Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Rachel Joyce’s Pre-Kona Swim Set

Rachel Joyce often is the first out of the water at events she races. She has finished runner-up at Kona twice and also won the ITU World Long Distance Champs. This is an epic set she has used successfully in her Kona build-ups and is great for developing race speed and stamina. 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.

Inspiration for this week’s session comes from Matt Leito’s article about Rachel Joyce’s Epic Swim Set, you can read the article here.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 3x 400m, 60sec RI;
    • 1st Rep: Race Pace
    • 2nd Rep: Pull Buoy & Paddles
    • 3rd Rep: Faster than first Rep
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 3x 600m, 60sec RI;
    • 1st Rep: Race Pace
    • 2nd Rep: Pull Buoy & Paddles
    • 3rd Rep: Faster than first Rep
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 3x 1,000m, 90sec RI;
    • 1st Rep: Race Pace
    • 2nd Rep: Pull Buoy & Paddles
    • 3rd Rep: Faster than first Rep
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the session with a 200m (Option A) or 400m (Options B & C) Warm Up (WU). As you work your way through the Warm Up (WU), swim every fourth length as backstroke. During the Warm Up (WU) 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 eight repetitions of the 25m Drill. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill set.  Do the drills below once through for Option A and twice through for Option B & C:

  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.

The main set involves swimming three reps of 400m (Option A), 600m (Option B), or 1,000m (Option C). Swim the first rep at race pace. The second rep should be swimming with a pull buoy and paddles. The final rep should be swimming slightly above race pace, it might only be 0.5-1 second per 100m quicker than the first rep meaning that you swim it 5-10 seconds faster. The key is that it is faster as if you were negatively splitting a race. Take a 60-second (Options A & B) or 90-second (Option C) Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

To finish, complete the session with a 200m Cool Down (CD). 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.

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