Quality Set with a Psychological Twist

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

LCM. This set was a pretty standard one, but the little psychological twist we added at the end made it interesting.

4x (200 all out from dive + 100 ez free) @6:30

The twist: After #3, I thought we were doing well but not as good as we could be. I asked each swimmer to find an accountability partner and tell their partner their time goal for #4. The goal was supposed to be challenging but possible, a time faster than they had gone already. Then I informed them that the partner of each individual who failed to meet his goal would do 10 burpees. This led to a little extra buzz and encouragement before the last one.

What came next pleased coach the most. Approximately half of the group achieved their goals. Several who failed apologized (“no problem, I’m getting stronger” came the reply!!!). A few even got out and did the burpees with their partners even though they didn’t have to.

Overall, the twist led to some more motivated and faster swims, and some excellent displays of team spirit.

Kick Stations

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Lately we haven’t had as much lane space as we are accustomed to, and one day last week we had nearly 40 high-school-aged swimmers in 4 lanes. We did the following kick stations that allowed us to put nearly 20 swimmers in one lane for the first station while spreading the other 20 out over the three remaining lanes. Turned out to be a pretty good kick set.

Freestyle with Press-Outs

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

I like incorporating dryland exercises I to practice occasionally, and deep water means it is an opportunity for one of my favorites — press-outs. A press out is essentially a vertical push-up at the side of the pool. The swimmer starts in the water with his belly close to the wall and hands in the gutter. Pressing down on the gutter, he raises himself up until his upper body is entirely out of the water and then drops back in. It is a great exercise for developing strength for all strokes. Here is one of my favorite sets to incorporate press-outs:

16 x 100 free LCM

#1 – with 4 press-outs at the 50 @1:30

#2 – with 3 press-outs at the 50 @1:25

#3 – with 2 press-outs at the 50 @1:20

#4 – FAST swim (no press-outs) @2:00

You can vary the number of press-outs and the interval to create many different interesting combinations of speed and reps. Make sure your swimmers’ shoulders are ready for the stress and don’t do too much too quickly.

4 Lanes, 4 Speeds, 1 Freestyle Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This SCY set allowed us to keep the group together on the same 5:00 interval. Each group/lane swam different distances (as indicated at the bottom of the dry-erase board) based on their ability.

We started each new round together. Swimmers were instructed to descend (swim faster) across the three swims even if/when the distance might stay the same.

Butterfly Jeopardy

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did this set as a fun twist on our tradition of doing a fly Set today. The secondary goal was to expand their knowledge of times (and encourage them to memorize theirs).

One swimmer picked a category and distance. I then asked them for the correct question (this is Jeopardy, remember) to go with my answer.

For instance, if a swimmer picked “Your best times (SCY)” for 200, I gave the answer “this is your best time in the SCY 200 IM. Swimmer would say “What is 2:01.26.” If he was within the range mentioned in the picture above, the group performed the 200 as 50 kick/100 drill/50 swim all fly. If he was incorrect, we did the 200 fly fast for time and a 100 ez free.

This picture below shows which swims we ended up doing fast (red X) and which we did as 1/4 kick, 1/2 drill, 1/4 swim. The swimmer who was the contestant selected the member of the group who went next.

There are of course tons of variations you could do on this theme. I printed up our best times, team records, and world records ahead of time, but I imagine this could also be fun to do with swimming trivia.

Breaststroke “Feel” Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did this set aimed at helping our breaststrokers feel propulsion from their pull and their kick separately and then combine them into full stroke swimming. We modified the three 150s so that they did a 50 of each instead of 150 of each as written. The second part of the set emphasized leg quickness and strength with the descending 100 breaststroke.

Quality Set for 3rd 50s

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

The purpose of this set was to work on the 3rd 50 of our 200 events. The shorter interval on the 2nd 50 makes that 3rd one a bit tougher, so the goal was to keep #3 equal to number 1 and 2. Then bring #4 home even faster. The first three were done to a “foot touch” and the last one to a hand finish.

Big Burn Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

The goal was to all out on each 75, keeping the ones from a push within the margins listed in the box on the right. Swimmers could choose their stroke but had to do the same stroke for an entire round.