Posted on

Open Water Swim Training – Day #10

This is the third installation of the 10th practice session for our Open Water Swim Training example.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll post at regular intervals various days of the training.  The entire training session can be found in our 23 Week Training Session, which can be found here.

Watch the workout progression as we add yardage and change up the sets.

Day #10      Mid distance and Open water

Warm up:  swim set

                 start into 400  @ 70%

3 x200 VS by 50  70% – 75% inc stk cnt by50  :10rest

4 x150 @ 75%  :10rest

5 x 100  negative split with open turn to getsplits  (:15rest between 100’s)

1st 50 @ 75%, 2nd 50 @ 500 RP

6 x50  VS by 25  75% – 85% :10rest



Set #1      kick set – complete this set twice  :15 rest

                 200 @ 75%

6 x75  VS  25 @ 80%, 50 @ 100%

50easy kick

2 x50 sprint kick

50easy swim after each time


Set #2       freestyle paddle swim set

                 7 x 100 on 1:25 @ :05 over500 RP  inc stk cnt by 50


2 x200 on 2:15 hold above pace


4 x100 on 1:20  @ 500 RP  inc stk cnt each 25


3 x200 on +/- 2:10  should be difficult @90%


3 x100 on 1:35  just make send off  inc stk cnt each 25


4 x200 FIP   +/- 2:05  @ 500 RP

6 x75 on 1:10 recovery just make send off


Set #3       kick set

                 12 x 50  @ 85% :10 rest


Total yardage = 8,525

Posted on

Open Water Swim Training – Day #5

This is the second post of the 5th practice session for our Open Water Swim Training example.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll post at regular intervals various days of the training.  The entire training session can be found in our 23 Week Training Session, which can be found here.

Watch the workout progression as we add yardage and change up the sets.

Day #5    mid distance and open water


Warm up: alternate no grab starts with quick starts by 50


                  8 x 50 coaches send off all from start

1-4  5 Tarzan sprint break outstrokes then easy to wall repeat each 25

5-8  25 Tarzan / 25   3 up Tarzan 4 down easy

25 easy

Set #1       kick set


                 3 x 300  kick

#1 VS by 150  75% – 80%

#2 VS by 100  80% – 85% – 80%

#3 VS by 50  90% – 100%


Set #2      complete this swim set three times eachtransition


                2 x 200 on 2:50  VS by 25 80% – 85% with inc stk cnt

25 @90% on :25 into 25 @ 80%                              total 50 on 1:00

2 x [email protected] 90% on :25 into 50 @ 85% inc stk cnt     total 100 on 1:45

50  @ 90% on :45 into 50 @ 85% incstk cnt           total 100 on 1:45

2 x50  @ 90% on :45 into 100  @ 90%                    total 200 on 2:45

inc stk cnt each 25

100 @ 90% on 1:20 into 100 @ 90%      into 50 easy

second time add :05-:10 to total swim sendoffs and increase effort by 5%


               third time thru add another :05 to send offs and sprint! 

Set #3    

               4 x 200  :10rest

25 kick @ 85% / 25 swim with ½ way fly kick off each wall @ 70%

Set #4     freestyle set paddles if desired –continuous on send offs

                remember to descend pace per100 thru set based on ability

               500 @ 5:50 speed +/-1:10pace per 100 on 6:30

6 x100  odds make send off, evens @ +/- 1:08pace per 100 on 1:25


500 @ 5:30 speed, +/- 1:06 pace per 100 on 6:00

4 x 1001-2 just make send off, 3-4 @ +/- 1:04 pace per 100 on 1:20

100easy on 2:00

500 @ 5:10 speed @ +/- 1:02 pace per 100 on 6:00

4 x 100recovery swim on 1:35


Total yardage = 8,475

Posted on

Open Water Swim Training – Day #1

This is the first practice session for our Open Water Swim Training example.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll post at regular intervals various days of the training.  The entire training session can be found in our 23 Week Training Session, which can be found here.

