NC State’s Natalie Labonge Nominated For NCAA Woman Of The Year

Photo Courtesy: NC State Athletics

Natalie Labonge, a recent graduate of the NC State women’s swimming and diving team, has been nominated for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

The award is given annually to a graduating female college athlete who has exhausted her eligibility and distinguished herself throughout her collegiate career in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

“My four years at NC State were both challenging and inspiring from start to finish,” Labonge said. “I’m so thankful to have been a part of such an incredible swimming and diving program, and am honored to have been nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year.”

The Greensboro, N.C., native played a pivotal role in the Wolfpack’s historic year. At the ACC Championships, she tied for third in the 50 freestyle, finished eighth in the 100 freestyle and ninth in the 100 butterfly to help lead the team to its first conference title since 1980. She was additionally part of two first-place relays, as she swam on the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays that not only won gold, but also set conference and school records.

At the NCAA Championships, she earned All-American honors as part of the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays, which finished fourth and seventh, respectively. Individually, she qualified for the 50 and 100 freestyle. Her success on the national level contributed to the team’s highest NCAA finish ever at seventh.

Labonge is a six-time ACC Champion, 11-time All-American, holds two conference records, two ACC meet records and three school records. During her time at NC State, she was named to the All-ACC Team four consecutive years and led the team as co-captain during her junior and senior seniors. She also participated in the 2016 Olympic Trials, where she was a semifinalist in the 100 butterfly.

The sprint specialist also excelled in the classroom, earning four All-ACC Academic Team honors and two CSCAA Scholar All-American honors. She was additionally awarded the Weaver-James-Corrigan postgraduate scholarship by the ACC.

On top of her excellent athletic and academic resume, Labonge was heavily involved in the community with programs such asVoluntarios Ahora en Raleigh and Habitat for Humanity, as well as leading swim clinics for children.

Labonge graduated Magna Cum Laude in May with a double major in Communication and Foreign Languages & Literature and is currently working as a Marketing Assistant at Chemtek, Inc. in Morrisville, N.C.

Press release courtesy of NC State Athletics. 

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Adolph Kiefer Would Have Been 99 Today; Celebrate His Legacy

Adolph Kiefer Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine

The swimming community will be celebrating the life and legacy of Olympian Adolph Kiefer today at 2017 Phillips 66 U.S. Nationals.  Adolph would have turned 99 today.

He wanted his legacy to include a fund that would provide some help in the form of scholarship support to outstanding young people invested in swimming and swimming lessons for all.

At Adolph’s request, the Kiefer family with the YMCA of the USA (YUSA) have established the Adolph Kiefer Memorial Fund to continue to foster his devotion and passion for swimming.  Through the generosity of Adolph and the Kiefer family, starting in 2018, the centennial of Adolph Kiefer’s birth, the YUSA and the Adolph Kiefer Memorial Fund will present Outstanding Athlete Awards to one male and one female swimmer at the YMCA Short Course Nationals. These awards recognize two swimmers each year for their excellence in academic achievement and commitment to healthy living and social responsibility through YMCA competitive swimming

Contribute To The Adolph Kiefer Fund

Gifts made in memory of Adolph Kiefer, to celebrate his contributions to swimming safety and instruction, will go towards financial assistance to local YMCAs and provide learn-to-swim lessons for children and families unable to afford them.  Click here, Adolph Kiefer Memorial Fund, to donate to this fund and honor Adolph while supporting Adolph’s and the YMCA’s commitment to water safety for all.

At the age of 98 in his home in Wadsworth, Illinois, Adolph Kiefer passed away. A member of the 1936 Olympic team, Kiefer was a man of many firsts throughout his long and storied life. As a 16-year-old he became the first man to break the one-minute mark while swimming in the 1935 Illinois High School Championships, posting a top showing of 59.8. The following year he lowered that time to a 58.5, which stood as the Illinois State High School record until 1960.

On April 6, 1940 he once again lowered his 100-yard back time, this time to a 57.9.

Those records were just the beginning for Kiefer, he went on to break 23 more records following his first sub-minute swim, including setting the world record for the 100-meter backstroke at a 1:04.8 on January 18, 1936 at Brennan Pools in Detroit, Michigan.

