Swim Testing Results

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From the previous blog post I will now dissect how the individual should progress their training to maximize speed in the water.

The individual is a competitive triathlete who is looking to focus on Olympic distance races.  Here was his swim zones as found by the 400m time trial (see this post)

Sprinting: <1:27

V02: 1:27-1:32

Interval: 1:32-1:37

Threshold: 1:37-1:41

Sub-Threshold: >1:41

Currently this athlete would average about 1:35/100 for 1500m, their goal swim distance during the triathlon.  The goal for this athlete is to get faster (obviously) while maximizing their time in the pool.  Since long sustained efforts are required for triathlon swims, focus should be on repetitions that improve the Interval zone.  Here are a few example sets on how to improve this specific zone.  Remember, there are many ways on how to do this I’m just providing a couple of examples!

Example Main Set # 1

This set allows the athlete to swim slightly faster than race pace while getting sufficient rest (30s).  The middle 100 is used to challenge the athlete both in speed and recovery making the second two 100s more of a challenge.   In the early part of the season, try doing at least 2 repeats of this set and build to 5 as race season begins.

2-5 sets of: 5 x 100m as 2 x 100m on 2 mins (goal is 1:30 pace), 1 x 100m on 1:50 (goal is <1:30 pace), 2 x 100 on 2 mins (goal is to maintain 1:30 pace).  Take 1-2 mins rest after each set.

Example Main Set # 2

The example set below challenges the athlete to swim fast throughout the entire set.  Sufficient rest is given after the 200 to allow the individual to maintain biomechanical form.  As the athlete gets closer to race season, rest or the goal times can be reduced.

2-5 sets of: 4 x 50 on 50s (goal is to swim <43s),1 x 200 on 4:30 (goal is to swim <1:32 pace)

Example Main Set #3

This set is good for swimmers who need to work/adapt to changing tempo.  Basically the athlete jumps right into the set with a couple strong 100s (make sure to hold them back) and then swims faster than interval pace throughout.  If the athlete cannot hit the times try increasing the rest time of the 50s or last set of 25s.

2-5 sets of: 2 x 100 on 1:45 (goal is <1:35), 2 x 25 on 40s (goal is < 19s), 4 x 50 on 1:00 (goal is <43s) , 2 x 25 on 1′ (goal is maximum effort)


Hope this helps and if you have any questions about what you might require in your swimming, please email me.


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