Watch the workout progression as we add yardage and change up the sets.

Day #1         mid distance and open water 

Warm up:

                 400 swim  :10rest @ 70%

25easy if started from block

Set #1

                6 x 300  swim descend with send off

1-2 on 4:30  25 kick / 50 swim

3-4 on 4:15  25 kick / 50 swim

5     on 4:00  swim

6     swim sub 3:45  inc stk cnt each 25 of each stroke


3(3 x100)  pattern below is to be completedeach set and descend with send off

1  kick odd 25’s and swim even 25’s @ 80%

2  reverse from number 1 @ 80%

3  swim @ 90%

the above 9 x 100 are continuous withsend off

set #1on 1:40, set #2 on 1:35, #3 on 1:30

:30restfrom last set

2 x 100swim on 1:30 @ 400 IM race pace

:30restfrom send off

2 x 100 swim on 1:15 @ 400 IM race pace

:30restfrom send off

100swim @ 100% timed from push

50 easy

Set #2  paddle freestyle swim set except the50’s  – set to be completed 3 times

             3 x 200  negative split with open turn at 100,  2nd 100 @ 500 race pace  on 2:25

2 x175  1st 100 @ 80%, 2nd75 @ 85% with inc stk cnt

1st time thru on 2:20, 2nd time thru on 2:15, 3rdtime thru on 2:05

2 x100  @ 500 race pace with inc stk cnt

1st time on 1:15, 2nd time on 1:10, 3rdtime on 1:00

50 easy kick on 1:30

2 x 75swim make send off on 1-2 times thru, 3rd as indicated

1st time on :55, 2ndtime :50, 3rd time on 1:15 sub :45

:30restfrom send off

100 on1:30 sub 1:00 +/- @ 500 race pace

50 easykick on 1:30 all three times

Set #3

            3 x 100 on 2:00 VS Tarzan by 50  80% – 90% (+/-18 stks, +/-22 stks by 50)

4 x 25 on:35  Tarzan 3 sprint stks then 1 downfree easy – repeat

100 easy

Total yardage = 8,525

Posted on

Open Water Swim Training – Focus & Requirements

Its summer time in the northern hemisphere, and that means outdoor swimming.  For the next few weeks, we’re going to discuss training for open water training.  The list below represents both initial instructions and keyword phrases used in the 6 week period of the 23 Week Training Manual which focus on 10,000 yard workouts, in preparation for a seasonal training period for high school as well as open water swim training.

Here is the link to our 23 Week Training manual:


1. The understanding of the physical demands to complete the20 workouts.

2. This is only a training aid for longer swimming.

3. Test yourself with a short open water swim previous to the 4 week enhancement.



1. Start with one fly kick off each wall for the first week and increase accordingly.

2. Incorporate no breathing into or off of turns and the last5 yards of the finish.

3. Emphasize correct spikes (streamline).

4. Emphasis on quality of workouts as written. Recover, sprint, variable speed as


5. Percentage sign (%) means effort on set – 75% effort

6. RP stands for race pace

7. VS stands for variable speed

8. inc stk cnt stands for incremental stroke count

9. FIP stands for fastest interval(send off) possible

10. _ up Tarzan _down easy stands for  _ strokes up sprint Tarzan then _ strokes down

easy freestyle, the underscore is for variable patterns of strokes

11. Remember to adjust all send offs and rest intervals based on your ability

12. Try to achieve stroke count sets.

13. Racing and overspeed work, see outline and practice techniques.

14. Alternate upper and lower body with in sets or by sets.

15. Turns, starts(relay) and finish work.

16. Introduce paddle and other equipment in workouts.

17. Varied Tarzan work, see outline and practice techniques.

18. Complete variable speed work for swimming and kicking as close to percentages

indicated as possible.

