Gotta Hit Those Walls

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This set was originally published here in 2016

So much of performing good turns in short course fly and breaststroke swims comes from spacing the cycles out correctly.  The key is that swimmers hit the wall at the conclusion of a full cycle, and not on a short stroke or a long glide.  This set is simple but demands exactly that.

6 x 25 Breast @ :35 — Hit the wall correctly at specified cycle count or it doesn’t count (take :20 extra rest and then continue

100 ez free

6 x 25 Breast @ :30 — same instructions as above

100 ez free

6 x 25 Breast @ :25 — same instructions above.

100 ez free

200 Breast  odd 25s at min cycle count, even 25s 15m speed drill, 10m long and smooth strokes

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Dayton Raider Mountain

Gary Galbreath, Head Coach of the Columbia Swim Club, formerly of the Dayton Raiders

This set was originally published to the blog in 2010.

Here’s a set we did Saturday morning. Just as a reminder it’s base building time! We did it SC meters. Everyone was on the same cycle. The Kick part was the chance to catch up if the were struggling with the Times. It’s just a good Aerobic set. Total 8800 meters

25 Kick@ 30

4 x 50 @ 45 Descend 1-4


75 Kick@ 1:30

4 x 100 @ 1:30 Descend 1-4

25 Stroke/50 Free/25 Stroke

125 Kick @ 2:30

4 x 150 @ 2:05 Descend 1-4


175 Kick@ 3:30

4 x 200 @ 3:00 Descend 1-4


225 Kick @ 4:30

4 x 250 @ 3:15 Descend 1-4


275 kick@ 5:30

4 x 300 @ 4:30 Descend 1-4

100 IM/100No Free/100 Free

325 Kick @ 6:30

4 x 350 @ 4:25 Descend 1-4


375 Kick@ 7:30

4 x 400 IM @ 6:30

#1 4 x 100 IM

#2 100IM/200 IM/100IM

#3 2 x 200 IM

#4 Reverse 400 IM

8800 meters

Freestyle Option and Choice Fartleks

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCY. We use the term “fartlek” to mean a continuous swim where we are changing speeds or instructions. In this set, we alternated a fartlek with a brief freestyle set. Swimmers were on either the more “distance-y” left side (milers) or the more middle distance-oriented right side. We came together for the 150s FPA (fastest possible average) at the end.

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“Almost Fast” Fly Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

The idea for this fly Set was to a good amount of “almost fast” fly on the 25s and then put together some good fast 100s. We incentivized the 100s and swam so well that we ended up doing only 1 each round (instead of 1,2,3). Some of the best fly we have done this early in the season!

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Quality 75s!

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This was a good challenging set for us in our first SCY practice of the new season (We have been LCM for the first 3.5 weeks).

We did the odd 75s from a dive and the even ones from a push… the goal was to keep the even ones within the amount of time listed for each stroke relative to the odds.

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Vertical/Horizontal Breaststroke Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Our breaststrokers enjoyed this one. The vertical kick was “eggbeater style.” In the 200, swimmers did 3kicks-1pull-2kicks-1pull-1kick-1pull where they focused on getting Distance per Stroke. The 6 x 50 with the squats was a great leg workout and we saw some pretty decent early-season times at the end.

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Product Review: Squeezeline, “The World’s First Streamline Sensor”

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We recently tried a new innovative product from the folks at SwimSmart. It is called Squeezeline.

The Squeezeline is a small rubber-covered sensor that resembles a soft blue rubber pierogi in size and shape. It can be placed under a goggle strap or inside a swim cap so that when a swimmer streamlines tightly, the arm presses down on the sensor and creates an audible beep. This gives the swimmer feedback that they have “squeezed” the streamline well.

As a coach who has gone hoarse hollering “streamline!” at practice, this little device is a game-changer. Our age groupers tried it and liked it. Their feedback was that the beep was a little hard to hear when it was placed in a cap but was easier to hear when worn on the goggle strap.

It is important that the device be properly placed. If it is not directly between the arm and head, the pressure won’t trigger the beep. The Squeezeline works, though. The instant feedback it provides might be the exact thing that your absent-minded age groupers need to help them remember to do swimming’s most basic skill. My guess is that a few weeks of using this thing on a daily basis and a new lifelong habit of excellent streamlines will be in place.

Our club is going to buy a handful for our worst streamliners. Once we have new habits established, we will pass them along to the next ones who like to “Superman” off the walls. Thank you SwimSmart!

Big Set with Quality 100s

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

LCM. The intervals for the longer swims were pretty loose on this set, and we got some good results out of the dive 100s, particularly for early in the season. On the black sets, swimmers could pick the freestyle or FRIM (IM with free instead of fly) track. On the purple 100s, the instructions were to pick one stroke and stick with it or go in IM order.

Competing on Technique in Backstroke

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Yesterday I posted that we were using the classic backstroke drill balancing a cup on the forehead. Today, we added a competitive component.

50m backstroke (LCM) race with a cup…winner is the person who goes the fastest without having the cup fall at all. Everyone else does 20 squats after the 50. We had 2 swimmers per lane go at a time, so they were racing 8 swimmers across in our 4 lanes. Most swimmers were able to make it without losing the cup, but it was interesting to see who pushed the envelope in terms of speed.

For the second competition, we split into two groups, and we tried to see which group could have more people make it an entire 50 LCM without losing the cup. 14 out of 17 made it the whole way successfully. Got me thinking about what other kinds of “technique competitions” we could have…got any ideas you would like to share?