Swim Session

Saturday Swim Session – 400/200 Test

Assessing your performance regularly during your training gives you an indication of your current ability and you can compare it to your previous performance and see how much you have improved. It is also a benchmark that you can use to determine future training intensity to optimise your future swim training. Use this session to assess your current level of performance. It is great for triathletes as well as open water and master’s swimmers.

Each Saturday I will post a Swim Session, and 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.

Read this article here for an explanation of Swim Intensity.

Option A

  • 400m WU Level II;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 400m TT;
  • 200m Swim Level I-II;
  • 200m TT;
  • 200m CD Level I-II (1,800m)

Option B

  • 600m WU Level II;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 400m TT;
  • 200m Swim Level I-II;
  • 200m TT;
  • 200m CD Level I-II (2,500m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU Level II;
  • 16x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 400m TT;
  • 300m Swim Level I-II;
  • 200m TT;
  • 200m CD Level I-II (3,300m)

For the Warm Up (WU) start with a 400m swim (Option A), 600m (Option B), or 1,000m (Option C) at Level II. 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 eight (Option A), twelve (Option B) or sixteen (Option C) 50m repetitions made up of 25m Drill, then straight into 25m normal swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing this set.  Do the drills below twice (Option A), three times (Option B), or four times (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 includes a 400m Time Trial (TT) where you swim the distance as fast as possible, recording your time.

Prior to the next Time Trial (TT) swim a 200m (Options A & B) or 300m (Option C) nice and easy at Level I-II. Feel free to take some breaks and stretch, as well as using other swim strokes. This set is a recovery effort and should be done at nothing higher than Level II.

The next up is a 200m Time Trial (TT) where you swim the distance as fast as possible, recording your time.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the Cool Down (CD) (like the Warm Up (WU)) 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.

The concept of T-Time has been developed by a number of authors with a number of different names utilised (the most popular would be Swim Smooth‘s CSS or Critical Swim Speed). There are various versions of the test (i.e. 1,000m TT, swimming 200m & 100m TTs, 3x 300m or 3x 100m) that all approximate the same thing. My preferred method is the 400m & 200m TT.

The results are critical to ensure that they are recorded correctly and accurately. Make sure you have a stopwatch of some description that you can easily operate in the water whilst swimming or have someone poolside record your times for you.

To determine your T-Time, subtract your 200m time from your 400m time and divide by 2.

T-Time = (400m Time – 200m Time ) / 2 

Here is a real-time example:

T-Time = (7:19 – 3:31) / 2

= (3:48) / 2

= 1:54

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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