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How should you plan test sets into your season?

I don’t think coaches give test sets enough merit or follow through with a purpose. I will outline a series of test sets that lead up to goal times(race pace for the year) for championships. Begin by establishing goals for your swimmers which will also set race pace training for the season. Remember to be flexible as goals and race pace training should be adjusted accordingly throughout the season. Document every time on every swim.
Plan your test sets to end before championships. You can plan the last test set in this series early in the week prior to the championship meet you wish to focus. There are a total of 10 progressive test sets that build upon each other. Don’t feel that test sets are easy and take away from training. They are a very important training tool to help teach our athletes about quality of training and maintaining race pace. You will be very happy with the results at the end of the year if administered correctly. This tool will help you plan and adjust your workouts each step of the way.
Assumptions:
1. You have established goal times and race pace needed to achieve.
2. Swimmers are consistent with training through the season.
3. This series of test sets are oriented to the 100’s of two strokes. For this article I will use the 100 free goal time of :50 and the 100 stroke time of :56. You can expand for all strokes. I will work on test sets for 200’s above for future articles.
4. Swimmers have to understand that maintaining race pace throughout the set isn’t an option but a requirement.
5. Plan each progressive test set with enough time to train between.
6. Completing a proper meet warm up before starting each test set.
I organized practices so swimmers time each other which enables you to administer each set in about an hour. Make sure you study each set and adjust your following workouts as needed. You will be able to determine if more kicking is needed or certain mechanics should be your focus. Push your swimmers to maintain race pace!
Test Set #1

Please remember to set the stage for race pace for all 25’s.

24 x 25’s on 1:15 @ 100 race pace freestyle, holding 12.5’s

12 x 25’s on 1:15 @ 100 race pace stroke, holding 14’s. (maintain the same stroke for each progressive test set) If you have time you can expand the stroke test sets to mimic freestyle throughout.
Test Set #2
The amount of rest is reduced and the second half of each set the swimmer must finish the 25 through the turn to their feet. If you feel it is necessary you can work in some recovery swimming after the first half of each set. Please remember that holding race pace is the purpose of these sets.

24 x 25’s on 1:00 @ 100 race pace freestyle, holding 12.5’s. The first 12 to a touch and the second 12 to the swimmers’ feet. The turn must be performed fast with quality!

12 x 25’s on 1:00 @ 100 race pace stroke, holding 14’s. The first 6 to a touch and the second 6 to the swimmers’ feet. The turn must be performed fast with quality!

Test Set #3

The amount of rest is reduced one more time. You can require the last third or half of the set to be performed through the turn. Add recovery if needed maybe once during the set.

24 x 25’s on :45 @ 100 race pace freestyle, holding 12.5’s.

12 x 25’s on :45 @ 100 race pace stroke, holding 14’s.
Test Set #4
Now we begin to adjust the distance of the test sets. The first half of each set have your swimmers start from the block and the second half from the water. Have your swimmers on the second half of the first 6 finish through the turn(feet). Explain to your swimmers how to adjust race pace due to the blocks and have them hold the race pace times needed during their race. For example, The first 50 freestyle holding 24’s with the second 50 holding 26’s. Stroke race pace could be 27’s, 29’s by 50.

12 x 50’s on 3:00 @ 100 race pace freestyle holding 24’s, 26’s by 50. First 6 from the block with numbers 1-3 finishing to a touch and numbers 4-6 finishing through the turn(feet).  The second 6 are from a push all finishing to the touch. Add recovery swimming halfway through the set.

6 x 50’s on 3:00 @ 100 race pace stroke holding 27’s, 29’s by 50. First 3 from the block having your swimmers finish one or two of them through the turn. The second three are from a push all finishing to the touch. Add recovery swimming half way through the set.

Test Set #5
All you will need to do here is reduce the amount of rest for Test Set #4. You decide what send off to administer. I would reduce the send off 30 seconds to 2:30 at a minimum.
Test Set #6

We are changing the distance again with broken 75’s. The first half of each set will be from the block with the second half from a push with all finishes to a touch. Please adjust race pace accordingly.

