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38 SwimmingWORLD —May 2006
Q: Swimming World Magazine:
Ray, what has the Indiana team dynamic
been like since the men’s and women’s
programs were combined this season?
A: Coach Ray Looze:
I’m used to having a combined team as
a coach. Previously, I coached at the
University of Pacific, and it was that
way. I’m comfortable with it. I’ve looked
up to programs like USC and Auburn
that have been run by Mark Schubert
and David Marsh. I like the way they
run their programs, and I’ve tried to
emulate that.
The men and the women are much clos-
er this year. They spend a lot more time
together outside of the pool and have a
greater respect for each other. Our work-
outs have improved tremendously. The
men push the women, and, sometimes,
the women actually push the men. The
men also help make the women better—
and the women likewise.
When you took on the program,
what was the first thing you changed?
I wanted to instill the dream that we
could be the best. Indiana has good
academics, and we are in a good loca-
tion. I let everyone know that it
would be our goal to rejoin the elite
teams in the country and eventually
fight for a national championship. It
was important for them to believe
that was possible.
What has remained true to
Indiana swimming?
Anybody who is part of Indiana
University knows that it is an honor to be
a part of this program. It doesn’t matter if
you are a part of the team or if you are
coach, it is an honor to be here. It’s an
honor to be part of the best swimming
and diving team in the Midwest.
When Doc Counsilman was coaching at
Indiana, the Hoosiers were a powerhouse
in swimming. Is it part of your plan to
build the program to that same level?
Those are the promises I’ve made to the
team and to the university. However, I’m
realistic about one thing: there is only one
Doc Counsilman. No one will win six
(NCAA Division I) national titles in a row
again or 23 Big Ten championships. We do
want to reach that same level of swimming
where we are consistently in the Top 10
nationally. Every year, we want to be com-
peting for the Big Ten title.
Does Counsilman’s
legacy still have an influence on
the way things are done at Indiana?
The Counsilman name carries a lot of
weight. We actually do a history class for the
freshmen so they understand the legacy of
this program and the tradition. Hoosiers
need to know what it means to be part of
this university and this program, of which
Doc Counsilman is a legend.
The success and tradition of the Indiana
swim team creates appreciation for every-
one throughout the state and school.
People who know nothing about the
swim team still ask about how we are
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THE “ HOW-TO” F OR BE TTE R S WI MMI NG
GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Ray Looze, Head Swimming Coach
Indiana University
COACH LOOZE
Ray Looze has achieved extraordinary
success as both a coach and a world-
class swimmer. Since he was hired as
Indiana University’s men’s swimming
and diving coach in June 2002, Looze’s
mission has been to return Indiana
swimming to the elite level it
maintained throughout the 1960s and
’70s under legendary coach, James
“Doc” Counsilman. Looze has made
significant progress. Last year,
Indiana’s men enjoyed their best
season in nearly
20 years, finishing second at the Big
Ten Championships, just three points
behind first-place Minnesota. IU then
finished 16th at NCAAs, its best
showing since placing 15th in1991.
This year, Indiana’s men won their first
Big Ten title in 21 years. And sure
enough, they improved to 12th at
NCAAs. Beginning with this season,
Looze now coaches both the men’s
and women’s swimming programs.
His women finished 14th at NCAAs.
BY DAVE DENNISTON
Coach Ray Looze wants his swimmers at Indiana to rejoin the elite teams in
the country and eventually fight for a national championship.
SwimmingWORLD —May 2006 39
doing because of Doc. The swim team is
one of the top three programs that Indiana
fields and supports. You don’t hear a lot of
swimming programs getting that kind of
respect anymore. So, yes, Doc Counsilman
has a strong influence on our program even
today.
Are you expected by the school
or the team to fill his big shoes?
I’m realistic. There’s no way I’ll come close to
doing what he did. Putting that pressure on
anyone is unrealistic. He is considered by
many, including myself, to be one of the best
coaches of the 20th century. I’ve removed
myself from that sort of pressure. On the flip
side of the coin, we are very competitive, and
we want to win a national title.
What is your fall training like at Indiana?
To win a national title, you have to train
extremely hard. The fall semester gives the
athletes the opportunity to train without
interruption for the longest period of time.
