How They Train Ross Dant – Sponsored By TritonWear

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Hickory Foundation YMCA distance ace Ross Dant continues to build a whale of a resumé. Last year at age 15, he was the youngest male at U.S. Olympic Trials. Seeded 90th out of 97 swimmers, he posted a 15:41.56 to finish 44th. A little more than a year later, he is a member of USA Swimming’s national junior team.

In April at the YMCA Short Course Nationals, Dant won the 500, 1000 and 1650 yard freestyles (4:21.33, 8:57.64, 14:57.03—a Y national record by more than 10 seconds) and finished fourth in the 400 IM (3:53.56).

He also competed well at this summer’s USA Swimming National Championships before posting impressive results at the YMCA Long Course Championships in August. There he set a second national record, this time in the 400 meter free (3:56.82), and placed second in the 200 free (1:53.50) and 200 fly (2:05.40), third in the 200 back (2:04.39) and eighth in the 100 back (59.29) to continue what has been an extraordinary last 18 months.

Dant currently holds 12 North Carolina Swimming state records. With two years of high school remaining, ranks him second in the state of North Carolina and sixth nationally in the Class of 2019. Globally, he is ranked first in the 800 meter free and third in the 1500 for 16-and-unders for the year 2017.

Says coach Jon Jolley, “Ross is a very unique athlete, and we are lucky to have him on the team. He is the real deal. He is not just a fast athlete—he is humble and a great leader to his teammates. He has what I call the ‘it’ factor. You can’t teach it. You can’t coach it. People either have it or they don’t.

“On a daily basis, his goal is to bring his teammates to a higher level. He is also great with the younger swimmers, sometimes even giving them a pep talk before a big set at practice.

“Our goal is to develop Ross into the most well-rounded athlete he can be,” Jolley said.


Set #1

Focus of the set: 400s
3x the following with a 2:00 break between rounds:
• 100 @ 1:20
• 200 @ 2:30
• 300 @ 3:30
• 400 @ 4:20 (Ross was 4:14, 4:16, 4:14 on the 400s)

Set #2

Swim straight through

Coach Jolley: “Swimmers dread this one, but they embrace the hard work.”

30 x 100

  • 5 @ 2:00
  • 5 @ 1:50
  • 5 @ 1:40
  • 5 @ 1:30
  • 5 @ 1:25
  • 5 @ 1:20

Coach Jolley: “We ask swimmers to pick a target time for all 30 and hold it regardless of the interval. Ross’ goal target time was 1:01 this past summer.”


SCY 2014 2015 2016 2017
500 Free 4:59.49 4:38.97 4:28.2 4:21.33
1000 Free 10:19.6 9:33.4 9:08.5 8:57.64
1650 Free 17:04.8 15:54.4 15:12.6 14:57.03
400 Free 4:26.02 4:08.11 3:58.9 3:56.60
800 Free 9:04.27 8:32.67 8:14.15 8:02.90
1500 Free 17:13.8 16:07.52 15:36.7 15:26.93

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This article originally ran in the November 2017 issue of Swimming World Magazine.

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5 years ago

Kelly Slazinski Dant

5 years ago

Thanks for tagging!

Matt McDonald
5 years ago

Looking forward to 2020, 2024 and 2028 so I can say, “See that swimmer? I am friends with the Coach who coached his Coach.”