Lactate Threshold Set with Coach Andy Copley

Andy Copley, Malibu Canyon Aquatics

Lactate Threshold Set working on 2nd 50 of goal 100 with a little bit of underwater dolphin kick worked in…
GEAR: Fins; Tempo Trainer
7×50 w/fins @ 2nd 50 goal pace                    1:00
8×25 no fins, 12subkk @ .45 tempo               :25
6×50 w/fins @ 2nd 50 goal pace                     :55
10×25 no fins, 14subkk @ .45 tempo              :30
5×50 w/fins @ 2nd 50 goal pace                     :50
12×25 no fins, 16subkk @ .45 tempo              :35
4×50 w/fins @ 2nd 50 goal pace                      :45

I do variations of this set a few times each season with different strokes, going off the blocks, etc… it has been one of my most effective sets for a couple of years now as the kids love it and I always get a huge effort out of everybody.

Be Aggressive and then ‘Beat the Beep’ with Coach Jorge Fernandez

Coach Jorge Fernandez, Falfins Swim Team

Here is a set the mid. dist./dist. freestylers did Tuesday 12/18. We train at Wolf Ranch Rec. Center in Colorado Springs at 6400 feet so I have to give them more rest on certain sets and repeats. The focus on the 200’s was to get out strong and steady, the 50’s focus was the middle part of the race where you have to be more aggressive getting out of your comfort zone, and the 25’s focus was to bring it home with a great tempo and legs. Also on the 25’s I had a few kids do their specialty stroke like fly, breast, or backstroke focusing on their 100 goal pace.

5×200@2:40 pink    +5×50@50 red    +4×25 beat the beep with a tempo trainer.

Regroup after beat the beep. Individuals have different times to beat. So 1 to 1.5 minutes rest before the 200’s.

4×200@2:40 pink    +4×50@50 red    +4×25 beat the beep with a tempo trainer.


3×200@2:40 pink    +3×50@50 red    +4×25 beat the beep.


2×200@2:40 pink    +2×50@50 red    +4×25 beat the beep.


1×200@2:40 pink    +1×50@50 red    +4×25 beat the beep.

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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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Tempo Trainer Set for 1/2 of the Group

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We have enough Tempo Trainers for half of our top group to use them at the same time, so I devised this two-station set.  The set in red is designed to use the Tempo Trainers to challenge their ability to hold Distance Per Cycle at  race speed.  The set in blue encouraged long, kick-driven strokes.

Editor’s note: This set first appeared on this blog on August 28, 2017

Find Your Sweet Spot

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This set was adapted from‘s Ramp Test
The Sweet Spot Test Set
Using a Tempo Trainer
12 x 50 LCM @ 1:20
Begin at a tempo you know you can hold (if you are doing freestyle, try something between 1.50 and 1.80). Hold that tempo as precisely as possible for the entire 50m. Have a friend or a coach count your cycles and record that info. On each subsequent 50, lower your tempo by
.10 until you reach a tempo that you are unable to hold. After that failure point, take your tempo back up to near where it started, and bring it down again. Also make note of your effort level on a scale of 1-10.
At the completion of the set, you should have a range of tempos, cycle counts, efforts, and times. Look for effort levels in the 8 or 9 range. If you are well-conditioned, these should roughly approximate 200 pace. The range of data that you find will be your “Sweet Spot.” Train in and around this sweet spot as often as possible to improve your ability to sustain this pace or even to improve upon it.
This post originally appeared on this blog on May 26, 2010.

Tempo Trainer Set with Coach Bob Kizer

Bob Kizer
Head Coach
Sienna Plantation Aquatics

We did this set today to work on race tempo swimming in practice before a meet tomorrow. The 200s were done at 500 race tempo for each swimmer, the 100s @ 200 tempo, the 50s @ 100 tempo, and the 25s @ 50 tempo.

3 x 200 w/ TT @ 2:40
2 x 100 Kick All Out @ 2:30
12 x 25 w/ TT @ :30
1 x 100 recovery @ 2:30
2 x 200 w/ TT @ 2:40
2 x 100 Kick All Out @ 2:30
8 x 50 w/ TT @ :45
1 x 100 recovery @ 2:30
1 x 200 w/ TT @ 2:40
2 x 100 Kick All Out @ 2:30
4 x 100 w/ TT @ 1:30
1 x 100 recovery @ 2:30

Tempo Trainer Kick Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

We did a version of the following kick set to challenge our dolphin kicking ability and to probe the limits of our ability to kick fast underwater.  We used Finis Tempo Trainers and did the first round with the beeping tempo set at .60, second round at .50, third round at .45, fourth round at .40.  Some swimmers were able to maintain an effective dolphin kick down to .40. Others lost “hold” on the water and became inefficient.  This is potentially useful information for our training.