Kiefer served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, reaching the rank of Lieutenant and pioneering an intensive learn-to-swim program for soldiers. His “victory backstroke” became the outline of a program that included a heavy focus on water survival, including a requirement of 21 hours of water survival training for sailors. He relocated to Bainbridge, Maine during his time with the Navy where he oversaw the training of more than 130,000 naval swimming instructors. They would go on, in turn, to teach more than two million recruits how to swim and survive a sinking ship.

Following his years at Bainbridge, Kiefer established the company Adolph Kiefer & Associates, based out of Chicago. The company is credited for developing the first nylon swimwear in the 1940s and in the 1960s, quickly replacing the wool suits worn by many swimmers.

Kiefer continued to branch out his business, developing the first non-turbulent lane lines, of which he was awarded a patent. The lane lines were inspired by Yale’s legendary coach Bob Kiphuth. He also became the first to distribute Duraflex Diving Boards for his friend Ray Rude, now the only competitive diving board used world-wide.

Over the years, Adolf Kiefer & Associates became the official supplier to the USA Olympic Team and the Olympic Games. Kiefer continued to donate both his time and money to helping young children learn how to swim throughout the 90s.

A respected member of the swimming community, Kiefer was awarded many honors throughout his life. In 1965 he was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and in 2007 was awarded a gold medal from the 1936 Olympic Games from USA Swimming. Additionally, he was nominated for a U.S. Medal of Freedom and was the last surviving gold medalist from the 1936 Olympic Games when he passed.


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Andre Cardoso tests positive for EPO

The UCI announced today that Trek-Segafredo rider André Cardoso has been provisionally suspended for an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of Erythropoietin, more commonly known as EPO, in a sample collected in an out-of-competition test on June 18.

The 32-year-old Portuguese rider has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample in accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, but the provisional suspension means he is out of the Tour de France.

“The control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling,” the UCI said in announcing Cardoso’s suspension, adding that it would not comment further at this stage.

Cardoso, who moved to Trek this season after four years with the Slipstream-owned Cannondale and and Garmin programs, most recently raced at the Criterium du Dauphine, where he finished 19th overall. 

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2017 Phillips 66 USA Swimming Nationals: Day 1 Finals Heat Sheets

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Editorial content for the 2017 USA Swimming Nationals is sponsored by TritonWear. Visit for more information on our sponsor. For full Swimming World coverage, check event coverage page.

The first night of finals will go off from Indianapolis on Tuesday night with six events with World Championship berths at stake. Olympians Hali Flickinger, Chase Kalisz, Simone Manuel, Nathan Adrian and Katie Ledecky are all in action as well as a number of other swimmers searching for their first long course national team. Zach Apple, Mallory Comerford and Dakota Luther are in good position to make their first long course national teams after solid swims this morning.

The 200 fly, 100 free and the original Olympic distance events will be contested on Tuesday night at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

2017 USA Swimming Nationals – World Trials Day 1 Finals Heat Sheet – Results

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Trek-Segafredo rider André Cardoso tests positive for EPO

The Portuguese rider failed a dope test out of competition on June 18

Trek-Segafredo rider André Cardoso has failed an out-of-competition test for blood booster EPO, the UCI confirmed on Tuesday.

The Portuguese rider, who was due to ride the 2017 Tour de France starting Saturday in Düsseldorf in support of Alberto Contador, was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding of Erythropoietin (EPO) in a test sample collected in an out-of-competition control on June 18, 2017.

While the UCI won’t comment further on on-going doping cases, with the rider able to request to be present at the testing of a B sample, Cardoso’s Trek team released a statement saying they had suspended the rider immediately.

“It is with deep disappointment that we have just learned that our rider, André Cardoso, has tested positive for a prohibited substance,” the statement read.

“In accordance with our zero tolerance policy, he has been suspended immediately.

“We hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available.”


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Swimming Australia Announces 2017 NextGen AusComGames Squad

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Twenty-two talented teenagers have been selected in the 2017 NextGEN AUSComGames Squad Program following on from their recent performances at the Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Championships in April and their selection on to the FINA World Junior Championship team.

