Last week, Colorado Mesa University swept the team titles at the A3 Performance Invitational, hosted by CMU in Grand Junction, Colorado. Led by their new Head Coach Geoff Hanson, the Mavericks are seeing outstanding performances this year, with one swimmer, Mary Saiz, already automatically qualified for DII NCAAs! We decided to catch up with Coach Hanson and see what the Mavericks are doing that’s bringing them so much success. At CMU, you train and race at altitude regularly. How do you think altitude influences your training?
Prior to coming to Colorado Mesa, I was at Western State where we trained at a much higher altitude. My time there taught me a lot about altitude training, and I have been able to implement that well at CMU. We have to adjust sendoffs at practice, especially for distance sets, but overall, training at altitude is a great advantage. Our swimmers have a great aerobic base that really benefits us heading in to Conference and NCAAs which are usually held at schools at sea-level.
How do you split up practices and training groups? Do you train as a whole team?
We have three training groups – sprint, middle distance, and distance. We usually have a mix of groups too. I am a big advocate for kicking and underwater work. The quickest way to improve is to get better at kicking, and that is a team effort 95% of the time. We do some form of kick everyday as a team. Additionally, we try to have at least one day of IM work where we may have a shorter and a longer group, but we are still all training together. Outside of that, we try to get as specific as we possibly can with our swimmers, which is better achieved when we break in to groups.
What is your favorite set to do with the team?
I have had the distance group do this set three times already this year. I love to do 30x100 on 1:30 with swimmers holding at or around mile pace. It is a great way to gauge where we are at and it is a great work to rest ratio for those swimmers so I can get great effort from them. Some of my favorite days are Tuesdays when we focus on consistency and quality with the sprint and mid-d groups. Sets vary but we will do stand-up efforts from the blocks. We build in a lot of rest so we can make the most of each effort. The team always does a great job on these.
Your team is having an awesome season in your first year of coaching at CMU, what is next year looking like?
We had an awesome Fall for recruiting. We are losing about eight women and two men, which is hard. But we are pumped to have about20 or so kids coming in next year, both swimmers and divers. CMU is really a hidden gem of universities and swim/dive programs. Grand Junction is a beautiful city as well. It’s easy for people to visit this university and this program and never want to leave.
A3 Performance is a proud partner of Colorado Mesa University Men’s & Women’s Swim & Dive