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Tapering is a great experience but only a tool to enhance optimum performance. Swimmers must take into consideration all the factors that will be mentioned in this article. Tapering isn’t the magic pill to faster swimming but one of the factors to faster swimming.

Once you have established your aerobic capacity and finished your maximum yardage phase of training you must trust that you have done enough. Lower your yardage and begin the taper phase that develops power and speed as outlined in the 7 week taper program.

I understand the fear of not lowering your yardage but trust me you can and it works. You can rest a lot longer than you think as long as you stick to the program. You will continue to keep your heart rate elevated during taper which maintains your aerobic capacity.

You will have more energy as the taper progresses. Remember that during a taper you must maintain quality swimming at race pace with enough recovery swimming. Tapering doesn’t mean easy swimming but quite the opposite as you are fine tuning speed and power.

You must believe and not doubt your ability since you are practicing at race pace. Your body is developing muscle memory at your desired speed. You are doing the work so have confidence and get ready to race.

Lifting during taper is essential to maintaining speed and power as outlined in the 7 week taper program.

Try not to get bent out of shape about how you feel each day of the taper. Your body is recovering from previous hard training and trying to retrain your fast twitch muscle group. The fast twitch muscles take more energy and you will feel pain, so recovery is essential during each practice.

Nutrition, hydration and sleep are as important as your training and can affect your swimming greatly. Doing one of the above incorrectly can ruin performance immediately. You can find optimal nutrition and hydration products by clicking on the Nutrition link.

Please pick your events wisely at Championships to ensure proper warm-up, warm-down and recovery between events and days at the meet.

Know your race strategy and be able to adjust as needed. Understand how breathing during the race will benefit you or adversely affect your performance. This concept is extremely important!

When you arrive at your hotel is also important. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to check-in, eat and shave for the meet. Plan for something to go wrong and maybe pack your suit and goggles in your carry-on bag, if you are flying.

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23 Week Program and Weightlifting, Dryland & Yoga

Lifting aerobically for swimmers isn’t needed. You already get your aerobic needs from the pool and or running. Cross training is great and do just that – Cross train!

Lifting is for speed and power as described in the FasterSwimming eBook. When you weight lift you are elevating your heart rate and are actually achieving a small base of aerobic conditioning.

If you have had a long break and need to ease into work-outs then please ease into it. Give yourself goals, with the best goal being longevity for exercise. If you attack it – it’ll be harder to maintain motivation.

I am going to elaborate on the 23 week program in FasterSwimming and your incorporation of weightlifting, dryland and yoga. If you follow the program you’ll lift twice a week, do dryland twice a week and yoga once. You need to add yoga at least during the taper phase for whole body strength and flexibility. It is also great for pre-season training. Start off with doing yoga as part of your dryland regime or begin with yoga as your dryland regime. When you have flexibility and feel stronger add more intense dryland and then start weightlifting. When you begin planning your weightlifting, dryland and yoga exercises you need to start with an emphasis on legs as they take the longest to get into shape and need more rest at the end of the season. Legs are neglected by all and drive speed. You must fight your desire not to work the legs. Legs will set you apart, drive the speed in swimming, give you a faster start and turn, better fly kick off the walls and create and maintain momentum.

When choosing your weightlifting daily program choose accordingly as outlined. You can mix it up between Whole body, Upper body and Lower body exercises either by set or alternate within sets. That is consistent with your swimming workouts. If you emphasize legs during weightlifting then have a recovery kick set during your swim work-out and the same pattern for Upper and Lower body exercises. Choose accordingly to coordinate all your workouts as you don’t want too much of one thing during the day. You need to alternate either by set or within each set as this is one of the essential guidelines to faster swimming. You alternate Upper and Lower body parts always to force recovery of the opposite body part emphasis as well as increase quality of the body part being worked.

When lifting and trying to maintain speed remember safety and the mechanics of each lift. Don’t just throw the weight in the air to ensure speed. You wouldn’t spin your arms in the water without controlled speed and efficiency through the water. Just remember this concept. Your controlled speed will develop over time just keep focus.

Dryland emphasis is mainly whole body working your core always with upper and lower body support muscles. Develop in conjunction with weightlifting, yoga and especially your swimming.

