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Week #14: Break It Up

Thanksgiving break was both good and bad. It was good for everyone to get away to recharge their batteries. We came back refreshed�but also plump and lazy. This coach included. I enjoyed my Mother�s pie a little too much this year, but it was her fault for making four of them.

Prior to going on break we were in a real training groove, the kind that happens only after weeks of working together. Practices were done right, with minimal intervention on my part. I could use my time on deck to suggest different ways of improving as the practice was moving along.

The first few days after break have not been quite the same. All athletes are expected to go home and train with their club or high school teams. For the most part, this means they do not train with the same intensity. It�s not the fault of the club teams, who graciously allow athletes to come back to their practices. It�s usually the result of the need for returning college swimmers to COMMUNICATE. The returning-college-swimmer lane usually looks like a mix between a sewing circle and rec swim.

The lull in training has hurt the flow of the first few practices. All of the fast swimming sets that we are doing don�t have the same sharpness to them.

This Tuesday morning we tried to get our groove back by giving some odd-distance broken swims. My thinking was that something out of the ordinary would help to stimulate the group a little and get them going. The set we did this morning was:

Sandwich Swimming

Swim three rounds of the following:

125 @ :10 RI (50 fast walls + 25 recovery + 50 fast walls)

4 x 25 @ :05 RI (descend while holding -1 stroke count)

150 @ :10 RI (50 build + 50 recovery + 50 build)

4 x 25 @ :05 RI (descend holding -1 stroke count)

175 @ :10 RI (75 fast + 25 recovery + 75 fast)

Round #1: Stroke (recoveries are freestyle)

Round #2: Free

Round #3: Stroke (recoveries are freestyle)

The broken swims were all-out with recovery in the middle. The minus-cycle sets were used to get the athletes to think about how they were swimming while getting faster on each one.

The athletes responded well to the broken swimming. Not having the set on an interval allowed them to use the recovery to truly recover. That made the fast swimming that much faster.

Later that same day we came back in the afternoon with an entirely different broken set:

Swim two rounds of the following:

75 @:10 RI (fast)

3 x 25 @ :05 RI (descend)

3 x 50 @ :10 RI (fast)

4 x 25 @ :05 RI (fly 3-cycle burst with no breathing)

200 @ :10 RI (50 build + 100 fast + 50 @ -2)

2 x 50 @ :10 RI (kick fast in the middle of the pool w/o breathing in to the turn)

100 @ :10 RI (cycle burst 1,2,3,4)

3 x 50 @ :05 RI (your choice short-axis or long-axis combo)

50 perfect swimming with good tempo

Round #1: Stroke

Round #2: Free

I wanted to give the swimmers something different to concentrate on while still moving through a set. I was happy with the effort they gave. I went away from our regularly scheduled test set to try and break up the monotony that comes with training. In addition, we divided the swimmers into short-axis and long-axis groups. The other assistant who helps with the sprinters took one group and I took the other.

This weekend we have our last meet of the first semester. Our swimmers are trying to hit goal times while they are still in the middle of their training. I have a good feeling about this weekend’s meet. We have had enough meets to practice racing well. The meet format is trials and finals � perfect preparation for the championship meet. I will keep everyone posted on the results.