Speed at the Start, Speed at the Finish

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM. We timed the first 15m from a dive with a target time from our pace cards. The next 70m was focused on good turns, breakouts, and underwaters. With 15m to go, swimmers paused and floated/sculled at the surface. When 1 swimmer in each lane was ready, a coach yelled “Go” and they commenced a sprint to the finish.

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The Freestyle Squeeze

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM. This set really brought on the burn. FPA = Fastest Possible Average. JMI = Just make it. Initially, the 7 x 50 were not written on the board and then were added during the 2nd 200 scull/swim by 25. This added a surprise challenge that they excelled at.

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23 x 1

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM. This set was designed to push to the brink of failure. A few of our swimmers passed that point – all were challenged. Instructions on the first 9 were to make the interval by at least 3-5 sec. The 1×100 @ 2:00 was easy.

Last set of 3 was “just make it”.

Free Get Faster Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM. The aim of this free set was to gradually accelerate into some high effort swims.

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Age Group Long Axis and Dolphin Kicking

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

This practice was for our group of 10-12 year-olds. We focused on long-axis efficiency and finished with an emphasis on underwater kicking. The “bang bang” refers to a coach tapping a wrench in the side of the pool to indicate when to take a stroke.

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Underwater Excellence

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM. We did this kick set recently and our swimmers were very engaged. We timed the underwater 25s (we keep team records on this) and asked for an elite effort on the green parts. We ended up with several lifetime best 25s underwater and an excellent overall group effort.

The intervals on the ez Swim were deliberately large so that the last person would finish before we had to dive on the next 25.

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Breaststroke Fartlek Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

These non-stop 6:00 swims repeated the instructions within the 6:00. At about 5:00, coach would yell “Go!” signifying a FAST 50 breast starting immediately.

The instructions on the second round are 5 cycles kick, 4 cycles Swim, 3 cycles speed drill (head up, narrow pull, narrow kick) and repeat.

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Speed Spectrum and Active Recovery

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

SCM pool. The goal was to really push ourselves to hold some aggressive times in practice. The main group did the top set while the distance crew did the bottom set.

If done in a SCY pool, I would probably change the goal on the 150 to “beat your best 200 time by :20”

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Steal the Underwater Bacon

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

Swimmers are divided into an even number of lanes with each lane serving as a team.. Lane 1 competes with Lane 2, lane 3 competes with Lane 4, etc. On the coach’s “go,” one swimmer in each lane pushes off to begin an underwater dolphin kicking length. As they push off, a coach throws one of our orange hockey pucks (we frequently use as bottom markers, but you can use anything that rapidly sinks) into the pool between each pair of lanes. The swimmers in each pair of lanes race dolphin kick to the puck and try to grab it off the bottom first. If you have the swimmers evenly matched by dolphin kicking ability you will get some excellent races!

Another issue of “the wake-up swim” is coming soon. Check out the archives here to see what you’ve missed or you can sign up here.

4-part Freestyle Set

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

We did four rounds of this set with the same basic structure, changing the intervals and instructions a bit each round. FPA = Fastest Possible Average. SCY.

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Getting Ready to Go Fast

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

LCM. The purpose of this set was to get us primed and ready for our main set. We did this in about 8 feet depth – the blastoffs involve sinking down to the bottom, pushing off, and exploding vertically through the surface while dolphin kicking. After the 5 sprint cycles, swimmers continued the rest of the 50 smooth.

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Short Axis with Partner Pulls

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

The 300 is done with a stretch cord with belts on both ends. Each swimmer wears a belt and hangs onto the cord about eight feet from the opposite belt end. Swimmers drag each other a 25 at a time. Follow up with the FPA (Fastest Possible Average) swims. SCM.

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10-minute Race Pace Rounds with a Quote

Ryan Woodruff, Lynchburg YMCA

For this set we split the group up into distance and mid/sprint to do these sets in parallel. This allowed me to time both groups by myself on a single watch. Both groups commented that they thought the race pace set was tough but they liked it.

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