When you begin the 7 week taper your weightlifting, dryland, yoga, and swimming are all focused on developing speed and power while maintaining your aerobic base. Week three you’ll notice changes in your training requirements with the slow resting of your legs. (The weightlifting taper workouts are outlined on pages 78-81 and the dryland taper workouts are outlined on pages 113-117 of the FasterSwimming eBook.) Remember to specify to your yoga instructor to hold the leg poses for less time, possibly do them at the beginning of the work-out and do recovery stretching. The taper outline explains when you should focus on speed work. THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD STOP TRYING TO GET STRONGER! Strength helps produce speed. Do a few warm-up sets of your desired exercise then try a set or two of one repetition maximizing your weight, then stretch or do a recovery swim if you can. Get a massage or sit in the hot tub maybe on weeks 5 or 6. A full body massage if done correctly will take a few days to recover from so don’t do it the day before your big swim. Hot tubs will sap your energy so hydrate and use the hot tub for recovery well in advance of your big swim.

You should also limit your weightlifting and dryland exercises to about 30 minutes while increasing your yoga and stretching to 60 minutes. Maintain 45 minute sessions of each during the season. Recovery swimming after each would be great if you have the facility and the time. If you decide to do dryland during week 7 then add a +/- 20 minute session to maintain core strength before yoga or swimming. This is a great way to help the fast twitch muscles recover especially if you have just finished one of your championship meets.

If you have noticed from reading this article, recovery is essential to your faster swimming.

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Momentum, Body Position, & Drag

I read this article written by Gary Hall Sr about coupling motions.

FIRST RESPONSE TO ARTICLE:   This article is another great way to describe momentum.

“When an external force acts upon a body, it changes its momentum; however, when no external force acts, the momentum of the body does not change, a fact which is incorporated in the principle of ‘the conservation of momentum’. Therefore, momentum has come to be known as the force of motion that a moving body acquires in continuing its motion by virtue of inertia.” – Webster’s Unabridged

If you can understand this concept, you will be a very happy swimmer.

Maintaining a proper streamline and being able to time your breakout into your swimming is key to fast swimming. If you ever do anything underwater and feel yourself slow down then you have lost momentum. Momentum will be different for each athlete based on body type, flexibility and skill level. What and how you do your underwater mechanics and how you break out into your swimming all effects momentum.

Streamlined position:
The hands should be crossed – hand over hand, some people teach a crossover grab. The biceps should be pressed upon the ears with the shoulders and chest stretched out as much as possible. The head will not be tucked chin to chest but in the same position, it would be in as if you were walking. The midsection and hips will be in line with the thighs and feet following directly behind. The legs must be in the same plane as the hips thus reducing drag. This is the basic streamline (spike). Hands, Head, Hips, and Heels in line. Once this has been achieved you may begin your breakout by starting your first stroke. Judging the depth of the water is essential for a good breakout by maintaining momentum.

SECOND RESPONSE TO ARTICLE: I don’t necessarily agree with the way he describes Breaststroke coupling and the mechanics involved. This is obviously a stroke that is still evolving but I would err on the side of teaching body position of the stroke first.

Body position and reducing drag:
If a swimmer can master body position, then the battle with drag can be won. Reducing drag should be a swimmers main concern. Your head position should be held as when walking. The head should not be tucked forward or back. The head controls the position of the feet and a slight movement of the head will make a huge impact with the legs and increase the drag of the whole body. The head must be streamlined with the body during the whole swim. The concept of body position must be learned with the thoughts of achieving a streamlined body position. As often as possible you must try to keep the 4 H’s in line (Hands, Head, Hips, and Heels). Once body position is lost the drag becomes a very large factor and stroke mechanics fall apart. Eliminating drag is an important part of stroke mechanics and one of the driving forces of swimming along with maintaining momentum.
Breaststroke legs warm up during meets before a competition.

200-400 non-breast easy, based on how you feel   
Begin with 8 x 25’s kick with a drill. (3 kicks / 1 stroke or hands at side, breathing every kick) @ 60% rest as needed   
Another 8 x 25’s kick, 4 with a drill and 4 w/board or hands in front @ 70-75% rest as needed   
Another 6-8 x 25’s kick half kick w/board or hands in front and half swim(emphasis kick) @90% rest as needed   
Another 6 x 25’s build each 25 swim to 95% rest to recovery   
200-400 non-breast, easy based on your recovery needed and plan to finish about 7-10 minutes before you compete

We are all here to learn and adapt. Let me know your thoughts. Please take some time to review all our seasonal plans (7, 14, 19 and 23-week programs). If you need any help adjusting programming to your team please email me.

