Competing on Technique in Backstroke

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Yesterday I posted that we were using the classic backstroke drill balancing a cup on the forehead. Today, we added a competitive component.

50m backstroke (LCM) race with a cup…winner is the person who goes the fastest without having the cup fall at all. Everyone else does 20 squats after the 50. We had 2 swimmers per lane go at a time, so they were racing 8 swimmers across in our 4 lanes. Most swimmers were able to make it without losing the cup, but it was interesting to see who pushed the envelope in terms of speed.

For the second competition, we split into two groups, and we tried to see which group could have more people make it an entire 50 LCM without losing the cup. 14 out of 17 made it the whole way successfully. Got me thinking about what other kinds of “technique competitions” we could have…got any ideas you would like to share?

Free and Stroke Set for SCM

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We performed this set in a SCM pool, same as for most of the sets I post during the September-May time period. In this one, the time expectation of beating our best 500 SCY time during each 400 was key to the success of the set.

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Free and Stroke Set for SCM.

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The Fly Back Grinder

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

1 x 200  done as 100 fly strong/100 back get your time @ 3:30
1 x 100 ez @ 2:00
1 x 300  done as 100 fly strong/200 back get your time @5:00
1 x 100 ez @ 2:00
1 x 400  done as 100 fly strong/300 back get your time @ 6:30
1 x 300 ez swim

add up your 100-200-300 backstroke times.  Now go:

600 backstroke for time — try to beat that total time!

Backstroke Parachutes Set with Back/Breast Follow-up

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

This workout goes back to 2009.  It was written for SCY for an athlete who was an Trials-caliber backstroker and IMer.  The focus was on underwater kicking and backstroke strength.  The “yellow” parachute was rather small and the “1st black buoy” refers to 15m mark from the opposite end of the pool.

Choose Your Descend with Coach John Ravestein

John Ravestein
TYDE Coach – National Team
YMCA of Northwest North Carolina

We did this yesterday, I liked it because it gave the kids some freedom of what they wanted to descend but the intervals were still hard enough that they couldn’t slack on the other part. I also played a game to see if I could pick which one they descended based on their effort. You can also have them pick it before they start to give them ownership of the set.

10x50s on :50

     Odds- fly, Evens- IM

     Desc 1-5

     You pick to either desc the fly or IM

Rest 1:00

8x100s on 1:25

     Odds- back, Evens- IM

     Desc 1-4

     You pick to either desc the back or IM

Rest 1:00

6x150s on 2:20

     Odds- breast, Evens- IM no Free

     Desc 1-3

     You pick to either desc the breast or IM

Rest 1:00

4x200s on 2:45

     Odds- Free, Evens- IM

     Desc 1-2

     You pick to either desc the free or IM

200 ez


Snake Fly plus Back-Breast-Free with Coach Chris Brookover

Chris Brookover
YBCC Phoenix – Head Coach
Director of Competitive Swimming

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Snake Fly – Use all 6 lanes
3 x 3 x 150
Each set of 3 is comprised:
#1 – Fly/Free by 25’s @ 2:00
#2 – 50 Fly 25 Free @ 2:15
#3 – All Fly @ 2:30
Bk/Br/Fr Set
2x through the set below…
1st   75 = 50 Bk / 25 Br
        125 = 25 Fr/50 Bk/ 25 Br / 25 Fr
2nd  75 = 50 Br/ 25 Fr
         125 = 25 Fr / 25 Bk / 50 Br/ 25 Fr
6 × 75 @ 1:00 / 1:05
1 × 125 @ 1:45 / 1:50
4 × 75 @ 1:00 / 1:05
2 × 125 @ 1:45 / 1:50
2 × 75 @ 1:00 / 1:05
4 × 125 @ 1:45 / 1:50
R: 1:40

Above  2 X
1st   75 = 50 Bk / 25 Br
        125 = 25 Fr/50 Bk/ 25 Br / 25 Fr
2nd  75 = 50 Br/ 25 Fr
         125 = 25 Fr / 25 Bk / 50 Br/ 25 Fr

Backstroke Challenge Set for Underwater Kicking Habits

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

The purpose of this backstroke set is for athletes to challenge themselves to hold near race pace while performing an increasing number of dolphin kicks off each wall.  In this case, on the first round swimmers were aiming for a time within 3.0 seconds of their 200 race pace (as shown on their pace cards) while doing at least 6 kicks off each wall for each of the two 50s.  If they were successful at that, they tried to hit the same pace while doing 8 or more kicks.  Third round… 10 or more kicks. Continue until nobody in the group can hit that pace while doing that many kicks.  Swimmers who fail to hit the target pace with a specified number of kicks simply tried to hit that number of kicks again on the next round.  For a shorter more demanding set, lower the +3.0 time standard to something faster.
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