Each year Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) provides Swimming Australia with a grant to assist identified junior athletes to gain exposure at international competitions, assisting these promising athletes to be selected in future Australian Commonwealth Games teams.

The NextGEN AUSComGames Squad Program, which was first introduced in 2014 has seen a number of athletes progress on the development pathway and onto the senior team. The funding that Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) generously supply for the squad has enabled many young athletes to experience a level of competition and support that they may not have had access to without help from the CGA.

In 2017 Gold Coast young-gun Elijah Winnington will headline the squad after winning eight gold medals from his eight events at the Age Championships and setting three new personal best times along the way.

The Richard Scarce coached swimmer, who trains alongside World Championship silver medallist Cameron McEvoy, said he was really happy with his performances at Age and would now look to improve on his times at Worlds.

“After the Age Championships, the plan is to just train hard and get ready for Junior Worlds,” Winnington said.

“I’ll sit down with my coach and reassess my times and set new goals, and if I can hit those goals, whatever comes with that will be great.

“It’s a big honour for me to race at the World Junior Championships, as this is the pinnacle that an athlete can reach; to compete for your country.

Joining Winnington will be an exciting and emerging young group of swimmers including, breaststroker Zac Stubblety-Cook, freestyle all-rounder Molly Batchelor and 13-year-old rising star Jenna Forrester.

Over the past 6 years Swimming Australia has had 30 swimmers transition from the NextGEN AUSComGames Squad Program to represent Australia on major international teams and since 2014, 13 athletes have subsequently progressed to the Australian Dolphins Swim Team, including Olympic medallists Kyle Chalmers and Tamsin Cook.

In 2016 Jack Cartwright, Daniel Cave, Kaylee McKeown, Ariarne Titmus, Louis Townsend and Matthew Wilson were all part of the NextGEN Squad and have just this year gained selection onto the 2017 Australian Dolphins Swim Team that will compete at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest and are looking in fine form for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Swimming Australia High Performance Pathway Manager Jamie Salter said, CGA’s support has been vital to the success our youth teams have had on the international stage.

“Over the last four years we’ve won over 80 medals on our representative Youth Teams, and 40 per cent of these have been Gold,” Salter said.

“We have a very proud history on the Dolphins Swim Team and the level of investment from the CGA is vital to our Pathway programs to ensure we’re continuing to develop swimmers for podium success on the senior teams.

“We’re very grateful for the investment of the CGA as their significant contribution gives so many of our young swimmers opportunities that they may otherwise not get,” Salter added.

The swimmers will next week head to Canberra for a Youth Camp from July 2 to 8 with the focus on team familiarisation and preparation for the World Junior Championships in August.

The camp will focus on education and learning opportunities, innovative sports science, including 3D motion capture, and a visit from Olympian and mentor Matt Abood are all on the agenda for the week long camp.

The World Junior Championships will be held in Indianapolis, USA from August 23 to 28 with more information about the team here:

Swimming Australia would like to recognise and thank CGA for the support provided for our Youth Development programs.

The 2017 NextGEN AusComGames Squad:

Zac Stubblety-Cook – West Brisbane Aquatic

Sarah Beale – Acacia Bayside

Nathan Robinson – Unattached (formerly St Peters Western)

Lydia Murray – St Peters Western

Molly Batchelor – Nunawading

Shikira-Lee Matheson – St Peters Western

Jacob Vincent – St Peters Western (formerly Miami)

Sharni Robinson – St Peters Western

Elijah Winnington – Bond

Jacob Whale – Flyer

Eliza King – Rackley

Sienna McDonald – St Peters Western

Natasha Ramsden – Abbotsleigh

Stuart Swinburn – University of NSW

Zachary Attard – Carlile

Jemima Horwood – UWA West Coast

Tanya Stovgaard – Southport Olympic

Leon MacAlister – Carlile

Jordan Brunt – Southport Olympic

Jasmine Hopkins – Bussleton

David Schlicht – MLC Aquatic

Kayla Costa – Nunawading

Press release courtesy of Swimming Australia 

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Jillian Hatch Transfers to University of Florida

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold/Aringo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The incoming class for women’s swimming and diving is set and totals seven newcomers to the Gators. Included in the seven is Florida’s newest signee, transfer student Jillian Hatch.

