Tri Swim Training

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

Triathletes often focus on swimming freestyle exclusively, but including other strokes in 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 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

  • 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 starts 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 and then the 25m Freestyle set. Then move on to the Cool Down (CD)

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

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

Saturday Swim Session: 400’s

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