What Are Some of the Reasons for Large Time Drops?

PHOENIX, Arizona, September 18. IN response to the September's Voice For The Sport entitled “Right or Wrong, Doping Questions about Ye Shiwen Need to Be Asked“, Dick Goodley of Kinston, N.C. responded with the following in-depth Letter to the Editor regarding reasons for large time drops.

In your subject article you raised the issue about Ye Shiwen dramatic swim times in the IM at the 2012 Olympics and particularly the 100 free split on the end.

I may have some explanations besides doping. I am a research scientist by training and worked for a Fortune 500 company for 44 years.

I taught swimming since age 13 and coached for about 60 years. I attended sports medicine meetings from 1968 to 1976. I swam competitively in high school from 1947 to 1950 and college from 1950 to 1954. Then I played water polo under George Brodgman, former Hungarian Gold medal winner in 1952 Olympics when the Hungarians beat the Russians. I then swam Masters and Senior Games.

My book: “Success in a Small Town Swimming Program” has my interview with Dr. Alois Marder, former head of Sports Medicine at University of Leipzig in the former DDR. Dr. George Greenwell, former head of Swimming Sports Medicine for USA contacted him and brought him to the USA to lecture at the 1976 National AAU Convention on how the East Germans trained. I had contacted Dr. Greenwell about two swimmers that I had trained in 1974 that made huge time drops to qualify for Senior Nationals and World ranked level. Then in 1975, they went to a swim training camp. Jennifer Nye trained for the 1976 Olympics at the same camp. In 1975, they were broken down so badly that my daughter then 16 did not do the times she did in 1974 and quite swimming. If fact, they were slower. Jennifer Nye, went to the Olympic Trials in 1976 and was 3 seconds slower in the 100 back and 6 seconds slower in the 200 back. Dr. Greenwell said the overtraining was a big problem in the USA before the 1976 Olympics.

I talked to Flip Darr who took over coaching Steve Gregg after his college season was over in 1976. Steve also was broken down according to Flip. He recovered under Flip's training and got the silver medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

I also talked to Sherm Chavoor, who coached Mark Spitz when he won the 7 gold medals in Munich. Sherm told me that he told Spitz, “Here are your sets. When you feel RECOVERED from the previous ones, then you can go ahead with the next sets” or basically words to this effect. So he was not broken down at Munich. Dr. Marder told the group during his lectures that the East Germans trained 6000 meters in 6.5 hours, high intensity and long recovery time. The East Germans also trained at high altitudes before the big competitions. It is scientifically known that high altitude living and or training will generate more red blood cells to carry the oxygen to the muscles. So this may explain Missy Franklin's performances at the Olympics. She lives and trains in Colorado which is at about 6000 feet above sea level.

Tracy Caulkins and my daughter Carolyn Goodley swam against each other from the time they were age 10. Then Tracy went to Florida and Carolyn to Auburn. Tracy's dad and I officiated at the US Swimming and NCAA National Championships. So we were friendly. I asked Tracy's dad how she could swim so fast. He told me that he was a psychologist and trained her to overcome pain.

In 1974, I trained Jennifer Nye and my oldest daughter, Linda, in my two lane pool from about March to mid-May and then in the Kinston outdoor pool until the end of June. We went to a long course meet in late June. Their time drops compared to the 1973 summer times were spectacular.

100 fly 200 fly 200 IM 400 IM
Linda 1973 1:12.7 2:50.9 2:38.0 5:35.6
1974 1:04.17 2:34.0 2:29.98 5.19.64

Jennifer 100 back 200 back 100 fly 200 fly 200 IM
1973 1:12.8 2.39.0 1:13.97 2:46.7 2:43.38
1974 1:08.69 2:26.05 1:09.5 2:27.91 2:35.15

The times in 1973 and 1974 were done in all nylon suits. Nylon/Lycra were not available until 1975.
Linda's fly time was 5th fastest in USA and 13th in the world and 200 IM time was 18th in US, 3rd at JN. Her 400 IM time was 5th fastest in JN.

Jennifer's 1974 times in 100 and 200 back and 200 fly were as fast as the JN winning times. They were NC senior records at age 14.

So how did the girls make such big time drops in just a few months training? I followed Doc Counsilman's book, “The Science of Swimming” published in 1968. The girls did dryland for 30 to 45 minutes before swimming to build arm strength with stretch bands, free weights and back pressups.

They built leg strength with vertical jumps with 20 to 30 pounds weights. Linda had a 28 inch vertical jump when tested her freshman year at NCSU when she tried out for the basketball team. The girls trained in the pool with paddles and flippers at high intensity and then rested until heart rate dropped back to about 100 beats/minute. Dr. Marder and Doc Counsilman stressed the importance of proper recovery. We did the pulse rate test when I was in swimming in college from 1950 to 1954. Again getting the pulse rate below 100 was the target before the next hard swim.

I do not know of any team around NC that trained the way we did then.

So here are 3 possible explanations for major time improvements.

1. high altitude training.
2. blocking pain mentally
3. All high intensity training with paddles and flipper with good recover time.
4. Genetics from parents and grandparents.

Dick Goodley
Kinston, NC