Saturday Swim Session – Individual Medley To Enhance Your Open Water Swimming - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session – Individual Medley To Enhance Your Open Water Swimming

Swimming the complete range of swimming strokes is a great way to enhance your feel of the water, which will benefit your freestyle and open water swimming. 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 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B 

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m CD (2,500m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 25m F/S 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,400m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (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 is a set of eight 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, twice through:

  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 previous. Click here to read it and watch the video’s of how to do the respective drills.

Take your fins off for the next sets.

The next set is made up of eight repetitions of either 25m (Option A) or 50m (Options B and C) Individual Medley (IM) order with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep. Start off with Butterfly which I know not all of you will be able to do, but I strongly suggest you attempt it regardless.  Swim as far as you can doing butterfly, even if it is only a few strokes, prior to reverting to freestyle.  Keep attempting it each time Butterfly or IM is in your programme and you will get better and will eventually be able to swim a length.  Next up do a rep of Backstroke, then a breaststroke rep and then Freestyle, all with 20 seconds Rest Interval (RI) between.  Then it’s back to attempting (or doing) Butterfly and repeating the process so that you’ve swum a total of eight reps.

The next set is either eight (Option A) or twelve (Options B and C) reps of 25m Freestyle, done with a ten second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

Next up you repeat the Individual Medley (IM) set you did previously. Either eight 25m reps IM for Option A, or eight 50m reps of IM for Options B and C.

If you are doing Option A, the next set is repeating the set of eight 25m Freestyle reps from earlier in the workout. For Option B, you repeat the set of drill/swim from earlier in the workout. And for Option C, you repeat both the set of drill/swim and the set of twelve 25m Freestyle reps.

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.

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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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