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 is X MAN
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!