How They Train: A Look at the Work That Prepared Claire Weinstein For Star Turn (Sample Sets)


In the May issue of Swimming World Magazine, Michael Stott featured Westchester Aquatic Club coach Carle Fierro, who mentored Claire Weinstein as a youth. Here is a look at the work of Fierro with Weinstein, who now trains with Sandpipers of Nevada and recently qualified for the World Championships.

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Olympic and hall of fame coach Dave Salo once remarked that a coach’s job was to develop a swimmer and hand them off to the next coach. Carle Fierro, head coach of Westchester Aquatic Club, has done that with her latest prodigy, Claire Weinstein.

Standing 6 feet tall, Weinstein has used her physical attributes, mental strength and swimming technique to vault to the top of the table in the 13-14 age group.

Consider this: Before turning 15 on March 1, she was the top-ranked LC female freestyler in the 100-200-400-800 and SCY 100 (tie)-200-500-1000-1650, with power point numbers in the 900-1000+ range. Last June, she was the youngest Wave II Olympic Trials swimmer in the 200-400-800 free. And she holds two NAG records: 1650 yard free (15:52.84) and 200 meter free LC (1:58.53). The latter time tied eventual world record holder Sippy Woodhead’s 1978 age group standard.

In September, Weinstein moved to Las Vegas to train with Ron Aitkin and his Sandpiper distance group. Prior to that, her aquatic training had been with the Fierro family at Westchester Aquatic Club.

“Claire joined the Wolverines at age 6,” says Fierro. “Her older brother, Michael, wanted to train with a group of talented boys I had, and Claire came along. My son, Chris, recognized her great feel for the water and ability to focus. At 8, she began training with me.

“Claire was extremely easy to coach and was really good at communicating how she felt in the water. That helped me create the best workouts for her. In addition, she displayed a great singlemindedness in attaining goals. She was diligent about doing workouts and motivating team members to do their best as well. At 9, she wanted to do the mile. I told her to just keep her stroke long and try to do three dolphin kicks off each wall. I was blown away at that point and knew I had someone very special.

“In 2019, I was able to get substantially more pool time. I had a group of girls who really liked distance, so I created the ‘Distance Diva Group.’ The members ranged from 6-12 girls who wanted to train distance on the weekends. That training opportunity really elevated Claire to the next level.

“A real key to the success that both Claire and Kate Douglass had with me is that they really focused on doing drills correctly. Their ability to move a lot of water while controlling their speed was truly remarkable,” says Fierro. “They had a clear understanding of the connection of swimming efficiently, controlling their speed, training well and how it reflected in their performances.

“In addition, their competitive focus was not on beating other swimmers, but achieving times. When close to achieving a goal, I always planted another to give them something to think about and train for.”

May 2021 (LC)
• 500 loosen up
• 4 x (100 pull on 1:30 – 100 kick 1:50 – 50 drill/50 smooth – 1:40)
• 6 x 50 desc 1-3 on :50 – 3 pace on :45
• 200 (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect with snorkel – 50 double arm back)
• 4 x 100 @1:40 (max heart rate 25 strokes per lap or less – under 1:10 – Claire held 1:09)
• 200 (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect with snorkel – 50 double arm back)
• 4 x 150 on 3:10 (1 perfect – 1 build – 2 cruise)
• 200 (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect with snorkel – 50 double arm back)
• 8 x 100 @1:40 (max heart rate 25 strokes per lap or less – under 1:09 – Claire held 1:07-1:08)
• 200 (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect with snorkel – 50 double arm back)
2 mins rest
• 400 for time (fast @ under 4:30 – 25 strokes per lap or less – Claire went 4:24)
• 200 (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect – 50 double arm back)
• 8 x 50 on 1:00 from dive – 200 free pace – Claire held :30-:31
• 200 IM kick
• 200 fly (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect – 50 double arm back)
• 4 x 50 fly on :60 – desc 1-3 sprint 4, no fins
• 200 back (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect – 50 double arm back)
• 4 x 50 back on :50 – desc 1-3 sprint 4
• 200 breast (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect – 50 double arm back)
• 4 x 50 breast on :60 – desc 1-3 sprint 4
• 200 free (50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect – 50 double arm back)
• 4 x 50 fast free on :50 – holding :31-:32)
5:00 swim-down
* * *
On Weinstein’s move to Sandpipers, Fierro says, “I honestly couldn’t offer Claire the resources she needed to take her to the next level. Ron Aitken at Sandpipers could. Claire has come back and visited her friends and the team, and she is happy.

“I am thrilled to have been a part of her swimming development. My job is to provide them with the best skills for success, but it’s their journey. I am only a small part of their success. I really believe that family, coaching, friends and opportunity are ingredients needed for success at this level.”

Dave Salo would agree.


Event-Age 10-Age 11-Age 12-Age 13-Age 14

50 Free-:27.1-:25.87-:25.31-:23.53-:24
100 Free-:58.3-:54.6-:52.69-:50.66-None
200 Free-2:04.87-1:55.79-1:52.15-1:47.61-None
500 Free-5:26.07-5:08.85-4:54.03-4:44.1-None
1000 Free-11:18.92-10:29.5-10:06.67-9:43.75-None
1650 Free-19:41.02-17:35.74-16:46.33-16:29.2-None
50M Free-:31.22-:30.17-:28.28-X-26.63
100M Free-1:06.88-1:04.92-:59.45-X-56.65
200M Free-2:23.57-2:16.45-2:06.9-2:01.96-1:58.95
400M Free-4:59.03-4:44.99-4:21.82-4:15.29-4:11.11
800M Free-10:37.03-X-9:06.85-8:45.34-8:36.46
1500M Free-19:49.70-18:32.90-17:16.07-16:59.04-16:45.42

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