A look at Kate Douglass’ age group training

In the May issue of Swimming World Magazine, Michael Stott featured Westchester Aquatic Club Coach Carle Fierro. As part of his feature, he looked at the work Fierro did from 2009 to 2017 with Kate Douglass, now an Olympic bronze medalist in the 200-meter individual medley.

To have Swimming world magazine and Bi-weekly Swimming World FREE when you
Become a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame

New! ISHOF 30 Day Membership AND Digital Swimming World subscription for only $10 per month!

Want more? Get a one-year ISHOF Family Membership with Swimming World Print AND Digital subscription Order now!

Non-subscribers can download this issue here

Often the best gift a coach can give an athlete is the ability to succeed later. And when the athlete builds on this foundation through a work ethic of application, courage, skill and determination, the results can be affirming – for both coach and athlete – and even life changing. , as is the case with Coach. Carle Fierro and swimmer kate douglas.

Carle Fierro, owner and head coach of the Westchester Aquatic Club (New Rochelle, NY), coached Kate Douglass from age 7 to 15. In March, Kate, a junior from the University of Virginia, took her two-year CSCAA All-America credentials to 14 by being part of four winning national championship relays and winning three individual titles – all in different disciplines – at the NCAA Women’s Division I Championships.

In the process, she set U.S., NCAA, and U.S. Open records in the 50-yard freestyle (20.84) and 200 breaststroke (2:02.19) and an American record in the 100 butterfly (49.04). Virginia’s 400m medley and 400m freestyle relays also set US Open, NCAA and US Open standards, while the Cavaliers’ 200m medley relay set a meet record.

Prior to that, the United States national team member won an Olympic bronze medal last summer in the 200-meter IM and won five more medals at the FINA Worlds (SCM) in December.

In high school, Douglass remarked that she had swimming chops. She broke 34-year-old Olympian Dara Torres’ 13-14 age group national record of 22.44 in the 50 free yards while rushing 22.32. A month later, at the 2016 US Winter Juniors, she tied Simone Manuel’s 15-16 NAG mark, clocking a 22.04, a time that helped elevate her status on the US Junior National Swim Team. United.

As a harbinger, at age 13, Douglass achieved two cuts at the Olympic Trials: 50-meter freestyle (25.80) and 200 chest (2:31.37). A year later, she brought the total to four: 50 free (25.60), 100 chest (1:10.43), 200 chest (2:30.40) and 200 IM (2:18.57) . For the smiles, she clocked SCY’s second fastest time in the 200m breaststroke (2:10.89) for girls 13-14 in a local age group meet in an FS2 suit.

LESS IS MORE

Aside from his sprinting abilities, what sets Douglass’ aquatic prowess apart is his versatility. “My philosophy,” says his first teacher, Fierro, “is less is more when developing young swimmers (6 to 12 years old). I believe in multi-levels for the progression of swimmers. All groups do stroke exercises every day.

“At 12, Kate swam around four to five workouts a week, then five to six workouts when she was 13. I believe good technique and teaching swimmers how to train well is more important than the number of meters for 12 and under. I don’t believe in early specialization in stroke. This philosophy and subsequent training allowed Douglass to compile 30 WAC team records and 15 Chelsea Piers in every competitive shot.

“Sometimes it’s still hard to get my swimmers to believe how effective distance per stroke can be in performance. After Kate set the American record (in the 200 yard breaststroke) at the 2022 NCAA, I showed to my senior team the video of Kate at the 2016 Junior Nationals when she swam a 2:10.59 in the 200 breaststroke at age 15. I had them count her strokes per lap. Then I showed them her American Record swimming 200m breaststroke.

“At age 15, Kate’s stroke count was first round 4, second round 6, then 7 and last round 8. Her American swimming record was first round 4, then 6 until last round 7. Visually showing swimmers the DPS connection and swimming fast really gets the message across. I was delighted to hear Kate say she loves competing and training for the 200m breaststroke and 50m freestyle, the first two events she competed in at the Olympic trials when she was 13 years old.

FAST SWIMMING VIA GREAT TECHNIQUE

“I started working with Kate, one of the first multi-sport athletes, in 2009 until the end of January 2017. She was part of my first generation team from Westchester who was really essential in supporting my base of fast swimming thanks to excellent technique.

“When you work with an athlete for so many years, your methodology grows with the athlete over time. That was the case with Kate, who was great fun to coach as an age group. She was extremely focused on perfecting her technique and adhered to swimming and training correctly, directly proportional to swimming fast. She trained alongside the boys, challenged them and never backed down. She simply did outstanding reps in training and kept me on my toes to keep her challenged,” says Fierro.

“Kate had the ability to turn on her speed whenever needed. She would ALWAYS start practices with perfect technique during her drills. She excelled in the Lo-go and Hi-go sets, where she could really work on her ability to control her speed, a trait that made her truly special.When she started growing into a teenager, she experienced pain and I adjusted her training to focus more on technique and kicking. Kate loved setting goals even in training, I kept raising the bar and she never failed to impress.

