Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Ledecky 400’s for the Rest of Us

Katie Ledecky dominated female distance swimming setting the World Record in the 400m, 800m and 1,500m Freestyle, and won five Olympic Gold Medals and 15 World Championships, more than any other female swimmer. This session was a staple leading into major championship events, and will benefit any triathlete or open water swimmer.

Last week I wrote an article about the version of this workout that Katie Ledeck conducted:

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 today’s workout comes from an article from Swimming World Magazine about the workouts Katie Ledecky’s coach Yuri Suguiyama set for her, you can read the article here.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 25m IM order 20RI;
  • 3x 400m (Build 1-3) 40RI;
  • 200m CD (1,700m)

Option B

  • 300m WU;
  • 4x 25m IM order 20RI;
  • 6x 400m (Build 1-3) 40RI;
  • 200m CD (3,000m)

Option C

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 25m IM order 20RI;
  • 8x 400m (Build 1-4) 40RI;
  • 200m CD (4,000m)

For the Warm Up (WU) start with a 200m (Option A), 300m (Option B), or 400m (Option C) swim. 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 an Individual Medley (IM) order and involves four (Options A & B) or eight (Option C), 25m reps. Start with the first rep of Butterfly, if you can’t swim butterfly attempt it for as long as you can then revert to freestyle. Take a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. The second rep (or sixth rep if doing Option C) is back stroke, the third breaststroke (or seventh rep if doing Option C) and then the final rep is freestyle.

The main set is made up of three (Option A), six (Option B), or eight (Option C) 400m repetitions with a 40 seconds Rest Interval (RI). Options A and B are done Building for three reps and Option C is done Building for four reps. Start at a moderate pace for the first rep and keep building your pace each rep so the first three (Options A & B) or four (Option C) get faster from one rep to the next. For Options B and C, ease the pace back to a moderate pace and then build each rep through to the final rep.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. 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, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

I’ve recently launched a new swim training plan that will improve your swimming. If your goal this year involves swimming faster with limited time to train. Complete the form below and get more information about this great plan.

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