So that training is very hard and very
intense. Our Christmas training starts in
September. There are a lot of ways to skin a
cat, but you can’t shave (for a meet) twice.
So we make the absolute most out of every
practice in the fall.
We want to get to a point where we go to
the national championship meets without
shaving twice. We will get there with
time. Right now, our regimen requires
intense training the first semester. We all
shave for our conference meet, and then
again for NCAAs. The fall training also
sets us up for the summer meets as well.
And because national team competition is
important to our athletes and our pro-
gram, the fall training serves a dual role.
Does dryland training have a
significant role in your program?
We hired Mike Bastier from Auburn. He
has brought in some intense, athletic,
butt-kicking stuff. Getting our athletes
stronger and more athletic can only be
done on dry land. He has carte blanche in
that area.
In the spring and early season, the dry-
land intensity will be at its peak. By the
time Christmas training rolls around, we
will have shifted gears. At that point, the
money is in the bank. During that train-
ing period, we are vulnerable in dual
meets because we are training so hard.
That can be a tough schedule in the Big
Ten. But our approach is all about win-
ning the toughest and most competitive
meet in the world—the NCAAs.
Indiana’s men won their first Big Ten title
this year in 21 years. What was that like?
It was such a great experience. It made
me think of the first Big Ten Champion-
ship that I coached, where I told all of the
guys on the team, “We are going to win a
top-level competition, and all of you have
to embrace that.” Several of our graduate
athletes were there this year because, in
many ways, they earned that as much as
the guys in the pool. Many of the grad-
uates sacrificed their own spot or even
some scholarship to get the guys on
the team who won.
The Big Ten Championship is a
step, but there is a lot more we
would like to accomplish. Once
we do reach those accomplish-
ments, we would like to do that
every year. Just as important to us
now is being among the Top 5 at
the NCAA meet.
Championships don’t just
happen—what made this one a
reality for your team?
Good chemistry, hard work and a
belief that we could. Additionally,
we had superior depth. Twenty-
seven guys competed in the meet.
Twenty-six of them scored individ-
ually. Walk-on swimmers raised
their training and their ability to a
new level to achieve that. Even the
one guy who didn’t score swam well.
Depth is important at the conference
level. However, NCAA top-end points
are more about quality and quantity,
not just depth.
How are your swimmers
divided up training-wise?
We have a sprint group that is almost 100
percent male. It consists of about 12 guys.
We have our middle distance group that
consists of freestyle and stroke swimmers
doing the 200 and capable of up to a 500.
Many of the middle guys will do the 100
as well. Three coaches coach that group, so
there is some variety. And it’s based upon
what they need training-wise. The distance
group is made up of the 400 IMers to the
milers. Two coaches take that group. One
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ABOVE » Doc Counsilman (talking to IU swimmer Mark Spitz) guided his Indiana men’s swimming teams
during the 1960s and ’70s to six straight NCAA Division I national titles and 23 Big Ten championships.
40 SwimmingWORLD —May 2006
coach runs the sprint group. I generally
work with the middle-distance swimmers.
What are one or two things you constantly
remind your swimmers to focus on?
Preparation is key. I tell the swimmers that a
taper is not magic. I remind them that it’s
what they do in the season that counts the
most. The choices and commitment they
make in September and October set up
their season.
I always liked what Coach Eddie Reese
says: “You don’t blow a taper; you blow a
season.” I make sure they know that
sacrifices need to be made in order to
be successful. It’s always a challenge to
get a new group to commit complete-
ly to that level. I also remind them not
ever to swim sloppy and always to
think about their stroke.
I remind them that (a great swimmer
such as) Aaron Peirsol still looks for
ways to make his stroke better, and
so should they. I want them to think
about the next adjustment they can
make in their stroke. You can always
get better technically. You can’t go
more yards or lift more weights, but
you can always improve technique
and swim faster in workout.
How do you handle preparation for the Big
Ten Championship, then turn around and
get ready for NCAAs?
Both our women and men prepared fully
for conference. In the Big Ten, it’s a separate
meet. Half the staff stayed back in Indiana. I
made sure to leave really good instructions.
Regardless, I coach on independence, not
dependence. They have to be able to take
care of themselves. I educate them to know
how to take care of themselves and the
things they need to do to be ready. After the
Big Ten, we go back to working very hard.
