Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

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 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.

Inspiration for this weeks session comes from Matt Leito 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 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 swum with pull buoy and paddles. The final rep should be swum 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 negative 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 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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