A transfer from the University of Pacific, Hatch joins the Gators’ sophomore class. Coach Troy is excited to have her aboard, stating that she “beings a great recommendation with her and swims a great freestyle and butterfly.”

Coach Troy is pleased with what these incomers bring to the team. “In regards to the entire class they bring a lot to the table,” said Troy. “These women fill a lot of the weaknesses we had on last year’s squad and combined with the rest of the team put us in a good place.”

The entire women’s incoming NLI class is listed below.

Taylor Ault – La Habra, Calif. / Sonora High School
Bettina Boszormenyi – Budapest, Hungary / Szent István Gimnázium
Jillian Hatch – Tulare, Calif. / University of Pacific
Gabrielle Hillis – New York City / Prosper High School
Nikki Miller – Glasgow, Scotland / Mearns Castle High School
Rachel Ramey – Frisco, Texas / Heritage High School
Emma Whitner – Orlando, Fla. / Lake Highland Prep School

The University of Florida contributed this report. 

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A (Zach) Apple Per Day for the Loaded 100 Free at U.S. Nats

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Editorial content for the 2017 USA Swimming Nationals is sponsored by TritonWear. Visit for more information on our sponsor. For full Swimming World coverage, check event coverage page.

By David Rieder.

Cassidy Bayer missing the final of the women’s 200 fly was eye-opening. Tom Shields finishing ninth in the men’s 200 fly came as far more of a surprise. And then Olympic finalist Abbey Weitzeil faded all the way to 15th in the women’s 100 free, her back-half split of 29.49 resulting in a final time of 55.48—more than two seconds off her lifetime best of 53.28.

None of the big favorites missed out on the final of the men’s 100 free, but the stunner in that event might have been the morning’s biggest: Zach Apple is seeded first.

Who is Zach Apple exactly? Well, in three events at Olympic Trials last year, he finished 39th in the 200 free, 35th in the 100 free and 35th in the 50 free. His 100 free time was 50.18.

During his sophomore season at Auburn, Apple had a solid NCAAs, finishing fourth in the 50 free and making the consolation finals of the 100 and 200 free. His best 100-yard time this season was 42.41—again, solid, but nothing to suggest he was about to drop a 48.14 in the long course version of the event.

Well, that’s exactly what he did. Coming in with a best time of 49.43, Apple dropped 1.3 seconds to claim lane four for the 100 free final at U.S. Nationals. In the final, if Apple looks to his left, he will see three Olympians. To his right, three Olympians, plus NCAA runner-up Michael Chadwick.

Of course, even if Apple finished four tenths ahead of the field in the prelims, it figures that several of the favorites have quite a bit more in the tank. Specifically, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian was out in 23.59 at the first 50, the 14th-fastest split in the field, before coming back faster than anyone else in 25.03.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Adrian hinted in his pre-meet press conference that he planned to go back to his strategy of attacking from the start, so expect more of that in the final. No surprise to see Olympic relay medalists Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held and Blake Pieroni scattered throughout the field, and while Chadwick cut it close with his 49.02, he made it in as well.

The other two in the final? Not guys typically associated with the 100 free. Townley Haas tied with Dressel for second in prelims after clocking 48.56. If Haas can get out quick enough, he will always have the requisite back half to hang on with his 200/400 free background.

Finally, Ryan Murphy broke 49 for the first time in prelims, and he has a shot to sneak on the relay, thereby getting his World Championships spot booked before the backstrokes. It’s a strong, deep field—only Chadwick didn’t break 49 in prelims—and it’s anyone’s guess which two won’t make the World Champs team for the 400 free relay.

As for the women’s 100 free, that’s a little more clear-cut, simply because the field was not nearly as quick as expected. At Olympic Trials, it took a 54.07 to qualify for the 100 free final. Tuesday morning in Indianapolis, it only took a 55.04.

