Pace Card for SCM

Ryan Woodruff
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Pace Card for SCM

Also: See our original post here or visit our “Tools for Coaches” at the tab above.

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To Swim Fast at the Meet, Swim Fast at Practice; How to Train Consistently at "Race Pace"

Ryan Woodruff

I have written before on this blog about using Pace Cards at practice to help swimmers accurately and consistently train at “race pace.”  Today I am sharing the Pace Cards that we use for training.  Simply type in your best times and goal times in each event and the Pace Card will show you how fast to swim for different training distances in order to be swimming at actual “race pace.” Try it out, and if you have any questions, let me know how I can help.

Click here to download the Excel file to easily create your own SCY Pace Card.

Click here for the LCM version.

Click here to download brief instructions on how to use your Pace Card.

We use these cards frequently at practice.  Click on the “race pace” label at right to see workouts that put this powerful knowledge to use.

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Streamline Sticks

Ryan Woodruff
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Streamline Sticks are easily among the best pieces of training equipment I have seen in my 13 years of club coaching.  We use them weekly to develop the habits and skills to produce consistent underwater dolphin kicking.  They force swimmers to kick a set distance off the wall and allow for circle swimming within the lane.  Send me an email at or just leave your e-mail in the comments below if you are interested in getting your hands on a Streamline Stick and maybe I’ll make a few for Swimming Wizard readers.

UPDATE: The Swimming Wizard has been overwhelmed with responses about these streamline sticks.  I am planning to post a video soon that explains how they may be constructed.  Thanks! – Ryan

Find Your Sweet Spot

Ryan Woodruff

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 using this worksheet. 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 in shape, 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.

The Million Yard Club

This motivational idea comes from the Panama City Swim Team and Coach Jonathan Kaplan. Check it out on the PCST website.

The premise: Simply count daily yards for all of the swimmers on your team. Use an excel spreadsheet to make it simple to count up the running total. Recognize those swimmers who achieve milestones – 1 million, 2 million, 3 million, 4 million (!?!) yards. Post a weekly running total in a visible place at your facility. This exercise encourages attendance and becomes a good measuring stick for who “has been putting in the work.” Jonathan’s swimmers at PCST were able to achieve a million yards on mostly single practices, with doubles only in the summer months.

You can download a simple excel spreadsheet to begin keeping track of your athletes’ daily yardage here.

The Swimming Calculator

Coach Ryan Woodruff

Ever wonder how much faster your swimmer would be if he would just fix his turns? Curious about the combination of tempos and cycle counts that will lead to the fastest time for your swimmer?

This is the tool for you.

The Swimming Calculator (click to download the excel sheet)

Toy around with it a bit and let me know what you think. I am interested to hear any suggestions, and if anyone knows how to set this up in an html format, I would love to be able to put it on the web to eliminate the cumbersome excel download.

The Swimming Calculator can also henceforth be found in the Tools for Coaches section in the menu above.

Determining Goal Pace

Ryan Woodruff, North Carolina Aquatic Club

Don Swartz and Ken DeMont over at Swim Coach Direct had an interesting post Sunday on race splits and training for the 200. I highly recommend it.

Their post encouraged me to share with you a tool we use to help swimmers on our team establish race paces for training purposes.

Click here to download our Excel spreadsheet for determining goal paces.

Here are the instructions once you have the sheet open in Excel:
1. Type the swimmer’s name where it says ‘Name here.’
2. Enter a swimmer’s goal time in the C column. Do not use any punctuation. For instance, for a goal time of 24.99 in the 50 free, type 2499. For a 2:28.50 in the 200 breast, type 22850.
3. The sheet should automatically compute pace times for you. ‘Pace’ means the swim is from a push. ‘Start’ means the swimmers goes off the blocks (or from a start for backstroke). The sheet computes different pace values for different events based on what I deemed the most useful information. A 15m start time is of little consequence in the mile, but could come in handy in the 100 fly.
4. Print out the pace card and take it to practice!

A few other notes:

  • The sheet is based on the assumption that a swimmer will swim an even pace for every length after the 1st 25. For freestyle, the difference between the 1st and 2nd 25 is 1.7. For fly, the difference is 2.0, for backstroke the difference is 1.0, and for breaststroke it is 2.5 seconds.
  • The C column is cross-hatched and the goal time is in gray in order to keep the swimmer’s focus on the race pace rather than her goal time.

Enjoy – let me know how it goes!