8 x 75’s on 2:30 @ 100 race pace freestyle. Each 75 is broken(rest) at the 50 for :15 seconds. 75’s 1-4, the first 50 hold 24’s with the following 25 holding 12.5’s. 75’s 5-8, the first 50 hold 26’s with the following 25 holding 12.5’s. Recovery half way if needed.

4 x 75’s on 2:30 @ 100 race pace stroke. As above, on the first 4, 75’s, the first 50 hold 27’s with the following 25 holding 14’s. 75’s 5-8, the first 50 hold 29’s with the following 25 holding 14’s.
Test Set #7
If you study the times of each swimmer you will see patterns in your training that help each swimmer on certain parts of the test sets. This will help you decide how to break the 100’s to help the swimmers maintain race pace. You can break the next test set where you see fit or add more rest if needed. I have swimmers break each 100 at the first 25 for :10 seconds and the 75 for :10 seconds both breaks finishing through the turn(feet). All of these 100’s are from the block.
This will be the toughest test set of all 10. Adjust send off, add rest and recovery as needed to maintain race pace. The total time should be the swimmers 100 goal time of 50 for freestyle and 56 for stroke. Document each split exactly and have the swimmer concentrate on the two 10 second breaks and finishing the 25 and 75 to their feet with a sprint turn. Example split for the freestyle @ 50 might look like, 25 @ 11, middle 50 @ 26, last 25 @ 13.

6 x 100’s on 3:00 @ 100 race pace freestyle broken as described above. Recovery if needed after number 3 or 4.

3 x 100’s on 3:00 @ 100 race pace stroke broken as described above.

Test Set #8
You should all understand what times each swimmer should maintain during each part of the race and administer accordingly. Adjust send off’s if needed for this set. I would have the swimmers do this set once as a run through without telling them it is a test set. Do a nice recovery set then repeat. Do this set for all strokes.

6 x 25’s @ 100 race pace on :40

3 x 50’s @ 100 race pace on :55 (broken at the 25 for :10)

100 recovery swim then complete the following broken 100 within 3 minutes from finishing the 50’s.

1 x 100 from the block broken at the 25 and 75 for :10 each through the turn(feet).

Test Set #9
This time we are doing a few less 25’s and 50’s on a faster send off for all strokes.

4 x 25’s @ 100 race pace on :30

2 x 50’s @ 100 race pace on :45 (broken at the 25 for :05)

100 recovery

1 x 100 from the block broken at the 25 and 75 for :10 each through the turn(feet).

Test Set #10
If your swimmers have trained well and completed all test sets through the season then they are ready. Do a meet warm up as if preparing for the big swim. Break each 100 at the 25 and 75 through the turn for only :05 seconds. You could have the break at the 25 for :05 and the 75 for :10 if needed.

1 x 100 broken @ 100 race pace freestyle

Recovery set of at least 500 yards.

1 x 100 broken @ 100 race pace stroke

If you have any questions during the season about the sets, post your questions below or email me @ [email protected]
Good Luck!
Brad Burget
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Diagnosing Strokes

I think most of us are good at identifying minor stroke corrections needed for our athletes but are you actually finding the real problem. Before you tell your swimmers simple solutions please diagnose their issues. For example; turn your hand inward, widen your recovery, lower your head, etc. are lazy solutions and yes probably need to be addressed but the larger picture needs fixed first.

Main issues which usually affect strokes and the actual solution instead of a quick diagnosis.

A. Timing of the breath.

This affects a lot of stroke flaws and the number one issue to many stroke flaws

1. Hand/arm under the body during stroke.

2. Hand entry (catch) and finish of the stroke either the entry is too short or crossing over or not finishing in the proper spot or position.

3. Does the swimmer inhale and exhale properly during the breath?  You will really be surprised how many swimmers do this incorrectly.

