Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Dierdre Kearney’s Tri Simulation Set

This session is a great combination of focusing on speed and physiological development. As well as technique and neurological development to enhance your swimming. 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 Deirdre Kearney a Swim Ireland Level 2 Coach who put this session together for the Limerick Tri Club, you can read her article here.

Option A

  • WU 2 sets of:
    • 2x 50m DPS 10sec RI;
    • 100m (75m easy/25m Pick Up) 15sec RI;
  • 2 sets of:
    • 2x 100m 10sec RI;
    • 400m DPS 2min RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • WU 2 sets of:
    • 4x 50m DPS 10sec RI;
    • 100m (75m easy/25m Pick Up) 15sec RI;
  • 3 sets of:
    • 2x 100m 10sec RI;
    • 400m DPS 2min RI;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • WU 2 sets of:
    • 4x 50m DPS 10sec RI;
    • 100m (75m easy/25m Pick Up) 15sec RI;
  • 2 sets of:
    • 2x 100m 10sec RI;
    • 400m DPS 30sec RI;
    • 2x 100m 10sec RI;
    • 400m DPS 2min RI;
  • 200m CD (3,200m)

The Warm Up (WU) for today’s session involves two sets of two (Option A) or four (Options B & C), 50m reps focusing on Distance Per Stroke (DPS). Take ten seconds Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. Distance Per Stroke means that I want you to focus on gaining the maximum distance out of each and every stroke. Count the number of strokes it takes you to swim each length and see if you can become more efficient for the next length and reduce the stroke count by one.

The next part of the Warm Up (WU) involves swimming 100m. The first 75m is done nice and easy before a 25m Pick Up on the final length (of a 25m pool). Take a 15-second Rest Interval (RI) before starting the second set of the 4x ’50s and then the 100. A Pick Up is where you start the length off nice and slow and pick up your pace throughout the length, building your pace to a fast pace for a few strokes, then a faster pace for a few more strokes, and fastest pace for a few strokes and then maxing out as you finish the length. Constantly picking up your pace through the length.

Although the main set within this workout is similar across all options, it is done slightly differently in Option C. Start this set by swimming 100m fast then take a ten-second Rest Interval (RI). Next up swim 400m as Distance Per Stroke (DPS). Options A & B take a two-minute Rest Interval (RI) before repeating for a total of two and three reps respectively. Option C takes a 30-second Rest Interval (RI) and has another set of two, 100m reps to complete before swimming another 400m DPS and then gets a two-minute Rest Interval (RI).

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 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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