Here’s a simple aspect you can add to any set to give you some insight on what you actually know about your stroke.
Why do it:
Understanding your stroke rate / length, how much effort you’re putting in to every stroke, and a complete knowledge of what you’re doing in the water will serve you very well as you try to compete at higher levels.
How to do it:
1) Start a set of 100s in which your goal is to take 1 stroke less on each 25.
2) Our swimmer started with 10 strokes, he felt good, felt smooth… but wasn’t tired at all, so maybe bit off a bit more than he could chew.
3) On each length, take one less stroke…. or at least try to.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
You can always start again and add a stroke, which means you’ve already learned what your limitations are when you start to get tired. Another way that coaches LOVE, would be to add more dolphin kicks off the wall as the stroke count is diminished. Add more kick, add a bit more snap to the rotation and extension. Do everything possible to get just a little bit more out of every stroke you take.
This sort of extension, length, attention to detail should become your new norm if your true goal is to reach your ultimate performance.