B. Body Position

1. Head position verse legs, where are the 4-h’s (head, hands hips, heels)?

2. Ability of the swimmer to rotate if needed in strokes or adjust body position.

3. Ability to streamline.

C. Leg speed and proper timing of kick.

1.  How good is your swimmer at kicking sets at practice?

2.  Just telling your swimmer to kick more isn’t the solution.

D. Hand and Arm as one paddle. This must be taught at practice.

E. Momentum off the start, turn and maintaining it in the stroke.

1. The transition from underwater thru the first stroke.

2. Momentum of the kick off the wall and during the stroke.

3. Depth of break out.

4. The actual flip turn/open turn and the foot placement during.

 

F. The understanding of reducing drag. You must teach the swimmer to understand this and really think.

G. Proper mechanical timing.  What do you do during:

1. The catch of each stroke.

2. The finish of each stroke.

3. Timing of kick and breath, etc..

H. Telling a swimmer to kick more is crazy but teaching the swimmer how and when to kick is the proper approach to learning. Teach them how to kick during a race. For Example, 85% first 25 on the legs then sprint; or give them a set number of fly kicks off the wall to hold during a race. Of course you have trained this in practice.

I. Recovery of each stroke.

Do the swimmers know how to have active recovery during a stroke? How do you teach the recovery of the stroke?  Think about each swimmers flexibility when teaching this. You will have to engage the shoulders and core for proper recovery in all strokes. You must engage shoulder shrugs in breast and fly and arm positioning in free and back.

If you watch a swimmer and you tell them that they just need to turn their hand to catch more water you are missing the really big picture. Put some real thought into the problem and discuss the big corrections to make at practice.

All of the above mechanics are discussed in the FasterSwimming book!

 

 

Workout of the week:

Warm up:

300 mix , 4 x 50 descend and the last 50 with the heart rate above 30 beats per 10 seconds, 4 x 25 same as 50’s, 100 ez (:15 rest during set)

10 x 25  – 3/4 underwater fly kick sprint then 70% swim back to the wall and go again. The 70% swim back is the recovery.

6 x 150 kick w/fins 50 build/100 fast, :20 rest,  #1-2 back or free, 3-6 fly

1 minute rest then

2 x 50 fly sprint kick with fins (:30 rest between)

100 recovery

Use cords to add drag and fly kick off wall until you can’t mover further. Push the legs!

3 sets of 6 push off wall, 50 recovery after each set

8 x 25’s kick variable speed by kick count 5 fast kicks and 5 slow kicks, :30 rest

100 recovery minimum.

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Real Tapering Survival

Why do swimmers and coaches feel there is a big mystery about tapering and hope that it works? This is crazy!  If your seasonal plan includes progression of race pace work and the proper recovery throughout the season then you have the experience to know that your taper will work. Tapering is the progression towards your race pace goals from the beginning of the season. It is not a resting process to recover your body from over yardage during the season. If your taper has been that simple then you have underachieved your true potential.

Just remember the confidence you have gained all season and understand the process involved. You have created muscle memory for performance and energy demands needed to swim your goal time. Your intentsity of training never decreases during taper. You do add more recovery to your swimming but your actual training work needed has to be the highest. If you have been lifting all year you will need to taper your weight program to be at your strongest before your big meets. Meets as in plural as you will be able to swim faster for many weeks in a row.

The process for tapering isn’t guess work but calculated and planned out. The biggest variable is understanding your recovery needs which includes eating, sleeping and training.

Weekly workout with emphasis on recovery:

1. Alternating upper and lower body during sets is the easiest way to include recovery as written throughout this workout.

2. You can write workouts that alternate swim sets and kick sets within the workout as active recovery.

3. Including variable speed by stroke or kick counts adds short bursts of recovery during a set.

10 slow strokes/ 10 fast or kicks. Variable speed work by 25 during a 75 swim/kick, 25 build to 80%, 25 @ 65% followed by a 25 @ 100%.