4 Rounds of:

8 x 25 @ :35
10 underwater kicks at TT tempo, then swim ez the rest of the way

1 x 50 ez free B3

Finis Tempo Trainer: A Tool With Many Uses

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

One of my favorite training tools is the Tempo Trainer from Finis.  It is essentially a swimming metronome, giving an audible beep that can been heard underwater.  Just tuck the tempo trainer under your cap near your ear, and you are good to go.  You can get one at, who provided us a Tempo Trainer to use.

There are many creative ways you can use the Tempo Trainer:

1. In the conventional way, to help a swimmer hit a certain tempo at practice.  Here is an example.

2. For breaststroke, you can use it to help your swimmers hold their glide.  Check out this workout from Coach Parker Ramsdell. Here is another good workout for breaststroke.

3. You can use it as a sort of audible pace clock to help swimmers know when to start and stop an exercise like in this workout.

4. Try this: “The Beat the Beep Set“. Set the tempo trainer to beep on the swimmers time for a race pace 25.  Then, the goal is to get to the wall before the beep!

5. You can use a Tempo Trainer in dryland — try doing some stretch cord work at race tempos.

6. For swimmers who have difficulty hitting fast tempos (most often distance types, in my experience) it may be helpful to have a Tempo Trainer set to race tempo and listen to it behind the blocks or in the ready room.

Here are a few more of our best Tempo Trainer workouts:

Breaststroke Magic for Age Groupers

Beat It – The Michael Jackson Set

E.T.’s Backstroke Set

500 Tempo Trainer Pace Set with Chris Plumb

Check out to get a Tempo Trainer and get this awesome tool!

Breaststroke Tempo Set with York Swim Club Coach Parker Ramsdell

Parker Ramsdell
York Swim Club

I did this set (SCM) with my breaststrokers yesterday morning and really enjoyed it.

The 200s provided a solid aerobic touch to the training, and we’ve been really struggling with pullout discipline later in races, thus the no touch walls to put some extra pressure on the lungs on those underwaters.

The 100s w/ tempo trainer set at 04:00 (25-1 stroke/beep; 50-2 strokes/beep; 25-3 strokes/beep) helped them work body line and glide for the first 75, then pick up the tempo on the last 25 helping prime them for the fast 50s to follow.

Total – 3500m

Round 1 – 4x each distance
Round 2 – 3x each distance
Round 3 – 2x each distance
Round 4 – 1x each distance

Editor’s Note: The Swimming Wizard’s goal is to publish at least one set, practice, or idea EVERY DAY for all of 2016! To keep it interesting, we need your help! Click here to help us achieve that goal by submitting one of your sets!

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Breaststroke Set Working Race Tempo

Ryan Woodruff
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This set is intended to help breaststroke swimmers build and maintain their tempo during a race.  We use Finis’ Tempo Trainer Pro.

2 rounds:
3 x 50 Breast with flutter kick @ 1:00
4 x 50 Breast, Build the tempo @ :50
  100 EZ Back or Free
3 x 50 Breast with dolphin kick @ 1:00
4 x 75 Breast, Build the tempo for the first 50, hold it for the last 25@1:20
  100 EZ Back or Free
3 x 50 Breast 3 kick-1 pull drill @ 1:00
4 x 100 Breast, Build the tempo for the first 50, hold it for the last 50 @ :50
  100 EZ Back or Free
All out 200 Breast from dive (2nd round do a 100 instead of a 200)

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Today’s Breaststroke Set

Ryan Woodruff

We performed the set below with our sectional-level breaststroke group.  There are essentially two parts to the set.  The first part (above the dotted line) stresses technique with a LONG stroke and gradually builds to an up-tempo stroke at the end of the 100s.  During this first part, “TT” stands for the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro which we use on a regular basis.  Using mode 1, we have it set at 4.00, meaning the swimmer initiates a stroke once every 4 seconds.  This is usually an uncomfortably long time to glide for our swimmers (a good thing!).  We bring the TT down to 3.00 for the 2 x 150 and then to 2.00 on the 100s and have the swimmers shoot for 2 strokes during the 2.00 seconds in the last 10-15 yards of each 100.  This combination of technique and tempo sets them up well for the second part of the set.