SAMPLE SETS

workout one
(A SCY set made in October 2016)
• 100 @ 1:30 free
• 100 at 2:00 a.m. return
• 2 x 50 at 1:00 (DPP chest shot without snorkel)
(DPP = distance per pull)
• 3 x 50 @ 1:00 (punch with tuba)
• 3 x 50 at 1:00 a.m. (breast exercise)
• 4 x 25 to: 30 (thrust on the fly DPP)
• 3 x 50 at 1 hour (flying kick with snorkel)
• 6 x 25 to: 30 (flying exercise)
• 3 x 50 to: 50 (rear wheel drive)
• 4 x 50 at 1:00 (back kick)
• 3 x 50 at 1 min (rear exercise)
• 100 at 1:30 (free fire)
• 3 x 50 @ 1:00 (free kick with snorkel)
• 100 at 1:45 (50 drill – 50 perfect)
• 2 x 100 at 1h30 (free shooting)
• 4 x 50 @ 1:00 (free kick with snorkel)
• 100 at 1:45 (50 drill – 50 perfect)
• 3 hours of stretching

Free Set (Kate would hold 12-14 hits per round)
• 3 x 100 @ 1:20 DPS 12 hits per turn
• 4 x 25 @: 30 kicks with “wall buster” working turns
• 6 x 100 at 1:15 a.m. (down from 1:07 a.m. to 1:03 a.m. – 3 paces in less than 1:05 a.m. – 14 to 16 strokes per lap)
• 4 x 25 @: 30 kicks with “wall buster” working turns
• 6 x 100 at 1:10 a.m. (speed less than 1:03 a.m. – 14-16 strokes per lap – Kate held out for 1:01 a.m. to 1:02 a.m. – last: 58)
• 4 x 25 @: 30 working turns against the kick wall
• 3 x 100 @ 1:05 (just do them – 14-16 hits per turn – Kate 1st 1:00, 2nd 1:01, 3rd: 59)
• 50 kick – 50 exercise – 50 perfect
• T100 (all-out 1:00 – 14-16 moves per turn – Kate: 55)
• 100 double arm backs
3x
• 100 DPS long back with fins at 1 min 30
• 2 x 50 fast backstroke @:45 – less than:30 with fins – Kate:27
• 200 chest exercises
1 hour of rest
• 3 x 100 @ 1:40 chest (go down 1-3 – 6-8 SPL – Kate 6 SPL 1:15-1:12-1:08)
1 hour of rest
• 200 chest exercises with 30 sec. Rest
1 hour of rest
• 6 x 50 @ :60-:55-:50-:45-:40-sprint (less than :36 – 6-8 SPL – Kate :32-:33-:34-:34-:34-:32 )
• 4 x 100 at 1:30 IM work transitions

Instant messaging challenge
• 50 @:40 fly – Kate:28
• 50 @:45 return – Kate:32
• 50 @:50 chest – Kate:33
• 50 less than: 30 free – Kate: 27
• 5:00 swim down
2 hours, approximately 7,400

workout two
(2.5 hours, 8,500 meters)
45 minute exercises
• 6 x 50 (descent 1-3 @ :50 – 3 steps on :40)
• 2x
200 (free kick 50 – drill 50 – perfect 50 – 50 double arm)
1 hour of rest
2 x 150 over 2:00 under 1:50
2 x 150 over 1:50 under 1:40
1 x 150 over 1:40 under 1:30
• 200 swimming descents
• Fly Fin Set 20 x 50 fly from dive @: 60 (8 wall kicks work on tempo and breathing @: 55)
• 150 (back 50 kick – 50 drill – 50 perfect)
1 hour of rest
• 8 x 75 backstrokes (25 built – 50 fast backstrokes)
3 @ 1:10 descent
2 @ 1:05 pace
3 @: 60 fast
• 150 (chest 50 kick – 50 exercise – 50 perfect)
1 hour of rest
• 6 x 100 breasts
2 @ 1:50 (6-8 shots per turn)
2 @ 1:40 (6-8 shots per turn)
2 @ 1:30 under 1:15 (6-8 shots per turn)
• Kick 200 IM on the back
• 8 x 25 flies
2 @:30
3 descent @ :25
3 rapids @ :20
15 sec. Rest
• 3 x 50 return (down 1-3 @:40)
15 sec. Rest
• 4 x 50 breaststroke @:45 (1 perfect – one frame – 2 paces)
15 sec. Rest
• 5 x 50 free at: 35 (additional rest the last)
• 5:00 swim down

Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach, golf and swimming writer. His critically acclaimed golf novel, “Too Much Loft”, was published in June 2021 and is available at store.Bookbaby.com, Amazon, B&N and book distributors worldwide.

Comments are closed.