4. Be creative to help write sets that swimmers will enjoy!

 

 

Warm up:  200 choice

6 x 150 alternating 25 kick/50 swim choice

6 x 50 25 kick/25 build swim

6 x 25 descend to sprint,  1-3 and 4-6

all above :10 rest

Set #1 (:15 rest thru set)

8 x 75 kick variable speed by 25 100%, 70%, 100%

4 x 25 recovery swim

8 x 50 kick descend 1-4, sprint 5-8

4 x 25 recovery swim

2 x 100 timed all out.

200 recovery swim

Set #2

Repeat this set 3 times each time adding more rest as your body needs to recover.

Start with :20 rest first time thru.

3(100 swim build to last 25 @ 100 race pace followed by 2 x 25 tarzan sprint)

50 recovery swim

3 x 50 kick descend 1-3

2 x 25 hands together head out of the water free kick.

100 recovery swim

repeat so there are 9 – 100’s in this set.

Finish working on starts and/pr turns.

For complete seasonal workouts, see the 23 Week Training Program.

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Swimming Drills

We all have knowledge of swimming drills for each stroke as they have been handed down by coaches for many many years. I just ask coaches to please understand the reason you are coaching a specific drill to your swimmers and each swimmer to understand what they may be learning or unlearning from the drill. Think through it logically.

Drills definitely have a place in coaching. When swimmers are uncoordinated and growing it helps teach awareness to engage arms, legs, core, and breathing in specific orders.
Just a few questions to answer on your own:
1. Why are we teaching swimmers to do a thumb drag drill in freestyle?
2. Do you they actually drag their thumb on the water or up the side of their body while racing?
3. How does thumb drag use the core?
4. How does teaching a Catch-up drill teach proper rotation?
5. Do we really want swimmers to swim with a catch-up stroke?

Just make sure you teach drills at the right time in the swimmers’ development and understand why you are teaching the drill.

Warm up:

start into 600 choice swim @ 70%

4 x 125 choice stroke :15 rest
75 kick 10 fast kicks / 10 slow kicks
50 swim 10 fast strokes / 10 slow strokes

4 x 100 swim VS by 50 75% – 100% :15 rest
check heart rate twice and keep between 25 – 30
100 easy

Set #1

12 x 25 on :50
1,2,5,6,9,10 tarzan increase arm speed
3,4,7,8,11,12 partner racing free kick
50 easy kick on 1:30

2 x 100 on 2:00 5 up tarzan sprint 4 down easy
50 easy kick on 1:30
OVERSPEED
2 x 50 drag and pull continuous :20 rest
100 easy

Set #2 complete this set twice

2 x 150 free strong with PADDLES on 2:30
2nd time thru top stroke on 2:45
50 kick (25 @ 100% / 25 @ 75%), open turn to get time into
100 swim broken each 25 for :05 – :15, 1st and 3rd 25 @ 200 RP,
2nd and 4th @ 100 RP
100 easy

Total yardage = 3,200
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Starts & Stops Continued

 

This is a continuation of the starts newsletter. We will continue to expand and detail every aspect of the start. There is a swim workout and the end of this article with outline explanations of how it was written.

Full season outlines are also in the 23 week, 14 week and Faster Swimming books.

Center of Gravity

When considering body position on the block we need to look at the athlete’s center of gravity.  We look at the center of gravity not in a side to side (lateral) aspect, but in a front to back (anterior/posterior) aspect.  The farther forward athletes are able to shift their center of gravity in relation to the point of force production (feet), the more efficient their first movement will be.  If the center of gravity is behind the point of force production athletes must first pull their body forward before pushing it forward.  If we all had hands at the ends of our legs we would be able to grab the block and pull, but our feet have a limited ability to grab the block leaving our legs useful only for a pushing motion.  This results in the beginning pull to be done entirely with the arms which have a limited ability to produce much forward motion and lead more to wasted time and inefficiency on the block. The brief amount of time that it takes to go through a start for any athlete (even those with a slow start) only increases the need to be as efficient as possible to gain an advantage.

Many athletes understand the concept of a forward center of gravity but go about it the wrong way by attempting to lean out as far as they can.  The problem with this is that their center of gravity will usually end up being farther back due to the athletes inability to maintain balance. The best way to allow for a forward center of gravity is to keep the hips high and forward while dropping the head and shoulders into a relaxed position as close to the thighs as possible.  The closer the shoulders and head are to the hips from the anterior/posterior view the farther forward the hips will be able to shift without throwing off balance and stability.

