Saturday Swim Session: Enhancing Feel For The Water with IM

By including the other strokes in your training you can enhance your feel for the water and develop improved freestyle/front crawl technique as a result. This session is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer Ocean Swims.

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 WU;
  • 4x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 4x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,300m)

Option B

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

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 12x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,000m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A) or 1,000m (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 are four (Option A)  or twelve (Options B and C) 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 for Option A and two 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

I wrote an article about Swimming Drills a few weeks ago. Click here to read and watch it.

Take your fins off for the next sets.

The next set involves four (Option A), eight (Option B), or twelve (Option C) repetitions of 25m. Complete these in Individual Medley (IM) order.  The first rep will be Butterfly, the second will be Backstroke, then Breaststroke, and finally Front Crawl/Freestyle.

Complete this order twice (Option B) or three times through (Option C), all with a 20-second Rest Interval (RI). I know some of you will struggle with some of the other strokes (especially Butterfly) but give it an honest effort. If you start with the correct stroke each time and complete as many strokes as you can and then revert to Freestyle when you can’t go any further with the stroke you are attempting, you will get more out of the rep/set than if you just do Freestyle from the outset without attempting the other strokes.

The next set is twelve reps of 25m Freestyle.  Swim these nice and solidly trying to keep a consistent pace throughout. After each rep take a ten-second Rest Interval (RI).

Following the Freestyle set is a repeat of the IM set you completed above.

Then the next set involves eight (Option A) or twelve (Options B & C) repetitions of 25m Freestyle with a ten-second Rest Interval (RI).

It’s now time for a 200m Cool Down (CD). Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cooldown (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.

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

Saturday Swim Session: 800m TT

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