We have a month to prepare, so the second
time we re-taper and go faster. We might
make a few technical adjustments, but the
intent is to go faster the second time around.
What role does USA Swimming
play in your program?
A pretty big one. We requested that (USA
Swimming’s director of physiology)
Genadijus (Sokolovas) come out in the
fall and do some testing with our ath-
letes. Jonty Skinner let him do some
resistance training testing—after we
paid him, of course. We have a very
elaborate 30-station pulley system on
deck. We have a very nice set-up and
wanted to learn how to use it more effec-
tively. Genadijus instructed us on how
much we should do and how often. So
we use USA Swimming studies along
those lines. This also helps our swimmers
gain international experience and expo-
sure. This is important to the growth and
development of our program.
What changes will you make in the future?
Every year we want to get better. We
have to change or adjust something
about ourselves to get better. We must
keep workouts and swimming interest-
ing and fun. Swimmers have to be happy
to be able to push them to be the best. O
COACH LOOZE — continued from 39
Kevin Swander primarily trains in the
middle distance group at Indiana
University, working on his IM as well
as his breaststroke. However, once a
week Kevin does his favorite set to
work on speed and power in the div-
ing well. All of the swims are done
breaststroke.
Kevin alternates between swims on
the Power Rack and regular swims for
15 meters. On the Power Rack efforts,
no pull-down is used. During the
width swims, three are done with a
pull-down, three are done without.
The diving well at IU is 15 meters
long, and Kevin goes widths with var-
ious pieces of equipment that he
strips off until he is just swimming.
All of the swims are max-out, full
effort. Kevin uses the maximum
amount of weight on the Rack, and
does all of the repetitions on a
minute. All of his swims are at race
pace, and he holds between five and
six strokes per effort.
HOUR OF POWER:
KEVIN SWANDER

6 repetitions on a Power Rack
with medium-size paddles
(wearing a T-shirt)

6 regular widths with medium-size
paddles (wearing a T-shirt)

6 repetitions on a Power Rack with
medium-size paddles

6 regular widths with medium-size
paddles

6 repetitions on the Power Rack
with no equipment

6 regular sprints with no
equipment O
H OW T H E Y
TRAIN:
K E V I N S WANDE R
BY COACH RAY LOOZE
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ABOVE » Indiana’s Ben Hesen finished fifth in the
men’s 100 back at the NCAA Division I Cham-
pionships last March. The Hoosiers placed
12th overall—their best finish in 15 years.
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ABOVE » Winning is all about speed. It’s about getting from Point A to Point B faster than anyone else.
SwimmingWORLD —May 2006 41
Winning is all about speed. Here are
five speed development workouts that will
help you burn up the lanes. Be sure to
read the following “7 Golden Rules of
Speed” at every speed development work-
out before you practice. These sets will
help develop speed, indeed!
THE 7 GOLDEN RULES OF SPEED
1. Train fast to go fast.
Train the way you want to race and
include speed development training every
week—in all cycles of training.
2. The faster you want to go, the more
relaxed you have to be!
The only difference between swim-
ming slow and swimming fast is the
speed. Speed has nothing to do with grit-
ting your teeth or tensing your muscles or
pulling or pushing harder in the water. It’s
all about relaxation.
3. Only fast is fast.
Ninety percent of your best is not fast.
Ninety-five percent of your best is not fast.
Only 100 percent of your best is fast. You
won’t swim faster by doing your speed
workouts at near-to-best speed. You get
faster by training faster than you’ve ever
trained before.
4. Think fast to go fast.
Get yourself mentally ready for speed
training by thinking about speed. Focus
on words that give speed meaning to you,
such as “explode,” “drive,” “power,” etc.
5. Practice wall-to-wall speed.
The fastest swimmers in the world
usually get to top speed before their oppo-
sition. In other words, their acceleration is
critically important. They also have great
finishing speed and often will swim faster
than their opposition in the final few
meters. If you are practicing speed, work
on it from wall to wall—maximum speed
starts and maximum speed finishes.
6. Focus on quality, not quantity.
The goal of speed development work-
outs is to develop speed. Increasing the
number of repeats to achieve an increase
in workout volume at the expense of the
quality (speed) of the workouts will only
develop the ability to swim slowly more
often.
