Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Training NZ
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Other Strokes

Utilising other strokes can really develop your freestyle swimming by enhancing your feel for the water. These sessions are really great to use in pre-season training.

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;
  • 6x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (1,700m)

Option B

  • 400m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (2,400m)

Option C

  • 1,000m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 25m F/S 10sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (3,400m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up 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 is a set of six reps (Option A) or eight reps (Option B and C) 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 for Option A (do Kick On Side twice on each side) or twice through all drills for Options B and C:

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

Take your fins off for the next set.

Next up is an Individual Medley (IM) set. This set you are swimming 50m reps of each swim stroke. For Option A you go through each stroke once. Option’s B and C twice through. Complete them in the order of a 200m Individual medley race:

  1. Butterfly (B/F),
  2. Backstroke (Bk),
  3. Breaststroke (Br), then
  4. Freestyle (F/S).

After each repetition take a 20 seconds Rest Interval (RI). If you struggle with any of the strokes, I still want you to attempt them each (and every) time, even if you end up only successfully completing a few strokes before having to change to freestyle. The more you practice something the better you will get at it. By including the other strokes into your sessions (especially during the early season as you develop your base) you will improve your technique and feel for the water and this will cross over to your freestyle technique.  So get in there and practice your other strokes.

The next set involves eight (Option A) or twelve (Option B and C) reps that are 25m freestyle sprints with a ten second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set is another Individual Medley (IM) set. All options (A, B and C) complete eight reps or twice through each stroke.

For Option C only the next set involves repeating the drill/swim set from the start of the session, so put your fins back on and complete another eight reps. Make sure you take the fins off before the next set.

The following set is another eight (Option A) or twelve reps (Option B and C) of 25m freestyle sprints again with a ten second Rest Interval (RI).

All three workouts have a 200m cool down. Feel free to pause and stretch when needed and /or include stretching as part of each break until the distance is covered.

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 and 021 348 729.

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If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 6 months ago.

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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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