Saturday Swim Sessions: Getting started with Swimming

Over the next few weeks I’ll post a series of workouts to assist you to improve your swimming. These sessions are targeted towards beginners who are just getting started with swimming, but can comfortably swim a few lengths without stopping.

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Session One

  • 100m WU;
  • 100m FAST Swim, 3min RI;
  • 200m FAST Swim;
  • 100m CD

Start this session by swimming 100m Warm Up (WU). 100m is four lengths in a standard 25m pool which is the most common sort of public pool in New Zealand. For the warm up feel free to swim any stroke you wish and stop at any of the ends to stretch or take a break.

After you’ve done the warm up take a short rest and get yourself ready to swim the next set. In this workout, the next set is swimming 100m as FAST as you can. Record your time either using a stopwatch or get someone to time you. See how fast you can do it. Make sure that you use freestyle for this set and the next set. Once finished, take a three minute Rest Interval (RI). Be precise with this rest interval and start the next set exactly three minutes after you finished the 100m.

The next set is swimming 200m (eight lengths of a 25m pool) as FAST as you can. As with the 100m, record your time either using a wrist watch or getting someone to time you. These times will be important for future sessions to ensure we can develop your fitness. Try and swim these sets non-stop, but if you really need to stop, do so and keep the pause to the absolute minimum.

After you have done both these sets it’s time for a Cool Down (CD). Unlike the previous two sets which have to be freestyle, the cool down (like the warm up) can be any stroke you wish to swim.  You can also stop and rest after any length.  I actually encourage you to stop and stretch during the cool down.

We will use your times for the 100m and 200m to generate a Target or T-Time that we will use in future workouts. Simply subtract your 100m from your 200m time to create the T-Time.

eg.

<200m time> minus <100m time> equals <T-Time>

6:14 – 3:01 = T-Time

3:13 = T-Time

round your T-Time up to the next 5 seconds so in this case your T-Time will be 3:15

Write down and memorise your T-Time as we will use this for a number of future workouts.

Session Two

  • 100m WU;
  • 4x 25m Drill;
  • 4x 50m swim on ½T+10sec;
  • 50m K;
  • 100m CD;

Start this session by swimming 100m Warm Up (WU). 100m is four lengths in a standard 25m pool which is the most common sort of public pool in New Zealand. For the warm up feel free to swim any stroke you wish and stop at any of the ends to stretch or take a break.

After you’ve done the warm up take a short rest and get yourself ready to swim the next set. For this workout it involves swimming four reps of 25m drills. A drill is an activity that focusses on an aspect of your swim stroke and enhances it. I also encourage you to wear short fins

Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of  eight repetitions. Do the drills in the following order (examples of how to do each drill can be found by clicking on them).

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6

For the drill set wear a pair of short fins. These will provide you with a small amount of momentum whilst you are focusing on what the upper body is doing. I recommend Finis Zoomers.

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set. This set we are swimming four reps of 50m with a short rest. The amount of rest will be determined by how fast you swim them and is relative to your T-Time that we worked out in the session previously. You start each rep a set time after you started the previous rep.  This is based on ½T+10sec.  So if your T-Time is 3:15 we halve it and add ten seconds. Half of 3:15 is 1:37.5 and adding ten seconds makes 1:47.5. For simplicity sake, round it up to the nearest five seconds making your ‘T time’ 1:50. This means that you start each rep one minute and fifty seconds after the previous one. It might be that you swim the rep in 1:35.  That will give you 15 seconds rest.  As you start tiring your swim times will get slower leaving you with less rest at the end.  Therefore it is important to swim each rep as fast as you can.

For more details about using T-Times click here.

http://www.coachray.nz/2015/07/25/t-times-for-swimming/

The next set involves kicking for 50m. You can put your fins back on for this set or do it without them. Here is how I want you to do this drill.

Now it’s time for a Cool Down (CD). Unlike the previous two sets which have to be freestyle, the cool down (like the warm up) can be any stroke you wish to swim.  You can also stop and rest after any length.  I actually encourage you to stop and stretch during the cool down.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at  www.qwik.kiwiray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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