Splash - March/April 2013 - (Page 18)

STARTING BLOCKS TRAINING WITH... DAVE SALO By Bonnie Moss u niversity of Southern California coach Dave Solo, who has the best of both worlds by coaching college and post-grad swimmers, sees himself more as a life coach than a trainer, and holds his swimmers accountable to a life plan. “I’m always asking my swimmers, ‘What’s your plan?’” says Salo. “Life exists beyond college swimming – what are they going to be when they grow up?” When USC swimmers come to campus as freshmen, they soon discover Salo and his staff have a vested interest in their lives. By the time they are juniors and seniors, they’re on a career path with an internship in their field. Academic schedules trump training schedules, and Salo and his staff resolve scheduling conflicts by running back-toback practices. He doesn’t like his athletes changing majors to accommodate training. “I don’t compromise on academics,” says Salo. “Do you want to be a pretty good swimmer for the next three years, or do you want to be an engineer for life?” 18 SPLASH • March/April 2013 Coaching his post-graduate club team is a different element altogether. In the collegiate environment there are many distractions. Without these in club swimming, he can hold his athletes to even higher life expectations. As much as he loves coaching worldclass swimmers, he doesn’t encourage them to keep swimming if they don’t have a plan. “They should never linger to relive college years, or keep grinding for that one elusive medal,” he says. “I have a responsibility as a coach. It’s a reciprocating partnership – I’ll train them to be the best they can be, but they have to work really hard.” He’s now helped countless swimmers land on their feet both during and after illustrious swimming careers. TRAINING Salo is not one to follow a training script. “I don’t write the workout on a piece of paper and slap it on a kickboard. I run my practice by seeing how it’s going with who is there and what they need.” Salo is on deck several hours a day and credits a great staff that helps him deal with all the behind-the-scenes administrative tasks. “My skillset is being on deck coaching, so that’s where I like to be,” he says. “I embrace what kids come up with. Larsen (Jensen) came to me and said, ‘Coach, I need to do 16 x 400,’ so I set aside lanes for him. I listen to kids and I’m not afraid to use their advice.” Salo never gives the same sets to everyone. His common theme is race-pace, technical, fast drills and swimming fast. He considers milers as really long sprinters. A typical set for a sprinter like Jessica Hardy includes: 100-75-25, 100-75-3x25, 100-75-5x25, repeat that cycle three times through. The 100s descend 1-3, the 75s are easy and the 25s are full speed. The focus is breakout speed and breath control. The distance swimmers (long sprinters) would mimic this with added length: 200-150-100, 200-150-3x100, 200-1505x100. The 200s are descend 1-3, the 150s are negative split by at least five seconds between first and second half, and the 100s are 500 goal pace. The focus here is to keep splits even or negative split. Salo incorporates many details into his sets that are specific to a race. “I try to make sets interesting but highintensity,” he says. COLLEGE VS. CLUB “I like college swimming because there is a defined season, and I love the team concept. The NCAA experience is by far the most intense competition, and there is a strategy to scoring points. Dual meets are very fun,” says Salo. The big advantage to club swimming, though, is that many of his athletes are professional swimmers. They have much more freedom to maneuver through a tough schedule of training, traveling, speaking engagements and photo shoots. “I would love for my college swimmers to stay for the team and the scholarship, but I’m very supportive of my athletes turning pro,” Salo says. “Our responsibility as coaches is to seize the moments and opportunities. It’s hard to make money in this. I want them to stay, but they need to take advantage for themselves and make a run of it. Otherwise, it’s just too selfish. “There is no difference in what I favor more. College has more distinctions, and it’s a new group with new energy every year,” says Salo. “But I’m a life coach to both groups and they all make history and build a legacy.” RYAN PIERSE/GETTY IMAGES COACH

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Splash - March/April 2013

Splash - March/April 2013
Table of Contents
Mike Gustafson
Swim Briefs/Justin Case
Top Ten Tweets/Point-Counterpoint
Strength & Conditioning
Mental Tips
Training With
Keys to Success
Your Photo
Athletic Foodie
Book Reviews
NCAA Championships Preview
Hanging With Schmitty
The Perfect Fit
2012 Top Ten Lists - LCM
Swim Nut Zeke
Best Race Ever
Getting To Know
America’s Swim Team Athletes

Splash - March/April 2013