Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: 200’s Bring Out Your Threshold & Your Stamina

200s are a great distance to swim in training as they develop both your stamina and threshold swimming pace. 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;
  • 4x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 5x 200m on 2T+20sec;
  • 4x 50m 5sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B 

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 200m on 2T+20sec;
  • 6x 50m 5sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,900m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 10x 200m on 2T+20sec;
  • 8x 50m 5sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

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 four (Option A), eight (Option 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 these drills once through for Option A, twice through for Option B, and for Option C do them three times 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 previously. Click here to read it and watch the videos of how to do the respective drills.

Take your fins off for the next set.

The main set is made up of five (Option A), eight (Option B), or ten (Option C) reps of 200m. These are done at a pace you can maintain throughout, but keep that pace as high as possible. Each rep is done on your two times your T-Time plus 20 seconds.

How much rest you get is determined by how qwikly you swim each rep and what your capability is. Use the T-Time that you have determined previously (follow the link here to find out more).  This is how frequently you do each rep. If your T-Time is 2:05, you will start each rep every 4:30 ((2 x 2:05) + 0:20). If you manage to swim your 200m in 4:00 you will get 30 seconds of rest, and if you swim it in 4:20 you will only get 10 seconds rest. This keeps the pressure on and you working hard to maintain your efforts.

Prior to your cool-down (CD) complete a set of four (Option A), six (Option B), or eight (Option C) repetitions over 50m, with only five seconds of Rest Interval (RI). This is a tough set (especially after the set of 200s) but you’ll reap the benefits of it.  Don’t be tempted to add extra rest. And yes, your 50m times will slow drastically throughout the set.

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: Ironman Swim Test Set

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