This week we will be doing a main set of 100s where I will be asking you to swim at 5s faster than your 400m race pace and also 5s slower than your 400m race pace.  The recoveries will be short – but with some extra rests thrown in to help you get your breath back.  The aim of a long set like this is to help you work on swimming fast and relaxed.  You will need to relax as much as possible on the slower 100s to make sure you are fresh enough to swim the fast ones at the right pace.

So how do we swim fast and relaxed?  I don’t think there are hard and fast rules for this as some swimmers can swim fast and relaxed with a long, slow stroke whereas others can swim all day at a good pace with a much higher stroke rate.  The key is finding what works for you and some good things to think about are:

  • Am I using my legs too much?  Your legs consume lots of oxygen, because of the larger muscles, so you rarely see good distance swimmers using their legs much except at the start in a triathlon or the end of a pool race.  You do need to make sure, though, that they are near the surface of the water and part of a streamlined body position so don’t neglect them too much!
  • Am I as streamlined as I can be?  This is especially true when pushing off from each turn – with your head looking back and down – and setting yourself up in a streamlined position to start each length.
  • Am I making full use of each underwater pull?  I think most of us can benefit from focusing most on the back end of the underwater pull and making sure you push all the way through until your thumb brushes past your thigh.

For some inspiration on swimming fast and relaxed try looking at the videos below of Sun Yang and Janet Evans, the current mens 1500m and womens masters 40-44 age group 800m world record holders.  They both have very different strokes and techniques but you can see how fast and relaxed they are swimming while still averaging about 58s/100m for Sun Yang and 1:07/100m for Janet Evans age 39!

See you Saturday!