Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Training
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Utilising Other Strokes to Enhance Feel For Water

Triathletes often focus on swimming freestyle exclusively, but including other strokes into your training can improve your freestyle technique.  Swimming other strokes can enhance your feel for the water and ability to catch more water with each stroke whilst doing freestyle. This session 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

  • 400m WU;
  • 6x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 4x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,700m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 12x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 800m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 16x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 16x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,200m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 400m (Options A and B) or 800m (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 drill set of six (OptionsA) or twelve repetitions (Options B and C) 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 once through (Option A) or twice through to make twelve reps (Options B and C):

  1. Kick On Side (KOS) left side 
  2. Kick On Side (KOS) right side 
  3. 6/1/6 
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Popov
  6. Broken Arrow

I wrote an article about swimming drills previously. Click here to read and watch it.

The first of the main sets involves four (Option A) or eight (Options B and C) 50m reps of Individual Medley (IM) order. That is starting with Butterfly for the first (and fifth) rep, Backstroke for the second (and sixth) rep, Breaststroke for the third (and seventh) rep, then Freestyle for the fourth (and eighth) rep. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps. I realise you may not have the skills to swim a full 50m of Butterfly (or one of the other strokes), but I want you to start each rep attempting the correct stroke. Do as much as you can of that stroke before reverting to Freestyle.

The next set involves eight (Option A), twelve (Option B) or sixteen (Option C) 25m Freestyle reps with a ten second Rest Interval (RI).

The next two sets are a repeat of the last two. Doing the 50m IM order set then the 25m Freestyle set. Then move onto the Cool Down (CD)

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. 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 coachray@coachray.nz and 021 348 729.

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

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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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