Admittedly, the lack of semi-finals at this year’s Nationals makes the comparison a little more tricky, but that’s still not a good sign for an American relay with legitimate World title aspirations in the absence of Cate Campbell.

The good news? Well, Mallory Comerford. Her prelims-leading time of 53.26 put her sixth in the world for 2017 behind five Olympic gold medalists. She broke Weitzeil’s U.S. Nationals meet record set last summer, and among American, only Simone Manuel and Amanda Weir (who also surprisingly missed out on the top eight at Nationals) have ever been quicker.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Comerford and Manuel will battle for the national title in the final, with the 53-second barrier definitely in jeopardy. Kelsi Worrell was also sub-54 in prelims, and Olympians Lia Neal, Olivia Smoliga and Katie Ledecky were just behind.

The two surprises in the final? North Carolina senior Caroline Baldwin and Georgia sophomore Veronica Burchill. Neither of them were even semi-finalists in the 100 free at Trials. Burchill, from the Indianapolis area after swimming for Carmel Swim Club for many years, should have plenty of hometown support.

It’s a position you probably didn’t expect to see Baldwin, Burchill or Apple in, having to beat only two people in their respective heats to get a spot on the World Champs team. Of course, after his 48.14, Zach Apple probably has his sights set on a tree branch a little bit higher.

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Jim Stoppani's Shortcut To Strength: Training Overview

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I’ve been relentlessly experimenting in the field of human performance for over 20 years. I’ve helped you add size. I’ve helped you shred. Now I’m going to help you build what is for many people the most elusive training quality: strength. Welcome to Shortcut to Strength.

At this point, you probably associate me more with muscle than with one-rep-max strength. But really, both are part of the same project. This six-week program is about building that strength that’s then going to allow you to build more muscle, lose more fat, increase your athleticism, be more explosive, and have a better quality of life.

If you’ve been lifting in the traditional muscle-growth rep ranges for years and have never committed to a pure strength phase, this is your chance. If you’re looking for something to cycle alongside my previous programs—Shortcut to Size and Shortcut to Shred—look no further. The three fit together perfectly.

You can come to this program with any kind of background or goals, but you’ll leave it with one result: strength.

Workout Program & Training Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Strength
Watch the video – 10:45

Shortcut to Strength The Program

Shortcut to Strength is a four-day-a-week program built around the three timeless big lifts of the bench press, squat, and deadlift. These are proven markers for strength, and you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck by pushing hard on them.

Shortcut to Strength will allow you to build more muscle, lose more fat, increase your athleticism, be more explosive, and have a better quality of life.

You’ll focus on each of the lifts for one workout a week, along with a select number of assistance exercises. Here’s how a week on the program looks:

  • Day 1: Squat, legs & calves
  • Day 2: Bench and push: Chest, shoulders, triceps
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Deadlift and pull: Back, biceps, abs
  • Day 5: Rest
  • Day 6: Power and dynamic movements
  • Day 7: Rest

The power day deserves a little further explanation. On that day, you’ll be doing explosive movements like jump squats and explosive push-ups. Some of the movements will be unweighted, while others will be lightly weighted, like 50 percent of your one-rep max or less.

It may seem counterintuitive to train so light when your goal is strength, but trust me: This works. You’ll be doing relatively low reps, but very quickly and explosively. This will build power and the ability to recruit muscle quickly and effectively. In turn, this will help you build more strength.

Some of the movements will be unweighted, while others will be lightly weighted, like 50 percent of your one-rep max or less.

And don’t worry—you’ll be getting all the heavy, grinding strength work you could ever want over the course of Shortcut to Strength.

Shortcut to Strength The Progression

Even though this program is only six weeks long, you’ll perform three phases, each lasting two weeks. Each will also be based on a certain percentage in your one-rep max of the bench press, squat, and deadlift. Here’s how it will progress:

  • Phase 1: 80% 1RM, or a weight you can lift for 8 reps
  • Phase 2: 85% 1RM, or 5-6 reps
  • Phase 3: 95% 1RM, or 2-3 reps

The accessory movements will vary a bit in their rep ranges, but for the most part, they’ll match up with these rep ranges. If you’ve never rowed or curled heavy before, get ready to try it.

