Traditional + USRPT = ?

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    AvatarAndrew Alatorre

    I have a question on if USRPT should be mixed with traditional training. Myself, a high school swimmer, would prefer to train just USRPT, which I would do on my own, but my coach would prefer that I train with the team (traditional). Now I don’t mind the extra training, it’s that if traditional training could give mixed results, would it be better to train straight USRPT or both? Also if anybody has some advice on self training, anything you can think of to do with it, it’d be helpful.


    Let me preface my response by making sure you know that I am not a coach, and I have no experience as a swimmer. My three kids have been swimming for about six years. They are 13 & 10 year old boys and a 10 year old girl. We left our team in October, and my husband and I have been training them and swimming USA meets unattached. My husband is an official, so he does have knowledge in that area, but he also has no experience as a swimmer. He has returned to work full time and left all of the training to me.

    I have devoured Dr Rushall’s papers. My first instinct would be exactly what I see in bold letters from him, “Mixed training equals mixed results.” The team we left did traditional, high volume training. My 13 year old was swimming 5,000-6,000 yards per practice with 7-8 sessions per week. Some morning distance practices would be 8,000-9,000 yards. We did not find USRPT until after witnessing Michael Andrew go under 20 in the 50 Free in Tulsa in March. We transitioned to it and try to follow as best as we can. We have our first meet this weekend. I am very anxious to see how they do. I do see a huge difference in their exhaustion levels. The 13 year old was always tired when training traditionally. In the 6 weeks that we have been sticking with just USRPT, he has noticed a huge difference in his recovery time. All three of them seem to be much less tired and look forward to going to practice. I will update after I have hard results, but my 10 year old boy is training for the 100 Fly and hitting the target time for a 10% drop from his best time. My 13 year old is hitting targets that should equal a 1-2% drop in most races.

    As far as training on your own, I think it really depends on how much you want it and if you can keep yourself accountable. I believe it is better to have a team or at least training partners. My kids do miss being part of a team. This summer, they are going to swim with an AAU team. I am only letting them do it because I need to make sure they are still having fun. They will practice 2-3 days a week with the team and participate in four AAU meets. The coach does not do a ton of yardage and works a lot on technique. We will continue our USRPT schedule. There are three AAU teams in our area. We chose this one because the other two swim 3,000-4,000 yards per practice (8-12 year olds) and do not concentrate very much on technique.

    Does your coach have an objection to USRPT or just to you not training with him?


    Hi,Andrew. I don’t think you’re alone here. As usrpt becomes more accepted and mainstream, this will become an even bigger issue.

    I had several swimmers who were doing our high school(usrpt) and club practice (traditional). fortunately, the high school practice was first so they were fairly fresh. the problem I encountered was that there were many sessions where the swimmers doing double practices were too fatigued to actually swim at race pace. This limited their improvement.

    How tough are the high school practices? If it’s a lot of yardage, you will probably have a tough time making your usrpt goal times at your individual practice. Could you work out a compromise with your coach and present it as an experiment you would like to try? I know every situation is different and part of the fun of swimming is being with your team, but I understand your desire to achieve your full potential, too.


    AvatarAndrew Alatorre

    @crmejean Thanks, that’s a lot of good information on your experience, & trust me when I say I am willing to swim my hardest for a good more couple of years, I’m 16 & have only been swimming for about a year sadly, so i haven’t “burned out” as most swimmers do within 3-5 years of swimming, and it’s not that my coach (she) has a problem with USRPT or I doubt even knows about it, but she’s just very different when it comes to coaching, she’s inefficient, isn’t very good at coaching ( I can do a better job), I assume believes in traditional training more than anything, and when I mean inefficient, It takes her about 30 minutes to take attendance & give some information, and since my team doesn’t have a pool at school we have to walk to a pool & usually she’s the one that’s 30 minutes late, so basically its her that’s sadly the problem with the team. I probably will miss training with my team, which is why i’m considering training for about 30min – 1 hour with them, which is what most of our team’s club swimmers do, so i don’t lose the whole team spirit kind of thing.

    Sadly, my school doesn’t own a pool & rents one owned by our local park, so we only get about a hour to half an hour of practice per day around 4 times a week, usually during those sets we can get a good 4000M in a day, Now I would be doing my USRPT training in the morning (6am) and then my high school training after at (3pm). I don’t believe that’s a lot of meters for a practice I know some of the schools in my league do around 8000Y, so compared to us it isn’t much. Your statement is correct on my really wanting to reach my goals as I only have a couple more years till i’m an adult & this whole high school swimming is over, which is why i’m really wondering if it’s better to just do USRPT 100%, or if it really matters if i do a little extra on the side with traditional, I can fix the whole swimmer being tired problem by not trying my 100% during traditional training & give it about 75% or less.


    Hi, ive came across the same problem but not with just my highschool but my club team aswell, my highschool is straight traditional, but my club team is better but still about 80% traditional and 20% race pace stuff(ex we do 200pace 50’s maybe 6 times a month, the rest is traditional) its abit upsetting because whenever we do 200pace 50’s i feel so fast in the water but the next day, we switch to traditional and i can barely catch any water. Just wanted to point out that i feel your problem, i have a big championship meet this weekend and then an offseason right after for 3 weeks, i have told myself that if i dont se a significant improvement in my times(im shaved and tapered) that i will do 100% usrpt on my own for those 3 weeks of off season, even if i do see an improvement i will still do it, i believe in the training! Just some helpful tips, if you are training on your own, try to find a pool with a digital clock or try to buy a small portable one, it makes it alot easier to see if you have failed in a set or not. If you can get someone to time you that would be alot better, if not then the digital clock will be a big help!

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