Swimming World Presents – The Toughest Workouts, Part 2

SW December 2020 - The Toughest Workouts, Part 2
From left: Sherm Chavoor, Debbie Meyer, Michael Burton and Mark Spitz [Photo by International Swimming Hall of Fame]

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The Toughest Workouts, Part 2

By Michael J. Stott

Swimming has had its share of taskmasters over the years. In the second of a two-part series on workouts designed to push swimmers to their limits are some sets from respected authoritative figures at Germantown, Arden Hills, Bluefish and Florida who have trained exceptional athletes that have excelled on the international stage.

 

OLD SCHOOL TRAINING…
Sherm Chavoor founded the Arden Hills Swim and Tennis Club in 1954 and, in time, coached Olympic gold medalists Debbie Meyer (3), Mike Burton (3) and Mark Spitz (9). Chavoor was a USA Olympic coach in 1968 and 1972, ASCA Coach of the Year in 1968 and an ISHOF inductee in 1977. He believed in distance training.

When Meyer and Burton swam at Arden Hills, they did a lot of overdistance with repeat swims on minimal rest of no more than 10 seconds.

“That was the key to our success,” says Meyer. “I am not sure swimmers today would be able to handle the practices mentally for more than a day. By today’s standards, they were boring. We swam approximately 80 grand a week, mostly six days a week and twice a day. There were optional days like the holidays, and I swam those with Mike.

“One session was a taper practice prior to nationals in April 1968. We would do anything Sherm asked. I swam 5 x 500 on six minutes or less. I can’t really remember the exact amount, but I know I couldn’t get more than a complaining sentence out after each swim.

…AND NEW SCHOOL
Bluefish Swim Club coach Chuck Batchelor has a reputation for offering difficult workouts and a knack for turning out winners. Two of his most celebrated athletes are Laura Sogar, NCAA 200 yard breaststroke champion in 2013, and Elizabeth Beisel, three-time Olympian (2008-12-16) and two-time Olympic medalist (silver, bronze).

“The hardest set I ever did with Chuck,” says Beisel, “was 48 x 400s. They ranged from freestyle to IM to back strap (strap around your ankle) to broken 100s on 1:05. We did it all in one shot the day before Thanksgiving. It was nicknamed ‘Chuck’s Thanksgiving Day Special.’”

THE GERMANTOWN WAY
Of course, any conversation about rigorous workouts is incomplete without mentioning Germantown Academy’s Richard Shoulberg. In his storied career, the Philadelphia area coach trained more than a dozen Olympians, including David Wharton, Sue Heon, Trina Radke and David Berkoff.

As preparation for the 1986 World Championships, Shoulberg proposed that 16-year-old Wharton do what no one had ever done: a continuous 16,000 long course meters IM.

On Columbus Day 1985, Wharton began 250-meter blocks in IM order of fly, back, breast and free. His instructions were, “I want a good effort on each 1,000, so let’s just go after the damn thing.”

At the 8,000 mark, the swimmer stuck his head up, went 100 meters of backstroke and told Shoulberg he had miscounted the backstroke. Shoulberg thought, “Oh my God, this kid is special.”

Wharton then repeated the exercise every 28 days, each time dropping the set by 3,000, working down to 1,000 meters two-and-a-half weeks before World Championship Trials. Shoulberg told his charge, “Nobody in the United States has worked as hard as you. When you go up on the blocks for finals, remember you outworked everybody.”

Sure enough, Wharton qualified for the team, passing American record holder Jeff Kostoff in the final 10 meters. One year later at Pan Pacs, he set the world record with a 4:16.12.

To read more about each coach’s toughest workouts,
check out the Swimming World December 2020 issue…Click here to download now!

SW December 2020 - World Swimmers of the Millenium (So Far) Cover[PHOTO CREDIT: PETER H. BICK]

 

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Swimming World Magazine December 2020 Issue

FEATURES

012 SWIMMERS OF THE MILLENNIUM’S FIRST 20 YEARS (2000-19)
by John Lohn, David Rieder, Andy Ross and Dan D’Addona
World & American: Michael Phelps & Katie Ledecky
European: Pieter van den Hoogenband & Inge de Bruijn
Pacific Rim: Ian Thorpe & Leisel Jones
African: Chad le Clos & Kirsty Coventry

019 PROVING THEIR METTLE
by Andy Ross
After the South African media made several disparaging comments about the women’s swimming team in 2016 when none of their swimmers had qualified for the Rio Olympics, Tatjana Schoenmaker and her South African teammates have been supporting one another and working together to show just how good they can be.

021 FIT TO BE TIED
by John Lohn
At the 1972 Munich Olympics, Sweden’s Gunnar Larsson was awarded the gold medal in the men’s 400 IM, edging USA’s Tim McKee by 2-thousandths of a second. Subsequently, international swimming rules were changed to record results to 1-hundredth of a second, allowing for ties among swimmers with identical times.

034 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH CLAIRE CURZAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

010 TOUGHEST WORKOUTS (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Swimming has had its share of taskmasters over the years. In the second of a two-part series on workouts designed to push swimmers to their limits are some sets from respected authoritative figures at Germantown, Arden Hills, Bluefish and Florida who have trained exceptional athletes that have excelled on the international stage.

038 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: BREASTSTROKE BREATHING HEAD TIMING DELAY
by Rod Havriluk
In breaststroke, most swimmers learn to synchronize their head and arm motions to breathe and to recover to the non-012 breathing position. However, a delay in the head motion both to breathe and to recover affords benefits of less resistance, more propulsion and a faster stroke rate.

040 SPECIAL SETS: DAVE SALO—THE MAN AND THE METHOD
by Michael J. Stott
Dave Salo has represented the United States as an Olympic, World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships coach and has guided the USC Trojans to 18 NCAA Top 10 finishes in 14 years. But his enduring legacy will most likely be his training mindset that emphasizes race-pace training and quality over quantity.

043 Q&A WITH COACH MICHAEL BROOKS
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN THOMAS HAGAR
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

037 DRYSIDE TRAINING: POSSIBLY THE 5 BEST DRYLAND EXERCISES EVER!
by J.R. Rosania
If done properly and regulary, these exercises can enhance your stroke, technique, power and speed.

JUNIOR SWIMMER

047 UP & COMERS: ERIKA PELAEZ
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT THE ART OF SWIMMING?

026 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

036 DADS ON DECK

046 HASTY HIGH POINTERS

048 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

3 comments

  1. Zlatko Boko

    this sets are so stupid that i am ashamed to read about it…16000 long cours IM for 16 ( or 23 or 127) year old…48 x 400 …cmon , this is like gold and silver medal at ‘ Olympics in molesting athlets with useless trainings’

  2. Ryan Guerra

    You’re doing a disservice to the sport and the coaching profession to glorify anything that Richard Shoulberg did as a coach. This man blatantly supported abuse in his team, and was abusive himself, towards athletes in his care. He should be on the Safesport banned list, along with his buddies Rick Curl, Joe Bernal and Mitch Ivey, but he made a secret deal with former and disgraced USA Swimming head, Chuck Wielgus, to avoid any punishment. He is nothing more than a bitter old man who needs to just go away, along with his cult of supporters. And he should be thankful that he’s still allowed to coach.

  3. Ryan Guerra

    Just another article by Swimming World glorifying abuser Coach Richard Shoulberg. This man should be on the Safesport banned list. Calling on USA Swimming to do the right thing and retire this guy for good!

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