7. Maintain skills, technique and
legality while maintaining your speed.
Going faster does not mean a compro-
mise on skills, technique and legality (i.e.
legal dives, starts, turns and finishes).
WORKOUT #1. KILLER KICK SET
Fast swimmers are invariably strong
kickers. The ultimate goal of this set
is to help swimmers bring their 50
kick time as close as possible to their
50 swim time.
Part 1: Finding Your Speed Limit
• Start with your personal best
swim time for a 50, and add 15
seconds
• Try to kick a 50 in a faster time
• Take off a second
• Try to kick a 50 in a faster time
• Take off another second
• Again, try to kick a 50 in a faster time
• Continue this routine until you
can just make the wall in the tar-
get time
This is your kicking “speed limit.”
Part 2. Practicing at Your Speed Limit
• 8 x 50 kick on 2:00, holding the
individual kicking “speed limit”
Variations:
• No kickboard
• Combine with a swim at target race pace
(i.e., 50 kick); leave the kickboard at the
end of the pool, then sprint 25-30 meters
at target race pace
BY WAYNE GOLDSMITH
“Speed is the most precious thing in swim-
ming. In the end, it is what we are all about;
it is what we are all trying to achieve.”
—Gennadi Touretski
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SPEED INDEED
WORKOUT #2. OVER/UNDER SET
Over/under sets are those sets that target
speeds over a best previous speed at dis-
tances under a target race distance. For
example, if the swimmer is targeting 100
meters in one minute, an over/under set
might be as follows:
Warm-up
Stretch
3-5-minute break
• 2 x 25 meters on 15 seconds
• 2 x 30 meters on 18 seconds
• 100 easy swim and stretch
• 2 x 40 meters on 24 seconds
• 2 x 50 meters (feet on the wall) on 30
seconds
• 200 easy swim and stretch
• 2 x 55 meters (tumble plus 5 meters)
on 33 seconds
• 2 x 60 meters (tumble plus 10
42 SwimmingWORLD —May 2006
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meters) on 36 seconds
• 300 easy swim and stretch
• 1-2 x 70 meters (tumble plus 20
meters) on 42 seconds
• 1-2 x 80 meters (tumble plus 30
meters) on 48 seconds
Swim-down and stretch
The key to the set is the flexible rest
interval. Unlike most sets in which the
goal is to hold a cycle (e.g., 10 x 100 on
a cycle time of 2 minutes), the purpose
of a speed development set is to rest as
much as the swimmer needs to achieve
the target time.
Variations:
• Shorter distances, more repeats
• Longer distances, fewer repeats
• Decrease rests between repeats only
if quality can be maintained
• Start halfway down the pool so that
the distances/times include a turn at
target speed
• Add stroke count targets
SPEED INDEED — continued from 41
WORKOUT #3. 8-10-12-14-16
You can use any numbers you like—the
principle is what matters. For example:
Warm-up
Stretch
3-5-minute break
• 8 strokes at maximum speed (no
breathing on free or fly)
• Easy swim to the end of the pool
(1-min. rest)
• 10 strokes at maximum speed
• Easy swim to the end of the pool
(1-min. rest)
• 12 strokes at maximum speed
• Easy swim to the end of the pool
(1-min. rest)
• 14 strokes at maximum speed
• Easy swim to the end of the pool
(1-min. rest)
• 16 strokes at maximum speed
• Easy swim to the end of the pool;
200 easy swim
• Repeat the set 2-4 times
Swim-down
Stretch
Variations:
• Add a dive
• Use paddles (take care with young,
inexperienced swimmers)
• Control breathing patterns
• With young swimmers, these num-
bers will work fine. With senior
swimmers, their additional distance
per stroke and distance off the wall
underwater will mean using num-
bers like 6-7-8-9-10.
• Start at various points in the pool to
include more turns at target race
speed
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SwimmingWORLD —May 2006 43
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ABOVE » Get yourself mentally ready for speed training by thinking about speed. Focus on words that give
speed meaning to you, such as “explode,” “drive” and “power.”
WORKOUT #4. DIVE CONES
This is a fun speed workout for all swimmers.
