika Kurlandt
7 years ago


Lauren LaBriola
7 years ago

Rebecca LaBriola John LaBriola

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