Breaststroke in a Short Pool

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We have been making good use of our 10m diving well lately. I am enjoying getting creative with it. Here’s a set for breaststrokers:

4 rounds:

6 x 10m one pullout only @:20

:30 vertical eggbeater in streamline position

:10 rest

1 x 40 breast FAST @ 1:00 (add 1 x 40 each successive round so that round 4 = 4 x 40 FAST @1:00)

Breaststroke Deep-Water Speed and Power Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We recently did this set in our approximately 10m-wide diving well. Our breaststroke group was nearly unanimous in their enthusiasm for this set, despite the dog-tired looks on their faces when they finished it.

3 rounds:

10 x 10m widths @:10 1 pullout and 1 cycle breast to make it to the other side.

:20 rest

1:00 vertical eggbeater kick, hands and elbows out of the water.

1:00 rest, hook up to stretch cordz

6 x 4 cycles cord-resisted sprint (no pullouts) and float back to the wall @ ~1:00

1:00 rest

For the cord-resisted sprints, we had a cord anchored to a chain link fence about 10 feet from the edge of the pool. This wasn’t quite enough resistance, so a coach held the cord to get enough tension so that the swimmers were only barely moving forward on the 3rd and 4th cycles sprint.

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.

Challenging Set for 400 IMers

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

This IM Set can get quite challenging in a hurry. The set is somewhat tame at the start, but switching out the Free in the later rounds adds an interesting wrinkle

                1 x 300  25 IMO/50 Free                 @ 4:20
                1 x 200 25 IMO/25 Free                  @ 3:00
3x            1 x 100 IM FAST                             @ 1:40
                1 x 200 25 IMO/25 Free                  @ 3:00  (go faster than 1st 200)
                1 x 300  25 IMO/50 Free                 @ 4:20  (go faster than 1st 300)

  • 1st round performed as written
  • Intervals should be easy enough so that 1st round is not tight.
  • 2nd round: Free parts are now backstroke.
  • 3rd round: Free parts are now breaststroke.
  • These changing strokes on the 2nd and 3rd rounds make the set dramatically harder. 
  • You may want to add :20-:30 extra rest between rounds if swimmers are not strong 400 IMers.

This Isn’t One of Those Sets

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Most of the time, sets that coaches share (including the ones I post to this blog) are ones that were at least modestly successful.  This isn’t one of those sets. Instead, this is a set that didn’t work how I was hoping.  I am posting to share what I learned.

This was originally intended to be just a breaststroke set, and I tried to make it work for a few butterfly specialists who didn’t fit into the backstroke/freestyle set that we were doing at the same time.  It was fine for the fly, but for breaststroke it just didn’t work.

Swimmers reported that during/after this set they felt that their timing was off and they felt sluggish.  In hindsight, the 6 x 50 kick with the bucket was probably too much. The volume made the 50s too slow and probably diminished any power-training effect.  The rest of the set probably would still work (FPA = Fastest Possible Average), but it might be better to do 1-2 50s or 2-3 x 25s instead, and include more drill before the FPA.

See other recent breaststroke sets here.

Breaststroke Workout with Coach Greg Johnson

Gregory A. Johnson
Head Age Group Coach
Greater Pensacola Aquatic Club

2 rounds (1 min rest b/w rounds):
             4 x { 1 x 100 breast-hold stroke count @ 1:40 (Descend 1-4 by round)
                   { 3 x 50 free fast +overkick @ :40
The set was deceptively hard for the swimmers. Most took off on the first round counting strokes and feeling good, only to be taxed by the 50s. We were not very successful on the descend on round two. They got back on it on round 3 and four. If we do this again, I might set some more specific times to hit on the 100s, but I was more focused on a good stroke count that wouldn’t fade under fatigue. 

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.

Free and Stroke Set for SCM.

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