Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session – Do You Play Golf?

Utilising Swim-Golf or Swolf within your sessions can really enhance the efficiency of your stroke. This workout 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;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m CD (3,400m)

Start by swimming 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B), or 600m (Option C) for a warm-up. 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 repetitions of 25m conducting drills. 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:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov
  7. Kick On Side (KOS)
  8. Kick On Side (KOS)

For the drill sets during this workout 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.

The next set includes 8 repetitions 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 the drills for you to include in your programme:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov
  7. Kick On Side (KOS)
  8. Kick On Side (KOS)

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set, which is a set of swim golf. For this set, you will need to time each repetition and also count the number of strokes it takes to swim 50m. The set itself involves swimming eight repetitions of 50m of Swim-Golf (also known as Swolf) with 10 seconds Rest Interval after each rep. With each 50m, time how long it takes you to swim it and count the number of strokes it takes you to complete the distance. Add these times together i.e. if it takes 50 seconds and you complete 50 strokes 50 + 50 = 100. The 100 is your Swim-Golf score and just like golf you try and make your score as low as possible. Each rep you try and improve your score by lowering it either by:

  • Swimming faster without doing more strokes,
  • Swim more efficiently by taking fewer strokes and keeping the same pace, or
  • By swimming faster and with fewer strokes.

Option A completes the second set of eight 25m reps of drill again, before moving into the Cool Down (CD).

Option B completes a second set of eight 25m drill reps; a second set of the eight drill/swim reps and also a second set of eight Swim-Golf reps. Then moves into the Cool Down (CD).

Option C completes the last three sets again, with a third time for the 8x 25m Drill and the 8x 50m (25 Drill/25m Swim), prior to the Cool Down (CD).

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 backstroke (Bk) or breaststroke (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 for my informative newsletter.

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

Saturday Swim Session: Paddles

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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