Teach pace, learn to RACE.
Swimming can be a lonely sport if you train by yourself, and that’s why I love partner swimming. Here’s a fun set for when you have just a couple people in the lane. It’s necessary, essential, and mandatory that the swimmer who is assigned to PACE… HOLDS the pace. If she overswims her segment, she’s going to mess up her partner. The entire idea of this set is for one swimmer to become the "rabbit" or target, for the other swimmer to CATCH.
5 x 200 on 3:00
1st swimmer is the rabbit. Hold a steady, consistent pace that yields 2:20 for the 200. (This means 4 x 50 @ :35 per 50.)
2nd swimmer descend 1-5. This is a constant, controlled descend. First 200 is 2:20, then 2:15, 2:10, 2:05 and finishing @ 2:00.
Since the 1st swimmer will be holding 2:20 for the entire set, he/she must adjust WHEN to leave, in order to create the target for the 2nd swimmer, who always stays on the 3:00 sendoff. On the first 200, the swimmers leave together, and swim side by side.
On the 2nd 200, the 1st swimmer leaves :05 seconds prior to the 2nd. The 2nd swimmer has to catch the first swimmer by the end of the 200.
On the 3rd 200, the 1st swimmer leaves :10 seconds prior to the 2nd. The 2nd swimmer again has to catch the first swimmer by the end of the 200.
On the 4th 200, the 1st swimmer leaves :15 ahead, and on the 5th… :20 ahead. The 2nd swimmer must pace the swim precisely enough to catch the 1st swimmer, without going out so hard that he falls off on the last 50. If the 1st swimmer holds a steady pace, the 2nd swimmer knows exactly what he has to do, and what the target is.
Swimmer 1 becomes swimmer 2, and they both repeat the set.
It’s ESSENTIAL that the 1st swimmer is targeting a time he/she can hit with an even pace. If it’s a 2:30 rather than a 2:20, then, on the first 200, the 1st swimmer will leave :10 seconds ahead of the 2nd swimmer, then :15 ahead, then :20 ahead, and so on. The idea is that the swimmers will finish at the exact same time. If anything, the 1st swimmer should try to make sure he doesn’t RACE on the last length of the last couple of swims. By holding a constant pace, the 2nd swimmer will have the opportunity to race to a WIN, and hopefully swim faster than expected, and feel good. Even getting passed is an important skill to learn. While I’m sure it’s tough to fathom WHY… just think of how many times you’ve heard… "swim your own race." By allowing the 2nd swimmer to pass, and NOT get caught up in the RACE imprints the control necessary to maintain your pace when others are picking it up. If your race strategy is set, it’s important to stay in touch with the other swimmers, but don’t let them pull you into THEIR race strategy.
It was a fun set to do, and really tough on the 2nd swimmer… especially that last 200 when the 1st swimmer has already turned before the 2nd swimmer is even allowed to leave. Big mind game!