What is the old masters swimming adage?
What is the old man doing in the pool? Swimming like a young one.
Except Brandon J. Fischer, a full-time Mechanical Technologist at the famed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California is swimming like a fast – VERY FAST – young man [see USA Swimming video here and below].
While his competitors are putting in mega workout distances under the tutelage of professional full-time coaches with access to high-altitude training, high-level international competitions, afternoon naps, diets defined by nutritionists, dryland workouts led by professional trainers, while pushed twice-a-day workouts in 50m pools by other world-class athletes all with Olympic dreams, Fischer faces the highly intense world of competitive swimming without these benefits.
He is the lone swimming samurai.
It is a lonely path, but Fischer has been forging his way forward in an unlikely manner for years.
The former University of Wyoming swimmer is now competing against breaststrokers from more established schools from Cal Berkeley and Stanford to the University of Texas and University of Florida. And he is most definitely holding his own.
The current Technologist earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts – and then switched gears to work among scientists and engineers.
The former three-time All-American, four-time Olympic Trials competitor, and a two-workouts-a-day college athlete has now built his customized training program around a full-time job in an intense work environment – where he walks over 10,000 steps per day throughout the laboratory, doing a lot of physical labor.
Instead of being able to taper for weekend events like his competitors do, he is physically exhausted by Friday night.
But this has not stopped him or even harmed him. Like a stoic samurai, he does not complain and finds a way.
He explains, “I love it and I want to keep doing it; it’s just other life circumstances and other things that come into the whole mix of life…I’m not a kid anymore. I still consider myself a childlike person inside an adult body. I’m a young person.”
And like a young person, he is excited to make his marks in the world, both swimming and professionally.
At the age of 32, he finished 15th in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes at the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials. It was very impressive, but not close to being on the powerful USA Olympic Team.
Dial forward two years of consistent and daily KAATSU both in his home garage and in the pool, Fischer has continued to improve and get faster. At this weekend’s Speedo Sectional Championships in Southern California, Fischer swam to two lifetime best times in his two favorite races, the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, while setting two national records.
Previously, the national records were 52.09 in the 100-yard breaststroke and 1:53.54 in the 200-yard breaststroke.
On Friday, Fischer ripped off a 51.95 in the 100-yard breaststroke and a 1:52.08 in the 200-yard breaststroke on Saturday [see video below] – at the age of 34.
To put these times in perspective, Fischer swam a 54.10 in the 100-yard breaststroke and a 1:55.75 in the 200-yard breaststroke as a prime scholarship NCAA Division I athlete. 54.10 versus 51.95…and a 1:55.75 as a scholarship collegiate swimmer compared to a 1:52.08 as a full-time scientist on his feet all day…there is no comparison really.
Fischer not only beat the existing the 30-34 year old record of 1:53.54, but he also beat the 19-24 year old record of 1:57.33, the existing 25-29 year old record of 1:53.04, and every other masters swimming record of any age with his lifetime best of 1:52.08 in the 200-yard breaststroke at the Speedo Sectional Championships at Golden West College in Southern California on December 16th 2023. He went so fast that even his 50-yard split time during his record-setting 200 breaststroke just missed the national 50-yard breaststroke record of Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers.
Even in his off events like the sprint and distance freestyle races, Fischer has dramatically improved and set his lifetime best times in his 30’s with a 21.0 50-yard freestyle, a 45.46 in the 100 freestyle, a 1:41.91 in the 200 freestyle, and a 4:35.58 in the 500 freestyle.
So what has led to these changes? What differences has Fischer implemented to get faster, stronger, and more competitive at the elite level…as he gets older – and busier with work?
Fischer, the oldest male qualifier for the 2024 USA Olympic Trials, explains, “Now, I focus on surgical, quality, a different kind of intensity, intentional and cross training of different techniques and stimulus to keep the mind and body growing. I push myself in fewer practices, but with more emphasis on recovery and using science to accelerate myself in the right direction.
It is like a sniper or a warrior with his sword: there is attention to detail, discipline, creative, and purposeful. Every moment, every action, must have meaning.
Most people burn out because they are attached to old habits that did get them there, but do not serve them anymore because their body or life circumstances have changed. Life changes and one must flow like water. Be water.
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom. You can stay there or fight your way back into the light. Nothing is given. Laws of physics, for every impact or action, there is an equal and opposite impact or action that will happen.
Fischer also uses KAATSU equipment for his dryland training and pool workouts. He uses the KAATSU C3 model for his warm-ups, workouts, and post-workout and post-competition recovery and the KAATSU Aqua Bands for in-water sets. His purpose for the equipment is both to enhance his athletic performance and for recovery from his 90-minute workouts and races.
He says, “256 different types of muscle fibers, from slow to fast, need to be worked. It is the hidden muscles that no one knows how to work or it is built up in the mind that it is too hard or too long. The results will come. It just takes patience. I could have quit along time ago – but kept going.
I use to compete to get approval from others. But I am competing now for a higher purpose.
So how does Fischer use his KAATSU equipment?
He uses it during his dryland and in-water practices. He also uses his KAATSU C3 device around the house and as a recovery tool after workouts.
This weekend, after he warmed up in the pool before the finals, he got dressed and relaxed before the race…with the KAATSU equipment on.
Leading up to the race start, Fischer put his KAATSU C3 AirBands on his legs and used the equipment in the Low Pressure cycle mode with one-finger tightness. He removed the AirBands off only a few minutes before he went up to the starting blocks. The automated gentle and progressively incremental compression caused by the 30 seconds of inflation in the AirBands is repeatedly followed by 5 seconds of deflation in the AirBands. It is an ideal way to get vascularly and hormonally prepared for an intense competition – that Fischer proved over this weekend.
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