Sometimes, Ryan Lochte doesn't expect to swim fast. In fact, he only ever expects to swim his fastest times at championship meets, he said.
"If I'm swimming my best times … in season, there's something wrong," Lochte said while talking to Swimswam.com from the pool deck of the Austin Grand Prix.
That's because Lochte subscribes to coach Gregg Troy's philosophy of extremely hard distance-based workouts during the season. Troy's philosophy also emphasizes general strength, overall fitness and technique work. He outlines part of his philosophy in this presentation.
Troy's swimmers are used to training tired and even competing tired. Then, before the biggest meets, Troy gives his swimmers time to rest and recover. It's a strategy shared by many coaches around the world. The strategy helps the athletes achieve top fitness and top recovery -- and therefore top performances -- in the biggest meets of the season.
After years of training under Troy's tutelage, Lochte expects to swim slower times during the season. During the past weekend at the Austin Grand Prix, for example, Lochte won the 200-meter individual medley in a time of 2:00.98. Lochte holds the world record in the same event, and the record of 1:54.00 is nearly seven seconds faster.
A seven-second difference is incredibly large in swimming, especially when it comes from an experienced swimmer like Lochte. The slower time didn't seem to bother Lochte a bit, though.
After all, it's the type of in-season performance that he's used to, and it's the type of swim he expected. In fact, he's already looking toward the future.
"No one's really going to remember this meet," Lochte said during the interview with Swimswam.com. "All it is is preparation for World Championships this summer."
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Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She has covered three Olympic Games, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46