Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Brent Bergstedt’s Monster Base Session

This is a big, solid session with reps of both 150m and 100m to build your endurance. This session is great for swimmers and triathletes preparing for longer, open water 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.

The inspiration for these sessions came from Rocky Mountain Thunder Swimming’s Brent Bergstedt in an article by Olivier Poirier-Leroy read it here. The full session is over 4,500yds long, so these are modified versions.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 50m Kick
  • 6x 150m on 1½ T-Time + 20sec;
  • 50m Drill;
  • 4x 100m (Build 1-4) 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 100m Kick
  • 9x 150m on 1½ T-Time + 20sec;
  • 50m Drill;
  • 8x 100m (Build 1-4) 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,900m)

Option C

  • 400m WU;
  • 200m Kick
  • 13x 150m on 1½ T-Time + 20sec;
  • 50m Drill;
  • 12x 100m (Build 1-4) 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (4,000m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) by swimming 200m (Option A) or 400m (Options B & 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 kick set of 50m (Option A), 100m (Option B) or 200m (Option C). This on your front, with fins, and without a kick board as shown in the following video.

The main set is made up of six (Option A), nine (Option B), or thirteen (Option C) reps of 150m. These reps are done on an interval of one and a half times your T-Time plus 20 seconds.

For example, if your T-Time is 1:50, one and a half times that is 2:45 then adding 20 seconds makes 3:05, so you would start to swim each 150m rep every 3:05. If you swim the 150m in 2:35 you get 30 seconds to rest if you swim it in 2:55 you only get 10 seconds rest. Make sure you know your T-Time before commencing this session, you can determine your T-Time by doing this session here.

Read more about it T-Times here

Next up is 50m of the drill, I’d suggest doing a 6/1/6 drill but any drill of your choice is fine.

The next main set is made up of four (Option A), eight (Option B), or twelve (Option C) repetitions of 100m with a 30-second Rest Interval (RI). Swim these by building the pace of each rep across the set in groups of four. Start off at a moderate pace for the first rep, and build to a fast pace for the second rep. Use a faster pace for the third rep and then your fastest pace for the fourth rep. If doing eight or twelve reps, repeat this process once or twice more (respectively).

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 and 021 348 729.

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

I’ve taken my most popular training plan and given it a make-over for 2020. I’ve taken the 12 Weeks to an Ironman Swim PB – Swim Faster with Smarter Training and I’ve modified to expand the programme from 12 weeks and include an option for more than 3 swims per week.

Now the programme has created some great times for athletes competing at Ironman events around the world, but it was overly set in stone. Now if you have got between 8 & 24 weeks to an Ironman and are consistently swimming 3x, 4x, or 5x per week, I’ve created an option for you. This is regardless of the length of the pool 25m, 33⅓yd, or 50m pool.

This programme is peroidised and builds throughout as you get closer to your Ironman. It works through four key phases:

  • Foundation & Injury Prevention Phase (building your base fitness and developing technique)
  • Early Quality Phase (develop strength and continue developing technique)
  • Transition Quality Phase (focus on threshold pace and maintain technique)
  • Final Quality Phase (further develop your speed and maintain technique and taper off for the event)

Although the original 12-week programme is proven and gets RESULTS. This modified version is unproven. I know it will get the results, but I need the proof. I need a dozen people to complete the programme, so I can measure how much improvement the programme actually delivers.

If you are entered in an Ironman, Iron-distance event or an Ocean Swim/Open Water event and have between 8 and 24 weeks to train for it, you might be a good fit to try this training plan out. Not everyone will be a good fit for this programme.

This training plan is for people that are keen to swim faster in their Ironman (or other events). You need to be committed to completing a minimum of three swim workouts every week. You need to be meticulous with tracking your training.

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