Special Sets: The Training That Guided Virginia’s Jasmine Nocentini to NCAA Stardom

Jasmine Nocentini

Special Sets: The Training That Guided Virginia’s Jasmine Nocentini to NCAA Stardom

The women’s NCAA championships are over. The University of Virginia won its fourth straight title in dominant fashion, renewing the ongoing discussion of a dynasty. Carol Capitani’s Longhorns finished second again and Florida flourished with a third-place finish, its best in years.

Third-year Cavalier Gretchen Walsh has deservedly grabbed most of the meet’s headlines but Virginia’s deep supporting cast merits plaudits as well – especially Jasmine Nocentini. In Athens, the fifth-year grad student staked a claim as one of the Hoos all-time best sprint freestyle and breast sprinters.

Over the four days, she was a staple on four Virginia winning relays and secured a first in the 100 breaststroke (56.96), a third in the 50 freestyle (21.10) and fourth in the 100 free (47.00). Equally impressive were her rocket-like starts off the blocks. In the 100 free, she was first (.61), 50 free (.61; tied first) and the breast (.62; third). In the 400 free relay, her leadoff reaction time was (.54; first/47.06) and in the 200 free relay (.61;  second/20.23) and only behind Gator Bella Sims’ unfathomable .47.

Early Notice

At last October’s University of Virginia-Texas showdown in Charlottesville, Cavalier associate coach Tyler Fenwick pointed to Nocentini and said: “watch her, she is really good and going to be great.”

Courtesy: Peter Bick

Nocentini, a native of Italy, is a fifth-year grad student at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce. Her early competitive swim training took place in Panama. At 17, she matriculated to Florida International University and spent one year there before enrolling at Northwestern. In her second year in Evanston, she posted best times for the Wildcats in the 100 breast (58.31), 50 free (21.59), 100 free (47.76) and 200 free (1:45.42) before being sidelined with a late season shoulder injury. Shortly thereafter, she entered the transfer portal.

The summer of 2023 found her in Italy and visiting her parents in Panama.

“I’m not sure how much she practiced from last spring until she appeared in Charlottesville,” said head coach Todd DeSorbo. “She wasn’t in swimming shape when she showed up, but she is athletic and strong.”

Nocentini faced two obstacles in her early days on the Lawn. One was the lack of summer training. The second was a conflicting grad school schedule.

“First semester, she practiced three days, a lot on her own, and did doubles twice a week with the team. That schedule was a good way to get her back into training,” DeSorbo said.

Another impediment to UVA acclimation, aside from grad school status, was her age and quiet demeanor.

“As a grad student, she didn’t have the opportunity to mingle with her teammates in class. She is also older (21) and really quiet, so it’s been harder for her to get integrated into the team from a social perspective,” DeSorbo noted.

Nocentini didn’t begin to hit her stride until winter training began in earnest. In October, “she couldn’t handle the workload physically,” said DeSorbo. “At the beginning, if we did 6 x 100 long course 100 freestyle on 1:20, she couldn’t make it. If we did it on 1:30, she’d finish holding 1:20.” As the consistent Virginia training took hold, Nocentini improved, doing a full workload and handling it well.

“Her racing was a pleasant surprise,” DeSorbo said. By November’s Tennessee Invitational, she posted NCAA A cuts and personal bests in the 50 and 100 free (21.45/46.75), leading off Virginia’s 200 and 400 free relays. “By early March on the 100 free LC set, she was holding under 1:05.”

“Second semester, her training got significantly better,” said her coach.  “And in a meet, when the lights come on, it’s Holy Cow. She is so fast off the blocks.” So fast, in fact, that in five of her eight flat starts at February’s ACC championships, her reaction time was better than all the other A finalists. “She’s been huge on relays and a great team player,” noted DeSorbo, with speed that contributed to her five ACC Championship firsts, i.e., in the 200/400 free and medley relays and the 100 breast (57.01).

“You never know about a fifth-year transfer,” said DeSorbo. “You only have them for a season, six months really. She’s come a L-O-N-G way and done really well for just being here so short a time. “She’s not an aerobic animal, but one of the most athletic, strong explosive power swimmers I’ve ever worked with. She’s probably the closest to a top end sprint female I’ve ever coached.”

And the best may yet to come. “She went to Italy for the European Short Course Championships in December and even shocked the Italians,” said DeSorbo. There she finished third in the 50 breast (29.31prelim; 29.41 final), was part of the Italian winning 4 x 50 mixed medley relay (23.38/1:36.58) and second place 4 x 50 mixed free relay (23.39/1:28.28). “At that point the Italian Federation realized she was really good and needed to invest in her  and now they are.”

Nocentini’s Virginia obligations prevented her from attending the most recent Italian Olympic Trials in March, but she will have a final chance at the Sette Colli Trophy in June.