19. Kicking and Race Race are specific during the season.

20. The percentage of kicking per day is indicated in weekly outlines.

21. Follow yardage within reason. Don’t get wrapped up in this as it is

only aguideline. I’d rather you attempt to achieve all the sets while maintaining

quality. Adjustyour yardage as needed.

The goal of 10,000 yard workouts are not for everyone but those that can physically and mentally handle the workload. If you need to,alternate upper and lower body thru the sets as your body tells you. Try to end every day with some speed work followed by a long enough warm down to feel better. You may split this up with doubles. Please adjust accordingly.

Quality is the main focus while completing sets as written. Please read your body and adjust the amount of sprinting and recovery you need. If a swimmer needs more recovery to achieve the goals of each set then the swimmer and or coach need to communicate to each other. Monitor your heart rate to help you decide if you are resting enough or too much. You’ll eventually be able to tell if you need more sprinting or recovery. We are now focusing on speed and power. Trust you have done enough and only you are the judge.


Please email me with any questions along the way. [email protected]

If you’re looking for open water swim meets, please visit USMS to find a meet closest to you.  Follow this link:

Posted on

Seasonal Planning

When writing your seasonal plan you must start with your taper. What dates are your championship meets, yes meets? You don’t train all season/year just for one meet. Tapering is up to a 7 week process that prepares an athlete for multiple meets, not a one or two week resting process after yardage overload and sprinting. We will discuss the training of energy systems and how that works with race pace sets throughout your season and of course the importance of recovery.

Tapering reinforces race pace(goal times), increases aerobic capacity, solidifies energy system demands needed for race pace swims and increases strength. This process also includes tapering your dryland and weightlifting programs. Since you are including these programs for their strength benefits you must continue them through your season and actually taper these workouts as well. You want your swimmers as strong as possible at the right time which makes it a huge mistake to stop strength programs weeks out. Your goal is maximum strength! Coaches must learn to taper these programs and not just discard in order to optimize your training.

A lot of coaches think of the phase before taper as building aerobic capacity or the accumulation phase of training. This phase of swimming needs adjustment as it does not train athletes to swim fast or at their full potential. If you train at slower race pace then that is what you should expect for results.

Most coaches consider the phase before resting as sprinting and usually to exhaustion. Sprinting and recovery are key components but they must have a direct purpose to the events being trained. The emphasis of your seasonal plan needs should incorporate how to train and taper for the best results. The word “taper” means a lot of things to different coaches. Hopefully after reading the combinations of articles it will mean a lot to you. The two most common errors are the lack of detail given to kicking through the entire year and the quest for yardage by coaches.

There are good components listed above but there needs to be a lot more detail. Training sets at race pace, carefully thought out recovery, monitoring of heart rate changes, learning how to train the legs (kicking) through champs and of course strength training. Tapering combines the phases of building aerobic capacity and sprinting while adding energy system work and race pace sets to prep an athlete for champs. This article combines resources from past newsletters to help you plan your season carefully. Future articles will explain how to write each workout in detail.

Tapering is not just resting your body for the big event. It is fine-tuning it for optimal performance. Athletes must be able to practice at a high caliber to perform to expectations. Athletes must be their strongest, sharpest and most focused before taper meet(s). Athletes need to take responsibility for training, “I missed my taper” or “coach didn’t taper me correctly” are just excuses…

To taper correctly your athletes must have goals and the goals must drive training. You must understand recovery and muscle development of athletes and have the flexibility to individualize for a specific athlete and his/her events.

Understanding how athletes respond to different types of training based on slow, medium and fast twitch muscle fibers helps individualize training. Training slowly doesn’t help the athlete who has fast twitch predisposition and resting doesn’t produce optimal performance.

Taper is an in depth process that is a whole lot more than dropping yardage the last few weeks and adding sprints.  Most coaches use weight training to cross train and prevent injury then stop weights 2-4 weeks out from championships. The athletes must continue to lift throughout taper in order to achieve strength gains, which coincide with speed and power necessary to perform at meets. If you cross train during the season you must taper the crosstraining to optimize performance.