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History The term originates from Johnny Weissmuller playing Tarzan in the movies of the 1920’s. He was one of the World’s best swimmers who swam with his head out of the water. Johnny was considered the “Cadillac of swimmers” during his era. Sam Freas, who coached at LSU had a lot of success using Tarzan and dryland in the 1980’s. Who does this benefit ? This is for everyone who wants to develop speed and power in their swimming at any age. This is a great drill to spike heart rate in short spurts if you don’t have lots of time to work out. Why do you need Tarzan? This drill develops speed by forcing the swimmer to maintain a controlled small and fast kick. The kick must be behind the hips in order not to increase drag and fast! Keep the hips square, head still and out of the water while focusing on equal rotation of the shoulders. The arm stroke needs to be shorter to work on speed. This is a drill and used for speed and power so don’t worry about efficient long strokes. Correct form is priority! When do you add Tarzan to your workout ? Always fit Tarzan into your workouts, even if you do a few 25’s or 12.5’s at the end of a long distance oriented practice. You want to avoid retraining your fast twitch muscles to slow by swimming at the same pace which is usually slower than any race pace at meets. The more sprint oriented you are the more you need to work this in. If you need any help deciding how to use Tarzan or other sprint sets please email .

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Training for one event

Mechanics vs. Yardage
Yardage, yardage, yardage is the old school of thought in this sport and is still used by some successful teams around the country. The true test would be to study the longevity of the swimmers who over train as a training philosophy and see if they continue to swim in college and improve as well as reports on injuries incurred. Overtraining results in bad mechanics, which leads to injuries and results in less recovery swimming, which breaks down the athlete and trains all muscle groups to work as slow-twitch muscles. Each person has a different level of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles which makes certain swimmers better at sprints and

others mid-to-distance events. One type of training will not maximize each swimmer’s potential and this is up to the coach and swimmer to determine. Quality over quantity training with the right mix of recovery and dryland workouts can maximize a swimmer’s potential. Training with proper stroke mechanics is harder to do and the benefits are twofold.

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5 sample swim workouts

Workout #1

warm up: 500 mix
8 x 50 kick descend by 2 :10 rest

Set #1 warm down as needed after each sprint

6 x :48 second sprints ( :48 is the goal time for the 100 fly)
3 of them free kick and 3 of them fly kick

Set #2 warm down as needed after each sprint

4 x :48 second sprints
2 of them fly sprint swim and 2 of them sprint paddle swim free

Workout #2

warm up: 600 mix
4 x 100 50 kick / 50 swim build each 50 to 80% :15 rest
6 x 50 swim 3 free / 3 fly build each 50 to 90% :20 rest
100 easy

Set #1 Tempo sprints ( decide stroke count to time and maintain speed once per each
25, starting 2 strokes after the break out)

2 x 25 swim (1 fly, 1 free) to develop tempo speed unless already known
rest as needed
4 x 75 swim (2 fly, 2 free) tempo each 25 maintaining speed

warm down as needed

timed turns, break outs and finishes

Workout #3

warm up: 400 mix
4 x 75 kick / swim / kick by 25 @ 70% :15 rest
6 x 50 kick @ 85% 3 fly, 3 free :15 rest
100 easy

2 x 100 sprint kick 1 free / 1 fly
50 easy after each kick

Set #1 swim set fly and free

8 x 25 on :40 build each 25 to sprint
2 x 100 on 2:15 broken @ 50 for (:10) negative split
variable speed by 50 90% – 100%
50 easy
2 x 50 on :50 sprint

12 x 25 on :35 1-4 tarzan (2 +/- 20 strokes and 2 increase arm speed)
5-8 recovery

Workout #4

warm up: 600 mix
repeat twice fly kick set up to :20 rest
100 middle 50 sprint kick
50 variable speed by 25 70% – 100%
2 x 25 sprint
warm down as needed

