Tucson, AZ




While in Tucson, I always swim with the Tucson FORD Dealers Aquatics, also known as FORD. FORD is one is of the premier club swimming teams in the nation. Home to numerous national champions, national record holders, and Olympians, FORD is a demanding and expecting swim program. Roric Fink is the head coach and the assistant coaches are almost all former University of Arizona swimmers. Chris Trimble is the head assistant and also the distance coach so I spend a lot of time going through Chris’s toughest distance sets. While the most dedicated of the FORD swimmers meet for practice up to 10 times per week, I typically swim 4 days per week at the more intense afternoon practice. We swim at the beautiful Hillenbrand Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Arizona. The facility has an outdoor (nothing beats swimming outside in January) 8-lane 50 meter pool that when set up short course is 18 lanes by 25 yards. There is a separate 25 meter pool attached to the diving well. There is always plenty of room for swimming and this pool is utilized for most of the day by either the University of Arizona, or the FORD Masters, Age Group, or Senior Teams.


I always enjoy my time swimming with the kids at FORD, and it has been a pleasure watching these kids grow-up swimming. I started swimming with FORD in the winter of 2006 and the kids that were freshmen in high school in 2006 are now seniors. These are some of the best high school swimmers in country and recently a foursome of 18 year-old boys just broke the national record in the 400 yard freestyle relay, 2:58.33.


Ford Aquatics-AZ 'A' 2:58.33

1) Price, Geordon G 17 2) Behm, Herbie M 18

3) Popov, Nick S 18 4) Chiaro, Anthony J 17

21.26 44.76 (44.76)

1:05.32 (20.56) 1:28.42 (43.66)

1:49.51 (21.09) 2:12.77 (44.35)

2:34.13 (21.36) 2:58.33 (45.56)


Geordan Price (44.76), Anthony Chiaro (45.56), Nick Popov (44.35), and Herbie Behm (43.66) were the first 18 year-old relay to break 3 minutes in the event. Geordan is undecided, Anthony has committed to the Air Force Academy, Popov will swim for the University of Arizona, and Herbie will swim at Tennessee. Check out the attached photo of these studs on the podium spraying a little water in celebration of the national record. Swimming with a team is important for motivation and competition and the kids at FORD give me plenty of both.

Tuesday night I did a distance swim-to-kick set with Sean Bourne who has committed to swim at UC Irvine next year. The main set was 10x400 short course on 5:15. We started with a straight 400 swim nice and easy then each succeeding 400 we had to do one more 25 kick. So the second one was a 375 swim and a 25 kick, still on the 5:15 interval. The 400’s looked like this:

1) 400 swim

2) 400 as 375 swim 25 kick

3) 400 as 350 swim 50 kick

4) 400 as 325 swim 75 kick

5) 400 as 300 swim 100 kick

6) 400 as 275 swim 125 kick

7) 400 as 250 swim 150 kick

8) 400 as 225 swim 175 kick

9) 400 as 200  swim 200 kick

10) 400 as 175 swim 225 kick


Total it was a 4000 yard main set with building intensity until I could no longer make the 5:15 interval send off. Without Sean there to push me this set would have been much more difficult but together the two of us really got the most out of it. The yardage total for the practice was 7200 yards in 2 hours of swimming. A typical day of training at FORD begins at 3:45 PM and starts with at least 30 minutes of dry land training including lots of pull-ups, med balls, core strength, and abs. We swim from 4:30 to 6:30 and usually put in somewhere between 5000 and 8000 yards or meters per session. These practices are fast and hard and really challenge me as a swimmer. I know after two months of training at FORD, I’m FORD tough, and it is all because of the coaches and other swimmers. Thanks!


For those interested in my latest trek up Mt. Lemmon, this week’s Wednesday ride up to Ski Valley saw another 2x15 minute threshold workout. I took the wattage to the higher range of my threshold this week and the SRM files are listed below. My total climb from mile marker 0 to the gates at Ski Valley was 2:02:46.







SRM #1:

Duration:                15:02

Work:                     330 kJ

TSS:                       n/a

Norm Power:          365

VI:                           1

Pw:HR:                   9.1%

Pa:HR:                   2.66%

Distance:               3.68 mi

Elevation Gain:      974 ft

Elevation Loss:      0 ft

Grade:                    5.0 %  (974 ft)

Min Max Avg

Power:                    295      600      366      watts

Heart Rate:            105      161      152      bpm

Cadence:               65        111      95        rpm

Speed:                    9.7       20        14.7     mph

Pace                       2:60     6:11     4:05     min/mi

Altitude:                  2986    3960    3456    ft

Temperature:         62.6     64.4     63.0     Fahrenheit

SRM #2:

Duration:                15:00

Work:                     327 kJ

TSS:                       n/a

Norm Power:          363

VI:                           1

Pw:HR:                   8.26%

Pa:HR:                   14.27%

Distance:               3.635 mi

Elevation Gain:      978 ft

Elevation Loss:      0 ft

Grade:                    5.1 %  (978 ft)

Min Max Avg

Power:                    240      573      363      watts

Heart Rate:            126      167      161      bpm

Cadence:               63        103      91        rpm

Speed:                    8.3       22.1     14.5     mph

Pace                       2:43     7:16     4:08     min/mi

Altitude:                  4131    5108    4609    ft

Temperature:         59        69.8     62.1     Fahrenheit