How To Train For Long Course Meters Without Long Course Meters

By Jason Tillotson, Swimming World College Intern.

Within the swimming community it is often argued that competing at an elite level in long course meters, or Olympic-sized pools, requires a substantial amount of long course meters training. While some of these arguments are valid, one could argue that training for long course meters does not necessitate training in a 50-meter pool. Throughout this article I will share some thoughts, philosophies, and workouts that help prepare athletes to be able to compete at a high level in a 50-meter pool, with limited or no access to such facilities.

The general evidence for elite level long course swimming without a long course pool for training is prominent, especially in the U.S. where many YMCA, city-owned, and public school pools are short course yards, yet the U.S. still plays host to the fastest swimmers on the planet in long course meters. Perhaps the best example is age group standout, Michael Andrew, who trains in a two-lane 25-meter pool in his backyard, with little emphasis on longer aerobic work, yet is still able to hold 11 National Age-Group Records in long course meters.

Reece Whitley, another age group up-and-comer trains in a 25-yard facility, yet he advanced to semifinals at the most recent Olympic Trials. Ian Crocker, before he started his star-studded career at The University of Texas, trained in a tiny 25-yard pool and is a former world-record holder in the LC 100m butterfly. Missy Franklin, in the early portion of her career, swam in a small, crowded 25-yard pool as well and went on to become the world-record holder in the LC 200m backstroke.

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