SI Vault
Ray Cave
August 01, 1960
—and then go on swimming. With this credo, Mike Troy has become the best butterflyer in the world and a sure bet for Rome
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August 01, 1960

Swim! Swim Till It Hurts

—and then go on swimming. With this credo, Mike Troy has become the best butterflyer in the world and a sure bet for Rome

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The swimmers meet Counsilman at Bloomington's Bryan Park pool. If they are not there by 6:30, he leaves. "If they won't work, why should I?" he says.

Despite this edict, Counsilman has a pie-in-the-face sense of humor that helps him get the most from his teams. He is also, apparently, a friend of each swimmer. "If I have to make them hate me to win, I'll quit," he says, and though his swimmers complain more than a company of draftees taking infantry training, they like him. Troy says: "He's the greatest."

"Doc's automatic starter"

Counsilman, who recently fell into a pool—clothes, stop watches and all—while clowning with his boys, started a typical training session the other day by putting his foot firmly on Troy's backside, and pushing him into the pool. ("We call that Doc's automatic starter," Troy explained later.) Then began two hours of intensive swimming in what Counsilman calls "interval" training. The swimmers go for short distances, 50 to 200 meters, at paces that approximate racing times. Then they rest for about half a minute and go again. In some of these sprints only the arms are used, in others only the legs. It is an exhausting process.

For three days of the week the team has three such workouts. On the other four days, only two workouts. When the public pool isn't available, a nearby flooded limestone quarry is used, and the best swimmers in the country train like so many Huck Finns around the ol' swimmin' hole.

At 7 p.m. the boys return to the house after the last workout. "You're so tired you feel like a blown-up balloon," says Troy. "If somebody stuck you with a pin, you'd pop."

Troy fixes his own dinner at the fraternity house and is proud of his cooking. "If you marry a girl who can't cook, she's either dumb or lazy," he says. He has a small steak or two, rice, a tossed salad big enough to awe a vegetarian—half a head of lettuce, two tomatoes, celery, but rarely any dressing; all heaped in a foot-wide bowl. He tops this off with a pre-bedtime trip to a soda fountain for a milk shake. This is Troy's big splurge. "The guys call me 'Chubby' and 'Fats,' " he says. "I'm not either one any more, but I have to watch my weight."

Because of the stiff training, Troy rarely dates (once in the last three months) or sees a movie and almost never spends a night at home in Indianapolis. What about that nylon stocking? "To tell you the honest truth," he says, "I found it in the room when I moved in last fall. Sexy, isn't it?"

Like all IU swimmers, Troy keeps a record book of what he does at each day's workout. It is supposed to be solely statistical, but significant marginal notes creep in:

Dec. 7—Doc says I am getting fatter. Nothing but encouragement! Weight: 179.

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