In honor of D-Day this week (June 6th), we’re honoring the greatest of all Double Ds… Dave Denniston, AKA Davo, who posted this Test Set several years ago. It’s become a favorite test set for us, especially around taper time when we’re trying to get a feel for what race pace feels like. Here’s the set, as written by Dave (and don’t forget to get a copy of Dave’s Breaststroke DVD, Turns & Pullouts DVD, and Breaststroke Drills DVD):
We did this test set at Auburn. It requires a few coaches (or at least watches) to capture the data, and some math to calculate the results.
Take your goal time in your longest race. Translate that time into seconds. Subtract one second for every turn that you have to do in the race. Divide that number by the number of lengths that you have to swim in the race. This number is your goal for the set.
My longest race was the 200 breaststroke. My goal time was 1:53, which translates to 113 seconds. There are 7 turns in the 8-length race. So… 113 minus 7 equals 106. Divide 106 by 8, and you get 13.25.
It’s the swimmer’s job to figure this out before coming to practice. This is so no one will know if you had to use a calculator.
Now, the set is to swim the number of 25s in your race, plus half. So I did 12 X 25. Sprinters usually did 6 X 25. IM swimmers chose a stroke. Distance freestylers (500 free) would do 30 X 25.
The Goal is to hold your time (or faster) for all of your 25s, on the fastest interval you can make. For each 25 on which you miss your time standard, you have to do two more 25s after the set is over.
Let’s say I went 13.2, 13.2, 13.1, 13.5, 13.2, 12.9, 13.4, 13.1, 13.2, 13.2, 13.2, 13.1.
I missed my time standard on two, so I would have to do four more at the end, all out.
Your timer starts a watch when your feet leave the wall, and stops it when your hand touches.
You are swimming at exactly race pace in this set. The less rest you can take, and still make your times, the better. Your primary goal is to make your times. Taking less rest is a secondary goal. I usually did this set on a thirty-second sendoff.
What I like about this set is that YOU get to decide how much rest to take. You’re in charge, and your success is up to YOU. All the coach has to do is start and stop the watch! When some swimmers are done with the set, they can help time the others.