Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session – Enhance your Feel For the Water with IM

This session works on enhancing your technique and builds skills by including other swimming strokes into your workouts. Yes, I know you are a triathlete and don’t DO back stroke or butterfly or something but your stroke will become stronger and you will benefit from doing so. This workout is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer ocean swims.

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;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m);

Option B

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

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,000m);

Start by swimming 600m for a Warm Up (WU). Keep a nice steady pace and feel free to pause occasionally to stretch or grab a quick drink. The idea of the warm up is to get the blood flowing and muscles loosened up before some of the more intense sets later in the workout.

The set after the warm up includes eight (Option A & B) or twelve repetitions (Option C) of 50m. This 50m is done continuously with the first 25m done as a drill before going straight into the final 25m of regular swimming. Pause after each rep and have a short rest while you focus and mentally prepare for the next drill. Here are some drills that you can include in your programme.  Complete each drill twice through for Option A & B and three times through for Option C.

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

For the drill set wear a pair of short fins. These will provide you with a small amount of momentum whilst you are focusing on what the upper body is doing. I recommend Finis Zoomers.

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set. This set is eight repetitions of 25m following Individual Medley (IM) order: butterfly (B/F), back stroke (Bk), Breast stroke (Br) then Freestyle (F/S), twice through  i.e. your first rep is butterfly, your second is back stroke etc….. fifth rep is also fly with your sixth back, seventh, breast and the last is freestyle. After each rep have 20 seconds rest interval (RI). I realise that you may not be capable of swimming 25m of some of the strokes.  If that is the case I want you to still attempt each stroke. It might be that you only manage 10m of butterfly and then finish the length off doing free style. If you are at least attempting it, you will be getting better at it.

The next set is a sprint set: eight reps (Options A & B) or twelve reps (Options C) of 25m free style. Rest for 10 seconds after each rep.

Next up for Options B & C is to repeat the drill set they did after the warm up. Then all three options repeat the IM set and then repeat the sprint set.

The final set is a 200m Cool Down. As with the warm up feel free to pause and do some stretching and grab a drink. Also consider doing some other strokes as part of the cool down. Throw in some back stroke (Bk) or breast stroke (Br) to mix it up.

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 coachray@coachray.nz 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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