Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Building Speed and Threshold Pace

The ability to swim at and maintain your threshold pace is a critical component of fitness for triathletes and long-distance open water swimmers. When large numbers of short reps with short rests are strung together your threshold swimming pace is developed, as is the case with this workout. This is a great session for triathletes and open water swimmers to do to build their sustained speed.

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.

Option A

  • 400m W/U;
  • 4x 25m Drill;
  • 12x 50m Swim, 10sec RI;
  • 4x 50m K, 15sec RI
  • 300m C/D (1,600m)

Option B

  • 800m W/U;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 20x 50m Swim, 10sec RI;
  • 8x 50m K, 15sec RI
  • 300m C/D (2,700m)

Option C

  • 1,000m W/U;
  • 12x 25m Drill;
  • 30x 50m Swim, 10sec RI;
  • 12x 50m K, 15sec RI
  • 300m C/D (3,700m)

For the Warm Up (WU) start with a 400m (Option A), 800m (Option B) or 1,000m (Option C) swim. 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. There are four (Option A), eight (Option B), or twelve (Option C) 25m repetitions. Feel free to use fins whilst doing this set.  Do the drills below once (Option A), twice (Option B), or thrice (Option C) through:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS) left side 
  2. Kick On Side (KOS) right side 
  3. 6/1/6 
  4. 6/3/6

The main set is made up of twelve (Option A), twenty (Option B), or thirty (Option C) repetitions of 50m. Take a ten-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep.

The main set is concluded with a set of four (Option A), eight (Option B), or twelve (Option C) repetitions kicking for 50m. Use your fins for this set and avoid using a kick board. Watch the video below to see how:

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 300m. Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cooldown (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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