Build-up 100s

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA


We did this quality set interspersed with some stretch cord work today.

The goal on the 35 and 65 was to get a total time faster than your best 100.

Goal on the 85 was to beat best 100 time by 4 seconds.

Goal on the 100 was simply AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

I really liked how it demanded flat-out speed early on and then encouraged them to hold it for longer.

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)

Sprint Set for Meters

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This set can be done in a SCM or LCM pool. All 35, 65, and 95s are done from a start and times to the head crossing the line.

Athletes are instructed to go all out on the 35. The goal for the 65 equals 2 x 35m time. The goal for the 95 equals the 35m time + the 65m time.


35m sprint, 100 ez @4:00

65m sprint, 100 ez @4:00

95m sprint, 100 ez @5:00

We did the set 4x through to allow our IMers to go 1x each stroke.

Extend the Sprint!

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

The idea behind this SCM set was to challenge our swimmers to maintain “top” speed over progressively longer distances. It turned out to be a very difficult set, but one that went well.

We used our pace cards to set objectives for the 15m sprints, and then the instructions from there were to go “all out” on the 35s.

From there, we set goals for the 55s and so on.

For example:

15m time = 6.6

35m time = 18.2 (difference = 11.6)

55m goal = 18.2 + 11.6 = 29.8

75m goal = 29.8 + 11.6 = 40.4

95m goal = 40.4 + 11.6 = 52.0

This gets difficult quickly! As an alternative to the math above, you can re-calculate the goal after the 55s and the 75s.

One thing I would change would be to give a little more active recovery between swims. We just didn’t have the lane space/time to make this happen.

The Tennis Ball Technique Challenge Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

The purpose of this set was to challenge our athletes from a technical standpoint in all strokes.  For the first 75, they swam with a tennis ball in each hand.  As we have posted in the past, this essentially removes the hand as a propulsive surface, encouraging use of the forearms, the kick, and the core for propulsion.   Setting the tennis balls down, we sprinted the first 25 (on a tight interval), paying attention to our cycle count and enjoying the sensation of having use of the hands again.  We followed that up very quickly with a 25 of the same stroke, demanding excellent efficiency and stroke length by asking for the 25 to be performed with 2 fewer cycles than the previous 25.

Underwater Power and Sprint Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Our club doesn’t have the luxury of having power towers to use (yet), so we substitute by having swimmers hold a stretch cord for the their teammates, giving them resistance for short sets such as the one below.  One swimmer is tethered in the water and performs this set, and then they switch roles.  No rest except where indicated.

1 x 8 all out UW kicks and then get pulled back to wall
1 x 8 all out UW kicks + 1 sprint cycle and then get pulled back to wall
1 x 8 all out UW kicks +2 sprint cycles and then get pulled back to wall
1 x 8 all out UW kicks +3 sprint cycles and then get pulled back to wall
:10-:15 rest, unhook from tether, leave on coach’s “go”:
1 x 25 all out sprint for time
1 x 25 ez swim and trade places with partner

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!

Fun and Speed at the End of Practice

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We did this set at the end of practice just for fun and to get a little speed/power set.  The relays worked really well, with teams of 2 swimmers starting from mid-pool and alternating 25s.  We got some fast quality turns that way.

A post shared by SwimmingWizard (@swimmingwizard) on Sep 18, 2017 at 11:33am PDT



Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

40 x 50 all choice (but no breast) @ 1:00
#1 – Sprint no breath until you MUST take a breath, then build to a perfect finish
#2 – 40 meters drill then 10m no breath sprint to finish
#3 – max underwater kick and then minimum cycle count
#4 – fast for time

Fins, Paddles & Snorkels
6 x 5:00 Fartlek @ 6:00 (use whistle or wrench bang on side of the pool, they can stop in the middle of the pool for the 1:00 rest and start from there on the next one)
Continuously repeating: 25 flutter kick on side/ 25 swim.  Descend the 25 swim 1 to ? (however many they do).  Descend using the power of the legs!
Diving well set (10-12m width)
20 x 50 (2 widths) @ :30
1st width fast underwater kick followed by open turn

2nd width sprint free no breath (at least 4 dolphin kicks off the wall)