If the center of gravity is placed behind the point of force production, weight must first be shifted forward before being able to apply force in a rear direction propelling the body forward.  Most athletes and coaches have seen swimmers on the block who lean as far back as possible under the premise that they will produce a more powerful start.  When this technique is used athletes spend half of their motion using arms for their force production before their center of gravity shifts far enough forward for their legs to explode.  While it is helpful to use the arms in a limited manner to shift the center of gravity to a favorable position, the arms shouldn’t be used as a major force producing piece of the start.

With the two different styles of starts, track and two feet forward, the center of gravity in relation to the point of force production is the major difference between them.  The two feet forward start makes it far more difficult to bring the center of gravity up to the point of force production.  However, if a start is well trained and athletes are able to have enough flexibility, stability, and balance, there is much greater power potential in this type of start.  With the track start it is very easy to place the point of force production behind the center of gravity.  The rear foot is very easily placed behind the hips and allows the athlete to produce a very efficient first motion.  This efficient first motion and easy body positioning have caused this start to be used almost exclusively without any consideration being given to the start that allows for more power to be produced.  Don’t get me wrong though, changing every athlete’s start to a two feet forward style may not be appropriate as not every athlete has the flexibility, stability, and balance necessary to make this start viable.

Here is the first workout of 115+ from the 23 week workout. This is a very simple beginning into workouts that are written with complex details thru the season. Each week has an outline which you can follow and write your own workout or sets. The outline includes percentage of kicking in each workout, speed work, recovery, time allotted for starts and turns, variable speed intensities, race pace work, heart rate and test sets to help you adjust workouts for your athletes.  The last 7 weeks is the taper written in great detail to fine tune speed, build confidence, increase and maintain aerobic capacity, train energy systems for the demands of championship meets and get your athlete ready for many weeks of fast swimming. All you have to do is administer the workout!

Here is to Faster Swimming.

Brad

Day # 1

Maintain one fly kick minimum off each wall!

Warm-up:

3 x 200 freestyle all from a start on 3:30 / 3:00 / 2:45 descending send off

Do another start into a 25 with 3/4 fl y kick underwater to the other end

Set #1

9 x 50 free kick @ 80% :05 rest between

6 x 75 25 back kick @ 80%. 50 breast drill 2 kick-1 stroke :10 rest between

( long spikes )

4 x 100 50 kick fl y/ 50 back swim 100 @ 80% effort :15 rest

200 IM kick no board variable speed by 25 @ 70%-90% effort

50 ez swim

Set # 2 – Timed turns during set

3 x 300 IM 25 kick / 50 1 arm drill swim each stroke @ 80% effort :10 rest between

50 ez

4 x 100 IM swim descend on 2:00

50 ez

12 x 25 racing kick partners free coaches send off

100 ez

Set # 3

5 x 100 freestyle

#’s 1-3 50 kick – 50 swim variable speed by 25 @ 70%-90% effort :10 rest between

1:00 rest

#’s 4-5 swim sub 1:00 – 1:05 based on ability 1:00 rest between

100ez

Total yardage = 4,525

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The Start

The forward start is one of the most ignored and misunderstood skills of swimming. Improving a start may only drop a small amount of time but this will be the difference between winning or losing and qualifying or not. A quality start allows swimmers to launch off the block sooner with greater speed, superior body position while creating momentum into the race. You can’t underestimate the psychological benefits of leading a race!

If you learn how to coach the start you are helping the turn.

Regardless of how well conditioned an athlete may be he or she must be able to translate that ability correctly. Proper body position must be achieved for each athlete by considering two dominating factors, center of gravity and point of force, as they are interdependent. Athletes need to produce forward motion as quick and powerful as possible by understanding their body position where the center of gravity will be as close to or even with the point of force production. You have to consider foot placement, hips and head positions, proper leg length for maximum force production and you have to react with the legs first not arms.

