I know we aren’t very far into the year, but this one was REALLY good.
Swimmers partnered up. The 25s and 50s were fast off the blocks for time. Half of our group swam while the other half videoed them using their phones (“peer coaching”). Swimmers gave each other feedback. I was impressed with the quality of the feedback and the amount of teaching/learning that was happening. And we swam fast too!
Swimmer A would do all three of the 25s before swimmer B did the 25s. This allows for shorter time between performance, feedback, and repetition. Coach feedback was used to supplement and guide swimmer-provided feedback.
Problem: Schedules and pool availability meant we had a crowded pool and only 5 lanes.
Solution: The Speed Machine
SCY with starting blocks at one end
Swimmers start in lane 1 and progress to lane 5. All swims timed by coach to a hand finish.
We did 8 rounds @7:00. Swimmers stick with a single stroke for each round.
Lane 1: 1 x Dive 25 fast, climb out and walk back around to lane 2 @1:30
Lane 2: 1 x Dive 25 fast, finish, get time, and then duck under the lane line to lane 3 @:40
Lane 3: 1 x 50 fast from push, get time, duck under lane line to lane 4 @:50
Lane 4: 1 x 50 fast from push, get time, duck under lane line to lane 5 @:50
Lane 5: 50 easy and then climb out and walk back around to lane 2 to begin the next round.
We went in a generally fastest-to-slowest order and swimmers went :10 apart. This setup allowed for excellent racing opportunities. Swimmers always had a swimmer faster or slower than them in the next lane to race.
For this set, our training group was organized into swimmers who specialize in 200 & down (shorter) events and those who specialize in 200 & up (longer) events. For the first two rounds, the instructions were the same. For the last two rounds, we performed the 50s slightly differently.
P200 = Race pace for a 200 yard event
P100 = Race pace for a 100 yard event
P500 = Race pace for a 500 yard event
PMile= Race pace for the 1650
EZ = Easy
The 500 served as active recovery/technique work and preparation for the following set of 50s.
The basic concept here is to ramp up the challenge by adding a constant amount to the interval with each increasing 100 so that the average pace gets progressively harder. In this case, we added 1:00 each time so that all of the intervals ended in :20. Maybe for your swimmer the way to keep the set challenging but doable would be to add :55 or 1:05 or 1:15, but I like the symmetry of this set-up.
In this case, the lines are there to highlight the pattern. You could certainly insert brief breaks or recovery swims if needed.
The way the set is written, the swimmer does 5,600 yards in 63 minutes, an average of 1:07.5 for the interval.
Golf = add your time plus your cycle count. This is your golf score. Try to lower the number. Buckets: We use 1-gallon plastic buckets attached to a waist belt to provide resistance. In this set we alternated between training for power and training for efficiency.
We started our season the last week of august but unfortunately for us, our main pool has been closed for 8 weeks for some major building maintenance. Because of this my squad can only swim 4 times weekly + 3x1h land training sessions during this period.
So when the half term holidays are coming, I took the decision to not ask my swimmers to swim twice daily as we usually do during half-term: that’s why there are “only” 8 sessions.
A favorite way to end practice: The Guessing Game. Turn off the pace clocks and swim 100s at any pace based on feel. The group is one team, with the goal to get out of practice as soon as possible with a few fun incentive possibilities. Yes, we still had practice the next day.
We started off with a little swimming golf (add your time and cycles, bring the total lower) just to check in with efficiency before we really got going. Blue 50s at 200 race pace with fast 75s sandwiched in the middle. We got an excellent effort on the 75s kick, and that sometimes caused the 50s at pace to be a little off. After the 3rd sandwich, the 4 x 75s kick at the bottom were a surprise (they were not written on the set originally) and a challenge. Opening up the interval a bit and challenging them to rise to the occasion worked like magic.