Breaking it Down: The 500 Freestyle

By Fitter and Faster Staff

In this episode of Breaking it Down, Olympic gold medalist Clark Smith goes in depth on what it takes to train for and race a fast 500 freestyle.  Clark won his Olympic gold as a member of the 4×200 freestyle relay in 2016 and has also held American Records in the 500, 1000, and 1650 yard freestyle events.

Clark also talks with five-time Olympic swimmer and coach Brett Hawke about how he didn’t consider himself a distance swimmer until college, but he used a strong aerobic base and focus on efficient stroke technique to find success in these grueling events.


  • :48 Introductions
  • 3:05 What has attributed to everyone getting faster in the 500 recently?
  • 4:02 Why did you end up choosing Texas for college?
  • 5:45 Breaking Down the 500: Overview
  • 7:20 How many workouts a week did you do in high school and what was the volume?
  • 8:08 If you’re 6’9” how did you end up swimming distance?
  • 10:41 Breaking Down the 500: Racing
  • 10:48 What does “easy speed” mean to you?
  • 12:05 Is there a different mindset for the 500 and mile?
  • 14:00 Why is technique important in the 500?
  • 16:55 Do you do drills at the beginning or end of practice?
  • 17:27 Breaking Down the 500: Training
  • 19:53 What about Eddie makes him such a good distance coach?
  • 22:05 Example 500 training sets
  • 24:20 What are you thinking about during your races?
  • 29:07 Do you pride yourself on your training?
  • 30:05 Breaking Down the 500: Turns/Underwaters/Breathing Patterns
  • 32:36 What do you work on your turns to not circle swim in races?
  • 35:30 How do you get past nervousness in distance races?
  • 36:08 How do you build endurance?
  • 37:12 How do you find your swimming identity?
  • 39:18 What is the Texas pro group doing to stay fit?
  • 40:35 What do you eat before you swim?

Recorded: Tuesday April 21, 2020 @ 5pm EST
Suggested Audience: Swimmers and Coaches

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