We will elaborate next week.

Weekly Workout from the 23 week program. This is the first taper workout of the 7 week program. The program is detailed as it tapers legs, works on race pace for champs, enables recovery and prepares the athlete for many weeks of fast swimming!

W E E K 1 7 of  23 ( W O R K O U T 1 OF THE 7 WEEK TAPER)

Day #81

Warm up: start into 300 choice swim VS by 150 70% – 75%

6 x 50 all no grab starts (emphasis leg reaction)

1-3 25 choice swim / 25 Tarzan heart rate above 25

4-6 25 choice swim / 25 3 up Tarzan 1 down easy repeat

25 easy

Set #1 complete this swim set twice – 1st time IM, 2nd free :15 rest

3 x 200 reverse IM order (combo fly 2 right arm, 2 left arm, 3 swim) @ 75%

2nd time thru free – incremental stroke count by 50

400 IM order (combo fly as above) VS by 50 75% – 80%

2nd time thru free – VS by 50 75% – 80% with incremental stroke count

3 x 100 IM on 1:20 1st one @ 80% with last sub +/-1:05

2nd time thru free with :15 rest, First 100- 15 fast strokes / 15 slow strokes,

Second 100- 10 fast strokes / 10 slow strokes, Third 100- 5 fast strokes / 5 slow strokes

50 easy into 2nd time

Set #2 top stroke kick set :20 rest

2 x 300 VS by 150, #1 70% – 100%, #2 100% – 70%

4 x 50 #1 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks, #2 10 fast kicks / 10 slow kicks,

#3 15 fast kicks / 15 slow kicks, #4 20 fast kicks / 20 slow kicks

50 easy

Set #3 top stroke swim. This set is very difficult. If a swimmer needs more rest to achieve Race Pace then change send offs accordingly. You may need to help the swimmers with their Race Pace goals and times to achieve in this set.

25 on :25 @ 100 Race Pace

75 on 1:20 @ 200 RP

50 on :45 @ 100 RP (Could be first or second 50)

100 @ 200 RP

100 easy

2nd stroke swim

50 on :50 @ 100 RP

100 on 1:50 @ 200 RP

75 on 1:30 @ 100 RP

125 @ 200 RP

100 easy

Set #4 2nd or 3rd stroke kick set

repeat set #2

Set #5 complete from blocks if time allows – top stroke swim

flyer’s do the 1st 200 freestyle, add warm downs if needed between 200’s

4 x 200 on 3:30 – 4:00 +/- based on quality and time

1st @ 400 IM RP or 500 RP

2nd @ 200 RP – 400 RP/500 RP broken @ 100 for :05 – :15 as needed

3rd and 4th @ 200 RP broken @ 75 and 150 for :05 – :15 each time

100 easy

Total yardage = 6,725

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High Elbow

There is a lot of information about teaching the high elbow in swimming and I feel there is a lot of misinformation. I ask you as coaches and seasoned swimmers to really think about the mechanics.

RECOVERY OF THE STROKE:

Most coaches just teach the high elbow in the recovery of the stroke with drills such as hand/finger drag drills or thumbs up the side. When doing so you totally eliminate the core rotation needed in freestyle and teach swimmers to swim flat. Please remember that the recovery of the stroke needs to be taught as a true recovery. If you teach proper rotation and finish of the stroke the recovery needs to be relaxed and natural. If the elbow happens to be above the hand then great but you need to focus on the core rotation and the finish of the stroke underwater.  If a swimmer stays flat and you teach the swimmer to work the recovery they will continue to engage the rear delts, rhomboid and descending traps thru-ought the swim. The swimmer must be taught that the recovery of the stroke is for true recovery of muscle groups to enhance performance.

HIGH ELBOW UNDERWATER:

Please remember that core rotation must be taught underwater also. You can’t teach a swimmer to have their elbows near the surface of the water while keeping the hand below unless you want them to swim flat and not engage their core.

