Fartlek and Stations

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did the fartlek set followed by 4 rotations of the stations below. The diving well underwater kicks were done hooked to a stretch cord anchored to a nearby fence for resistance.

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Underwater Kicking Challenge Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did this set in a 25 m pool with a stretch cord stretched across the lanes at the halfway mark. We used hockey pucks on the bottom so the swimmers could tell where the stretch cord was located.

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The Oxygen Sucker

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

The first 25 underwater kick will suck the oxygen out of you..then you gotta hit a FAST 50. 75 easy to recover, then do it again. SCM.

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Underwater Kicking & IM Blast Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This workout involved two stations – one working underwater kicks and one doing an IM set. We did each station 3 times — the cord set was the same each time, and the IM set progressed through the three versions listed. The 3rd round was essentially a broken 400 IM.

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Recovery Workout?

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We generally don’t do “recovery workouts.” Not because I don’t believe they have benefit, but rather because rarely do I have an entire group on the same page where that is what they all need at the same time.

Today was one of those rare times. Most of the group has just come off their high school state championships. We spent time at the beginning of practice going back over what we learned, how we swam, and what we can do better next time.

Here was the main block of the workout:

3 x 10:00 fartlek @11:00

#1 – 10 cycles kick against the wall at every wall then great underwaters on the push off

#2 – 25 drill/25 build done as 50 free/50 no free

#3 – all choice, sprint 1 cycle on first lap, 2 cycles on 2nd lap up to 4 cycles on fourth lap, continue that pattern.

3 x 500 kick @ coach’s go

25 fast -25 ez

50 fast- 50 ez

75 fast-75 ez

100 fast-100 ez

Max Underwater Average Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

On the 25s, the goal was to hold the farthest possible average distance (with some pretty good speed) on each set.

The 225/200/175 was an A/B/C distance dependent on swimmer’s kicking speed. Swimmers chose the appropriate distance for themselves individually.

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Working Our Underwaters with Tempo Trainers

Mike Cook, Mason Makos

4 rounds odd rounds fly even rounds back. Fast fish kicks underwater get up when you decelerate into fast stroke.  Stay with the beep and feel the difference. Fly no breath first stroke. Can not past 15 meter with fins

4x8x25 @35 fins

1st round TT@0.7. 2nd round TT@0.6. 3rd round TT@0.5. 4th round TT @0.4


20×50 @50. Odds fly to back evens back with fins


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Underwater Kick Set #37

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This was a brief underwater kicking set that we did in a SCM pool as a pre-set before yesterday’s post. The instructions were to kick fast underwater to 12.5m every time (this was cut off in the picture below). For the first 6, the swimmers held one paddle out in front of them with the broad surface perpendicular to the oncoming water (to create drag).


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Flying Pigs

Coach Doug Russell, Austin Trinity, Austin Texas

We got this base set for under-waters from the women’s program at the University of Arkansas several years ago and we use it often with variations. We call it Soo-E-Pig.

We almost always use it as a fin set. We train in a 25 meter pool. The basic set is 4 under – 1 recovery (we call it “over”) , 3 under – 1 recovery, 2 under – 1 over, 1 under – 1 over. We usually repeat it 4 times though. Today we went with a variation to work our butterfly and up tempo our Freestyle.


1 6 dolphins – 3 strokes Fly – if not at wall back under water and work finish.

2 5 dolphins – 4 strokes Fly – same

3 4 dolphins – 5 strokes Fly – also

4 3 dolphins – 6 strokes Fly – again

As they work through the set they drop a round in sequence.


Round 1 Soo-E-Pig > :40

Swim 6 x 50 Free > :40 (Descend 1 – 3, 4 Negative Split, 5 Build, 6 Faster than first three)

Round 2 Soo-E-Pig > :35

Swim 6 x 75 Free > 1:00 (Descend 1 – 3, 4 Ez-Ez-Fast, 5 Ez-Fast-Ez, 6 Fast-Ez-Ez)

Round 3 Soo-E-Pig > :30

Swim 6 x 100 Free > 1:20 (Descend 1 – 3, Descend 4 – 6)

Round 4 Soo-E-Pig > :25

Swim 1 x 200 Free > Goal Time for 200 Free LC minus 3 – 6) They have fins on!

Total 2650 meters SC

Editor’s note: This set was first posted to this blog in June 2014.

The Dolphin Maker

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg  YMCA

Want to have a killer underwater kick in your arsenal for the end of a race? You had better practice kicking hard and fast under fatigue! Try this one:

5x through:

4 x 100 free w/ fins 1 @ 1:10, 1 @ 1:05, 2 @ 1:00

This initial set of 100s is intended to put the athlete in a fatigued state. Then immediately go into:

6 x 25 @ :30  First 2 with fins, last 4 no fins: #1 All UW dolphin kick, #2-6 Max UW kick and then sprint

:30 extra rest to put fins back on.

Editor’s note: This set was originally published to this blog in 2010