Journey to Olympic Trials: Leaving on a Jet Plane

Commentary by Jeff Commings, SwimmingWorld.TV associate producer

PHOENIX, Arizona, January 27. I overslept this morning. I saw “5:30” on the clock, and for a brief moment, considered staying in bed. But I didn’t know when my next pool workout would be (more on that later), so I rushed through my morning routine and drove like a maniac to the pool. Though I drove about five miles per hour faster on the highway than I usually do, it only saved me about one minute. Lesson: no need to speed!

To add to my lateness, I didn’t sleep very well last night. I woke up around 2:00 and don’t think I truly fell asleep again until about 3:30. Obviously, it wasn’t easy to get into the workout, but I think I did very well.

Here’s what I did in today’s workout:

300 warmup

2×100 breast kick no board on 1:30

(1:19, 1:21)

50 easy

8×25 free drill on :30

4×50 back kick with short fins on :45

(averaged :35)

50 easy

8×25 free :10 rest

8×25 breast pull with short fins on :30

(averaged :14)

50 easy

6×25 free kick drill :10 rest

6×100 free on 2:00, descend 1-3, 4-6

(54.2 on #3, 52.8 on #6)

100 easy (with stretching)

Total: 2,300 yards (60 minutes)

At the gym (4:30 p.m.)

Five minutes shoulder warmup

Sitting bench press (15 @ 110, 12 @ 130, 10 @ 150)

Leg press (15 @ 150, 12 @ 170, 10 @ 200)

Lat pull (15 @ 100, 12 @ 130, 10 @ 150)

Box jumps (three sets of 20)

10 minutes abdominals and stretching

The set of 100s at the end were surprising. I felt like I was swimming comfortably on number three, and did not expect to be that fast. Putting all my energy into number six got me about a second faster, which was good. I don’t think I’ve been under 53 for a fast 100 free in a long time, but I don’t think I’ve done a fast 100 free in a few months.

I haven’t done a gym workout in two weeks. Things felt a little sore going in, so I didn’t try to push it too much. I will likely be doing a brief three-week strength building phase in mid-February, to get my fast-twitch muscles stronger and pumped for racing in March, in addition to my work with JR.

So, why am I not sure when my next pool workout will be? It’s because I’m going to Rome for nine days. I’m getting on a plane later tonight, and though I know there are plenty of pools in Rome, I’m not sure if they are open for lap swim, or how expensive it is to “drop in.” I do plan on doing a lot of walking, so that will provide lots of exercise, and I think my hotel has an exercise room to keep my upper body in shape. I plan on visiting the site of the 1960 Olympics, which was also where a couple of infamous world championships took place.

This should be a fun trip! I won’t be blogging during my travels. If I do get to swim in Italy, I will let you know all about it when I get back!

Reprinted from Jeff Commings’ blog at

Jeff Commings will be the third-oldest male in history to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. He holds a few Masters world records and was an All-American at the University of Texas.