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5 Things to Consider when Writing Your Next Swim Team Workout!

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Abbie Fish

The benefits of being a part of a swim team are numerous, but one of the main reasons swimming on a team is great is you get to work out with your friends, together. The goal of this post is to discuss the importance of swim team workouts and give you some examples of a few swim team workouts as well.

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Writing a workout as a coach is a challenging task. There’s always an overarching goal for the day, week, month, and the season. On top of that, keeping your swimmers engaged and working hard is a difficult task to balance. So with this, here’s a key things to think about when writing your next workout:

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1.) Time

Your practice time and lane space stays the same, so staying organized and understanding how long each set will take from the entire practice time is crucial. Be sure to not forget rest time, bathroom breaks, or any other disturbances that may not allow the practice to run straight through-- from start to finish.

 

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2.) Distance

We already discussed that each practice should have its’ own goals. With this, the distance (or amount of yardage) you’re having your swimmers do may change. Normally, if your practice is the same amount of time (i.e. 2 hours every day), you’ll have an average amount the kids will complete—but that isn’t always necessarily the case on test set days, meeting days, or even post-meet practices.

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3.) Drills

Most coaches put drills at the very beginning of workout before the “meat and potatoes” of sets kick in—and this doesn’t always have to be the case. Being able to swim technically well under-fatigue is super important, so figuring out where to mix in drills--along with kick sets and other “technique-focused” sets is truly the art of coaching.

 

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4.) Feedback

As a coach, one of the most important things you can do for your swimmers is give them great feedback. All those swimmers (whether actively showing it or not) showed up that day at the pool to get better. With this, you have a minimal amount of time to give (30+ kids in your group) great and concise feedback.

When you’re writing your workout, it’s important to take into consideration: intervals, time spent on the wall, and time between sets to ensure you’re speaking to your swimmers, effectively, along with explaining sets well too.

You may only have 5-10 seconds to speak to one of your kids and using that time well is super important.

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5.) Different Groups

If you’re coaching senior-level swimmers, most likely you have a few different intervals going on at the same time. Organizing your workout around these interval groups and/or your assistant coach is critical to running an efficient workout.

Each workout you write does have a specific goal and that goal may vary between groups. Keeping that in mind when you’re writing your workouts and how the transition will be from 1 main warm-up group to 3-4 groups in total—is important for a smooth practice.

Let’s look at a few different swim team workouts:

Workout #1:

Warm-up (1000)

  • 1000 choice

Preset (1700)

  • 4 X 125
    • Odd-Fast (uw) turns—focus on body alignment on push-off
    • Even—Don’t breath in and out of flags
  • 4 X 50 DESC 1-3 KICK on back in streamline, #4 EZ @1:00

Main Set (3400)

  • 6 X 100 FR White pace with snorkel (HR: 100-130 bpm)
  • 8 X 75 FR {Pink pace with snorkel + paddles optional (HR:130-150bpm)

Warm-down (3400+)

  • Choice warm-down

You can see from this workout above—the total distance is 3400 yards. The time it should take to complete this workout is a little over an hour. There are drills sprinkled in at the beginning, along with a lot of mini sets to ensure the coach can give feedback to the swimmers throughout the workout. They're also only one group with one interval.

Workout #2:

Warm-up (1500)

  • 300 choice
  • 3 X 200 Kick with alignment board (or regular board) + snorkel
  • 8 X 25 (FL round #1, BK round #2, BR round #3)
    • Odd: 6 cycle sprint
    • Even: dead start (no push-off from wall)—get straight into body line

Preset (2600) with fins

  • 400 FR Locomotive breathing
  • 2 X 100 Connection drill (1 kick per arm stroke at entry) when right arm enters, left leg kicks down and vice versa
  • 300 FR Locomotive breathing
  • 2 X 100 FR Kicks with fins + snorkel (on stomach in streamline)

Main Set (3000) same stroke within round

  • 4 X 100 Off block
    • #1 25 fast
    • #2 50 fast
    • #3 75 fast
    • #4 100 fast

Warm-down (3000+)

  • Choice warm-down

You can see from this workout—we sprinkled in some kicking and then, some drills at the very beginning. There was also some sprint work completed at the beginning to prep the body to go off the blocks at the end. The workout total is 3,000 yards, which should take around an hour to complete. There was also only one group with one interval.

Workout #3:

Warm-up (1500)

  • 600 (200 Swim, 200 kick, 200 swim)
  • 400 (RIMO kick, swim, drill, swim by 25’s)
  • 20 X 25 @ :30
    • Odd: race middle 15m
    • Even: fast 10m into wall

Main Set (2700)

  • 3 X 25 Fast (uw) dolphin kicks off blocks
    • :30 seconds rest
  • 3 X 50 Push fast FR
    • 225 EZ

Warm-down (3000)

  • 300 swim

You can see from this workout—we sprinkled in some kicking, drills, and speed work at the very beginning. The main set was also very short compared to the other two. Same as the second workout, this workout should only take an hour with a total of 3,000 yards—including, one group with one interval.

Based on these 3 workouts, you can get a sense of the creative side needed from coaches. While all these workouts are similar in distance and all have the main interval, the focus and energy systems taxed changed each time.

So be sure to next time you’re writing your next swim team workout to use your own creative flair while taking into consideration all the key factors stated above.

Until Next Time,

Abbie Fish

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