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Open Water Swim Training – Day #15

This is the fourth installation of the 15th 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 #15  Mid distance and Open Water


Warm up:

6 x50 all quick starts 25 kick / 25 swim heart rate above 20

6 x50 no grab starts 25 kick / 25 Tarzan sprint heart rate above 25

25 easy

Set #1  swim set  :15rest

  3 x 350  VS by 50 80% – 85%, inc stk cnt

3 x300  @ 90%

3 x 200  1st one @ 85% then descend

3 x 100 on1:20  sub 1:05 – 1:10 +/-

6 x 75 choice recovery swim on 1:10

Set #2  freestyle kick set  :15rest

  4 x 125 @ 80%

4 x75  VS by 25  80% – 100% – 80%

8 x50  VS by 25, 1-4  100% – 70%, 5-8  70% – 100%

100 easy


Set #3  swim set – VS by 50 with inc stk cnt  80% -90%

  2 x 100  on 1:20

2 x100  on 1:20

2 x100  on 1:30

2 x 100  on 1:10

100 easy

2 x 100  on 1:15

2 x 100  on 1:15

2 x 100  on 1:25

2 x100  on 1:05


100 on1:10

100 on1:10

100 on1:20

100 on1:00

100 easy

400 paddleswim for time


Set #4  kick set

  8 x 50  @ 90%   :10rest

100 easy

Set #5  complete this swim set three times

   50  @ 500 RP on 1:00

150 build to previous 50 RP by the last 50 with inc stk cnt  on 2:30

200 hold the 50 RP thru the whole swim with same stk cnt on 3:15

4 x 50 @200 RP on 1:15


100 easyon 2:00 into next time thru

Set #6  Tarzan set

   4 x 75  on 1:15 – 1:30

25   5 up Tarzan sprint / 2 downeasy

25  Tarzan sprint 6 strokes breakout then easy to wall

25  easy

Total yardage =10,025

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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

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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

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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

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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:

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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.
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
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.


Day # 1

Maintain one fly kick minimum off each wall!


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


Total yardage = 4,525