An Interview With Legendary Swim Coach Bud McAllister

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As you might have seen on the blog last week, Swim Smooth's Head Coaches Paul Newsome and Adam Young will be in the San Diego area in November and as part of the trip are running a special one-off Video Analysis and Stroke Correction clinic on Saturday November 18th.

More information and sign-up here:

This a unique and extremely rare opportunity to have your swimming analysed and corrected by Paul himself on US soil - signup now and don't miss out!

Paul Newsome Chews The Fat With Swim Coaching Legend Bud McAllister

Elite coach Bud McAllister is most famous for developing the great Janet Evans into a four time Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1988 and 1992 games. Janet's high revving "Swinger" stroke style was extremely controversial at the time (and in some quarters still is today) but fortunately Bud realised it was the best stroke style for her and worked to refine it rather than fundamentally change it. The rest, as they say, is history!

We're lucky enough to have Bud working right here in Perth with our talented juniors at the Western Australia Institute of Sport. Just yesterday Swim Smooth Head Coach Paul Newsome caught up with Bud for a discussion about all things swimming, stroke technique, training sets and of course Janet Evans.

Watch the interview here:

Paul's take:

Three weeks ago on the blog we featured an in-depth article on "Swim Golf" (SWOLF for short). If you own a swim watch, you might have even seen a SWOLF score pop up after each swim you've done. For years SWOLF has been held up as a good measure of efficiency but I hope we debunked that myth for good:

Knowing these hard facts, stats and quantitive data, I approached Bud to get his spin on this and all things swimming. Bud has five Olympic Gold medals to his name, four with the famed and somewhat "unconventional" Janet Evans from the USA, whose 800m freestyle world record stood for an amazing 19 years and was only broken in 2008 by the UK's Rebecca Adlington (one of my favourite swimmers of all time).

During the discussion I challenge convention with Bud and ask the question "why is everyone taught to swim the same way even though we KNOW we are all anthropometrically very different" and ask his advice on his favourite training sets (note how similar they are to our coveted Red Mist Endurance sessions!).

Chewing the coaching fat with Bud was a definite highlight of my 20 year coaching career and it was gratifying to find how he shares our approach of not settling for the status quo and always wanting to do the right thing for EVERY swimmer, even if that's not the easiest thing to do.

Apologies for some of the wind noise in the background of the interview!

A few snippets from Bud to whet your appetite:

I first saw Janet when she was 10 years old... from an early age she was an absolutely ferocious swimmer, she attacked the race...  She took 36 strokes in a 25 yard pool. People where laughing at her but she was one of the best 10 and under-s in Southern California.

I didn't even count her strokes, I got her stroke stroke and how fast she's going and get her times... It was working, she could keep up with 'most anyone.

... talking about efficiency - Janet was tested at the flume in Colorado Springs probably right after the Olympics and at that point she was the most efficient swimmer they had tested...

One day we spent maybe 10 minutes experimenting with a 6-beat kick and a high-elbow recovery and it just wasn't natural for her, she couldn't swim anywhere near as fast and we never tried it again. It was pointless. Some people say you've got to give it a couple of months but no absolutely not.

The thing about a straighter arm recovery is that you've got more hand speed and more acceleration - that's what you want.

The US open water swimmers actually practise boxing so they know how to get hit!

I love all the clips you have of all the swimmers - I don't have enough of them!

Elite Swimmer Footage In The Guru

You too can study our exclusive footage of the swimmers Paul and Bud examined in their discussion with a Standard or Pro Guru subscription:
The Guru: Stroke Correction - Elite Swimmers - Extensive Training Plans - Open Water Skills

Swim Smooth!


Anonymous said...

Hi, looks highly interesting interview, but difficult to listen to
due to the wind.
Could you please add the transcript?

Cyndy said...

Sorry about the wind noise, nature doesn't always cooperate. I like hearing the birds chirping as well. A transcript would be a good idea. We have a lot on at the moment so not sure that would happen very soon. You may just have to turn up the volume for this one and we will keep your idea in mind for future posts. Cheers Cyndy@swimsmooth

Adam Young said...

Hi all, subtitles have been added to the video above - switch them on using the icon on the player. :)

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