Organize swimmers into pairs with simi-
lar swimming speeds. Ask one swimmer
in each group to swim as fast as he can
for 10 seconds. The other swimmer
places a cone (one of those brightly col-
ored plastic cones used by P.E. teachers
and coaches) on the side of the pool to
mark the distance his partner swam.
The set could be:
• 5 x 10 seconds at maximum speed,
trying to go a little farther each repeat
• 4 x 15 seconds at maximum speed,
trying to go a little farther each repeat
• 3 x 20 seconds at maximum speed,
trying to go a little farther each repeat
• 2 x 25 seconds at maximum
speed, trying to go a little
farther each repeat
• 1 x 30 seconds at maximum
speed
Why does this work?
• It taps into the competitive nature of
swimmers
• It provides immediate, clear, visual
feedback after each repeat
• It gives each swimmer a clear, imme-
diate, tangible, measurable goal
• It provides an opportunity to develop
stronger team bonds with each swim-
mer encouraging and urging his or
her partner to achieve improved
results over the set
Variations:
• Control breathing
• Set stroke count goals
• Have a “world championships,” in
which the winning swimmer is the
one whose distance swum over the
set improves the most
Check out Swimming World Interactive at
www.SwimmingWorldMagazine.com
for another speed development workout:
Super Sixties
BY JOHN LOHN
Ray Benecki coaches with an open-minded approach that includes
adjusting workouts to the specific needs of his athletes.
COACH BENECKI
Ray Benecki, Head Coach
The FISH Swim Team
A former standout swimmer at the
University of Delaware, Ray Benecki
has been involved in coaching for the
majority of his adult life. Serving as an
assistant coach during the summer season
while in high school and college, Benecki
also spent stints at the YWCA and club level.
However, it was in 1991 that he triggered his
major success by founding The FISH.
Nominated for a Golden Goggles Award as
Coach of the Year in 2005, Benecki has built
The FISH into a 300-swimmer powerhouse,
with Spring Hill Recreation Center in McLean,
Va., acting as the home base for the club. In
1995, he developed Elizabeth Cooper as his
first junior national qualifier. In 2002,
Kate Ziegler became his first
senior national qualifier.
As the woman carrying the distance
banner for the United States, Kate
Ziegler has excelled under a heap of
pressure. After all, comparisons to Janet
Evans—the greatest female distance
swimmer in history—carry significant
weight. Yet, Ziegler has handled her sit-
uation with aplomb. She has remained
focused on her program and goals, while
allowing her talent to speak volumes.
Last summer, Ziegler made her
biggest splash on the international scene
at the World Championships in
Montreal. Matching the hype that sur-
rounded her prior to the competition,
Ziegler popped gold-medal performanc-
es in the 800 and 1500 freestyle events.
Consider the efforts as statements
toward the future: “Beijing, here I come.”
Since the summer, Ziegler has con-
tinued to flourish. Aside from setting an
American record in the 800 meter
freestyle during the New York stop of the
FINA World Cup Series, Ziegler also
erased Evans’ name from the short
course record book. Contesting the 500
yard free at the Washington Metropol-
itan Championships, Ziegler covered the
distance in an American record time of
4:33.35, well under the former standard
of 4:34.39, which had stood since the
1990 NCAA Championships.
Of course, Ziegler’s gift accounts for
only a segment of her equation for suc-
cess. The other major element is her
training regimen, coordinated by Ray
Benecki. The founder of The FISH Swim
Team, Benecki has molded Ziegler into a
star, doing so with an open-minded
approach that includes adjusting work-
outs to the specific needs of his athletes.
Here’s a glimpse of Benecki’s training
philosophy, along with a look at his pro-
gression with Ziegler, who joined The
FISH in 2000 and moved into its senior
group in 2001.
WIDE RANGE OF TRAINING
When Benecki began coaching, he
leaned toward high-volume training—
sets that featured longer swims. But over
time, Benecki’s program began to incor-
porate a wide range of training.
“The program used to be old school,
with a lot of longer swims,” Benecki
admits. “But in Kate’s second year with
the program, it became apparent that she
had the speed and could be a good dis-
tance swimmer. So we evolved the pro-
gram and took the philosophy of doing
more sprinting and speed work.
