On Saturdays Ken and I split the group into 2 or 3 segments. Roughly it looks like this: sprinters, strokers leaning toward the 200 side and 400 and up. Yesterday Ken was having a root canal so I ran the whole group and put together the following set. It unfolded better than I imagined. It gave everyone a chance to try things they might not ordinarily do while still giving them something they could and would easily sink their teeth into. Plus they had fun encouraging each other on the parts that were not their favorites.
I will say that some of you will respond by saying that there isn’t enough of any one thing to make an impact. I often think that way and coach that way. Dick Jochums is correct when he says specificity works. And in much that same way, we – Ken and I – believe that when a swimmer lays into a repeat they are getting a similar specificity…the one that ultimately in our minds matters – going fast.
One final comment; the distances and intervals we used are in our long course pool which is 40 meters. Our school district didn’t want long course competition so they stopped 10 meters short. While it is better than the long course pool we used a lot in the 60’s and 70’s – 33 1/3 yards, it has an added advantage. None of our swimmers “know” the relative value of a 40 or 80 meter time. When we want actual 400’s or 200’s we go 10 and 5 laps respectively. Otherwise we simply work on getting stronger over longer courses while maintaining and improving speed as well.
After a 1500 meter warm up which included some kicking and various strokes we did the following:
1x40/1.30 long and smooth
1x80/2 stroke, fast
1x200/3 strong – in the 85% range
1x40/1long and smooth
1x40/2 stroke, fast
That is 800 meters/16 minutes
We did 3 rounds with each 400 progressively faster.
We then turned the pool into short course 25 yards and did 5 rounds of the following after splitting the team into 200 free relays:
Each team had the fastest 200 freestyler leading it. The other members simply fell into one of the 5 teams (Some had 5 members thereby having one sit out now and then). We had 3 guys’ and 2 girls’ teams. The goal was to swim the relay faster than the leader’s best 200 yard time. We had 1:39.9 – 1:43.3 – 1:45.5 for guys and 1:50.5 and 1:51.0 for girls. We did 5 rounds on 3 minutes. The first round was a breeze, the second got their attention and rounds 3-5 was mostly grabbing air with a quick shout out to the person on the blocks.
The team responded well to the various stimuli.