Tri Coach NZ

Saturday Swim Session: Descending Session

This swim session will develop your swimming stamina which is important for triathlons and open water swimming. Swim stamina is the ability to maintain your effort over a long duration of swimming, such as in a triathlon or open water swim race.

Each Saturday I will post a Swim Session, most weeks I will load three options up for you to do. Option A is for swimmers who are after a workout between 1,000 & 2,000 metres. Option B is for swimmers who are after a workout between 2,000 & 3,000m and Option C will be greater than 3,000m.

Option A

  • 200m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim
  • 6x 100m 20sec RI;
  • 6x 50m 10sec RI;
  • 6x 25m 5sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (1,850m)

Option B

  • 400m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim
  • 6x 100m 20sec RI;
  • 6x 50m 10sec RI;
  • 6x 25m 5sec RI;
  • 250m Cool Down (2,300m)

Option C

  • 800m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim
  • 10x 100m 20sec RI;
  • 10x 50m 10sec RI;
  • 10x 25m 5sec RI;
  • 250m Cool Down (3,400m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B), or 800m (Option C). During the warm-up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Swim 25m doing an appropriate drill prior to continuing on with regular or normal swimming to complete 50m continuously. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of eight reps (Option A) or twelve reps (Options B and C). The pause referred to above is a stop of about 10 seconds. It is 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 is not physiologically critical to the aim of this set. Having a quick break is neurologically critical though, so make sure you do not just roll straight from one rep to the next.

A YouTube video of the drill can be found by clicking on the drill listed below, complete these drills twice through for a total of eight reps (Options A) or three times through for 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

Feel free to use some fins for this drill set, but remember to take them off at the end of it.

The main set for today’s swim involves six reps of 100m with only 20 seconds Rest Interval (RI), then six reps of 50m with only ten seconds Rest Interval (RI) with a final six reps of 25m with only five seconds Rest Interval (RI) for options A and B. Option C does ten reps of each distance (100m, 50m & 25m) with the same Rest Interval (RI).

Finish the session with a 200m (Option A) or 250m (Options B and C) Cool Down (CD). As with the warm-up feel free to stop and stretch at the end of any lengths during the Cool Down.

Swim stamina is a good trait for all triathletes and open water swimmers to have, as this will form the basis of your swimming fitness for these events.

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 for my informative newsletter.

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

Saturday Swim Sessions – 4 Weeks to a Faster 1,500m with only 4km per Week: Week 2

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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