Saturday Swim Session: Battle of the Titan's Hackett vs Phelps - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Battle of the Titan’s Hackett vs Phelps

In 2003 Grant Hackett and Michael Phelps spent a week training together when both were at the height of their international stardom. They pushed each other and challenged their swimming. 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 the session Grant Hackett and Michael Phelps did on May 3rd, 2003 and it came from an article by Olivier Poirier-Leroy read it here.

Option A

  • 300m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 6x 50m 20sec RI;
  • 3x 100m 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,500m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 3 sets of:
    • 6x 50m 20sec RI;
    • 3x 100m 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 4 sets of:
    • 6x 50m 20sec RI;
    • 3x 100m 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 300m (Option A), 400m (Option B), or 600m (Option 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 drill set of eight (Options A and B) or twelve repetitions (Option C) of 50m Drill/Swim, where you do a drill for the first 25m of the repetition and then normal swimming for the next 25m swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set.  Do the drills below twice through for Options A and B, and three times through for Option 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 is made up of two subsets that for Option B & C are repeated three and four times respectively.

Start with a set of six, 50m reps swim these as fast as you can and take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI). Then move into a set of three, 100m reps. After each 100m rep take a 30 second Rest Interval (RI). Then repeat for the total number of sets for the Option you are swimming.

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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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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