Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Mixing In Other Strokes

Incorporating a range of strokes into your swimming will help you develop the feel for the water, making you more effective with your freestyle. This session is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer Ocean Swims.

This is continuing the series of Saturday Swim Sessions that you can do to enhance your swimming using a 33⅓ yard or metre pool. Each week 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.

I’ve written these sessions for a 33⅓ metre pool, but a lot of the older style pools are 33⅓ yards long (100 feet), simply interchange the metres for yards and do the session.

Option A

  • 200m Warm Up;
  • 6x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 4x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 4x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (1,733m)

Option B

  • 400m Warm Up;
  • 12x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 8x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 14x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (2,400m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 12x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 12x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 16x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 12x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 400m CD (3,333m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up covering 200m, 400m or 1,000m (A, B or 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 repetitions (Option A) or twelve repetitions (Options B and C) of 67m Drill/Swim, where you do a drill for the first 33m of the repetition and then normal swimming for the next 33m swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set. Do the drills below once through for Option A and twice through for 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.

After the set of  drills take the fins off.

Next up is a set of four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) 33⅓ metre reps. Alternate through the Individual Medley (IM) strokes as you work through the reps. First up (and fifth, and ninth) is Butterfly. Don’t worry if you can’t do a full length Butterfly. Start off and do it as far as you can before reverting to Freestyle. Always attempt the Butterfly and you will get better eventually completing a full length. Second (and sixth, and tenth) is Backstroke, then Breaststroke. With Freestyle being the fourth, (eighth and twelfth) rep. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

The next set is made up of eight (Option A), fourteen (Option B) or sixteen (Option C) 33⅓ metre reps swum at a pace you can maintain for all the reps. Take a ten second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

The final set prior to the cool down is a set of four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) 33⅓ metre reps. Alternate through the Individual Medley (IM) strokes as you work through the reps. First up (and fifth, and ninth) is Butterfly. Don’t worry if you can’t do a full length Butterfly, start off and do it as far as you can before reverting to Freestyle. Always attempt the Butterfly and you will get better eventually completing a full length. Second (and sixth, and tenth) is Backstroke, then Breaststroke. With Freestyle being the fourth, (eighth and twelfth) rep. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

Complete the workout with a 200m Cool Down. Feel free to pause and stretch when needed and/or include stretching as part of each break until the distance is covered.

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 previously.

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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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