In our never ending quest to find techniques that will get us to our desired places quicker...and that word "quicker" is the key one...we have been talking amongst ourselves looking for better ways to train. Our primary objective in these discussions has been to make training more relevant to our swimmers in a meaningful way. We define "meaningful" in this context as training that the swimmer can see will make them stronger and faster.
So, rather than keep repeating the same old sets on the normal intervals, we have been mixing things up a bit...and not just for the sake of mixing them up. We are exploring new territory that has direct implications to more speed. We, after all, are competitive swimmers seeking more speed.
Here are two simple things you can do that will redefine effort on your part, or on the part of your swimmers.
1 - Swim with added resistance. Take this one step at a time or you may push yourself into a deep hole. You can swim 25's and 50's with parachutes. Go to your online swim shop and start with a yellow one. Or swim with ankle weights...or with tennis shoes on...or with a Clorox type bottle tethered to your ankles with a tube or band (a cut up inner tube works well). The last one is nice because you can vary the amount of resistance by filling more water into the plastic jug.
2 - Swim with a pair of soft fins. We define "soft" as anything more flexible than the traditional zoomer style fin. Big scuba fins are too big and may load up the legs and hips too much. We also have our butterflyers swim with mono fins. The idea here is to be able to swim so fast that you become aware of what real speed feels like. You also have a much greater appreciation for body position at super fast speeds. Give your self enough rest so you can swim fast and as with the resistance idea start modestly. We swim up to 100 repeats with fins.
As you redefine effort you gain a greater appreciation for exactly what is involved in preparing for faster swimming. Give this a try and let us know how it goes for you!