Backstroke “GO!” Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This is a variation on the Nitro whistle set. We just did it backstroke, I shouted “GO!” as the intervals came up rather than blowing a whistle, and we added a few quality swims.

Swimmers begin with a 25 back @:20, then a 25 @:25 and so on, increasing to a 50 at the earliest opportunity, increasing to a 75 at the earliest opportunity… and so on. Their instructions were to make the jump in distance as soon as they felt it was feasible.

We paused after the :50, after the 1:30, and after the 2:00 to do the 50 ez – 100 fast backstroke-50 ez. We had some excellent performances on the 100s backstroke.

Do you coach swimming and love good quotes? Then you need this:

The 9 x 4

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

9 x 400 IM done as…(SCM)


12 x 25 fast @:30 (4 each fly/bk/br)

1 x 100 free strong & steady @1:20


4 x 100 IM @ 1:30 Descend 1-4


1 x 400 IM @6:30 (descend #3-6-9)


8 x 25 fast @:30 (4 each fly/bk)

1 x 100 breast strong & steady @1:30

1 x 100 free strong & steady @1:20


2 x 200 IM @3:00 descend


1 x 400 IM @6:30


4 x 25 fast fly @:30

1 x 100 strong & steady bk @1:25

1 x 100 strong & steady br @1:30

1 x 100 strong & steady fr @1:20


1 x 400 IM ez @6:30


1 x 400 IM fast

Back and Breast Together Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This set allowed us to keep the group together while some swimmers trained back and others trained breast. This was a small group at an early morning practice, so keeping the group together was helpful for keeping the energy up.

For the 50s, backstroke drills are in blue, breaststroke drills in green.

We went on the same intervals for both strokes — backstrokers did 150s and breaststrokers did 125s.


The Diamond Sprint Set

Coach Rory McGlynn, ESB Swimming Club

I thought I might share a deceivingly tough sprint set that I drop on my home programme 2-3 times per season.

Depending on what you are looking for , I have sometimes only timed the 50’s or just the 100’s. 

On one occasion we turned off all the pace clocks and simply went off whistle on each interval, focusing on effort level and technical aspects such as the efficiency of breakouts under pressure.

Yup. Backstroke Fartleks

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

I wanted to get some low-to-medium intensity backstroke technique done.

“Beams” … our 25m indoor pool has 4 large steel beams that run perpendicular to the direction we swim…so for “beams” we kick on our side and take a stroke every time we pass under the beam.

The Hour of Power

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This set was originally posted here October 17, 2018

Every swim was on a 1:00 interval. Everything is fast unless otherwise indicated. In a few cases, we had to add an extra 25 easy to get our swimmers back to the end of the pool with all of our equipment. Otherwise, this set worked really well. SCM.