Thursday, July 29, 2010

If You Have Ever Wondered

We swam at the California Summer Sectional Meet last weekend in Santa Clarita. The company was there filming and broadcasting live all the heats and finals. You can go to their site and see all the finals including relays.

If you ever wondered how important the underwater portion of a swim is check out North Bay Aquatic's Stephanie Christofferson in the women's 100 fly final. Hit the pause button a couple of times on the turn at the 50 and then the breakout. Stephanie won this race and qualified for the US National Championships in the process with her excellent underwater work off the wall at the turn.

So, when you think of your body position and distance underwater remember this swim. You may not be the fastest or the slowest at this part of the game. It really doesn't matter to most of us. What does matter is that we 1) recognize the value of the skill and 2) practice the skill on a daily basis.

Stephanie has been working on her skill set for more than 6 years. Last Sunday it paid off big time. Ask her if it was worth it over the years and she will answer a resounding "Yes"!

Have fun, be smarter and improve your skill set

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Ideas on Short Stuff

For the last couple of weeks we have been swimming some longer repeats and pushing the yardage up toward 4,000 in our 75 minute Master's workouts. We noticed that we had a few folks mention the amount of swimming, the wear and tear and then wondering out loud about 'where was all this nonsense going?"

So this past Thursday we changed things up a bit. See what you think about this workout. Maybe you can find something here to sink your teeth into...or not.

After a nice relaxed warm up consisting of nearly 2,000 yards we did the following two sets. Each one takes 15 minutes. You can adjust the intervals if you wish but our idea was to give most folks enough rest so they could do the sets and still not be entirely "winded" at the end.

All repeats were on the .30 per lap basis, so 50's on the minute, 25's on the .30 - mix and match strokes any way you like.

Set #1
1x25/.30 at 80%
1x50/1 recovery
2x25/.30 one at 80%, one at 85%
2x50/1 recovery
3x25/.30 - 80, 85, 90%
3x50/1 recovery
4x25/.30 - 80, 85, 90, 95%
4x50/1 recovery

Rest one minute

Set #2
4x25/.30 all at 80% effort
4x50/1 recovery
3x25/.30 all at 85%
3x50/1 recovery
2x25/.30 at 90%
2x50/1 recovery
1x25/.30 at 95%
1x50/1 recovery

So, each set is 750 yards in length with 250 at effort and 500 of recovery swims. Each set takes 15 minutes to complete. Your work to recovery ratio is 1:2. This means that if you are feeling decent in the water you can probably crank pretty well on the effort 25's and recover nicely on the 50's.

Our gang loved this workout. Short swims made it easier to stay engaged in the sets for 30 minutes. Let us know what you think and please share a favorite set you have done recently. We will put it out there on the www and see what folks think. Have a great week in and out of the pool!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Here is a workout we did this week. The goal of the set was to do some match racing with the intent of putting some reasonably comparable swimmers together each keeping the other one honest in the effort. Since each swimmer has a slightly different way of approaching a swim, and since each of the other swimmers know the "X MAN's" style then the strategy can be varied depending upon the swimmer and the situation.

You can morph off of this infinitely. The key is putting two or more swimmers together with comparable skill sets.

We did this set short course on the 4 minutes. All the times ranged from 1:50+ to 1:57+. At the end of the set all four guys agreed it was engaging, challenging and stimulating...a coach's dream!

Bradley goes 3x200 on 4 minutes (@ 1:1 work to rest ratio) he is the X MAN
Pieter pushes him, keeps him honest whatever you call it on #1 then cruises #2 & #3
Dillon pushes him on #2 while cruising 1,3
Sandy pushes him on #3, cruz 1,2

Pieter becomes X MAN
Dillon pushes 1
Sandy pushes 2
Bradley pushes 3

Dillon is X MAN
Sandy 1
Bradley 2
Pieter 3

Sandy is X MAN
Bradley 1
Pieter 2
Dillon 3

So each guy goes 6 x 200 fast - 3 of them back to back to back with a fresh pusher and then gets 6 cruisers...the main focus on this idea is to have someone fresh enough to really press the X MAN into digging deeper than he/she would if simply doing a regular set...I keep thinking back to making each racer aware of when the guy/gal next to him is going to make a move and then figuring out how to physically and mentally stay in the race, stay in the swim even if he/she is getting clobbered...some best swims are when there is a guy/gal in the lane next to you going crazy and you figure out a way to hang onto your swim, perhaps getting beat by a couple of seconds but still doing your best time by a second or more when you thought that you were really folding.

There are lots of combinations off of this format. Play around with it and see what works best for you. You can even do this with only one partner. You go one swim fast while your partner pushes you, then you each cruise one and then your partner goes one fast while you push him/her...then you each cruise one. Do several rounds of that and you will have a fine speed/anaerobic set.

Let us know how this works for you. Feedback on all these ideas is important. Have a great week at the pool!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Simon Burnett Kick Set

Simon Burnett came to the University of Arizona by way of England. He is a many time collegiate All American and a multiple time member of many England National Teams. The swim most vivid in my mind (Don Swartz writing here) was his 1:31.20 200 yard free at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Atlanta, GA. He was out in 44+ and back in 46+. His leg power was phenomenal until I learned that he spent a lot of time on his kick board.

The following set is credited to him. I am certain others have done this set but since it came to us from him we call it the Simon Burnett kick set. When we tell our team, as we did this week, that we are doing it, they know what is coming. It goes like this. We did this in a 25 yard pool.

1 x 100 kick / 1:30
1 x 50 recovery / 1:30 (we swim this 50, he may have kicked it)

2 x 100 kick / 1:30
1 x 50 recovery / 1:30

3 x 100 kick / 1:30
1 x 50 recovery / 1:30

4 x 100 kick / 1:30
1 x 50 recovery / 1:30

5 x 100 kick / 1:30
1 x 50 recovery / 1:30

This is 1500 yards of kicking and it is deceptive. By the time you are entering the round of 4 x 100 you get that you are in for a tough stretch. And since kicking is all will power it is a good test of that. It is doable but not a "piece of cake".

On our senior team we have about 35 swimmers. Tonight 12 went on the 1:30 interval. They all made the entire set. One of the women was dolphin kicking on her back going 10 yards underwater off each wall - very impressive. We had a handful that was under 1:20 and three guys under 1:15 the entire way. We had all but 3 others on the 1:40 interval and the slowest grouping was on the 1:45 interval.

When the set was over they all felt a valuable measure of accomplishment. We have done this set before and it always is a refreshing reminder of how powerful the kick can be; and it empowers the swimmers. We had a ton of excellent team building in the lanes and across the pool.

You can riff off this set in a thousand different ways. We encourage you to explore and have fun doing so! Let us know what you think.