Saturday Swim Session: 50m Sprints for Speed

Swimming 50m reps with a good rest can develop your speed and swimming them with short rests can develop your endurance. Put lots together within the one workout with a mixture of rest and you can develop speed, endurance and speed endurance. 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 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Full Sprint, 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Full Sprint, 30sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM Order, 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Full Sprint, 40sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 400m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, 15sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Full Sprint, 30sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM Order, 15sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Full Sprint, 40sec RI;
  • 400m CD (3,400m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Options B and 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 (Options A and B) or twelve repetitions (Option C) 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) twice through to make eight reps (Option B), or three times through to make twelve reps (Option C):

  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 first of the main sets involves eight reps of 50m swum as a a Build set 1-4. This means as you work your way through the set you build your speed over four reps with the fourth rep being your fastest. As this set has eight reps, you repeat the build from the fifth to the eighth repetition. I recommend swimming the first (and fifth) rep moderately, with the second (and sixth) fast, the third (and seventh) faster and then the fourth (and eighth) fastest. After each rep take a 15 second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set is the last prior to the Cool Down (CD) for Option A. This set involves eight (Options A and B) or twelve (Option C) repetitions at a full sprint. After each rep you get a good long 30 second Rest Interval (RI) in order to recover. Option A moves onto the Cool Down after this set.

Options B and C have further sets to complete. The next one is a set of eight 50m reps done in Individual Medley order, with 15 seconds Rest Interval (RI) between them. Start off with the first rep as Butterfly, next rep is Backstroke, then Breaststroke and then Freestyle, complete this twice through.

The final set prior to the Cool Down (CD) for Options B and C is another Full Sprint set of eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) reps. Take a full 40 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

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 Coaching.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at coachray@coachray.nz and 021 348 729.

Join over 2,126 people who have already signed up to be kept up to date with great workouts and training information in my informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

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

Saturday Swim Session: Drills & Technique

Get my 12 Weeks To An Ironman Swim PB Training Plan – Swim Faster with Smart Training through Training Peaks. Results Guaranteed. Purchase here. Use discount code CR30 to get a 30% discount.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *