David Marsh discusses preparations for the 2021 Olympic trials

Elite team head coach David Marsh discusses preparations for the 2021 Olympic trials

One of the best trainers in the world, David marsh is just months away from being inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He’s also looking to guide his last group of athletes to success next month. United States Olympic Trials in Omaha. Now the head coach of Team Elite Aquatics, a professional training group for Olympic hopefuls, Marsh first became a coach when he coached seven NCAA Men’s Championships at Auburn (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007) and five nationals. championships (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007) on the women’s side. Following the 2007 victories, Marsh left his role at Auburn and became elite head coach and CEO of the United States Olympic Committee’s Center of Excellence with SwimMAC Carolina. The coach of the women’s team at the 2016 Olympics, Marsh recently took the time to discuss his team’s preparation for a major summer.

WORLD OF SWIMMING: To start off with a fairly broad question, could you detail Team Elite’s training cycle plan leading to Omaha? How have the volume and intensity developed from the ISL season so far, how will they evolve as we approach trials and how do you individualize that progression for each athlete?

Photo courtesy: Kasapoglu Mine / ISL

DAVID MARSH: Well, during the ISL season we made a real effort to get through the competitions. About halfway through the ISL, most of the athletes I coached were swimming at their best. They didn’t have the big drops at the end like you see with typical frontal training followed by a big cone because they would run, swim aerobically, run a little more, then swim aerobically again.

After ISL, we focused more on basic training. We had a bit more pool time at that point so we were able to do what most would consider a traditional training program. We only did two doubles per week to keep our volume relatively low with 40,000-50,000 yards per week and 30,000-40,000 yards for sprinters, so we’re definitely more of a quality-oriented program.

Our cone for the Olympic trials will be a fairly traditional cone for me. What I do is basically start making some adjustments to the intensity about six weeks later. We continue to lift weights and do the same volume since I keep the mileage relatively low in normal workout, but we lower the intensity further and try to make sure that we really nail the details on the days when we train hard. Even today, which was a mid-level training session, Anastasia gorbenko did 3 × 200 breaststroke going down to 2:36 which was even and a great race. Kathleen baker also swam a 2:13 200 backstroke that day with a race suit, which was also shared and looked good. What I want to see from my swimmers at this point is that they are mastering their swimming, which is why we are doing tests like this.

So our training will decrease naturally, but my decay sequence follows SPA, which means we go between a speed day, a rhythm day, and an aerobic day, which I think a lot of other trainers do as well. , although some may believe more. in SPAAA. Either way, we’ll start running the SPA between two and six weeks depending on the athlete. So some of my swimmers getting ready for practice have already started this and then we load it up differently. Loading will change based on their performance, feelings, appearance, you name it. I just told my group of pros that I need some really honest and correct feedback for now. If you come to training and you don’t feel good, or you warm up and don’t feel like you can do something special that day, then I need to know because I can adjust the plan for you specifically that day. And you know, sometimes I won’t adjust because I want them to be forced to play while they’re not feeling very good, but other times I will make that adjustment if I feel like it. ‘they need it.

Jul 13, 2014;  Athens, GA, United States;  Swimming coach David Marsh chats with Ryan Lochte during Sunday's Bulldog Grand Slam final at the Gabrielsen Natatorium.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Photo courtesy: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the day I feel like this time of year it’s all about the confidence and preparation they’ve made, the technical improvements they’ve had. given and their self-confidence to get on this block and be extremely confident that they can run their best runs at the right time.

SW: So, as a coach, what do you do to build and nurture that confidence in your athletes on the days they feel bad?

DM: I try to listen and understand why this is the case, why they feel bad. For example, the other day some of my guys got a deep massage from our specialist who is from Los Angeles, so I back off their load because I understand that you need a few days to get over this. At the same time, we have to do some work on certain days. It comes down to a lot of communication between us about how they are feeling and what we are observing. I would rather someone be a little more rested and prepared than overtrained, tired, or emotionally exhausted. Another element of it is just to remind them of the great things they did in training and the year it was! In San Diego here, just over a year ago, we were able to enter the backyard pool during the pandemic, we were able to move to Coronado Island as the main training center in June. to get the LCM work we needed, and that made it possible not to feel like we were behind anyone.

