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  • Nov

    The Training Arena - Q&A with Caitlin Leverenz

    Here is our monthly SwimOutlet.com blog featuring a Q&A with an Arena athlete talking about all things training! November's edition features 22-year-old Caitlin Leverenz, a 2012 Olympic Medalist and NCAA athlete at University of California Berkeley. Leave a question or comment for Caitlin to answer at the bottom by November 29 and you’ll be entered to win an Arena towel and goggles!

    1.) We all know long training sessions are not always the most glamorous, what is the thing you love most about training and what’s your least favorite?

    The thing I loved most about my training is how variable it is at Cal. My coach, Teri McKeever changes things up and I never know what practice is going to look like. I love that I have a variety of ways to workout - anything from swimming to weight lifting, spinning, running, yoga, cardio dance.

    Right now my least favorite part of swimming is waking up at 5am for practice, especially on days when I have a lot of school or I have to be on campus all day. It makes it hard not to fall over and take a nap in every class!

    2.) Is there a favorite drill or training routine that you like to do. Something that just gets you motivated?

    Before I swim in any practice or any meet I have a little dryland routine I do. Mainly, it includes a lot of slow stretching to get my muscles moving and then I do some jumping rope as well. I also throw in something fun by doing a few handstands or cartwheels.
    3.) What suit do you usually train in and give us any idea of any training accessories that you really like to?

    I love the Stormy Flow practice suit by Arena. I have it in purple and in blue and I wear either one of those two every morning. In the afternoons, I wear my green Graffiti one-piece by Arena. That one has more of an open back for better tan lines!
    I like traveling with the Arena buoy/kickboard all-in-one. It makes my life easier when I can pack one piece of equipment for more than one purpose.

    4.) What out-of-water training is top on your list?

    Top on my list right now is yoga. I have just recently gotten into yoga and I love it. It’s such great core work and I like that it teaches you how to use your breath. Right now, I do only an hour a week but I plan to bump it up more in the spring. In a few weeks I am trying the stand up paddleboard yoga!

    5.) Talk about your build up to the 2012 Olympics where you won your first individual medal (bronze in the 200m IM). What was the key for you?

    The key for me in winning the bronze in the 200IM in the London Olympics was many years of hard work, and then more importantly getting up on the block and trusting in that hard work. I had an amazing mentor and coach in Teri McKeever who pushed me more in the three years before the Olympics than I ever had been pushed. Then when I got to London I had to know and trust that I had put in the hard work and energy to make me a serious medal contender.

    6.) Where are you looking to improve the most and are you trying anything different in your training to do that? What’s the goal for the next few years?

    I really want to improve my athletic abilities outside of the pool. I think as my career goes on and as I get a little older I have to find new ways to push myself and I have to find way to change up my training a little bit. I have done that by doing a good amount of running in the beautiful hills of the Bay, and I have taken up yoga, like I mentioned before. Both are useful in different ways but both have really contributed to a better overall fitness and athletic ability.

    Don’t forget to leave a question or comment for Caitlin to answer at the bottom by November 29 and you’ll be entered to win an Arena towel and goggles!

