Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Swim Session
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Lots of Sprints to Develop Speed

By combining sets of sprints with minimal rest you can develop your swimming efficiency and also your top end swim speed. 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

  • 200m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 12x 25m on ¼T+5sec;
  • 12x 25m Pull 10sec RI
  • 12x 25m on ¼T+10sec;
  • 12x 25m FAST 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,000m);

Option B

  • 600m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 16x 25m on ¼T+5sec;
  • 16x 25m Pull 10sec RI
  • 16x 25m on ¼T+10sec;
  • 16x 25m FAST 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m);

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 20x 25m on ¼T+5sec;
  • 20x 25m Pull 10sec RI
  • 20x 25m on ¼T+10sec;
  • 20x 25m FAST 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,600m);

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 600m (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 drill 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 previously. Click here to read and watch it.

After the set of  drills take the fins off.

The first main set is made up of twelve (Option A), sixteen (Option B) or twenty (Option C) repetitions of 25m. Each rep is started on a quarter of your T-Time plus 5 seconds. For example if your T-Time is 2:00 a quarter of this is 0:30 seconds, then adding 5 seconds means that you start each rep 35 seconds after the last rep started. So if it takes you 25 seconds to swim the 25m that leaves you with ten seconds rest, but if it takes you 31 seconds to swim the 25m you only get four seconds rest. Read more about T-Times here:

The next set includes of twelve (Option A), sixteen (Option B) or twenty (Option C) repetitions of 25m swum utilising a pull buoy with a ten second Rest Interval (RI).

The third set is made up of twelve (Option A), sixteen (Option B) or twenty (Option C) repetitions of 25m. Each rep is started on a quarter of your T-Time plus 10 seconds. For example if your T-Time is 2:00 a quarter of this is 0:30 seconds, then adding 10 seconds means that you start each rep 40 seconds after the last rep started. So if it takes you 25 seconds to swim the 25m that leaves you with 15 seconds rest this time, and if it takes you 31 seconds to swim the 25m you get nine seconds rest this time.

The final set includes of twelve (Option A), sixteen (Option B) or twenty (Option C) repetitions of 25m swimming them as fast as possible. After each rep you get 20 seconds for your Rest Interval (RI), which is more than ample to recover fully and swim the next rep just as fast if not faster.

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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