Trained Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Katie Ledecky for the 4 years leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
Strength & Conditioning Coach for Nations Capital Swim Club and Rockville Municipal Swim Club.
18-year industry Veteran
Director of Training with Multiple organizations over the last 15 years
The Fitter and Faster Swim Tour Presented by SwimOutlet.com doesn’t just allow young athletes to learn directly from elite athletes. It also puts them in a position to improve their agility and strength under the watch of the athletic trainers who’ve help guide their swimming heroes to the Olympic podium and develop them tools for staying injury-free.
When people talk about Katie Ledecky’s technique, the name that comes up most often is her coach, Bruce Gemmell. But part of her success is also thanks to Lee Sommers, the strength-and-conditioning coach to the Olympic gold medalist and multiple world-record holder.
Sommers has been in the fitness industry for the better part of two decades and has spent most of that time as a Director of Fitness in the Washington, D.C. area.
In 2013, he began working with members of Nation’s Capital’s National Team, including Ledecky and Carsten Vissering, a breaststroker who now competes for the University of Southern California.
It was Sommers’ first time working with swimmers, whom he describes as “very different athletes.” And he doesn’t mean swimmers versus the rest of the world. “Working with Carsten and Katie is like training two different species, in terms of stroke-specific needs, age and gender. A sprint breaststroker and a distance freestyler are dramatically different.” (Blog post from Lee: Athleticism for Age Group Swimmers)
After five years of working with swimmers, Sommers has picked up enough knowledge about the sport that he can now walk into a Fitter & Faster clinic and guess correctly as to who specializes in which stroke. “I just watch how they move as an athlete,” he says.
Sommers’ approach to dryland? “Don’t think of them as swimmers. Think of them as athletes. The more athleticism they build, the more skills they’ll develop that will just make them better overall athletes with better body awareness and better understanding of how their bodies need to move.” (Blog post from Lee: Two Drylands Exercises Every Swimmer Should Master)
He’s discovered that conducting Fitter & Faster dryland clinics for younger kids presents a different set of challenges and rewards. The keys to success there? “Grabbing kids’ attention and making the curriculum relatable and enjoyable. And make sure they understand how dryland training can enhance their performance in the water and decrease risk of injury at the same time.”