He took off time from his collegiate career at the University of Georgia to train with world 10K champion Chip Peterson and coach Jon Urbanchek who has developed 28 Olympians winning 5 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze medals.
“I have tried to break [Andrew] down,” commented Coach Urbanchek. “But he is tough. He keeps coming back ready for more.”
Notice Coach Urbanchek doesn’t harbor any illusions about minimalist training or competing on “efficiency.” You don’t make it to that level without already being efficient.
What Coach Urbanchek does say is: “I am trying to break him.”
Marathon swimming is now an Olympic sport, so objective standards become necessary – in particular, speed. At the elite level, “willpower” is necessary but not sufficient. To be an Olympic marathon swimmer, you have to be fast. And to swim a 10K fast, you have to train your butt off. There are no shortcuts.
You might be able to survive a marathon swim on “less than 20,000 yards per week… with most sets being 3000 yards or less” (to be clear, I’m not talking about Kevin Murphy here). But it probably won’t be very pleasant, and you definitely won’t be fast.
No shortcuts. That’s another reason I’m a marathon swimmer.