USRPT for 12&unders

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    I’d like to know if USRPT has been done on age group swimmers 12&under. What are the results? And what type of distances are they swimming in a practice. I am referring to age groupers who are already hitting national age group time standards AA and above.

    I like this concept and the research I have read on it. My questions are these. 1. has this worked for age gropuers 12 & U. and do the teams using USRPT with age group swimmers have a history of success? From what I am reading 25-30 rest on the wall during race pace sets are what is required to be successful with training. Is that the same for 12 & U when you have some who swim a 50 yd. 50 at 45 sec. and others in group who are swimming 28 sec.? 3. My biggest concern is in an hour and half practice what is the stroke work and body line focus to race pace ratio for the faster swimmers in the group? Or does that even matter.

    Thanks so much looking forward to responses.


    Hey Swimin,

    I coach 8,9 & 10 yr olds with USRPT (there is also a 6 year old girl in the group who has national times already) and I’ve seen really good results with it. I always keep my sets targeted between 15-25s rest and because of USRPT my swimmers have become very disciplined. They get their own times and tell them to me (including the 6 year old).

    To answer your question, the times difference doesn’t matter because USRPT is specific to the individual so the swimmer going 45 and the swimmer going 28 are on the same set with different target times and different expectations and hopefully in different lanes. Also, the science doesn’t discriminate by age and it still applies to 12&U within reason as they have the same energy systems

    As far as technique to work ratio. Our practices always begin with 15-30 minutes of technique work because that’s when fatigue isn’t an obstacle to learning. Our practices are only 1.5 hours and I can often get in two USRPT sets, if I want, but sometimes we play games.

    ? P2Life - Performance Nutrition


    Thanks so much for your response Denaj. This group is practicing for 1.5 hours as well (ages 9 to 11). There seems to be a lot more stroke work and wall time in our practices, than what you are saying. This group went from practicing about 2500 to 3200 in a practice to switching philosophies and now doing race pace. Which I am totally on board with but I am concerned it is not being done USRPT way. I feel like it may a modified version for this particular group. I believe it is being done this way because the group has large range of swimmers. Some who really need a lot of stroke technique and others who could always use more stroke technique but really don’t need an hour and 15 minutes of it. This group is only doing one race pace set per practice and the set is the last 15 minutes of the practice. The set is 10 25’s or 5 50’s. I am concerned for the hand full of the top swimmers in that group wondering if they should be moved out. But then you run into an age difference in the next group where they are mostly 11-13 year olds with a few older 10 year olds. The coach for this group (9-11) is very new to working with fast 10&U who want to hit the top levels of national age group times. The coach is trying, but for this group of 9 to 11 year olds it is hard for the coach to manage it all. I have watched our other groups and coaches seems to be on board and know what they are doing with USRPT. Anyone else out there running into these issues. All feedback is welcome. Thanks



    The problems you are facing with move-ups is difficult for all coaches and all clubs regardless of whether they are utilizing USRPT or not.

    Also, while I have coached 3 years in age group swimming and 2 years in college swimming, I would recommend that you not worry about the intervals as much as you focus on proper technique and intensity.

    The true benefit of USRPT is the neuro-muscular programming AND THEN the conditioning aspect. In reality, the adaptations are dynamic and simultaneous, but the whole point of USRPT is to return to the Specificity Principle. Practice how you will compete. Technique first, then condition within that technique. Turn the dial on the intervals once they have achieved race-technique and intensity, and provide technique feedback during the set so that they are focused learning and practicing the technique.

    So, my advice would be, if some kids are getting more rest, don’t worry so much. Make sure ALL of your athletes are swimming at race pace within race appropriate technique THEN tinker with the intervals.

    Our college guys did 25s 100 free pace on :30. They got between 15-19 seconds rest, when perhaps 10-15 seconds rest was more ideal. However, it was so much easier to calculate times doing the sets on :30 with a digital clock, that it was perhaps more advantageous for them to get an extra 5-10 seconds rest. They still did more strokes within a specific 100 freestyle technique and intensity than we did before in our previous training.

    Hope this helps!

    I'm proud of what we've done, but I know 5, 10, 20 years from now I'll wonder what we'd done had we done it 'right'


    Thanks for your reply and sorry it has taken me so long to say thank you. I guess the biggest concern here is with the 9-12 yrs who are doing well with the distance events and seem to really like swimming middle distances. 200, 400, 500. Is this the best method for them with long rests between each set? And like I said in an earlier post I like the idea of all of this but if it’s not being done exactly the way it is intended are we benefiting the kids who were getting great times prior to training USRace Pace. Then you put them in a 200M or 400M free and they are dying at the end of the race. Can not keep the pace? What do you call this? Are they possibly out of shape because the training distances are less? Are we possibly coaching this technique the wrong way? Is there a maximum number kids that should be with one coach for this type of training. I know Michael Andrews does this training 3 x a day and he is the only swimmer in his workout group. Anyone’s thoughts are welcome. And if you have this type of swimmer please share your advise, and your successes.

    Greg Tucker

    I’d be interested to know what kind of sets they are doing for the 200 and 500?

    20 x 75 or 30 x 50 is a tough set for 500 training. But that’s the minimum that needs to be done before you will start to see results in my opinion. Takes a while. We had to work our way up to that many reps. But when the kids accomished it, they had good 500 times.