In the second part (below the dotted line), we are essentially challenging our swimmers in two ways on two sets of 6 x 100s.  The first set challenges the efficiency of their underwater pullouts and breath-holding ability.  The second set of 6 x 100 just challenges their endurance and the integrity of their stroke.  The goal is simply to make all of the intervals and maintain stroke technique.

1 x 300 done as 75 br/25 free B5 @:20 rest  with TT set @4.00
2 x 150 done as 50 br/25 free B5 @:20 rest with TT set @3.00
3 x 100  50 br with TT@2.00/50 br build to 2 cycles per beep (1 per 1.00)
6 x 100 @1:30
   2 with 1 pullout descend
   2 with 2 pullouts descend and not slower than first two
   2 with 3 pullouts descend and not slower than first four
200 easy backstroke @4:00
6 x 100 breaststroke swim
   2@1:15 Make it!


Breaststroke Length/Tempo Set

Ryan Woodruff
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This was a breaststroke set we did tonight that concluded with some good results.  The 400 at the beginning is done with a tempo trainer set at 4.00 seconds, and the swimmers performed one cycle breast each beep (this is long-glide breaststroke!) for a 75 and then swam a 25 easy freestyle four times through.  For the 50s, the focus shifts from stroke length to stroke tempo.  The first 25 is build, and then the second 25 is “speed drill,” essentially a head-up narrow-pull narrow-kick version of breaststroke that gets their tempo and hand speed up. The 3 x 100 s are “fastest possible average” on a big 2:00 interval.  We got excellent results with good-looking strokes.

"Beat the Beep" Race Pace Set

Ryan Woodruff

This set uses the Tempo Trainer Pro to help our swimmers swim at race pace for 200 yard events.  The beauty of using the Tempo Trainers is that the swimmers can focus on tempo, technique, etc. without having to listen for times.  They simply listen for the beep and try to keep up with it.

We set the Tempo Trainers for a swimmer’s average pace for a 25 in a 200 yard race.  Use the pace cards to find your race pace.  This means that the swimmer will hear a beep at the beginning and end of each lap swum at pace.  We call the time between beeps a “segment.”  Thus for a swimmer whose best 200 time is 2:00, 1 segment equals either a 25 swim performed in :15 seconds or :15 seconds rest.

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Breaststroke Magic for Age Groupers Using @FinisSwim Tempo Trainers

Ryan Woodruff

We did this set the other day with our age-groupers and it worked like magic.

One of the most common stroke flaws for younger kids is that they pause with their hands under their chest and don’t glide long enough in a near-streamlined position.  Try this using the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro.

2 x 150 breaststroke swim (@ :20 rest) with Tempo Trainer on Mode 1 set at 4.00 seconds
Swimmers take 1 cycle of breaststroke for each beep.  This will be an incredibly long glide for them all.  Make sure they spend the time in the glide phase and are using proper timing of the pull and kick.

2 x 100 breaststroke swim (@:20 rest) with Tempo Trainer on Mode 1 set at 2.00 seconds
Same instructions, just a faster tempo.

2 x 50 breaststroke swim FAST (@:20 rest), focused on swimming fast but still getting a glide between each stroke.  Do not use the tempo trainer here.

If they don’t glide on the 2 x 50, repeat the 2 x 100 and then do the 2 x 50 again.

Beat It (The Michael Jackson Set)

Gary Galbreath
Dayton Raiders Swim Club

A Tempo Trainer Set- Try to Beat the Beep

We set the Tempo Trainers so it beep at the 1/2 length and at the wall pace!
The Goal is to beat the beep to the wall. Forces swimmers to get to the wall.
Rest 2 beeps go on the 3rd BEEP on all Rounds
The 25’s are set at 100 Pace, The 50’s are set at a .25 faster than
200 Speed and the 75 .25 slower than 200 Pace.

Beat the Beep
10 x 25 Tempo Trainer Go on 3Rd Beep FLAT OUT FAST!
 2 x 400 Pull @ 6:00 #1 Smooth, #2 Each 100 Faster
10 x 50 Tempo Trainer Go on 3rd Beep KEEP THE SPEED!
2 x 300 @ 4:30 #1 Smooth, #2 Each 100 Faster
10 x 75 Go on 3rd Beep SHOW HOW TOUGH YOU ARE
2 x 200 Pull @ 3:00 #1 Smooth, #2 Fast

Wednesday’s Backstroke Set

Chris Plumb, Carmel Swim Club

4 x 25 @ :40 12.5 spin/12.5 Fast backstroke (KEEP THE TEMPO UP)
4 x 50 @ 1:10 Strap only
Rd 1) 1 x 200 Back MODERATE @ 3:00
Rd 2) 2 x 200 Back Descend to MODERATE/HARD @ 3:00
Rd 3) 3 x 200 Back Descend to HARD @ 3:00
Rd 4) 4 x 200 Back Descend to FAST!!! @ 3:00
1 x 100 easy @ 2:00

Tempo and Cycle Count Set

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Today’s set utilizes the cycle count and tempo you can find with the Find Your Sweet Spot set. You’ll need a Tempo Trainer. This set can be performed any stroke.

