Split Distance and Sprint

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We have days where the whole group does one workout. Other times, we split by strokes. On this day, we split along distance lines. Part of the group worked around their distance race pace, while the other group did a small number of intense 50s from a dive. The sprinters also watched their 50s back on video and did some active recovery during the 6:00 interval. This workout was in LCM.

Distance Freestyle Pacing & Control

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This set was seeking a very specific pattern of pacing on each 600, as indicated by the line graph for each one. Failure to split it correctly meant repeating that 600. To interpret…

#1 – 300 at a consistent pace, 300 at a faster pace, also consistent

#2 – 3 x 200 descend, each one at a consistent pace

#3 – 2 sets of 3 x 100 descending

#4 – 4 x 100 descend + 200 fast and consistent

#5 – 3 x 100 descend + 300 fast and consistent

#6 – 2 x 100 descend + 400 fast and consistent

Here is how it turned out for our swimmer, with splits written next to each graph:

We had to do the first 600 twice due to some early set rusty-ness. Splits for the first of those two are not included.

The 2050 Challenge

Coach Gwynn Harrison, Bridgewater College

This is a test we do at least 1/season (often 2).  I keep all results and have an all-time spread sheet of overall time and times for each effort.  This way, swimmers can compare progress from 1st-2nd semester, as well as over course of career at Bridgewater.  It started as a way to get the swimmers more comfortable on the blocks, and more able to swim back to back events during dual meets.  Mostly, its a mental challenge because it is all the individual events of a college dual meet (short order) back to back, all best effort.  I try to do it toward the end of our overload training period to mark the occasion 🙂  Though they complain about it – it occupys a positive tradition in our program

800 Free

200 Free

50 Free

200 IM

100 Fly

100 Free

100 Back

400 Free

100 Breast

**All 100’s + 50 free are done from dive in heats / all others are from push

*We are short course meters pool, so the distance events are 800/400 instead of 1000/500

*We go a 50 recovery after each effort and take an additional 1 minute between efforts

Hit 1,650 in Race Pace!

Coach Gwynn Harrison, Bridgewater College

Start at 200 and see how many 200’s you can hit at MILE PACE :30 RI (keep doing until you miss pace.  If you miss, go 50 easy, then see how many 175’s you can hit at Mile PACE :30RI.  Continue all the way down (with the 50 easy after each ‘miss):

150: 25 RI

125: 20 RI

100:  15 RI

75:  15 RI

50: :10 RI

25: :5 RI

The first time I did this set in the fall, the swimmers enjoyed the concept, but it was chaotic. The second time this week it was fantastic, with a few tweaks. Kids need a printout of each goal time and they need to be prepared to honestly keep track of their own made yardage. It also helps to have no more than 3 swimmers to a lane if possible (or start at opposite ends). It forces swimmers who never lead to take ownership of their own set, so they need to start with that fact in mind. Swimmers will go different yardage amounts in this set. When swimmers have completed their 1650, they then must actively cheer for those still finishing. It was a good galvanizing set for our distance group – and a confidence builder!

Christmas 25s and 500s

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA


Our pool has been a little fuller the last few days with college swimmers coming home to train. This means having to consider our space a little differently when creating workouts.

This one was a good one-size-fits-all for us today. Some speed, some endurance, a little racing, some equipment, and some underwater work.

They are “Christmas 25s” because 12 x 25. For the 2nd round, we pulled 1-gallon buckets, and if swimmers went fr or fly, they were to hold their breathe for last 8m. The fourth round we did the even ones fast from a dive (HVO)

All around a solid day.

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.

This set originally appeared on this blog in May 2018.

The Set That Only Went O.K.

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

I had our distance group try this set earlier this season. The idea was for them to do 6 swims of indeterminate length on a 9:00 interval. Swimmers could decide their distance using the guide written below. The instructions were to either go farther or go faster from swim #1-3 and again #4-6.

The set ended up just being O.K. The swimmers gave it a good effort, but I didn’t give them enough rest to really do a good job going faster/farther. Next time I would do it differently in one of two ways:

1. Tell them that they need to get at least :40 rest (i.e. be done before the 8:20 mark), or…

2. Swim for a certain amount of time (like 8:00) and have them increase the distance swum 1-3 and 4-6. This would allow them to swim a distance that isn’t a multiple of 25 (stopping mid-pool when coach yells stop at the 8:00 mark) and they could then return to the wall to start the next repeat.

We’ll be better next time!


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Speed Spectrum and Active Recovery

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM pool. The goal was to really push ourselves to hold some aggressive times in practice. The main group did the top set while the distance crew did the bottom set.

If done in a SCY pool, I would probably change the goal on the 150 to “beat your best 200 time by :20”

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Swimming is the #FunnestSport, Particularly when Shared

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Morgan Cordle, 757 Swim

Jonathan Kaplan, Chris Bushelman, Jessica Laird, and Steve Medei, SwimRVA

This past Saturday, we brought our three teams together in Richmond, VA for a combined long course practice. We had three groups (Sprint, IM/Stroke, and Distance).


Chris Bushelman led the warmup, which allowed everyone to make a new friend and get to know each other:


Coach Morgan Cordle led the IM/Stroke Group:


Coach Jonathan Kaplan led the Sprint Group:


Initial Speed for 50 free

4 x HVOs

4 x Dive 30m sprint w specific breath placement

*count breaths to come on bottom

*150 easy after each and rest 1:30-2:00


Sustained Speed for 50 free

(Cone at approx 20m)

With fins, Swim medium tempo no breath to the cone, take a breath, and then sprint 10 cycles no breath, take a breath then finish to the wall. 150 easy after each and rest 1:30-2:00


100 Finish Speed and Tempo

3 rounds of Countdown Sprints w/Fins

followed by 4 x 25 breath restrictions (breath count goes lower each round)

For an explanation of countdown sprints, check out this article from SwimSwam featuring Coach Jonathan


Coach Ryan Woodruff led the distance group:

After the workout, we had breakfast together at the pool and had some time for socializing.

Thank you SwimRVA for hosting us all! This was a great idea.