Saturday Swim Session: Hackett & Phelps Go Head To Head - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Hackett & Phelps Go Head To Head

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 5th, 2003 and it came from an article by Olivier Poirier-Leroy read it here.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 400m, 60sec Rest Interval (RI);
  • 4x 100m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 200m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 50m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 400m, 60sec Rest Interval (RI);
  • 4x 100m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 200m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 50m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 100m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 25m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,400m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 600m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 150m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 400m, 60sec Rest Interval (RI);
  • 4x 100m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 200m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 50m (Build 1-4) 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (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 four (Option A), eight (Option 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 once through for Option A, twice through for Option 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 starts for Option C swimming 600m. Then after a minutes Rest Interval (RI) swimming four, 150m reps with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. Build the pace for these reps starting with with a moderate pace, then for the second rep swim that at a fast pace, the third rep should be swum at a faster pace and the final rep at your fastest pace.

Hackett & Phelps swam theirs in these respective times:

  • Hackett: 1:43.6/1:38.5/1:36.5/1:24.3
  • Phelps: 1:43.6/1:38.5/1:36.4/1:26.3

Options A & B both start with this next set that Option C also does. Swim 400m, then take a 60 second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set is made up of four, 100m reps swum with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI), also swimming these by building the pace from one rep to the next.

Hackett & Phelps swam theirs in these respective times:

  • Hackett: 1:08.0/1:04.8/1:01.2/55.2
  • Phelps: 1:08.0/1:04.4/1:01.9/55.9

Follow this with a 200m swim followed by a 60 second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set includes four, 50m reps all with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI), swum in build fashion again.

Hackett & Phelps swam theirs in these respective times:

  • Hackett: 31.5/30.2/28.4/26.9
  • Phelps: 31.5/30.2/28.4/25.7

At this point both Option A & C move to the Cool Down (CD) and Option B has two more short sets. Option B swim 100m taking a 60 second Rest Interval (RI), followed by a set of four, 25m reps with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI). This final set is also swum in Build fashion.

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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