You don’t need to test your one-rep max for every exercise. Just use the listed rep max as your guide to when you should hit failure.

The programming will often mention a rep max for accessory movements, but you don’t need to test your one-rep max in, say, the Romanian deadlift or lateral dumbbell raise. Just use the listed rep max as your guide to when you should hit failure. An 8-rep max in the curl means you should be able to handle 8 reps, but ideally no more.

How to test your one-rep max

If you don’t know your one-rep max on the big three lifts, that’s OK. I recommend you take a week at the start of the program, and another at the end, to test the three lifts on three separate days, ideally like this:

  • Monday: Bench test
  • Wednesday: Squat test
  • Friday: Deadlift test

Yes, that will make Shortcut to Strength an 8-week program rather than six weeks, but you’ll more than make up for the lost time with your ability to dial in your weights for maximum results.

When you find the weight that makes you fail, you know your one-rep max is the previous weight that you could handle for a rep. Use that weight to build out the program.

There are many popular protocols for testing your one-rep max, and if you have one you’re really comfortable with and have used in the past, by all means stick with it. If you’ve never tested before, I recommend a simple ramping protocol after a good dynamic warm-up that gets you good and warm.

To determine what weight to aim for as your initial test, use this tried-and-true coefficient:

(10-rep max) x 1.33 = approx. one-rep max

For instance, if you know you can bench 225 for 10, multiply that by 1.33, which gives you 300 pounds. That’s not your max; it’s just the starting point that will help direct your testing. Simply let the plates guide you up in the warm-up, with the single rule being don’t fatigue yourself or go anywhere near failure. For example, you could proceed like this:

  • 135 pounds: 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps
  • 185 pounds: 3-5 reps
  • 225 pounds: 3-5 reps
  • 275: 1-2 reps
  • Test 1: 285-300 pounds (depending on how 275 felt)
  • Test 2: Test 1 plus 10-20 pounds (if you hit Test 1)
  • Test 3: Test 2 plus 10-20 pounds (if you hit Test 2)

I want you to keep going until you find a weight you can’t lift, so an attentive and experienced spotter is a must! Don’t get stapled or injured before the program even starts.

When you find the weight that makes you fail, you know your one-rep max is the previous weight that you could handle for a rep. Use that weight to build out the program.

What Comes Next?

Don’t be that guy who gets soft while he gets strong. Nutrition is 50 percent of this program—in fact, it’s 50 percent of every program I put out there. So watch the nutrition and supplementation overview next, because you know very well how seriously I take those parts of the lifestyle.

Then watch the weekly “gym hack” videos that give you my hard-earned insight into the best techniques to get stronger, look the part, and feel good doing it.

Optimizing Biomechanics on the Big Three Lifts

Effective biomechanics can help you increase your bench press, deadlift, and squat. Learn how to use hand grip, bar position, and foot width to maximize your big three lifts.

A Strategic Approach to Hydration

Being even slightly dehydrated can impact your strength and endurance. Jim Stoppani explains how to schedule your fluid intake before, during, and after your Shortcut to Strength workouts.

How Long Your Rest Periods Should Be, and Why

Did you know you may not be resting long enough between sets? Jim Stoppani is here to tell you why rest periods are crucial to your strength gains and how long you need to set the iron down.

How Stress Can Affect Your Strength, and What to Do About It

Did you know stress can actually affect your strength? Learn how to avoid letting cortisol negatively impact your performance in the gym.

3 Tricks to Increase Your Strength Immediately

Did you know that lifting with an audience or focusing on the weight you’re lifting can increase your strength immediately? Try these strength hacks during your next workout.

The Importance of Eggs for Strength and Mass Gains

Eggs are one of the most important foods in any bodybuilding diet. Learn why they’re so critical for strength and what scientific research says about this popular protein.

You’ve got your marching orders. Now go do the work and come back stronger!

Stack Your Results! An Advanced Stack Driven By Scientifically Proven Ingredients!
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Rebecca Nevitt Plans English Channel Crossing for 50th Birthday

Photo Courtesy: Rebecca Nevitt

By Abby Bergman, Swimming World College Intern.

