Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Beginner Training Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Kick Pull Swim (KPS)

Utilising Kick, Pull, Swim or KPS sets within your training can bring about big improvements in your technique and your stamina. These used to be a staple of Duncan Laing’s training programmes.

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;
  • 4x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 200m CD (1,900m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 3x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 200m CD (2,700m)

Option C

  • 800m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 4x 150m KPS 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m on 1/2T+10sec;
  • 200m CD (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.

Next up are repetitions 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), or twice through (Options B &C):

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

The main sets commence with three reps (Option A & B) or four reps (Option C) of 150m KPS or Kick Pull Swim. KPS involves swimming one third of the repetition distance.  In this case 50m – first kicking, then using the pull buoy and then the last third normal swimming. To keep it simple you can do the kick portion with no equipment like this drill here. You will need to be pretty quick to get the pull buoy ready as soon as you finish the kick section.  This isn’t an opportunity to take a rest.  The complete 150m should be swum as continuously as practical. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between repetitions.

The next set involves four reps (Option A) or eight reps (Option B &C) of 50m, swim these sets on a set interval that is worked out based on half your T-Time plus 10 seconds. For example if your T-Time was 1:55 (read more about T-Times here) you would be starting each rep on 1:10.

Go Time = ½ (T-Time) + 10sec

½  (1:55) + 10 sec

= 0:57.5 + 10 sec

= 1:07.5

then round it up to the nearest 5 seconds makes it 1:10

The faster you swim each rep the more rest you get. Here is an example of the times a client of mine did when doing this session using a T-Time of 1:55. You can see that as she worked though the set she swam slightly slower but still got a good amount of rest each time and started consistently on the 1:10 (½ T-Time plus 10 seconds).

Start Time

Swim (Finish) Time

Rep Time

















The next two sets are both repeats of the last two sets you have just done.

Then it is time for a 200m Cool Down (CD). 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 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.

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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