The results at world championship the American sprint events was abysmal at best. Here are a few examples, look for yourself:
Men’s 50m Breaststroke
50m Brasse Hommes
1 4 SILVA Felipe BRA 0.65 25.95 CR
2 5 VAN DER BURGH Cameron RSA 0.61 26.03 0.08
3 8 HETLAND Aleksander NOR 0.64 26.29 0.34
4 1 SCHOEMAN Roland Mark RSA 0.64 26.41 0.46
5 2 ALEXANDROV Mihail USA 0.68 26.44 0.49
6 3 VAN AGGELE Robin NED 0.68 26.50 0.55
7 7 TRIZNOV Aleksandr RUS 0.68 26.71 0.76
6 SCOZZOLI Fabio ITA DS
Women’s 50m Freestyle
50m Nage Libre Femmes
1 4 KROMOWIDJOJO Ranomi NED 0.72 23.37
2 6 SCHREUDER Hinkelien NED 0.71 23.81 0.44
3 5 VANDERPOOLWALLACE Arianna BAH 0.57 24.04 0.67
4 2 HARDY Jessica USA 0.70 24.09 0.72
5 1 ALJAND Triin EST 0.67 24.16 0.79
6 3 LI Zhesi CHN 0.72 24.18 0.81
7 8 POON Victoria CAN 0.75 24.19 0.82
8 7 BRANDT Dorothea GER 0.68 24.21 0.8
I mean, this is embarrassing. The USA won one event (women’s 50 breast) by a swimmer I wouldn’t qualify as a sprinter! Americans currently have 1 LCM world records (women’s 50 breast).
This is going to address overtraining in swimming and if you don’t believe most programs overtrain spriners, skip this article.
How someone can train 5000 yards a day for a 50 yard race blows my mind. Oftentimes 5000 is a minimum volume for sprinters. Seriously, look at college swimming the most valuable swimmers are sprinters, why not cater towards these events? American sprint freestyles are acceptable, but Americans prevent many athletes from reaching their true sprint potential (especially in strokes) by scaring away kids with great anaerobic potential secondary to high yardage or one dimensional training philosophies. It is embarrassing! Why would any sport push away some of the most explosive, athletic athletes because they have difficulties swimming practices which the main set contains distances 8x their best race? Imagine if Usain Bolt only did mile repeat training throughout his career. Do you think he would hold the current WRs? I feel he would be in Jamaica trying to find 3 buddies for a bobsled team, or he would be relaxing instead of wasting his fast twitch muscles running endurance races!
Overall I feel youth training can scare true sprinters away from the sport. This is embarrassing and sad, as some of the top athletes are discouraged to continue the sport because they are told they are weak or don’t have proper mental toughness for swimming. This needs to stop and practices need to cater towards the athletes’ strengths. If you have a powerful swimmer, who dies long and hard with repeat 500s, CHANGE THEIR TRAINING PROGRAM!