Getting to Know Connor Jaeger

By Fitter and Faster Staff

About the Clinician: Connor Jaeger–2012 Olympian in the 1500 meter freestyle– shares his recap of the Santa Clara Grand Prix, his approach to setting goals, maintaining swim-life balance and even some recent workouts done in the pool!

1. You recently competed at the Arena Santa Clara Grand Prix, can you give us a recap of how the meet went for you, your best races and any good stories? 

Santa Clara is a great meet and I was happy with how I swam, especially considering we are still training hard for US Nationals.  I had some great races with Michael McBroom and all of my times were faster than I was at the Charlotte Grand Prix last month, which is very encouraging leading up to Nationals.

On Sunday, I had to catch an early flight home to prepare for a big test I needed to take for one of my classes.  So I swam the 1500 free in prelims, instead of finals.  It actually ended up being my best swim of the meet, I almost broke the 15:00 mark and this was actually my fastest in season time in the 1500 so far.  After the 1500 free was over, I literally hopped out of the pool, got dressed and went straight to the airport!

2. Everyone has a different process for setting and achieving goals.  What is your process and has it been successful so far?

This year I had a very detailed meeting with my coach, Josh White, where we looked at “what do I want to improve in the pool?” and “what do I want to improve out of the pool?” and lastly “what are my short term and long term goals for life in general?”  This has been a very successful approach for me so far because it keeps all of my swimming goals in perspective and helps to provide balance – especially when I look at the “life goals” I want to be achieving later down the road.

As far as swimming specific goals, I really try to focus on where I want to be at the end of the season – instead of focusing on a very specific time.  I am always thinking about these goals: before practice, during hard sets, after practice and during dryland.  Once I leave the pool I try to focus on my other goals, which has really helped to provide a balanced approach to my swimming.

3. You have a pretty intense and talented training group at Michigan right now, with many guys to race each day.  Can you share an example of a set that you did recently which you were pleased with?

We actually just completed a pretty challenging “short interval” freestyle set that our whole group really stepped up on.

The set was (LCM): 300 @ 3:10 , 200 @ 2:10 (4 rounds)

What really made this difficult was that we had just completed a hard kicking set right before, so every guy had to push extremely hard to make the set.  It was one of those group efforts where every swimmer was giving their best.  It really got me motivated and I was very happy with how we all did.

4. Distance swimmers aren’t known for their physical strength, but you’ve been looking pretty ripped lately.  What are some of your favorite dryland exercises? 

I really try to approach freestyle as using my whole entire body when doing the stroke, especially engaging from my core.  You can really feel your abs when you are reaching for to catch and hold the water and that is really where the benefit of all of the core strength work we do during dryland pays off.

A new element that we introduced this summer is more of a “heavy lifting” phase, which includes: Olympic lifts, deadlifting, squatting and lots of pull-ups.  Our strength and conditioning coach puts together a VERY creative core circuit where each exercise requires balance, in addition to using your core against resistance.

Connor Jaeger will be touring the country, visiting teams, working with swimmers and sharing his tips on technique along the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour, Presented by

You can visit Connor Jaeger’s upcoming list of events here:

Faster Starts, Underwater Dolphin Kicking, and Breakouts – Glassboro, NJ–4/07/18

FASTER Turns, Underwater Dolphin Kicking, and Dryland – Clifton Park, NY–4/15/18

Slay the DRAGon – El Dorado, AR–5/19/18