1 x 200 build each 50 up to your tempo @ :20 rest
1 x 150 25 at tempo, 25 ez swim or drill @ :20 rest
1 x 100 25 ez, 50 at tempo, 25 ez @ :20 rest
1 x 50 at tempo and cycle count @ :20 rest
1 x 300 swim ez at cycle count @ :30 rest

Can You Spot Me?

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach, Lynchburg YMCA

This set uses yesterday’s Sweet Spot Test

Warmup w/ fins
400 smooth swim B3
4 X 100 build @ :20 rest
4 x 50 choice 15m sprint then ez

Main set using a Tempo Trainer

3x through:

1 x 50 @ 1:20 in sweet spot range
1 x 100 build @:10 rest
1 x 100 ez @ :10-:20 rest (leave on next multiple of 10)
1 x 50 @ 1:20 in sweet spot range
1 x 50 @ 1:10 in sweet spot range
1 x 100 JUST GO FAST @ :10 rest
1 x 100 ez @ :10-:20 rest (leave on next multiple of 10)
1 x 50 @ 1:20 in sweet spot range
1 x 50 @ 1:10 in sweet spot range
1 x 50 @ 1:00 in sweet spot range
1 x 100 JUST GO FAST @ :10 rest
1 x 300 25 drill/25 swim

On the JUST GO FAST parts, use the Tempo Trainer as a guide, but do not worry if you cannot hold it.

Distance Tempo Trainer + Kicking

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

Here’s another way to use a Tempo Trainer for a distance set. Set your Tempo Trainer for an appropriate tempo for the following aerobic set. This should be significantly slower than your Threshold Tempo. Do as many as you want, and experiment with different tempos to change up the intensity.

‘?’ x 300 freestyle
1st 100 – Swim at tempo
2nd 100 – 5 cycles swim at tempo/5 cycles streamline kick (6 beats per cycle) at tempo
3rd 100 – Swim at tempo

Back and Free Tempo Set

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

This set can be done backstroke or freestyle, and is meant to challenge the athlete’s ability to hold tempo. Use a Tempo Trainer and be sure to establish your Threshold Tempo (TT) first.

5 x 100 @ :20 rest (includes time to adjust your tempo trainer)

#1 – Hold TT + .30 for as long as possible, then swim perfect technique for the remainder
#2 – Hold TT + .20…
#3 – Hold TT + .10…
#4 – Hold TT…
#5 – Smooth perfect technique (recovery)

Perform multiple rounds if desired.

After the set, use The Swimming Calculator and your Cycle Count to determine what a reasonable time goal you could achieve if you were able to sustain your tempo longer than you did on the above set.

Twenty Ways to Do 20 x 25 – #18

Chris Plumb, Carmel Swim Club

#18 – P100 All the Way

Set the Tempo Trainer for your 100 pace using this chart.

Take as much rest as needed to make the pace. Beat your 100 pace to your feet every time.

Other Swimming Wizard Tempo Trainer Posts:
Aerobic Tempo Set
Sub-Threshold Tempo Set
The Whatchamacallit
Twenty Ways to Do 20 x 25 #9
Find Your Threshold Tempo

500 Tempo Trainer Pace Set

Chris Plumb, Carmel Swim Club

Set the tempo trainer to half of the desired 25 pace time.

400 easy swim

Rd 1) 500 is 20×25 set tempo trainer to 500 pace on 1 beep rest
Rd 2) 500 is 10×50 tempo trainer to race pace on 3 beeps rest
Rd 3) 500 is 5×100 1 on 1:30 1 on 1:20 1 on 1:15 1 on 1:10 1 on 1:05
Rd 4) same as Rd 2
Rd 5) same as rd 1

Other Swimming Wizard Tempo Trainer Posts:
Aerobic Tempo Set
Sub-Threshold Tempo Set
The Whatchamacallit
Twenty Ways to Do 20 x 25 #9
Find Your Threshold Tempo