Set #1 paddle swim freestyle :10 – :20 rest as needed
8 x 50 @ 85%
2 x 100 @ 90%
1 x 200 variable speed by 25 70% – 100%
100 easy

one block sprint broken 100 @ 50 and 75 for :10 each

warm down as needed

Workout #5

warm up: 400 mix into

all choice rest within reason but increase and elevate heart rate
2 x 50 kick / swim by 25
2 x 100 kick / swim by 50
2 x 150 kick / swim by 75
50 easy then timed 200 swim
50 easy then timed 2oo kick
100 easy

200 alternate by 25 kick fly @ 80% / swim fly @ 100%
2 x 150 as above 1 fly / 1 free
2 x 100 as above 1 fly / 1 free
2 x 50 as above 1 fly / 1 free

warm down as needed

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Weight Lifting / Training Guidlines


1. When the core of your training is aerobic you don’t need to lift aerobically. You are lifting for speed and strength.
2. Flexibility is key especially after lifting. Stretching after any lifting to increase blood flow which aids in recovery. You must remain flexible in swimming and maintain your full range of motion.
3. Always lift your larger muscle groups first when organizing your work-out routine. Basic Guideline: Day 1 Back with bi-ceps and one leg exercise and 15 minutes of ab work. Day 2 Chest with tri-ceps, finish legs. Take one or two days off or do Legs and Abs on a third day and not with day 1 or 2.
4. You don’t have to be sore to increase your power and that definitely hinders speed. Example of how to work thru set( chest exercise):
Let’s say your begin doing flat bench warm-up with 135lbs. Begin with 2-3 sets warm-up with this weight doing +/- 8 reps, now lets begin. As you increase your weight you must maintain the speed of each lift, for example if you increase your weight to 155lbs and did 5 reps total and 4 of them maintained speed and you struggled with the 5th rep you should have stopped at 4 reps. Now increase the weight and try for 2-3 reps maintaining your speed. Remember that we are training you for power and speed, working your fast twitch muscles. If you are more of a distance swimmer this will only help your training.
5. Lifting is cross training and is essential for full body strength, power and speed. It is old school to lift aerobically if you train 2-6 hours a day aerobically in the pool. You eventually reach an aerobic threshold and then the rest of your training is useless. An example of aerobic lifting would be 3-5 sets with 10-15 reps or circuit training where you spend 30 seconds or more at stations, sound familiar ? That type of training has a purpose but not when you are getting your aerobic training from swimming, maybe pre-season for starts.
6. Cross-training sports is good for some athletes. The only time to really worry about cross training will be when you are resting for a meet or in the taper phase or your season for the season end championships. Example, don’t start running during a taper especially if you are in conditioning phase of another sport or throwing if you are in softball or baseball. Things to consider as they will impact your swimming performance greatly. Start your other sports after championships!!!!!
7. Distance swimmers gain from lifting for speed and power. You are training for the mile and your coach is preparing you in the pool. Lifting as prescribed is a great form of cross training that will not only help your power and speed but help in recovery from all your slow twitch muscle work.
8. There is a local team that over-trains swimmers and forces bad weight lifting mechanics upon its swimmers. I was asking them about their weight lifting program and he told me that they push multiple reps to ultimate failure. Does any coach even old school do that ? NO ! They give hard sets but you are always able to finish to the wall and complete the set. Do you ever pass out or sink to the bottom ? Then why would you train that way in the weight room. The problem is that most coaches don’t understand how weight lifting, body strength, speed and power work to help swimmers.
9. Weight lifting is one dryland component of training as is swimming. Pilates, Yoga and any exercise regime that increases full body strength needs to be included in your dryland routine.
10. Each person has a certain muscle make-up that helps pre-determine success for particular events and if a coach doesn’t try to recognize individual differences then true success or full potential will never be known. In short there are fast twitch and slow twitch muscles in everyone and each person has a different percentage of each. The hard part on coaching is trying to recognize the tendencies. Long distance training or over yardage will reinforce the slow twitch muscles and slow down the fast twitch fibers of that swimmer and the swimmer that is predisposed slow twitch will reach his or her full potential. Weight training correctly will help maintain the fast twitch fibers thru-out this type of program. Remember there is no need to lift aerobically as you are getting all you need and more in practice. There is an aerobic threshold for each swimmer and program that each coach needs to recognize for each training group. What is that yardage number is yet to be determined and hasn’t been studied enough yet. Once this yardage figure is reached the remainder of practice aerobically is useless. I would place the figure to be around 7,500 +/- yards per work-out. Once a swimmer is in aerobic shape and this can be determined by max heart rate sets based on time after set is complete for full recovery. The faster the recovery to resting heart rate the better shape the swimmer is in aerobically. The heart rate set must be completed using a set that is a slow build in speed that utilizes slow twitch fibers as they recover faster due to their size and energy demands on the body. Now if a swimmer is predisposed to fast twitch you may begin his or her training. I have developed a 9 week weight lifting program that would start during the finish phase of getting swimmers in shape aerobically and continue thru the print phase of training or as some prefer to say the beginning of taper and finish with a 4 week speed work taper that all finishes with the championship meet. You must have some sort of speed work in every practice even if it for 10 minutes at the end of each practice or trailing warm-up. You can’t let the fast twitch of any swimmer to be detrained at any phase of your season.
11. Coaches must remember the key ingredient to this whole program is based on training swimmers for the exact event. Most coaches still believe that training swimmers for the mile will prepare you for the 500. I believe that training swimmers for the mile will prepare them for the mile and hurt the speed needed for the 500. I said speed for the 500 and speed and power are part of each event. Training for the 50, 100 and 200’s take more speed and power but it one of the important components of training after a swimmer is in shape aerobically. Please remember that while you are in the aerobic phase of training that speed work must always be worked in the work-out and the basis for your lifting program.
12. I have had a handful of swimmers that came from programs that over-trained and were in excellent aerobic shape but had no speed and power and never trained for specific events. It took about 6-8 months to get these swimmers to train with quality for each event and develop speed since their muscle memory needed to be changed while trying to figure out their muscle fiber make-up.
13. Kicking drives speed and needs to be a larger part of practice and slow controlled kicking works while using correct body position without using kickboards.

