World Class Workout 13: An IM Set With Swim & TV Star Summer Sanders

1992 swimming gold medalist and sports commentator Summer Sanders

Summer Sanders' name may be synonymous with Olympic gold (she won the 200-meter butterfly and was part of the winning 400m medley relay team at the 1992 Barcelona Games), but she's also just as comfortable in front of a TV camera.

Having traded in her swimsuit for a sports commentator's microphone, Summer has hosted show such as NBA Inside Stuff, Figure It Out, The Sports List, and Beg, Borrow and Deal.

In addition to these professional commitments, Summer completed the 2002 NYC Marathon (only her second one) with a personal best time of 3:17. ("And you can print that," she laughs. "I was stoked!")

Summer was a natural choice for a World Class Workout contributor. Personable, accomplished, and well-known (she achieved virtual pin-up status among her male fans long before the Internet made a star out of Anna Kournikova), she stipulated only that I mention she has a 7-year-old beagle named Smalls and a niece and nephew named Scout and Ryder, respectively.

Having caught up with Summer after the 2003 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, I was torn between asking her to contribute a swimming workout vs. a running one, given her success in both fields. I figured I'd start with swimming, recalling that in addition to her Olympic gold medal, she also was a silver medalist and American record-holder in the 200 Individual Medley (an event incorporating all four strokes).

Such versatility has served Summer well, and it was with this in mind that we agreed on reconstructing a grueling and very effective all-four-strokes workout that we endured together at Stanford University back in 1992.

It was no small coincidence that after a regular diet of such workouts, we each led our respective men's and women's teams to an NCAA Championship victory that year.

What follows is Summer's World-Class Workout, an 8,000-meter (or yards, depending on your pool) challenge that gives equal weight to all four strokes while incorporating a ladder set to test your stamina.

Even if you don't race in all four strokes (triathletes and open water swimmers take note), the workout below is a great conditioning test that will benefit even the most endurance-prone freestyler.


500 free
16x50 @ 1:00 (Odd: IM order — butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle; Even: freestyle) [Example of first five 50s: Fly, Free, Back, Free, Breast...]
200 IM (kick)

Set 1
600 (middle 200 IM) @ 30 seconds rest
2x300 (middle 100 IM) @ 15 secs rest
4x150 (middle 50 stroke — anything other than freestyle) @ 5 secs rest

800 pull

Set 2
4x150 (middle 50 stroke) @ 15 secs rest
2x300 (middle 100 IM) @ 10 secs rest
600 (middle 200 IM)

100 easy

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