After Breakout Year, Jordan Crooks Eager to Translate Short-Course Success To the Long-Course Pool
In the last 12 months, Jordan Crooks has had a monster breakout campaign. Since starting his college career at the University of Tennessee under the helm of Matt Kredich, Crooks (Cayman Islands) has turned the heads of swim fans around the world.
Crooks’ list of accomplishments from the past year is not a short one, headlined by becoming a short-course world champion in the 50-meter freestyle and indvidual NCAA champion in the 50-yard freestyle. Additionally, Crooks was a two-time SEC individual champion, SEC Swimmer of the Year, and the second man to ever break 18 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle.
Up next, Crooks has his sights set on the long-course pool. The rising Tennessee junior spoke his mind about the importance of the long-course pool and his outlook on racing heading into the 2023 World Championships.
What has your process looked like in the last couple of months, shifting t0 long course, and what are your intentions heading into Worlds?
I’d say I’ve gained a new appreciation for long course. I learned a lot more about how to translate what I know to long course. The stroke is a little bit different, and I’ve worked a lot on my back-end speed. I haven’t really picked one event yet to focus solely on. I’m still doing both the 50 and the 100 (freestyle). I’ve really enjoyed long-course training. It’s fun and I’m looking forward to Worlds. I think I’m really trying to get after an Olympic cut at Worlds and anything in that range will be awesome.
You mentioned not specializing in one specific discipline up to this point. Can you talk a little bit about what training has been like?
I’ll train for both of them (the 50 and 100 freestyle) in the week. I’ll usually do a majority of my 100 work earlier in the week and then 50 work later in the week. That can be anything from 25s race pace to even soloing in on the last 15 meters. If I’m doing 50 work, I’ll work on certain segments of the race. In the 100, we’ll do a lot of back-end speed. This includes back-end 50s but we also stress take out speed, and will add in back-end speed under fatigue. We’ll do a takeoff 50 and then try to work that back-end speed 50 and really feel the kind of hurt. There’s a lot of different ways we can get it done and I’ve really enjoyed that. It’s not the same set every week, it’s different. Consistently mixing it up keeps it interesting.
After achieving so much over the course of the last year, how are the long-course World Championships a different challenge?
I think Worlds is a great opportunity to compete on a big stage. College is big already, and certainly here in Tennessee, but Worlds is kind of a different crowd. It’s an honor to get to race a lot of people from different walks of life. Also, you run across similar athletes that you do in college that will probably be at Worlds as well. Getting to race people like that in a different stage is a great challenge. Additionally, the meet itself is an important opportunity for getting Olympic cuts. Getting to compete in the Olympic-sized pool is important because at the end of the day, that’s what the Olympics are all about. It’s a 50-meter pool, and you must be ready for that.
Does the experience from Short Course Worlds in December give you added confidence? Additionally, how has your last year of racing high level competition given you a leg up or just a level of calmness heading into another big meet?
Yeah, definitely. I think knowing that you have been able to find a little bit of success in the short-course-meters pool at that international level boosted the confidence a little bit. I think long course is obviously a different beast, but it’s still swimming. That’s what I do, I love swimming. I’m looking forward to being able to you compete against the same guys again. It’s just a different pool, different countries, and a different environment. However, it’s the same plan, just race.
What have you done in the past couple weeks to fully prepare for Worlds?
I’ve just been building up in training. Then I can fully taper going into it and then fully shave. I’ll be rested and ready to try and get some of those Olympic cuts.