Nocentini Sets (Done three weeks prior to 2024 NCAAs)

100 BREAST SPEED RACE SIMULATION

LIFT + 200 LOOSEN

4 X 150 @ 3

50 KICK ONLY, 6 KICKS PER 25, 50 ONLY 4 STROKES, 50 2K/1P STRONG

 

4 X 100 RACE SIMULATION

1 X 50 HARD KICK @ 2 (35-36)

8 X 25 @ 30 RACE SWIM (13 mids)

4 X 50 CRUISE SWIM @ 1

 

12 X 50 W/D

 

JAZZ BR 6/7 STROKES (56.5 = 26.5/30.0 = 13.5)*

*JAZZ BR 6/7 STROKES (56.5 = 26.5/30.0 = 13.5) for Jasmine. “I set her goal time at 56.5, her best is 57.0, so goal was to try and hold 13.5’s with 6 to 7 strokes per 25.  That’s her stroke count for her race 100” said DeSorbo.

 

THRESHOLD FREE/BIG KICK LCM

LAND + 200 LOOSEN

1 X 600 SWIM W/FINS SNORKEL 50 DRILL (SA POWER OR FTD)*, 50 SLING SHOT, 100 KICK GO HARD LAST 25

*(SA POWER OR FTD), single arm freestyle trying to be powerful or fingertip drag drill

 

6 X 100 CRUISE KC+SC W/SNORKEL @ 1:30*

*KC+SC = Dolphin kick count + stroke count, they have their own specific kick count for their personal 100 free and have to hold under 30 strokes per 50 LCM

 

6 X 50 KICK W/SOX @ 1:30 HOLD @ 1:00 OR BETTER (IF CAN’T, ADD FINS UNDERNEATH)

6 X 100 SWIM @ 1:30 AEROBIC EFFORT  (Held 1:08-09)

4 X 50 KICK W/SOX @ 1:30 HOLD @ 1:00 OR BETTER (IF CAN’T ADD FINS UNDERNEATH)

6 X 100 SWIM @ 1:30 THRESHOLD EFFORT (held 1:04-05)

2 X 50 KICK W/SOX @ 1:30 HOLD @ 1:00 OR BETTER (IF CAN’T, ADD FINS UNDERNEATH)

6 X 100 SWIM @ 2 ODD’S CRUISE, EVEN’S GO HARD (GOAL IS QUICKER THAN YOU HELD ON LAST 6) (held 1:02-03)

 

10 X 50 W/D

 

150 BREAST SPEED SCY

 

ALL W/20 SEC REST

1 X 200 LOOSEN

1 X2 00 SOCIAL KICK

1 X 200 KICK 50 STROKE KICK

1 X 200  DRILL (BREAST 2K/1P)

 

 

1 X 100 IM HARD EFFORT @ 2

1 X 200 IM W/FINS SWIM STRONG @ 2:30

1 X 300 KICK 50 BREAST/50 FLUTTER @ 5:30

 

3X

4 X 25 MAX EFFORT SWIM W/SOX @ 1 (EXTRA 60 AFTER LAST ONE)

1 X 100 KICK ON BOARD @ 2 DESC 1-3

3 X 50 STRONG SWIM @ 1 LOCK IN & BE CONSISTENT (held 29-30’s)

1 X 50 EZ @ 2

 

4X

1 X 100 STRONG KICK @ 3

1 X 100 SWIM BUILD A BEAR*  (25/50/75/100 xrd hold end goal pace entire time (shooting for 1:00)

Went 13/28/45/1:01

*”We do a set called build a bear, sometimes it’s a 100 and sometimes it’s a 200.  Start with a 25 and then add a 25 until you get to the full distance.  In this case it was a 100.  They pick a goal time they want to go on the 100 and have to try and hold that pace all the way through.  So in Jazz’s case if she wanted to go a 1:00 in the 100 breast (from a push at the end), then she needs to try and hold 15 on the 25, 30 on the 50, 45 on the 75, then try and go 1:00.

 

9 X 50 W/D

 

POWER BREASTSTROKE – SCY

 

LIFT + 200 LOOSEN

 

4 x 50 KICK W/BOARD @ 1

3 X 100 IM DESC TO STRONG @ 1:30

4 X 50 KICK W/BOARD STRONG @ 1

2 X 100 IM DESC TO STRONGER @ 1:30

4 X 50 KICK W/BOARD STRONGER @ 1

1 X 100 IM STRONGEST @ 1:30

4 X 50 KICK W/BOARD BEST @ 1

 

SOX:

12 X 25 MAX EFFORT @ 1

4x U/W Kick, 4 x PULLOUT + swim, 4x PUSH & GO SWIM

 

FRENCH CONTRAST:*

* A weightlifting term, it means heavy resistance followed by no resistance, followed by light resistance, followed by assistance.

 

2X

4 X RACKS BUILD TO HEAVY @ 45/60 XRD

2 X 25 MAX EFFORT RACE SWIM @ 1/2

4 X RACKS BUILD TO LIGHT @ 45/60 XRD

2 X 25 MAX EFFORT RACE SWIM W/FINS @ 1/2

1 X 100 EZ

 

9 X 50 W/D

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Swimmer
Swimmer
19 days ago

More set examples from top swimmers!

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x