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Daily practice advice to incorporate into your workouts


1. Racing – The drive to win close races to recover from

mistakes and overtake your competition, the desire to win!!!! Some swimmers have that desire and others must be taught. You must add racing sets in your workout. Each swimmer must have the ability to start and stop speed (variable speed) thru out the season no matter what phase of training you are currently involved. Drafting then passing, stagger starts and racing different abilities of swimmers in practice must be some part of a weekly routine.

2. Race Pace – This isn’t sprinting to exhaustion but creating the speed that will be needed to achieve goal times for each event. Let’s take the 100 free for our example: John’s goal is to swim a 48.00 in the 100. In order to achieve this swim we must create and instill muscle memory in john to help him achieve this goal. John will need to maintain 12.00 while swimming 25’s and 24.00 speed while doing 50’s. You can eventually work up to 75’s and broken 100’s (breaking them at different distances) and finally a 100 from the block before he actually swims his big race. This will give John the confidence he needs for his big race. Start the season with enough rest at each desired distance to achieve race pace speed and as the season continues change the rest interval and achieve the same result. If John is tired on a given day that you want him to do race pace then you must give him enough rest to achieve race pace. This doesn’t have to be the main set but just the last 10 minutes of a desired workout. Please remember to do race pace during the aerobic phase of the season and during holiday training. Race pace develops muscle memory and helps create speed and power. Remember that your dryland program is important and must coincide with this type of training. You will do more race pace as the taper progresses. Recovery and over-speed sets are as important and must be incorporated in workouts with race pace. Training with speed and power in the water and during dryland will enhance everything you are trying to achieve in your program.

3. Over-speed – Creating and enhancing muscle memory with the possible speed of a time not yet achieved in a race. Creating speed in short spurts helps train the fast twitch muscle make-up of every swimmer. Cords is wide spread example usually incorporated during the taper or resting phase of a season and should be used thru out. Over-speed can be achieved off starts and walls and during very short distances or with correct Tarzan swimming.

4. Tarzan for speed purposes – Swimmers that do water polo use Tarzan to see the ball. They are strong, have arm speed, upper body strength and usually are great at kicking. Wow, everything you need for sprinting!!!!! Sprinting doesn’t always mean short distances. 200’s are now in the sprint category. If you have ever seen Diana Munz swim she has great kicking skills that were evident in her swims off each wall and at the end of distance events. She shows variable speed and power in the distance events with her upper body and legs…………..

