The Speed Machine

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

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.

Race Pace Set For Split Group

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA


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.

Distance Freestyle Ramp-Up Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

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.


A Full Week of Workouts with Coach Mathieu Leroy

Mathieu Leroy, Belford Natation

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.

The Golf and Sandwich Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA


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.

IM Set with Bridgewater College

Gwynn Harrison, Bridgewater College


6 x 25 w/ MONOFIN – odds kick, hands at side….evens swim for form on 30

3 x 100 Fly – 75 Build to RED, 25 Free DPS on 1:40

200 IM @ RED on 3:10

6 x 25 Back – Odds kick with hand crossed in front/ Evens Extended breakouts on :30

2 x 200  – 150 Build to BLUE / 50 Free DPS on 3:10

1 x 300 IM (75 each stroke – build to FAST exchanges) on 4:45

6 x 25 w/ MONOFIN – Swim Breaststroke on :30

1 x 400 IM FAST, TIMED

100 Easy – Regroup

8 x 25 on :25 Free – Build into fast flip

2 x 100 w/ FINS + Paddles FAST on 2:00

300 Recovery – 75 Back (25DAB)75 free

Golf & Quality

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA


Golf= add time (in seconds) + cycles (per 50). Bring this score down.
OTB = off the blocks, fast.
All choice, but do the Golf and OTB the same stroke for each part.
Context: we are less than 48 hours after our first SCY meet of the season, where we swam a very full order of events in short sessions. We had a medium-difficulty practice yesterday. We were on fire with this today.