“But we would mix it up with short
and long sets as well as pace sets. Variety
is one big factor in training, and the
other is changing speed—from sprinting
to middle distance to distance. I think
after establishing a solid base and condi-
tioning, the program must accommo-
date the special needs of a swimmer.”
During a typical week, Ziegler
adheres to a program that requires seven
in-water sessions and a handful of
Pilates workouts. While Ziegler’s num-
ber of weekly workouts may seem low
in comparison to other distance aces,
the intensity of her pool time is eye-
popping. As part of his design, Benecki
affords minimal rest time between sets.
His workouts also routinely feature
inspirational quotations.
• On Monday, Benecki usually per-
mits his swimmers to design their
own workouts. This system allows
his athletes to work on areas—per-
Distance Training
PUTTING THE SWIMMER FIRST
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44 SwimmingWORLD —May 2006
haps starts and turns—that they feel
require additional attention. The day
involves 90 minutes of pool time
along with a Pilates workout.
While following the Pilates aspect
of the workout, Ziegler does not
normally enter the water on
Mondays.
• On Tuesday and Thursday,
Benecki’s crew does double duty.
Following a long course workout
in the morning, the members of
The FISH hit the water for short
course training in the evening.
• On Wednesday, Saturday and
Sunday, Benecki puts his swim-
mers through short course work,
although the Wednesday schedule
is accompanied by Pilates. As for
Friday, it is the one day of the week
in which Benecki’s athletes are free
from the water.
“It’s the best thing we’ve done,”
Benecki said, referring to the installation
of long course training to the regular
routine. “There was no urgent need, but
when Kate started making her national
cuts, we couldn’t wait to get started.
That was four years ago. It’s really
important to feel comfortable in a varied
element, and it also keeps the condition-
ing up. In the summer, I feel there might
be a loss in speed by doing it all along,
so during that time, we’ll make sure to
keep the heart rate up and work on
turns.”
A NEED FOR ADJUSTMENT
In his time with Ziegler, Benecki has
adjusted his program both out of necessi-
ty and by design. In the spring of 2003,
while jumping into the pool, Ziegler suf-
fered broken bones in both of her
ankles—injuries that required casting.
Rather than throw away several weeks of
training, Benecki placed floaties on the
casts to keep Ziegler buoyant and, most
important, in the water. Even today, due to
tendinitis in Ziegler’s ankles, Benecki will
not have Ziegler wear fins. He has also
modified her kicking sets to alleviate the
strain on her lower extremities.
As for stroke work, Ziegler does less
these days than she put in a few years ago.
Part of that decision revolves around the
soreness brought about by breaststroke
kicking. The decision, too, has been influ-
enced by a simple reason: Ziegler is a dis-
tance freestyle specialist and reaps more
rewards from working in that domain.
However, Benecki has kept the door ajar
for his latest phenom, Chloe Sutton. Not
yet defined by a specialty, Sutton remains
connected to a more diverse program.
Already cemented as the globe’s
elite freestyler over the longest dis-
tances, Ziegler is hoping to make an
impact on the international stage in
the 200 and 400 disciplines. Not
only would the expanded arsenal
add to Ziegler’s mystique, but her
ability to find success in the 200
would create further opportuni-
ties, namely the chance to repre-
sent the United States in relay
action.
Not surprisingly, Benecki is
going to continue to amp up the
workouts.
“Every year, I tweak things
some by modifying one of every
four sets or so,” Benecki said.
“Kate said this year has felt hard-
er. We expect her to swim the
workouts faster, and the quality is
going to increase. She’s real tough
and worked her butt off coming
through the program. She always
pushes herself.
“Everyone who watches the
Olympics really gets into the relays.
They’re the most patriotic races.
Who doesn’t remember the U.S.
women’s 800 free relay from Athens—
how they were acting during the race and
after? They had so much fun. I wouldlove to
see Kate on that relay.”
Her training path could produce just
that result. O
John Lohn is SwimmingWorldMagazine.com’s
newsmaster and a sportswriter for the
Delaware County Daily Times.
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SwimmingWORLD —May 2006 45
Kate Ziegler popped gold-medal
performances in the 800
and 1500 meter freestyle
events at last summer’s World
Championships in Montreal.
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Check out Swimming World Interactive at
www.SwimmingWorldMagazine.com
for some of Kate Ziegler’s sample workouts.