SW: Have COVID or international travel posed challenges for the formation of Team Elite since the Coronado facility opened last June?

DM: Definitely, I mean we lost our main pool. Before the pandemic, we were training at the Jewish Community Center in La Jolla and the new pandemic restrictions really inhibited the amount of training we could do. So even though we were finally able to move to Coronado the problem was all of our guys lived around the JCC pool and we lift weights in Del Mar so they have to drive an extra 35-40 minutes to train. in Coronado, which only takes extra time, energy and planning.

SW: Tell me about the team dynamics with your professional swimmers. With so many individual talents in Team Elite representing so many different countries, how do you see leadership on deck?

DM: Excellent question. I would say our leader makes transitions based on time and purpose. Throughout the year Jacob Pebley is the hard worker, get in the water on time, do the intervals, action guy. Kathleen Baker is the emotional leader, coming every day very excited about the practice and wanting to know everything we’re going to do, what details we’re going to focus on, if I’m on a caffeine pill, everything she needs to do to be amazing at this practice. She is very motivating. Lately, however, Anthony Ervin is back in town to practice the trials and brought a lot of leadership with his knowledge. He is honestly a trainer in the water. Just yesterday he was working with Andi Murez about her departure and he had very valuable observations for her that I absolutely would not have retained. So I would say we have a lot of great, separate leadership elements that work very well together and lead at different times in different ways.

SW: Finally, are there any other highlights of swimming that you would like to share?


Photo courtesy: Kasapoglu Mine / ISL

DM: Recently, it was not a swimming practice, but the most notable was a small meeting that we organized where Linnea Mack swam a 54.0 and 24.9 in the 100 and 50 free meters. So she has made tremendous progress. We’ve been working a lot on her running strategy, actually slowing down the first 50 so she can really use her phenomenal underwater kicks the full 15 yards of that second wall to put her in the right position to return. at home really strong. Too, Kristian gkolomeev was under 22 seconds the entire time in the 50 freestyle in practice. He usually goes 21.7-21.9 on the hand watch, which can be a low 22, but he can honestly go anytime in any condition during practice.

One more thing I would like to add is that we are having a fundraiser for our athletes on June 3rd at The Plunge by Mission Beach. We are going to organize a clinic first, followed by a few races with our pros, and then they will spend time telling their Olympic stories and answering any questions. We would really love to see swimmers from the San Diego area come forward to support us.

David Marsh Coaching Honors:
Head Coach of the 2016 United States Women’s Olympic Team
2016 Inducted into the North Carolina Swimming Hall of Fame.
2014 US Women’s Pan-Pacific Assistants Team Championships, Australia
2012 United States Men’s Olympic Team Assistant
2010 USA Men’s Duel in the Pool Head Coach
2005 USA World Championships Assistant Assistant Men’s Assistant
Head Coach of the 2003 United States World Championships
2005, 2003 USA Men’s Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool Head Coach
National college and school swimming trophy 2003 and 2000
2003 Board member of the Greater Lee County Boys and Girls Club
2000 USA Assistant Coach of the Men’s Olympic Team
1999 United States Men’s Pan-Pacific Team Assistant Coach
NCAA Female Coach of the Year: `01,` 02, `03
NCAA Male Coach of the Year: “ 94, `97` `99,` 03, `04
SEC Male Coach of the Year: `92,` 93, `97,` 98, `99,` 01, `03,` 04, `05
SEC Female Coach of the Year: `93,` 02, `03
Knoxville News-Sentinel Men’s Coach of the Year: “ 93, `95,` 98, `99,` 01, `03,` 04
Knoxville News-Sentinel Female Coach of the Year: `92,` 93, `03
Inside Auburn Tigers Coach of the Year: `93,` 96, `97,` 03, `04
1996 USA Assistant Coach of the Men’s Olympic Team
1995 Head Coach of the US Men’s Pan-Pacific Team
1994 USA Women’s Assistant Coach – World Championship Team
Honored on the Auburn Tiger Trail which commemorates the athletic achievements of coaches and athletes. 2015 Auburn Swimming Hall of Fame.
Marsh also sits on the boards of the American Swimming Coaches Association as well as the Championship Performance Advisory Committee.

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