How They Train Claire Becker – Sponsored by TritonWear

Photo Courtesy: Kirby Beierle

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Claire Becker is a 5-foot dynamo who has swum for the Missoula YMCA swim team since she was 5 years old. She is a multi-sport athlete, president of her junior class at Hellgate High School, swim team captain for both Hellgate and MYST and a recent senior sectional qualifier in the 500 and 1000 yard freestyles. At the 2018 Montana High School AA Swimming and Diving State Championships, Becker notched a third in the 500 and fourth in the 200 yard freestyles.

Coach Kirby Beierle was one of Becker’s first coaches, and she remembers her as a very athletic lover of the water whose understanding of the dolphin kick led to her mastering butterfly before freestyle. “She easily qualified and swam well at the state meet as an 8-and-under,” says Beierle.

“Although swimming comes naturally to her, going fast hasn’t always been her No. 1 priority—so we’ve had to work on that. Throughout middle school and the first year of high school, she remained a really solid swimmer. Ultimately, her work ethic and intensity grew, and she achieved cuts for regional meets

“At the start of her sophomore year, her increased confidence and love for the sport led to more training intensity, expanded expectations and higher goals. She continued that momentum into the long course season and even averaged three swim training days a week during her fall soccer season.

“Becoming a MYST captain has forced Claire to grow in her leadership skills,” adds Beierle. “She is very coachable, works hard and, as captain, has grown to lead her team verbally in ways more than just cheering. She has a heart of gold and is incredibly approachable to every single one of her teammates from age 5 to 18.

“At five feet of pure muscle and personality, she is hilarious and always has her team doubled over in laughter. Her approach to life is so light-hearted and warm that I often find myself wondering what it would be like to spend a day in her brain.

“She has the ability to be very critical of herself without being over the top or disappearing into her head when overwhelmed. She makes being dedicated, having goals and striving for them obtainable to her teammates,” says her coach.

A two-year member of the Montana Zones team, Becker is currently one of two Junior Athlete Representatives for Montana Swimming. She was invited to attend the 2017 USA Swimming convention and plans to attend the 2018 USA Swimming Leadership Summit this spring.

MID-SEASON MID-DISTANCE/DISTANCE RACE PACE SET

(with comments from Coach Beierle)

• 10 x 50 free 500 pace on :45 (hold 31s or under)
“Focus on consistency going in and out of turns. Hit the same spot on breakout, taking same number of dolphin kicks off wall and stroke count.”

• 500 free with fins and snorkel on the 7:00
“Shoot for under 5:15. Focus on high-elbow catch and relaxed recovery with a kick-dominant stroke.”

• 20 x 50 free end with flip on 15 seconds rest (hold 31s or faster)
“Maintain the exact stroke count, dolphin kick count, breakout point and breathing.”

• Minus-a-minute 500
“All on 500 race pace.”

• 25/10 seconds rest, 50/10 seconds rest, 50/10 seconds rest, 75/10 seconds rest,
75/10 seconds rest, 125/10 seconds rest, and 100
“Becker tracks her rest intervals, drops a minute from her total elapsed time to determine her broken 500 time.”

Progression of Times

SCY2014201520162017This Season
200 Free2:07.762:06.532:05.641:58.66---
500 Free5:46.025:38.155:28.635:15.415:09.41
1000 Free12:33.4711:47.3011:32.1810:58.9410:46.95
1650 Free20:55.56---19:51.9518:40.0318:32.15
200 IM2:40.282:31.492:25.142:17.74---
400 IM---5:11.294:56.084:47.174:43.57

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This article originally ran in the April 2018 issue of Swimming World Magazine.

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Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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