Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session – Lotza 50’s

Swimming 50m reps with a good rest can develop your speed and swimming them with short rests can develop your endurance. Put lots together within one workout with a mixture of rest and you can develop speed, endurance, and speed endurance. 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

  • 200 WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 50m Build 1-4, 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, ½T Time + 10sec;
  • 4x 50m Alt Fast & Easy, 10sec RI;
  • 4x 50m Build 1-4, ½T Time + 5sec;2
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B 

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, ½T Time + 10sec;
  • 8x 50m Alt Fast & Easy, 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, ½T Time + 5sec;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4, 15sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Build 1-4, ½T Time + 10sec;
  • 8x 50m Alt Fast & Easy, 10sec RI;
  • 12x 50m Build 1-4, ½T Time + 5sec;
  • 400m CD (3,600m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B), or 600m (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 (Options A and B) or twelve (Option 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, twice through if doing Option A or B or three times for Option 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 previously. Click here to read it and watch the videos of how to do the respective drills.

Take your fins off for the next sets.

The next set is made up of four (Option A) or eight (Options B and C) 50m reps. Get faster every rep for four consecutive reps (e.g. swim the first one at a moderate pace, the second fast, the third one faster, and the fourth one fastest).  If doing eight reps repeat the process with the fifth rep moderate, sixth rep fast, etc. through to the eighth rep. Have a 15-second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

The next set is either eight reps (Options A and B) or twelve reps (Option C), once again building the speed as you go (same as you did in the previous set). This time your rest is based on your T-Time. If you don’t know your T-Time make sure you do this test session to set your T-Time here. Take half your T-Time and add ten seconds to it, this is how often you will start each rep. For example, if your T-Time was 2:00 you would start every 70 seconds (half of two minutes is one minute, and adding ten seconds is 70 seconds). If it took you 60 seconds to swim your 50m you get ten seconds rest, and if you take 55 seconds you get 15 seconds rest.

The following set of the ’50s is made up of four (Option A) or eight (Options B and C) reps. Alternate each rep fast then slow.  Regardless of whether it was a fast rep or a slow rep, you get ten seconds of Rest Interval (RI).

The final set of 50m reps is made up of four (Option A), eight (Option B), or twelve (Option C) reps. As with an earlier set, these are based on your T-Time.  This time take half your T-Time and add five seconds to it and start each rep based on that time. This is also another build set, so get qwiker over each block of four reps.

Then it is 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: Swim & Kick

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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