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.

Deceptively Hard Set with Coach Brad Robbins

Brad Robbins
Tigard Tualatin Swim Club
Here was one we did recently that started deceptively easy, but had them working super hard by the end. 
Goal was to be their best 200 time + 5 sec or faster. Bonus points for being under their best time.


Did you like this set? Try this IM Transitions Set and this Early Season Spice with Just a Touch of Fly also from Coach Robbins.

Free/Kick/IM/Underwater with Coach Brad Herndon

Brad Herndon
Head Coach
GCY Makos

GCY Makos National Team 1/3/2018

Warm-Up (24 min, 1500):
500-400- 300-200- 100
Swim – Kick w/ Fins – FR Pull – IM – Drill w/ snorkel

Pre-Set (22 min, 1200):
8 x 50 Free Kick Only @:55 (Board)
   :40 sec transition
8 x 50 FR Pull Only @:50 (Buoy, paddles, snorkel)
   :20 sec transition
8 x 50 FR Swim Only @:45 (Continuous Boil Kick)

Main Set 1 (44 min, 2400):
Underwater focus, pop up “between the 15m marks” every length!
3 x 50’s Kick @ 1:00 (no board, max out underwaters)
      First – Fly/Back on back, Second – Back/Breast on back, Third- Breast/free
      on stomach (MAX underwaters on fly, back, and free kicks)
3 x 50’s Swim @ :55
      First – Fly/Back, Second – Back/Breast, Third – Breast/Free
      Execute turns efficiently , max underwaters
3 x 100 IM’s @ 1:45
     All 3 = Max Underwaters Descend, 3 rd is all out still with max underwaters!

Main Set 2 (18 min, 1200):
8 x 150’s @ 2:15 with fins
1-4 Freestyle w/ paddles and short fins, DESCEND!
5-8 Back, long fins, no paddles, focus is on underwaters popping up between
the yellow, still descend time! ALWAYS max out last 25 underwater effort!

Cool Down (2 min, 100):
EZ choice 100 minimum

TOTAL = 6500

Set for a Big Combined Group

Todd Kramer
Assistant Coach
Columbia Swim Club

Here is a workout we did last week that ended up being fairly successful. This season, on Fridays we have to swim our Senior 2, 3, and 4 groups together due to limited pool hours. Swimmers range from 13 years old to 18, and in ability from just below Sectionals to OT qualifiers.

Our main set was this:
10×100 kick @ :10 rest. We gave each swimmer their total time for all 10x100s, they needed to subtract 90 seconds for the rest plus however far back in the lane the went. Kick must be the same for the entire set. 
1×500 kick – Goal was to beat their time for the 10x100s(with the math) divided by two
200 ez swim
10×100 free @ :10 rest – Same deal as above
1×500 free – Beat the time from the 10x100s(with the math) divided by two. 

I wasn’t sure how successful we would be on this set, but the overwhelming majority beat their goal time on the kick by a few seconds and those that missed were within five seconds or so. On the swim we were a little bit less successful, a little less than half beat their time, but again those that missed were within about five seconds or so. As a whole we were very happy with the efforts. We felt that the overwhelming majority of the swimmers did not take the easy way out and give less than their best on the 100s, so they set the bar high on their 500s. Overall it was a great practice and a good way to involve swimmers of different ability levels training together at the same time. 

Sprint Free Tournament

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

For the last 15 minutes of our practice, we only have 2 lanes for the 20 swimmers in our National group.  Today we had a fun “Sprint Free Tournament” in that time. Every swimmer must know his or her best 50 free time to the tenth of a second. Here’s how it works:

1. Coach selects a swimmer (or youngest can go first). This swimmer chooses a teammate to race in a 50 free.
2. The race is handicapped, meaning that if swimmer A’s best time is 24.0 and swimmer B’s best time is 25.2, swimmer A must swim a time at least 1.2 seconds faster than swimmer B to “win” the race.
3. The head to head race commences.  The winner advances to the next round. The loser is out.
4. Repeats steps 1 – 4 until all swimmers have competed once.  Continue until only 1 swimmer remains as the champ. Be sure to keep an eye on each competitor getting amounts of rest between swims to keep it fair.

Works best with 8, 16, or 32 swimmers, but can be done with any number. Enjoy!

Freestyle Pre-Set with Deep Practice

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We used this as a little pre-set before a longer freestyle set.  It really helped many of our swimmers get in a “good technique groove.”

“Deep Practice” is a concept we use to denote whole-stroke swimming while maintaining a very specific focus on an aspect of the stroke.  The list at the bottom was our brainstormed list of freestyle deep practice possibilities.

First Set of a New Season

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We started a new season today with some freestyle work emphasizing underwater kicking, technique and a little bit of speed (think reverse periodization).  Here is the set:

12 x 100 free @:20 rest with streamline sticks @ 6m off wall
#1 – done with open turns and clean breakouts, kicking out past the sticks
#2 – done with flip turns and clean breakouts, kicking out past the sticks
#3 – done with fast flip turns, fast dolphin kicks, and 1 sprint cycle after kicking out past the sticks

12 x 75 free with snorkel @ :15 rest with hockey pucks on bottom @ 6m off wall as breakout target
1st 25 scull “Y” position
2nd 25 reach and catch scull (high elbows)
3rd 25 one-arm free

12 x 50 free @ 1:00
odd minimum cycle count
even descend 2-4-6 and 8-10-12

12 x 25 free @ coach’s pace
odd RACE! off the blocks
even max uw distance dolphin kick and then swim ez

The Pacer

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

12 x 100 Free
3 tight descend to P1500 @1:20
1 ez @ 1:40
3 tight descend to P800 @1:30
1 ez @ 1:40
3 tight descend to P400 @ 1:40
1 ez @ 1:40

300 scull/swim by 25

9 x 100
2 at P1500 @1:20
1 ez @ 1:40
2 at P800 @1:30
1 ez @ 1:40
2 at P400 @1:40
1 ez @ 1:40

300 same as above

6 x 100 all @1:40
2 at P1500
2 at P800
2 at P400

300 same warm down

How many can you do?

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA


We used this set to challenge our swimmers ability to repeat/hold a swimming pace. It made for a excellent set yesterday.

Warmup & 3k aerobic free followed by

? x 100 Free, make as many as you can without stopping

1st time you miss an interval: Take 1 x 100 off, then continue
2nd time you miss an interval: Take 1 x 100 off, then put fins on and continue
3rd time you miss an interval: Climb out and begin dryland (5 pushups @ :30, 10 squats @ :30, repeat)

Our intervals for each of 5 different lanes (and ranges of ability) in the group:
1:04, 1:07, 1:10, 1:12, 1:15