If you add rotation to the stroke the whole arm will be used as a paddle and the elbow and hand will be deeper in the water.  You are still teaching high elbow but that really just means “above the hand”.

I encourage any conversation or comments.

Brad
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Administering Test Sets – It’s Important!

Please remember to test your swimmers regularly thru the 23 week season.  You can administer the following test sets every other week ending the week of your swimmers biggest meet of the year.

The test sets will teach your swimmers to maintain race pace thru the season. You will notice the intensity of the sets change as the season progresses. The distance required to hold race pace(goal speed for the 100) increases as the rest involved decreases.

You will monitor the swimmer’s heart rate several times during the set as well as each swimmers tempo. Each time you do the swim test set you will also complete kicking and strength test sets. The test sets are extremely high quality and are great workouts holding the swimmers responsible all season.

You will collect a lot of information that will help you decide how to taper your athletes. This feedback will help you determine if your training is leading your swimmers in the right direction.

I am available and able to help you with any questions while administering.

Test Set #1  Freestyle

24 x 25’s on 1:15 @ 100 Race Pace

For example, if the swimmers’ goal time is a  :56 then they need to hold  :14 for each 25

Test Set #2  Stroke – administer the same week as #1

12 x 25’s on 1:15 @ 100 Race Pace

Test Set #3  Freestyle

24 x 25’s on 1:00 @ 100 Race Pace

The first 12 are to the touch and the second 12 thru the turn(feet).

Test Set #4  Stroke – administer the same week as #3

12 x 25’s on 1:00 @ 100 Race Pace

The first 6 are to the touch and the second 6 thru the turn.

Test Set #5  Freestyle

24 x 25’s on :45 @ 100 Race Pace

All thru the turn.

Test Set #6  Stroke – administer the same week as #5

12 x 25’s on :45 @ 100 Race Pace

All thru the turn.

You will need to calculate with your swimmers Race Pace for each 50 below. For example, if the swimmers goal time is a :56 then the first 50 from the block would be :27 and the second 50 would be :29. This could vary depending on your athletes ability so discuss.

Test Set #7  Freestyle

12 x 50’s on 3:00

First 6 are from the block @ first 50’s 100 Race Pace to the touch.

Second 6 are from a push @ second 50’s 100 Race Pace.

Test Set #8  Stroke – administer the same week as #7

6 x 50’s on 3:00

First 3 are from the block @ first 50’s 100 Race Pace to the touch.

Second 3 are from a push @ second 50’s 100 Race Pace.

Test Set #9  Freestyle

12 x 50’s on 2:30

First 6 are from the block @ first 50’s 100 Race Pace thru the turn.

Second 6 are from a push @ second 50’s 100 Race Pace.

Test Set #10  Stroke – administer the same week as #9

6 x 50’s on 2:30

First 3 are from the block @ first 50’s 100 Race Pace thru the turn.

Second 3 are from a push @ second 50’s 100 Race Pace.

You have already calculate 25’s, first and second 50’s so please review with your swimmers for the following sets.

Test Set #11  Freestyle

8 x 75’s on 2:30

First 4 are from the block @ first 50’s 100 Race Pace thru the turn, take :15 rest then a 25 @ 100 Race Pace.

Second 4 are from a push @ 25 @ 100 Race Pace, takev  :15 rest then the second 50’s 100 Race Pace.

Test Set #12  Stroke – administer the same week #11

4 x 75’s on 2:30

First 2 are from the block @ first 50’s 100 Race Pace thru the turn, take :15 rest then a 25 @ 100 Race Pace.

Second 2 are from a push @ 25 @ 100 Race Pace, take :15 rest then the second 50’s 100 Race Pace.

Administer the following test sets for Freestyle and Stroke. Decide if you wish for your swimmers to finish to the touch or thru the turn.

Test Set #13 

3 x 100’s on 4:00

Using the previous test sets decide how to split the 100’s.

For example(all @ 100 Race Pace), first 100 – 4 x 25’s :10 rest, second 100 – 2 x 50’s :10 rest with the first one from the block, third 100 – 75 from the block (calculate race pace) :15 rest then 25.

