Brett Hawke is a former competitive swimmer and coach. He represented Australia at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics and won 7 international medals. As an Auburn Tigers swimmer, he earned 17 All-American honors and 9 NCAA titles. After his pro swimming career, he became an Assistant Coach at Auburn University. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he guided Cesar Cielo to victory in the Men's 50 Freestyle. Cesar's gold medal swim was the first in Brazil's history. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Brett helped guide Bruno Fratus to a Bronze medal in the Men's 50 Free. Today, Brett hosts the #1 swimming podcast in the world, “Inside with Brett Hawke” where he interviews some of the world’s highest performing swimmers (and humans). He is also the Head of Expert Acquisition at AnyQuestion!
Easy speed is a relaxed and sustained approach to racing that allows you to maintain your speed throughout the race. It's what sets great swimmers like Bruno Fratus apart from the rest, as he is able to accelerate near the end of his races. Transcript: "Austin, this is a good one, man. I like this. This is in my wheelhouse. I just did a podcast with Andriy Govorov. And one of the things he described, spinning his wheels, he called it a Ferrari on ice-- not grabbing any water, not being able to hold any water, and just thrashing and just pulling, going too hard. Easy speed means it's relaxed speed. It's all-out speed with a relaxed mindset. And one of the things I learned from track athletes, if you look at the best track athletes in the world when they run the 100 meters, they've got a relaxed face. They're not tense in the face. They're not gritting their teeth, OK? They have a very relaxed face in the 100-meter final in the Olympics. You can see their cheeks jump up and down like this, OK, because they're so relaxed. So what I say to my athletes is relax your face, and go as fast as you can. And that's that easy speed. You want it to flow. You don't want it to be forced. You don't want to burn up that ATP, all right? You want to have sustained power, sustained energy throughout the race. Easy speed is crucial even in the 50. You see a lot of guys get to the 35-meter mark-- if you want to watch my race from the Sydney 2000 Olympics, you'll see a guy that burns out at the 35 pretty hard. That's me, man. So listen, easy speed's going to get you to the end of the race. It's one of the things that makes Bruno Fratus so good, is that he's able to maintain that speed throughout, and it almost feels like he's accelerating at the end of his races."
To swim faster in the 100 freestyle, make a list of what you need to improve on and what your strengths are. Then analyze the physical requirements of the race and focus on improving each one. Finally, focus on getting easy speed, a great start, the first 50, the second 50, backend speed, front end speed, and top end speed. Transcript: "Well, this is the question of every person that's ever swam 100 freestyle, how can I swim faster? And that will be the question until you stop swimming. It'll never end. It'll always be, how can I go faster? You'll swim the best time and you'll want to go faster as soon as you do it. So this is the question, how do I go faster? What I always do is I write a list. I have a list. OK, I have a pad and a pen, and I draw a line down the middle. And I write on one side what do I have, and then on the other side what do I need. So what do I have is, what are your strengths? What are you really good at? What have you figured out? What are your weaknesses? What do you need to work on? These are the things that I ask myself. And then when I look down that list, I see the areas that I need to keep working on and the areas that I need to improve. And then I do the same thing for the 100 freestyle. What are the expectations of this race? What are the requirements of the race? What do I need in order to perform well in the 100 freestyle specifically. OK, I'm not talking about any other race, just this one race. How do I improve in this one race? What are the physical requirements of this race? I've got to have a great start. I've got to have a great reaction, entry, breakout, underwaters. These things are important, so these are on your list. Then I've got to get out with easy speed. What is easy speed? It's the speed you feel when you're going out as fast as you can, but you're holding back a little bit. There's something in reserve. It feels comfortable even though you're going very fast. Then there's the first 50, and the second 50, and the backend speed, and the front end speed, and the top end speed. I mean, there are so many factors in a great 100 freestyle. Write them all down, figure out what you need. I mean, that's the best way I can answer this question because it's going to be never ending."