    Greg Tucker


    I have a daughter that just started with race pace training at Christmas. She went to Far Westerns as a 10 yr old this past month. She bettered her 50 and 100 free but had a dismal 200 and 500 free (added 30 seconds collectively). She flat out died and looked miserably out of shape. After talking with her coaches, they said they tapered her for almost 3 weeks and that’s what they attributed that to.
    I’m still concerned with yardage though. We have spoken with a couple of swimmers folks who are personally using race pace. They are homeschooled and elite swimmers, and the one 10 year old is swimming approx 3500 yards a day (2 practices a day) and pretty much all at race pace. This swimmer also won all but 1 of her races at Far Westerns.
    As a mom, I get not wanting to push kids to swim with kids that are too much older than them but when I have a kid who wants to swim the 200,500, and now the 1000 (turned 11 last week), it’s hard for me to watch her drown in the middles distance events.
    Thoughts? Also, she and a couple of her teammates are work horses and not afraid to do more yardage, etc. I personally love this coach, but asking him to train 20-40 age groupers at race pace seems nearly impossible. And then when they aren’t swimming more than 1000 yards at race pace, how is she to prepare for her events? Sorry for the book, just a bit confused and frustrated.

    Greg Tucker


    A couple of thoughts. A three week taper seems excessive for USRPT training. I dont see this in any of Rushall’s literature. And we certainly don’t do it

    Yardage. It may be more important to girls than boys. That is what some of Rushall’s comments seem to suggest in his clinics. Maybe some traditional yardage training needs to be blended in for female distance swimmers. But, if trained properly, she should not die on 200s and 500s.

    Do you know her sets for these distances? She should be swimming 3-5 x the yardage of the race. For example, 20 x 75s for the 500 or even 30 x 50 is the minimum. For the 200, she should be holding pace for 12 – 16 50s or 10-14 75s. If she can successfully complete these sets for 200 and 500 race pace training, then she should be able to swim goal times in these races.

    Lastly, how is she calculating her goal time for races and then translating it to race pace training?

    Hope my 2 cents helps. Good luck.

    Greg Tucker


    Wow, A three week taper for a 10 year old girl?!
    Now matter what the yardage in season that is an excessive taper.

    I am convinced the USRPT works bet for mid distance and doesn’t have to be
    altered much for the 1000 ( or 800 now that it is long course season ) and above.

    It sounds like those home school kids you mentioned are doing well with it.

    Managing a big group can be a challenge but that is the case no matter what the program.


    Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I am learning about USRPT there is no taper. @swimmama you did say the home schooled children you know doing this race pace training are training 2x a day. At 10?? I would think training 2x a day is a lot of swimming for anyone under 12. Isn’t the point of this training to do less distance. This is where my confusion comes in because I understand Micheal Andrew (another home schooled child) is doing this training 3 x a day. And hey more power to these programs who have kids that really love the sport and get them in the water for workouts 2 to 3 times a day and having swim meet success. Reality is the majority of kids are not home schooled and most coaches and parents don’t want there 12&u swimming more than once a day at any level. Any thoughts? Can these kids compete with those doing race pace 2+ times a day if the workout is less than 1500 yards? I am thinking the works need more than 1500 yards or meters a day. By the way I am learning a lot here. The questions and responses are educational. I hope for everyone else too. This is new to many and are we are all trying to learn from others experiences. I don’t think any of us would be here if we were not interested in the program. : )

    Greg Tucker

    Just a small correction. Michael Andrews does 2 sets per day, two strokes per set. Usually 60 – 75 mins.

    His dad obviously knows him well. If he’s off the slightest bit (timed to 1/10 of a second), he rests. Or if he is really off, they will drop the whole practice. No slow swimming – at all – for Michael Andrew.

    We had the privilege of watching him practice with Becca Mann and Josh Davis at the recent Lawrence clinic. Good kid, good family.

    Greg Tucker


    @Greg I have heard nothing but great things about Michael Andrew and his family. From what I understand he is very nice kid and they are a great family. Looking forward to seeing more of him in the swim world.


    I have three swimmers – 13 year old boy, 10 year old boy, and 10 year old girl. They will turn 14 and 11 this summer. We home school, so our schedule is up to us. Our available pool hours are 5-7:30 am, 9-11 am, 2:30-5:30 pm, and 7-10 pm Mon – Thur. Friday allows the 2:30 slot to go until 10 pm. Weekends are 8 am – 6 pm. I am not a credentialed coach, but I am responsible for their training as we are not a part of a team. I know Michael Andrew swims twice per day, but he is 15. Do you know how long he has done two a days and how many days per week he practices? If anyone can help with specific workouts, I would greatly appreciate it. We were in Tulsa when Michael Andrew broke 20 seconds. It was an awesome thing for my kids to see!


    This site needs a pay-pal account for parents asking for advice and workouts. Really! First we need to help each other.

    I’m sorry. But from what I can gather the majority of coaches on this site have very litle expierence with USPRT or Parametic Training Methodology (less than a year) either with older swimmers 14+ and especially younger swimmers. It’s like me telling a neurosurgeon how to perform brain surgery. Might get lucky, I wouldn’t bet my life on it.

    We have used the Parametric System for over 18 years with older and younger swimmers and have data covering that time frame. What it has shown is that age group swimmers have no clue, whether they are on “foot or horseback” so it becomes about teaching the system so they have a stronger understanding of the fundamental/skills needed to become a senior swimmer.(period) that they swim fast is nice, but not the sole determining factor.

    The younger and even older swimmers are in cacaos biologically speaking it’s trying to grow, not growing, stops for awhile then starts again. How many of you measure your swimmers 2 times per year to know Peak Height Velocity? Developed an IM protocol within the system for age groupers? What about development of the myelin sheath (nervous system), starts then stops, then starts again and we’re going to try and we’re going to try and prove a system off of 12 & unders. The majority play harder with their friends then swim at practice.

    I get wanting to be helpful. but stop and think or we turn into swimswam 🙂

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"


    Some great questions from parents. Amazing how many great swimmers/gymanasts/track athletes can trace their success to committed parents who gave their child an opportunity to achieve their full potential.

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