Tonight we tried the guessing game with a new twist: Elimination.
We had 12 swimmers in the pool near the end of practice. Everyone swam a 100 free (any speed) and immediately had to guess their times. Top 3 swimmers who guessed closest to their actual time got to climb out and go home. Everyone else swam again and repeated the process. Incredibly, in order to be in the top 3 in the first round, a swimmer had to guess within 0.8 seconds. Similar results happened in subsequent rounds as the group sharpened their skills. One swimmer managed to finish 4th in both the first and second rounds.
The final three swimmers had the task of cleaning up the deck (equipment, etc.) before leaving.
Overall, it was a fun (and agonizing for some) way to finish practice.
The format is similar to my most recent other post, with a more aerobic focus. The intervals stay the same for each part, with the quantities at each interval shifting slightly. The effect is a set that gets steadily a bit harder, with the peak intensity coming in the final 4 x 150 at the end. FPA = Fastest Possible Average.
I like doing sets like this for our middle-distance races. Doing just a few 50s at 500 pace doesn’t do much, but when you add some real quantity and change up the interval with short rest, you start mimicking the burn of that 4th 100 of the race. Warning: this one hurts!
Coach Molly Hebzynski, University of Northern Colorado
We’ve done set variations of this set, but the one below is my favorite, and our swimmers too! We focus on maintaining a good body line and maximizing every catch without breathing. LB = Low buoy, NB = No Breath, the strap is a band around the ankles. On the 25s, our ultimate goal is to see how fast they can move across the pool in a 25 with no out-of-water arm recovery to check their catch efficiency.
2×150 @ 2:30 50 Strap/50 Reg/50 LB (The switch at the walls is intended to be quick)
6×25 @ 1:00 NB Long Dog (Long Dog is the UW catch & pull)
R1: + LB
R2: + Strap
2×25 @ :45 Free NB @ 20 BB (20 Beats below Max HR)
Our breaststroke group did this set using the green long belt slider from Strechcordz. The double pullout ensures that they feel resistance on all cycles 1-10. We got some excellent results on the descending 100s after the cords.
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.