Test Set #14 – complete as continuous.

6 x 25’s on :40

3 x 50’s on :50 (break at the 25 for :05)

50 easy on 1:00

1 x 100 broken at the 50 for :20  (could start from block)

Test Set #15 – complete as continuous.

4 x 25’s on :30

2 x 50’s on :45

100 easy on 1:30

1 x 100 broken at the 50 for :15  (could start from block)

Test Set #16

Do a meet warm up prior. Both 100’s from the block.

1 x 100 broken at the first 25 thru the turn :10 rest, 50 swim thru the turn :10 rest, then 25.

200 easy swim and repeat the broken 100 within 7 -10 minutes.

I can’t emphasize enough that the swimmers must maintain high quality and hold their race pace.

Good Luck!

Brad

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Starts – Muscular Engagement

From a muscular engagement point of view the start is a well-timed and powerful contraction of the posterior chain.  The posterior chain is the series of muscles that have overlapping insertion points, forming a chain link like structure.  These muscles include the lower to middle back (erector spinae), glutes, hamstrings and the calves can even be considered a part of the posterior chain.  This group of muscles has an extremely high potential for power production through the entire start motion and thus can translate to a very fast start when recruited and trained correctly.

 

When body position on the block and form throughout the motion are both correct, there will be a snap from the hips directing the body forward, followed by a finishing push from the calves.  While this motion is very powerful, it is not a motion that is natural when thinking about “jumping” off the blocks.  It is a different motion than a vertical jump and thus recruits different muscles.  This needs to be taken into account and in the coming articles we will talk about how to train these muscles and the motion.

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Hi / Lo Intensity Training for Big Meets

The following explains a little of the peaking phase of training that we structure into the end of the season,along with some general ideas and considerations.

Generally

We most often use a Hi/Lo system of training sessions as we near our biggest meets.  “Hi” being high intensity, race pace work that includes more and more rest as we move toward each swimmer’s probable top meet.  “Lo” being lower intensity mainly aerobic work, with very short distance skills work(starts, turns, underwaters, etc) mixed in.

Training intensity is directly proportional to competitive results.

Training intensity (speed) is directly proportional to competitive results, and so we maintain a fairly high level of intensity (fast tempo, goal race pace training) throughout the Hi/Lo template above.  This can vary from swimmer to swimmer and from meet to meet.  We want each swimmer to know, understand, and “feel” race speed and race plans from both a physical and mental perspective.

We drop volume far more than intensity as we near the swimmer’s biggest meets in order to reduce fatigue and allow for their ultimate expression of speed.  This drop in volume most often allows for a higher energy level for each swimmer as we move through the peaking phase, and is often accompanied by lower RHR’s, stable or slightly increasing body weight, and (hopefully) more consistent sleep habits – all of which should be noted in their training journals.

We shift dryland and lifting to more reactive training(faster lifting with moderate weights, med ball work, some fast-paced dryland)and continue to include a solid base of lower intensity core, dryland and mobility work.  We continue to lift and do dryland as we move through our peaking phase as we want ALL of our physical qualities at their peak as they step up on the blocks for their biggest races.

Specifically

Swim practice is still our main focus throughout the peaking phase.  All aspects outside of swimming(nutrition, rest, strength, etc) are of secondary importance to fast(er)swimming.

Coaches “listen” by watching the swimmers practice as much as listening to what the swimmers are actually saying.  Big meets and high level performance can cause some jitters, and actions most often speak louder than words – perhaps especially at the end of the season.

We adjust training as necessary by practice, by swimmer, in order to have each athlete swimming their fastest at their biggest meet(s).  This can mean more work for some and less work for others – and only in order to have each swimmer peak at the appropriate time.

Our season-long focus on quality swimming over quantity swimming – combined with our advanced dryland and lifting training – most often allow for an extended peak period for our swimmers.  It is not unusual for our NAAC swimmers to hold their peak for 3+ weeks.

– Written by Coach John Coffman, Head Coach of New Albany Aquatics Club