At Auburn, the team did a 5 minute set of 8/100 total with a max of five up front. The A cut was 42 flat and people had to get under it with fins on from a push. If they missed one, they had to do an extra, and so on until they maxed out at eight. Everyone embraced the challenge and had fun with it. Transcript: "Ryan, I'm trying to wrack my brain here for an individual who's done some amazing things. We've had many over the years, but here's a team set that we did at Auburn that really stands out in my memory is we did 8/100 total on 5 minutes. But the kicker was you had to do a maximum of five up front, and you had to get under the A cut. It was from a push, and we had fins on. So let's say for freestyle the A cut was 42 flat. You had to push five of them under the A cut. If you got all five, you were done. If you missed one, you had to-- you had to do an extra. So you had to do six. If you missed again, you had to do seven. You missed again, you had to do a total of max eight of them. So it kind of favored the people that went for it up front and challenged them. I just remember as a team everybody really embraced. It was a lot of fun getting under those A cuts. A couple of people missed, had to do an extra one here or there. I don't think anyone went all the way to eight. But that was a really cool fun team set that we did. Everybody getting under the A cuts with fins on from a push. Fun set."
This power session set for Bruno Freitas will start with a 200 technique swim, slow tight flip turns, and then a strong push and glide on each wall. Then we'll do four sided dolphin kick, scull, and forward/backward on the way down/back. We'll do three rounds of a dead start descend 1 to 3 before moving on to drag sox six kick dolphin kick fast off the wall followed by three rounds of power rack into a 15 meter blast. The set will finish with power pumps from the flags to the flags, all out, and then an easy flop back, combined with 100 flop in between. Transcript: "All right, Sophie, I literally just wrote my favorite type of set. It's for Bruno Freitas this afternoon. And it's a Power Session. OK, we're going to warm up here. We've got a 200 technique, swim, slow tight flip turns, and then a strong push and glide on each wall. Then we're going to go a four sided dolphin kick, just feeling rhythm for 100 and 250 scull, scrunch scull, forward on the way down, backward on the way back. We'll do two rounds of that warm-up. Then we're going to get into the power here. We've got a three cycle dead start descend 1 to 3, and then we'll do three rounds of that. So it's just starting from a dead start. Start with good distance per stroke. And then get faster each one, three cycles on that. And then we'll do three rounds. We're going to put some drag sox on. We're going to six kick dolphin kick fast just off the wall with the drag sox. And then take the sox off. And do the same thing, a couple of rounds without the sox on, and then we'll do three total rounds of that. Now that's for the drag sox. Then we'll move to the power racks. Dead start for the first one, just nice and light. And then we'll do a dolphin kick one. And then we'll take it off and do a 15 meter blast. We'll do three rounds of the power rack into a 15 blast, finish off with some fins and paddle work. Power pumps, I call these, from the flags to the flags, all out, and then just flop easy back. We'll do six rounds of that. And then in between, we're going to swim some just 100 flop just nice and easy. So that's a power set. That's the one that I like the most."
David Popovici, wearing a white cap and displaying an Alex Popov-style freestyle, broke the world record for swimming in Rome. His technique was impressive, with a low profile and good balance. He finished the race in 46.8 seconds to the delight of the massive audience. Transcript: "OK, let's watch the race here together. David here is in lane 4, in the white cap, long limbs, lengthy, big hands, big feet, skinny, lean torso. Here we go. This is the world record swim in Rome. Gets up on his technique. Look, you can tell here, he's not the best on the water. He gets into a loping kind of freestyle here, almost like a throwback to Alex Popov. But look at the length that he's using. He does have good balance, he stays low in his profile in the water, his hips are high. He's still got so much to improve, which is fantastic. Even in and out of his walls there, he's not the best. But man, this is where he really takes off, this second 50, just maintains. Look at that length that he's got, look at the balance, beautiful low profile on the breath, nothing is out of place, and he just maintains better than anybody in history. And that, my friends, is a world record. Wow, what a swim, have never seen anything like that type of performance, 46.8 against a world class field in front of a massive audience. David Popovici, there's going to be people analyzing him and this race for many, many years to come. But I love the fact that he's a nice throwback to the old school almost Alex Popov style. Look at this 17-year-old sitting on the lane line. What a brilliant response, changing the course of history for all the future. Just a pleasure to watch. [INAUDIBLE]"Popovici race strategy
I have a dog and we are on the same team. Transcript: "Take your mark. Yep. Yep. You got a one. I got a dog, yeah. Ten one. One team, one--"