Saturday Swim Session: Grant Holicky's Open Water Training Set for Christine Jennings - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Saturday Swim Session: Grant Holicky’s Open Water Training Set for Christine Jennings

This is based off a session put together by Grant Holicky who specialised in coaching Open Water swimmers and triathletes. This session is great for swimmers and triathletes preparing for longer, open water swims.

Each week 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 Grant Holicky (coach to Christine Jennings and a number of other top open water swimmers and triathletes) in an article by Olivier Poirier-Leroy read it here. The session has been adapted to fit the purpose of these articles, as it is 7,400yds total.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 2x 150 K/D/S;
  • 300m Pull Buoy;
  • 3x 100m Build pace 1-3 15sec RI;
  • 200m Pull Buoy;
  • 2x 100m Build pace 1-2 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,700m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 2x 150 K/D/S;
  • 400m Pull Buoy;
  • 4x 100m Build pace 1-4 20sec RI;
  • 300m Pull Buoy;
  • 3x 100m Build pace 1-3 15sec RI;
  • 200m Pull Buoy;
  • 2x 100m Build pace 1-2 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,700m)

Option C

  • 400m WU;
  • 2x 150 K/D/S;
  • 500m Pull Buoy;
  • 5x 100m Build pace 1-5 25sec RI;
  • 400m Pull Buoy;
  • 4x 100m Build pace 1-4 20sec RI;
  • 300m Pull Buoy;
  • 3x 100m Build pace 1-3 15sec RI;
  • 200m Pull Buoy;
  • 2x 100m Build pace 1-2 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,700m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 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.

The next set is made up of two, 150m reps of Kick/Drill/Swim (K/D/S). During each rep conduct 50m each of kicking, drill and then swimming in order. Feel free to use fins. When doing the kick segment, don’t use a kick board (see video below). Then move on to doing 50m of 6/1/6 (for the first rep) and 6/3/6 (for the second rep) before finishing with 50m of regular swimming.

The main body of the workout is made up of covering a distance using a pull buoy and then swimming a set of 100m reps to cover the same distance just swum with the pull buoy. This decreases with each set, and the Rest Interval (RI) also decreases. When swimming the set of 100m reps build your pace with each rep so that the last rep of the set is the fastest.

For Option C start with 500m steady swim using a Pull Buoy and then a set of five, 100m reps with a 25 second Rest Interval (RI). Start off with a slowish pace rep and then for the second rep swim at a moderate pace. For the third rep swim fast, then get faster for the fourth rep. For the fifth and final rep swim this at your fastest pace. Then move onto the next set.

Option B starts with a 400m steady swim using a Pull Buoy. The set following this is four, 100m reps with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI). Start at a moderate pace for the first rep. Pick the pace up to a fast pace for the second rep and then faster for the third. For the fourth rep make it as fast as you can swim.

Option A starts with a 300m steady swim using a Pull Buoy. Follow this with three, 100m reps with a 15 second Rest Interval (RI). Start at a fast pace for the first rep. For the second rep, increase your pace to be faster. For the third and final rep swim this at your fastest pace.

The last two sets for all Options is a 200m swim with a Pull Buoy, followed by a set of two, 100m reps with only a ten second Rest Interval (RI). Swim the last of these reps as fast as possible.

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 coachray@coachray.nz and 021 348 729.

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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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