Saturday Swim Session: 200m Paddles

Hand paddles are a great training tool to help develop strength by increasing the resistance on your hands as you swim. This session is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer Ocean Swims.

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;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 4x (200m Paddles, 20sec RI, 50m swim, 10sec RI);
  • 8x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 12x 25m Drill;
  • 4x (200m Paddles, 20sec RI, 50m swim, 10sec RI);
  • 12x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 200m CD (2,500m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 25m Drill;
  • 8x (200m Paddles, 20sec RI, 50m swim, 10sec RI);
  • 12x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 200m CD (3,700m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option  B) or 600m (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 is a drill set of eight repetitions (Option A) or twelve reps (Options B and C) of 25m Drill. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set.  Do the drills below, twice (Option A) or three times (Options B and C) through:

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

I wrote an article about swimming drills previously. Click here to read and watch it.

The Main Set is a made up of a 200m swim with hand paddles on, followed after a short rest with a 50m sprint without hand paddles. Four reps for Option A & B, and eight reps for Option C.

It is a qwik change around with only a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after the the 200m in which to take off the paddles and only a ten second Rest Interval (RI) after the 50m sprint in which to put the paddles back on. My advice is only worry about wearing the hand paddles with the finger straps. This will make it easy with all the “on and off” in this session. It also means that if you don’t stroke all the way through as far as you can, the water pressure will either pull the hand paddles off or you will feel the water pressure change as you continue to stroke right through.

Complete the main body with a set of 50m sprints. Eight reps for Option A and twelve for Options B and C. Do these on half your T-Time plus ten seconds. Have a read of this article here to find out more about T-Times.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. Unlike the previous 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 encourage you to stop and stretch during the cool down.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to my informative newsletter.

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If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

Saturday Swim Session: Threshold Endurance Booster

Coach Ray is the author of the successful 12 Weeks to an Ironman Swim PB – Swim Faster with Smart Training eBook.

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