Swim Set of the Week – November 6, 2009

We thought we’d ramp it up a bit this week.  Here’s the main set for my breaststroke group from a couple days ago.  Remember, it’s not just about completing the set, it’s about meeting the goals of the set throughout.

This practice is in a 25-meter pool.

4 x 100 Breast on 1:45 – Set up a pace goal.  It has to be something that will be challenging to maintain as you progress through the set.  Each swimmer was given a goal time to match, and the goal is to hit that goal time, swimming as easily as possible… as if you were going to have to swim much farther at that pace.  The goal times ranged from 1:20 to 1:25 based on the swimmer.

Easy 100 free for recovery

3 x 200 Breast on 3:20 (1:40 / 100 pace) – The swimmers were required to meet, or exceed the previous average 100 pace.

Easy 100 free for recovery

2 x 300 Breast on 4:45 (1:35 / 100 pace) – Just as in the 200s, the average 100 pace had to be maintained or exceeded.  It’s during this part of the set where the coach can really discover where each swimmer’s stroke breaks down, and what each swimmer will need to focus on during all of their training to fix prior to the championship part of the season.

Easy 100 free for recovery

1 x 400 Breast for time – Continue to maintain or exceed the average 100 pace set up at the beginning of the set.  Each swimmer should know at this point where problems in their strokes are, and the coach can remind them with some verbal encouragement (AKA yelling) during the swim.

Sets like this are very challenging physically and mentally.  Letting the swimmers simply go through the motions to finish the set isn’t worth it.  The coach must be involved and remind each athlete what they need to be working on during the set.  There is always a danger with long breaststroke sets in that you’ll set up too slow of a pace for the swimmers.  These sets MUST be done with a lot of thought by both the swimmers and the coaches.