5. Recovery and dryland – These two categories make most coaches nervous. I understand the thinking of overtraining, as I have to constantly trust what I believe and not slip into the way I was trained to over train. Proper recovery must be part of each workout phase and the dryland program must match recovery and must constantly change body part emphasis to ensure recovery. Hard work should alternate legs, core and upper body. That doesn’t mean if you are recovering the legs you can’t work the arms, etc…. You can even alternate upper and lower body between dryland and swimming as well as in each set! You can alternate within each set, from set to set from work –out to workout, week to week. Add a true recovery workout once during the week and see how your swimmers respond the next day. Maybe recover for an hour and surprise them by sending them home early, you have now added MENTAL RECOVERY.

6. Each set should include distances as well as the repetitions, mechanics emphasis, and what to do on each part of the swim. For example: 6 X 400’s on 5:00 free with 4 fly kicks off each wall breathing to one side of the pool (to insure breathing n both sides and even shoulder rotation) and make-sure the swimmers know why. Odd swims are variable speed 75% – 95% by 50, with numbers 2 and 4 pace holding 1:02 and number 6 being timed with sprint kicking each wall and last 200. Write it down for them to read and repeat it to them verbally as you know it’ll take many times to get it thru their heads.

7. Make sure your swimmers can read the clock and understand negative, even, ascending, and pace terminology for splits in races and practice. Swimmers should constantly be using the clock even during warm-up and warm-downs so times and speed can be inherent. They must understand when you tell them they need to go out in a certain speed for a race strategy or tell them next time to go out faster or slower. Most swimmers shake their head OK but actually have no idea how to actually physically do it. They understand the concept mentally so you must incorporate this in your training sets. Simple example during warm-up 4 X 200’s with descending send-off tell swimmers to just make the send off as it descends with a goal time on the last 200 that is easy to achieve with some effort in order to reinforce feel of that speed in the water. 4 X 200’s 2:40, 2:30, 2:20 and the last one go a 2:15.

8. Just FYI and my opinion about certain types of equipment: Paddles – I like paddles but it does take away the feel of the water temporarily from the swimmers. Please incorporate a longer warm-down after a paddle set to give the swimmer time to regain feel. Pull-boys – They are made with different styles that fit each person differently and usually result in bad body position during a set. Please watch for this, as pull-boys don’t promote streamline body position. Kickboards – again different styles and sizes. Please don’t do all your kick sets with boards as this takes the body out of proper streamline position. Kickboards are good for isolating the legs. Cords for dryland and over-speed – Good for cross training as talked about previously. Please check the cords as chemicals do eventually cause the cords to snap and that’ll hurt!

9. Coaches flexibility: Stay flexible and evaluate if the swimmers are getting what you wanted out of each set. Don’t force the issue if motivation isn’t the issue. Change the set to achieve your goal, scratch the set if needed, adjust it or use it later in the season. If you change the set explain why and try to get them to understand the reason. If you can’t explain it you’ll never be able to teach it. If too much info is written for the set slowly increase the stimulus over time. Flexibility is hard as a coach feels the time constraint to get it all in. Fight that urge and back up, as that’ll help the swimmers more in the short and long term.

10. IM (Individual

medley) and the importance of doing sets in IM order. Training the muscle memory of going from one stroke to the other and breathing patterns. Breathing patterns change from one stroke to the other, as does the timing of each stroke. If the swimmer doesn’t understand that controlling the breathing of each stroke will help the success of the IM swim then breathing will control the swim detrimentally. When switching each stroke the swimmer must gain control of the breathing pattern before settling into the race strategy of each stroke. When control of the breathing pattern is achieved then the swimmer can work on what the coach desires for each stroke in the IM based on each swimmers strengths and weaknesses. Each swimmer should be able to negative split each part of the IM. For example in the 400 IM splits should be fly – 28-28 as the start affects the first split, back – 30-29, breast 34-33, free 27-26. The 200 IM would be a controlled sprint, as race pace should be incorporated in practice for this event. Share splits with your swimmers before and after each race. Each swimmer should have practiced what you want in the meet at practice.

