Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: 100’s With Pull Buoy

The Pull Buoy is a great training tool, as it allows you to focus on your stroke whilst minimising the propulsive forces delivered by the legs. This workout includes some Pull Buoy work, between sets of 100m repetitions. 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.

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;
  • 6x 67m Drill/Swim;
  • 4x 100m Build 1-4 on T-Time + 15sec;
  • 3x 100m Pull Buoy, 20sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Build 1-4 on T-Time +20sec;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 6x 67m Drill/Swim;
  • 5x 100m Build 1-5 on T-Time + 15sec;
  • 5x 100m Pull Buoy, 20sec RI;
  • 5x 100m Build 1-5 on T-Time +20sec;
  • 200m CD (2,500m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 6x 67m Drill/Swim;
  • 6x 100m Build 1-6 on T-Time + 15sec;
  • 6x 100m Pull Buoy, 20sec RI;
  • 6x 100m Build 1-6 on T-Time +20sec;
  • 200m CD (3,400m)

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 six 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:

  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.

There are three main sets. They are all made up of 100m reps. The first set is made up of four (Option A), five (Option B), or six (Option C) repetitions.

The first set is made up of eight (Option A), ten (Option B), or twelve (Option C) reps of 100m. These are done on your T-Time plus 15 seconds. More details about T-Times can be found below. The faster you swim each rep the more rest you get between you get.

This is a Build set, for Option A it is Build 1-4, Option B it is Build 1-5, and Option C it is Build 1-6. Starting with the first rep swim this at a moderate pace, the second rep at a fast pace, and keep getting qwikker until the fourth (Option A), fifth (Option B), or sixth rep (Option C) respectively. Some coaches and swimmers refer to this process of Building pace across reps like this as a Descending set because your time descends as you get faster.

The next set is made up of three (Option A), five (Option B), or six (Option C) reps of 100m swims using a Pull Buoy to minimise your kicking but also provide buoyancy to your lower limbs. Take a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep.

The final main set is the same as the first main set but this time it is done on your T-Time plus 20 seconds, instead of the 15 seconds. As you now get more rest between reps, you can push the pace even more.

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 and 021 348 729.

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

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