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 Creator Acquisition at AnyQuestion!
Fast and explosive kicking is the best way to improve your flutter kick. Do short, fast underwater work with resistance (such as fins) for maximum effectiveness. Transcript: "I'm just going to keep my camera like this because I love the way the sun's coming in the background there. But listen, interesting question. It doesn't relate as much as you may think or want or hope, but listen to have a fast, strong kick never hurts. Alexander Popov had the strongest, fastest kick I've ever seen on a human. The best 50 flutter kick on a board you've ever seen. Bill Pilczuk had one of the worst flutter kicks you've ever seen. And yet Bill Pilczuk beat Alexander Popov at the 1998 World championships. One of the greatest upsets in history. It's the first time Popov had been beaten in a 53. Pilczuk beat him. Pilczuk was absolutely miserable on a kick board. Popov was incredible. So does it matter that much? I guess it's the way you put it together. Any example sets to work on your kick speed, I would say, work your kick fast and explosively. Don't kick-- don't try and build your kick by doing 100 and 200, that can build some endurance. But in terms of building speed, make it short, fast, powerful. Do fast m do fast 25s, do tons of short underwater work. Blast of 15 meters underwater. But if you want to improve your flutter kick, do it fast, do it explosively. You can even do it with some resistance. You can add some fins. But listen, fast is always the most effective."
There is an endless debate on how much distance a sprinter needs to swim in order to be the best. Generally, 5,000 meters is seen as a good middle ground, but there is experimentation going on with lower amounts of distance such as 2,000 or 3,000 meters. Transcript: "Yes. And listen, another question where you've tapped into kind of the endless debate. The 5,000 is kind of the middle of the range. Some people think you need to go up a little. Some people think you need to go down a little. 5,000 is a nice middle ground. Look, I don't think you need to go 5,000 meters to be the best sprinter, especially when we're talking about the 50 meters. But I've always coached my athletes to swim strong, 100s, which has enabled them to swim fast 50s. If you look at the best athletes I've ever coached, they've always been able to finish 100 whether that be in any stroke. There's elements of speed in there. You look at a guy like Nick Fink, for instance, who just won the 50 breaststroke at the World Championships. That guy swims up to the 400 IM. We talk about guys like David Popovich, a lot of these female sprinters are training 200 space. So look, it's still a never ending debate. How do we get swimmers to swim 20-point in the 50 freestyle? Does that mean we have a 50 focus? Or do we continue to have more of a middle distance focus? So look, I don't know where the sport is going. I know there's a lot of people thinking and dreaming about what could be and how to change it and how to evolve. And I think that's good. So let's keep doing this. Let's keep having these debates. And let's keep pushing boundaries. But I do think we've figured out that we've pressed on the range. Now it's time to look down a little bit and say, well can a sprinter really get away with 2,000 meters of practice? 3,000 meters? I don't know. That's where more of the experimentation is right now. And I'm really interested to stay in that range to experiment a little bit more."
This workout includes 6x25 dive on 30 seconds, 50 push on a minute, 25 push, 50 dive on a minute, 25 push on 30, 25 push, 4 rounds of 25 chute, 25 easy, 50 technique, 25 dive, 25 smooth, 50 easy with fins and paddles optional, 15s underwater with the medium rack, 15s with a light rack, no fins, two 15s underwater fast, two fast racks into some fast swims, and a test kick set. Transcript: "Here we go. I was just working on this, actually, for a presentation that I'm giving on speed and speed development. So first one is a test set for your kick. If you want to improve your kick over the course of a season, go with something like this. Six ones every third fast on 2 minutes, four every second fast on 2:30, and then go 2 fast on 3 minutes, then easy swim recovery, and then one swim for-- one kick for time there at the end. I always liked that set. That's something you can put throughout the whole season. This one here, some broken swims on 10 minutes. And I like to do these suited. Get 25 dive on 30 seconds, 50 push on a minute, and then 25 push. Do a couple of rounds of that. And then a 50 dive on a minute, 25 push on 30, and then another 25 push. On those last two rounds, you can put fins on if the technique is breaking down. Down here we've got kind of a speed set with some resistance. 25 chute, 25 easy, a 50 technique. And then a 25 dive, 25 smooth, 50 easy. And then put the fins on, and the paddles as an option, and go 50 all out. You do four rounds of that. And then, the last one is kind of like a power rack set. Got some 15s underwater with the medium rack, and then some more 15s with a light rack, no fins. And then two 15s underwater fast, and a 35 easy. And then come down here and go a couple of fast racks, into some fast swims, and then 35 easy. No rest between the racks, so you go back-to-back racks, and then rounds to 1, 2, and 3, there-- and 4 actually, so that's how you break it up by rounds as well. So some power exits, some resistance dives, sprints, some broken swims, and a test kick set. There you go."
David Popovich recently released a video of his training in Lima, Peru. His freestyle stroke featured excellent breath timing and movement in alignment. He also demonstrated strong dolphin kicks and streamlining off the wall while swimming backward. Transcript: "OK, I decided to upload a video from David Popovich here. This video was released today. And he had training in Lima, Peru, and was swimming freestyle. So let's have a look at the timing of his breath. It looks like that, obviously the shoulders move with the breath, and the torso is timed with the breath as well. So that everything stays in alignment. There we go. Beautiful timing. Head moves to side. Keeps straight down that black line. Everything is in line. Always working that dolphin kick and streamline off the wall. Here he is on his backward. [INAUDIBLE]"
My favorite type of lactate-inducing workout is a 6/100 from the blocks on eight to ten minutes all out, which can be punishing for any sprinter. It can push your lactate levels up to the highest it can go and will have you feeling like you're in a lot of trouble. Transcript: "Henry my favorite kind of lactate said is really something simple 6/100 from the blocks on eight to ten minutes all out. I mean if you can get past four and you're feeling good, you haven't really tried. So, it's a killer. I mean, for any Sprinter that's going to punish you and that was the one that would really Jack my Lactaid up and and I even clocked the little device once I got above Think it's 22, you know, that's the highest it could go terms of volume of lactate that I could reduce and that one had me shook. I had lactate coming out of my eyeballs, you know, when you get to that point, you're in a lot of trouble. So six ones, eight minutes all out."
Caeleb is always trying to improve and get faster, making his stroke evolve. His technique has become more balanced and efficient. He is focused on breaking the World Records. Transcript: "One of the things I love about Caeleb is, if you watch Caeleb from three or four years ago, it's ever evolving. The Caeleb Dressel that swam at the 2016 Olympics that won a gold medal on the relay, is not the same guy that swam in Tokyo. And he's actually not the same guy that raced against us a couple of weeks ago. He's always evolving. He's always getting better. So when I look at Caeleb's stroke and I analyze it, I can see a man that is putting time and energy into getting better and that's a scary thing for someone that's the best in the world, but that's his mentality. He's never satisfied with where he's at and how he's doing things. His stroke is evolving. I can see him sitting up really high in the water. He's got a thunderous kick. I mean his legs are just so powerful, that engine behind him. But the way that he's swimming I think is evolving. He's getting more length. He's getting more balance. He's holding more water. He's training and racing as a man who wants to swim faster than anybody has ever swum before. The World Record's 20.91 and 46.91. Caeleb is not satisfied with being behind those records. I can tell he's focused on breaking World Records. And there's a couple of other people in the world like that too. I mean some of the best athletes at the top are trying to get faster. And that's what Caeleb is doing. And it's interesting to look at his technique over time, it is evolving, but that length of stroke is something that I'm really picking up on lately, and the balance of the stroke, the technique."