Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Using Individual Medley Strokes to Improve Your Feel For The Water

Swimming strokes other than just Freestyle can benefit your feel for the water and develop your efficiency as a result. 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), so simply interchange the metres for yards and do the session.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 8x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 33m IM 20sec RI;
  • 4x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 8x 67m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 4x 67m IM 20sec RI;
  • 6x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,400m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 8x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 8x 67m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 8x 67m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 33m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,333m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (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. There are four (Option A) or eight (Options B & C) repetitions 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 twice through for Options B & C and only once through for Option A:

  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.

Take the fins off prior to the next set.

The second set is a set of eight repetitions of 33m (Option A) or 67m (Options B & C). These are done in Individual Medley (IM) order, starting with Butterfly, then Backstroke, Breaststroke finishing with the fourth (and eighth) rep being freestyle. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

The next set is made up of eight reps of 33m swimming freestyle with a ten second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

Next up is an Individual Medley (IM) set. Option A has eight reps of 33m; Option B has four reps of 67m; and Option C has eight reps of 67m. Once again you complete the reps in Individual Medley (IM) order, with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

The final set prior to the Cool Down (CD) is a set of four (Option A), six (Option B) or eight (Option C) reps of 33m with a ten second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

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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