How They Train: A Look At the Work of Rising Breaststroke Star Piper Enge

Piper Enge

In the How They Train segment of the June issue of Swimming World Magazine, the training of Piper Enge is explored. Enge is a rising breaststroke star out of Mercer Island High School in Washington.

Mercer Island (Wash.) High School has an impressive aquatic heritage, boasting 23 boys’ and girls’ state titles, two Olympic medalists (Nancy Ramey, Mary Wayte) and NCAA swimming and water polo All-American Megan Oesting. Wayte and Oesting won eight Washington state high school titles between them.

The latest in this lineage is rising junior Piper Enge, who is ranked by (Swimcloud) as Washington’s No. 1 female recruit (eighth nationally) in the Class of 2024.

Last fall, Enge won championships in state record and NISCA A-A times in the 100-yard breast (1:00.44) and 200 IM (1:59.92). She also recorded the second fastest breaststroke split in the 200 medley relay (28.92) and the fastest split (49.50) of all 64 competitors for her team’s second-place 400 free relay.

But wait, there’s more. At the Winter Juniors-West in December, she posted a 59.83 and 2:09.09 in the 100 and 200 yard breaststrokes. In March’s TYR Pro Series-Westmont meet, she clocked a 1:08.12 in the 100 LC version, making her the fifth fastest 15-year-old ever (and 10th in 15-16) in that event.

At the Phillips 66 International Team Trials in April, Enge’s 1:08.12 stood fourth among American women. At the meet, she qualified 10th (1:09.27), then finished 11th overall with a 1:08.95. In the 200 breast, her 2:32.90 placed 17th.

Enge’s accomplishments aren’t terribly surprising to her coach, Abi Liu: “I admire many things about Piper as a swimmer and as a person. But the things that stand out the most are her work ethic, how genuine and how supportive she is of others. She loves to race and is a fierce competitor.

“She will often come up after a tough race and say how much fun she is having. Her love for the sport and her true passion to compete have made her a pleasure to coach.

“She’s always looking for ways to improve and puts in the hard work. She’s so dedicated that at times I have to force her to take a day off. She’s a true leader and team player,” says Liu.

“Piper’s success and that of our program is a reflection of the amazing talent of our team. Out of the pool, Coach Ash Milad has created a swimming-specific dryland program tailored with each swimmer’s growth and progress, which has contributed greatly to the upward progression we’ve seen.

“Following is a sample test set we did a few weeks ago in our home short course meters pool.”

• 75 swim w/dive @ 1:05 + 75 swim @ 1:10 + 50 swim w/ dive @ 3:30
Total time: 200 LCM BT – 8:00
• 2 x 50 swim @ :50
• 50 active recovery @ :50
• 2 x 50 @ :55 (add 4 x 50 times, beat the previous 200 total time)
• 200 active recovery
3x through: Piper went breaststroke for the first (2:34, 2:32) and third (2:28, 2:25) rounds, and IM (2:21, 2:16) for the second round.

Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach, golf and swimming writer. His critically acclaimed coming-of-age golf novel, “Too Much Loft,” is in its second printing, and is available from, Amazon, B&N and distributors worldwide.

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David Abineri
11 months ago

Swimming World and Michael Stott seem to have difficulty distinguishing between a swimmer’s accomplishments and how the swimmer trains. In this article for the How They Train column in SW there is one paragraph about training out of about 10 in the article. Coaches and swimmers would enjoy and learn from more training details with less emphasis on accomplishments.