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    Tagged with: #caitlinleverenz #arena #q&a #olympicmedalist #trainingarena
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    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    I learned to swim when I was two years old so I was too young to remember that. But I do remember when I first started swimming on a rec team when I was seven years old. My most vivid memory is that I loved that feeling of jumping in and finding a way to the end – I don’t think I knew what place I actually came in, but I loved that idea racing in the water.
    S Busby
    8 months ago.
    With it being the holiday season, what do you feel is an acceptable time off to be out of the pool? Is there anytime of your year that you take a couple of days off? Have heard good & bad about taking some time off. What are your thoughts?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    The holidays can be a tough time to get in practices. It becomes a balancing act, getting in the swim practice but still enjoying my time at home with my family. I recommend finding enough time to practice that you won’t feel like you get behind – you might not be getting better, but not getting worse (out of shape) either. And maybe more importantly enjoy your family and the great holiday season – it only comes once a year!
    alaina gettemy
    8 months ago.
    Hi, I'm 12 and love swimming. My favorite stroke is butterfly. What was your favorite stroke when you were my age?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    When I was 12 years old my favorite stroke was butterfly as well! I grew up wanting to be just like Misty Hyman and swimming her same events.
    Aaron
    8 months ago.
    What is your daily diet comparable to?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    My daily diet consists mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables. I love shopping at farmers markets and fresh markets that I can take advantage of the great California produce that I have around me. One of my favorite foods is the green smoothie I have for breakfast every morning. I throw in some spinach, kale, banana, apple, maybe some berries, coconut water and ice in a blender and drink that on my way to class.
    Khalek Sengsone
    8 months ago.
    At what age did you start swimming and have you ever taken a break fro, it since you started? btw, Happy Thanksgiving! :)
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Happy holidays! I started swimming at age seven in a summer league team and then started swimming on a year-round club team at age 8. I have tried to take a least a few weeks or a month off every year to give myself a little check out time.
    Silver Jade
    8 months ago.
    I absolutely love the look of the graffiti one piece!
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Me too! I have one in green and blue and wear one of them almost every afternoon.
    Ben
    8 months ago.
    What are the best foods you recommend to eat before a big meet?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Before a big meet I recommend eating a diet that is similar to what you would eat on a normal basis. You don’t want to change your diet a lot right before you have an important meet. But it is important to eat a well rounded meal – whole grain carbs, lots of vegetables, and some meat for protein.
    sara lyman
    8 months ago.
    How did you find the right coaches and places to practice along the way during your career? My 12 year is a huge fan and this question come from her. Thank you
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    A coach is definitely an important piece for a swimmer. The best advice I can give is that as long as she is coming home happy and enjoying practice then that coach and that team is the best fit for her. It is also important to have some consistency in coaching or a team.
    Riley
    8 months ago.
    So inspiring
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Thank you!!
    Bill Dinges
    8 months ago.
    great article
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Thanks!
    Steve Durso
    9 months ago.
    My 11 year old daughter has been on a USA team for two years and swims 6 days a week. I think she holds back at practice against swimmers in her lane who have been there longer because she doesn't want to upset them by passing them. She'll eat some splash most of the time instead of being aggessive and passing them. Also, how can I encourage her to jump further off the starting blocks. Both of these are easily within her reach but I'm having a hard time empowering her to making that change. Other than saying It'll come in time with age, how can I help her reach that change now. Thank you for your time.
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    From my own experience the best thing that my parents did for me was to encourage me and tell me they are proud and love me, no matter what. Whether I had a great race or bad race or a good or bad practice I am so thankful that my parents just reminded me of how much they were proud of me. In my opinion that is the best way to empower children: tell them how much you believe in them and will love and support them through their whole career.
    Kimberly Nguyen
    9 months ago.
    What do you tell young children who aspire to follow into your footsteps and dream to become an Olympic Swimmer ?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    It’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it to the top but if that your dream then its all worth it! I guarantee that you will have setbacks and that is the time when real champions are made, is when things are not as fun and not going well. As cliché as it is, never give up on your dream!
    mary norris
    9 months ago.
    at what age did you start training for more distance swims?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Probably around age 12 or 13 I started swimming a wide range of events and trying out other events that I didn’t normally swim. I think I swam my first mile at age 13. As children go through puberty they develop more hormones that allow them to be more adaptive to both strength and endurance training.
    Marissa
    9 months ago.
    My daughter recently aged up. She was the top at of her age group always. Now she is in the middle of her new age group and is feeling down and has lost her drive. What do you say to a swimmer in a situation like this?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    My advice to her would be to keep on working through this tough period. Once another year or two goes by she will be on top again! The hardest times in my career when I have been the most down have probably been the times when I have the most growth and can get the most from it once I make it out to the other side.
    abi ran
    9 months ago.
    Such an amazing olympian!!! How many years in total, have you been swimming?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Thank you! I started swimming at age 7, and I am 22 now so I have been swimming for about fifteen years.
    Amy
    9 months ago.
    Great article. Love your arena gear! And go bears!!
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Thank you and GO BEARS!
    Kari
    9 months ago.
    Can you share some tips on meal planning before and during a big swim meet?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    One tip is that you should try to stick to the same general diet plan that you have during the year. Right before or during a big meet is not a good time to change things up! But a good general meal would consist of whole grains, lots of vegetables, and some meat for protein.
    Becky
    9 months ago.
    When did you start swimming IMs?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    My favorite event when I was 11-12years old was 100IM! In fact if they still had that event I think it would be my favorite today too. I think I started swimming 200IM around 12 years old and 400IM when I was 13-14 years old.
    Kelley Mai
    9 months ago.
    What is your favorite snack or snacks that you take to meets to help restore/maintain your energy from event to event?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    I eat a lot of bananas during swim meets because I love them and they are a healthy, small snack. I also really like drinking chocolate milk after events as a recovery drink.
    snezana
    9 months ago.
    Good luck in the competitions :)
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    Thank you!
    Risanne
    9 months ago.
    What is your all time favorite fun set?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    A fun workout that we do at Cal is called a dice workout. Our coach will have sets written already and then she picks someone on the team and they role the dice to see how many rounds we will do. Sometimes we get lucky and others we go all six rounds.
    Kerrie G
    9 months ago.
    What is your favorite meal or snack after a long workout?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    After a long workout I like to snack on fruits because that brings my blood sugar back up. Or I will make a smoothie and throw in some fruits and spinach or kale.
    Cathy Johnson
    9 months ago.
    What are your plans after graduation?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    After graduation in May 2014 I am planning on focusing on training full time. I want to go back to some type of graduate school, possibly in nursing or physical therapy, but not until after 2016.
    Annette
    9 months ago.
    My daughter a sophomore has been swimming without a break and was hungry for it. She is experiencing her first lull. What can I do to be supportive and help her feel the hunger again. She just came off high school season with only a weekend break. This was her choice.
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    It is very natural to have lulls or slumps in motivation to swim. The best advice I can give is to keep being supportive of her. I am so thankful that my parents just encouraged me and supported me through the good times and bad. And they always gave me the option that if I didn’t like swimming any more I could stop at any time. While I didn’t ever give it up, I have been able to find some breaks where I can focus on things other than swimming. That might help your daughter be rejuvenated as well.
    Jamie
    9 months ago.
    How would you inspire more age group kids to compete in difficult swims? When you were an age group swimmer how did you deal with the "pressure" of being one of the best?
    Caitlin L.
    8 months ago.
    I remember one of the first times that I swam the 200 butterfly I was so nervous that I wouldn’t able to finish that I did an entire 200 fly in warm up, just to make sure I could do it. I don’t recommend this though! With pressure comes a lot of nerves, and those never go away. The way to get better is to embrace the nervousness and use it help you go faster. As a young swimmer this can be hard though. The best way my parents helped me was not making it seem like I had any pressure I had to deal with. They would remind me that they loved and were proud of me no matter what place or time I got.
    Displaying   1 - 25 of 33
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