Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA
Recently at practice about half of our group was missing for a high school meet. We had a block of about 45 minutes that I wanted to get in some good speed work. How to get them excited for it and get some good results? Wacky relays.
We had 12 swimmers split into 4 teams of 3, which allowed us to swim at a roughly 1:2 work-rest ratio. We did 5 relays followed by some active recovery swimming.
Relay 1: 450m each person swims 6×25 free (keeping it simple to get us started)
Relay 2: 450m, each swims 6 x 25 no free
Relay 3: 450m, each swims 25 no free, 75 free, 25 no free, and 75 free
Relay 4: 450m, each swims 25 free, 75 no free, 25 free, 75 no free
By this time, each relay team had won a single race thanks to my expert dividing of teams. The final race would decide who had to do the longest warm down:
Relay 5: 300m each person swims 2 x 50m free dragging a partner holding on to their ankle.
Result: all teams disqualified for various forms of cheating.
The 4-way tie mandated an immediate 50 fly swim-off by a single swimmer from each team.
I got way more energy and effort out of them with this strategy than I would have with a traditional set!
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