If you head down to the beach in Santa Monica, California on any Sunday morning, you are likely to find Rebecca Nevitt training for her next cold-water marathon swim. Her bright pink cap is clearly visible in the blue water, often accompanied by other swimmers, who join her for short stretches of her long training swims. This summer, in celebration of her 50th year, Nevitt is taking on one of open water swimming’s greatest challenges; a solo crossing of the English Channel.

The English Channel is 21 miles across at its narrowest point and has historically taken swimmers anywhere from just under seven hours  to almost 29 hours to cross. According to the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, for a crossing to be officially ratified, a swimmer must wear a standard textile suit and one cap, not receive support at any time during the crossing, and clear the water at both the start and finish. To date, there have been 2,256 successful solo crossings of the English Channel.

An experienced open-water swimmer, Nevitt has competed in many ocean races and has successfully completed some of the world’s most challenging swims, including the Maui Channel in 2010, the Catalina Channel in 2014, and a circumnavigation of Manhattan in 2015. Nevitt was also a member of the first ever all-women’s relay to complete a double crossing of the Catalina Channel, while also breaking the women’s record for a one-way relay.


Rebecca Nevitt trains along the coast in Santa Monica, CA. Photo Courtesy: Rebecca Nevitt

Nevitt got her start as a member of both the Lewiston YWCA Blue Sharks and the Lewiston Rec Weeeeeos AAU team, in her hometown of Lewiston, Maine and quickly fell in love with the sport, despite its short summer season. Her passion for the ocean was ignited at a young age, when her club coach would encourage the team to make all their times in practice by promising them a beach day in return.

“When I was 10 years old, he would also take the whole team across the lake in a row boat and have us swim back,” Nevitt describes. “You were basically on your own, but he would row around and check on you.” This type of training gave Nevitt confidence alone in open water from a very early age.

She made the natural transition to swimming in high school and college, serving as team captain at both Exeter Academy and Wellesley College, where she represented the team at NCAA Nationals in 1988.

“Rebecca’s greatest gift, then and now,” former Wellesley College coach Heather Barber says, “is her ability to make those around her better. Put simply, she is a model of shared excellence.” After taking a break from swimming following college, Nevitt dove back into the sport as a member of a Maui Channel relay in 1996. Participation in these relays inspired Nevitt to tackle the Maui Channel solo as her first real marathon swim.

“They said it was the roughest year ever.” Nevitt explains, “I had trained for a four-and-a-half-hour swim and it took me almost six-and-a-half-hours.”


Nevitt prepares for her Catalina Channel crossing. Photo Courtesy: Rebecca Nevitt

Nevitt is motivated by her love of the ocean and by the knowledge that swimming will help keep her healthy throughout life. “There was a woman who used to come to the pool when I was a lifeguard and she was 95 years old; the other lifeguards and I would say that someday we want to grow up to be like her,” Nevitt recounts. “She was still swimming, she was 95, she was super fit and I wanted to grow up to be her.”

As a working mother, Nevitt balances her commitment to her family and the demands of her sport. “I’m a parent, so I share mornings with my husband,” Nevitt explains. “I work out at the pool Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and in the summer, I swim in the ocean doing circuits on Wednesdays. I try to swim in the ocean on Sundays all year.” By training in the ocean even during the winter, Nevitt is able to build up a tolerance to cold water.


Rebecca Nevitt climbs aboard the boat following the successful two way Catalina Channel relay. Photo Courtesy: Rebecca Nevitt

Like many other marathon swimmers, Nevitt cannot remember when her English Channel dream began. She says that the idea was always in the back of her mind, but she didn’t believe it could become a reality until recently.

“I have planned my route to the English Channel slowly,” Nevitt explains. “Partly because I have a family, by doing generally one long swim each year, and by starting with swims nearby while my son is young, and doing the more distant trips and harder swims as he gets older.” Nevitt and her family will leave for England in just over a month, and it is likely she will add a successful English Channel Crossing to her already impressive resume.

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