Coach Ray

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Tri Coach NZ
Beginner Training Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: KPS

Duncan Laing used KPS sets with his swimmers to win Olympic medals by enhancing technique & endurance. You should to. Here are some workout options using KPS sets.

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 Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2 T-Time + 10sec;
  • 200m Cool Down (1,650m)

Option B

  • 400m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2 T-Time + 10sec;
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2 T-Time + 10sec;
  • 200m Cool Down (2,700m)

Option C

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2 T-Time + 10sec;
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2 T-Time + 10sec;
  • 400m Cool Down (3,300m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up 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.

Drill Sets

Swim 25m doing an appropriate drill prior to continuing on with normal freestyle swimming to complete 50m continuously. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of eight (Option A and B) or twelve (Options C) repetitions.

The pause referred to above is a stop of about 10 seconds. It’s a chance to grab a drink, review the programme and think about the next drill you will do. If you need 15-20 seconds or longer, you are welcome to take it because the rest duration isn’t physiologically critical to the aim of this set. Having a quick break is neurologically critical though, so make sure you don’t just roll straight from one rep to the next.

Some examples of drills can be found by clicking on the name below:

After the drill set we are into the main sets.

The first main set involves swimming three reps of 150m KPS with 20 seconds Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. KPS stands for Kick, Pull, Swim. The distance in a KPS set is easily divisible by three, which enables you to do the first third Kick, second third Pull & the final third Swim (normal freestyle). In this case 50m of each, there is no rest between each of the Kick & Pull or the Pull & Swim.  Wait until you have done the Swim section prior to taking the 20 seconds RI. You can do the Kick section either with a kick board or without (focus on holding a nice streamlined position), then either collect a pull buoy or place the kick board between your legs for the Pull section. For the final third leave the kick board or pull buoy behind and swim normal freestyle.

After you have done three reps of KPS the second main set involves eight 50m reps utilising T-Time which you can read more about here, here and here. Take half your T-Time and add 10 seconds to it.  This is the time you push off the wall on each rep.

If you are doing Option A, it is now time for the Cool Down. Options B and C both have another set each of the KPS and the 50’s.

Complete the workout with a 200m Cool Down (Options A & B) or 400m (Option C). Feel free to pause and stretch when needed and/or include stretching as part of each break until the distance is covered.

When I swam under the guidance of Duncan Laing in the mid nineties he used these sets to enhance technique and endurance in his swimmers.

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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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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Ray has competed in triathlons from sprint to ironman distance (both IM Taupo and Challenge Wanaka). Consequently he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complimenting other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments etc…). • Entering your first triathlon? • Stepping up to a longer distance? • Looking to go faster? • Wanting to turn previous negatives into positives? Ray has coached athletes to achieve these and more. Training programmes are accessible online, so athletes can be located anywhere and still reap the benefits of Ray’s coaching. Contact him to discuss how he can assist you to achieve your goals.
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