Saturday Swim Session: Broken Set

Utilising a Broken set is a great way to develop faster speed than your normal threshold pace whilst swimming.

Each week I will load three options up for you to do. Option A is for swimmers who are after a workout less than 2,000 metres. Option B is for swimmers who are after a workout between 2,000 and 3,000m and Option C will be greater than 3,000m.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x (150m, 30sec RI; 3x 50m 10sec RI)
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B 

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x (200m, 30sec RI; 4x 50m 10sec RI)
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 5x (200m, 30sec RI; 4x 50m 10sec RI)
  • 200m CD (3,600m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B) or 1,000m (Option C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Next up are four (Option A) or eight (Options B and C) repetitions of 50m Drill/Swim, where you do a drill for the first 25m of the repetition and then normal swimming for the next 25m swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set. Do the drills below once through (Option A), or twice through (Options B and C):

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

The main set involves swimming a broken set of intervals that cover either 150m (Option A) or 200m (Options B and C). You then cover that same distance again but broken up into shorter reps of three (Option A) or four (Options B and C) 50m reps. You then repeat this four (Options A and B) or five (Option C) times. Take a 30 second Rest Interval (RI) after the longer (150m or 200m) rep with a strict ten second Rest Interval (RI) after each shorter 50m intervals.

Finish the session with a 200m (eight lengths of a standard 25m pool) Cool Down (CD). As with the warm up feel free to stop and stretch at the end of any lengths 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 and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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