11. Old school breathing – Have you ever been told to only breath 3 times each lap in the 200, hopefully not. Breathing is your friend in events longer than a 50 and helps the body alleviate the pain you feel in your body by exhaling and eliminating the lactate acid your muscles are producing as a by-product of the work you are demanding of them. Breathing too much or poorly (mechanically incorrect) in the 50 can slow you down. Breathing is important in the timing or the breast and fly and essential to the backstroke. Breathing is covered in mechanics of each stroke. You can’t expect a swimmer to change or do anything different is a meet that you don’t train at practice. Please keep that in mind ……… Breathing should never compromise streamline position especially before and after each wall or flags to flags.

12. Heart rate is a great tool to see if your swimmer is sick, stressed, over worked, needs more rest or is out of shape. You can measure this many ways by creating a set that helps the swimmer with maxing heart rate and measuring how long it takes to recover. Remember that I am not a doctor nor should you diagnose a swimmer from this, it is only a tool and can be used to help you at each phase of training. This tells you about aerobic conditioning, fatigue during the holiday training and the amount of resting needed to create race pace or sprinting and definitely during taper and resting before meets. Consult a doctor or read up about heart rate, as there are plenty of studies and info on the subject. This will help you with flexibility and changing your workouts when needed.

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Sample workout during taper phase weeks before Champs !

Day #95

Warm up: start into 300 choice swim @ 70%

6 x 50 choice kick @ 75% :10 rest

spend 5 minutes on reaction drills

spend 5 -10 minutes on 1 or 2 step relay start with tarzan break outs
(or do start, turn, finish drill)

25 easy

Set #1 freestyle paddle swim if desired

4 x 125 on 1:55 VS by 25 100% – 75% (1-2 strokes higher on faster 25)
start each 125 with 25 @ 100%

4 x 125 on 1:40 open turn to get time @ 25
1st 25 @ 75% focus on longer stroke and breathing /
100 @ 500 RP with inc stk cnt each 25

50 easy

4 x 125 on 1:20 – 1:35 +/- based on ability
sub :05 faster than challenging send off chosen
1st 75 with moderate stroke count / last 50 2 strokes higher each 25

8 x 75 recovery on 1:15
25 6 stroke tarzan sprint break out then easy to wall
25 5 fast strokes / 4 slow strokes
25 easy

Set #2 top or 2nd stroke kick – complete this set twice :20 rest

2 x 200 #1 VS by 50 75% – 100%, #2 VS by 25 75% – 100%

150 75 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks into 2nd time thru

spend 5 minutes on turn

Set #3 swim set – add additional rest if needed or warm down

6 x 100 on 3:00 1-3 top stroke, 4-6 2nd stroke
#1, #4 broken @ 50 for :10 – :20 as needed @ 200 RP
#2, #5 broken @ 25’s for :05 – :15 as needed @ 100 RP
#3, #6 straight goal with +/- :05 from best time
if time allows from block and work on race strategy
100 easy

Total yardage = 4,575

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Weight Lifting must continue during taper and athletic peaking

If you lift you must taper lifting also. Do not stop lifting or the benefits of your cross training will be lost.  You must work on speed while continuing to gain strength. The Faster Swimming coach’s guide shows an exact practice schedule for lifting during taper as well as detailed dryland workouts during this crucial phase. 

If you need help tailoring your program please email me @

Athletic Peaking

Athletic peaking, when you are in top shape, results in your best performances of the season. At this time fitness is at the highest level, while fatigue is at the lowest. This is the one time of the season that fatigue should in no way mask fitness. Your peak occurs when you are ready to perform at your best physically (fitness, skills, reactions…) and psychologically (strategy, focus, intent…). Peaking for sport is no accident, but rather the culmination of training, competitions, tactics and regeneration that has been planned for. 

A peaking period can be as long as several weeks or as short as several days, so defining your peaking period and planning accordingly is critical. No new stimuli of any significant intensity should be introduced at this time, and training methods (psychological, physical, and technical) must be specific to the demands of competition. Complete regeneration of all required physical capacities; such as speed, strength, and power; is paramount. These levels should all be at their highest during a peaking phase. While volume most often drops significantly and rest periods increase during a taper, some portion of training intensity MUST remain high to facilitate peak performances. To maintain an extended peak, appropriate intensity must remain in your training at some level throughout the peaking period.