Archives for posts with tag: sprinting
This week we will be finishing the 8am session at 9am rather than 9:15am to allow the Juniors to fit in their swimming time trials and will be doing so again on 3rd October.  In return, they’ve offered to give us one of their slots over the next few weeks, so allowing us to have the full 3-hour slot from 7-10.  I will let you know the details when this is agreed.
The aim of the main set this week is to work on your speed endurance and VO2 max so will be doing some 100% effort 50s after some steady-paced 100m swims on a short recovery.  To get the most out of this set I’d like you all to focus on making the 50s a 100% effort, flat-out sprint and try and catch the person in front of you.  So, just as you would if racing a 25m sprint, I’m expecting to see your legs kicking like a powerful outboard motor to set the tempo for an increased arm speed but still holding a long a powerful arm stroke.
See you Saturday!

Three things to be aware of about the session this week – extra coaching, improving your catch and sprinting.

Both Chrissie and myself will be there for the 8am-9:15am session to coach again so please do take advantage of the extra coaching.  To make it easier for us to watch you, and film you if you would like, we will change the lanes everyone is swimming in.  So, lane 3 swimmers will be in lane 4, lane 4 swimmers in lane 3, lane 2 swimmers in lane 1 and lane 1 swimmers in lane 2.  We will do this for both sessions, to keep it simple and also for a change in the way everyone turns at each end.  The sets will still be set for your “original” lane though so don’t get any ideas about having a session that is too easy or too hard!

We will be doing some work to focus on the catch this week.  You will probably be bored of me talking about it now but I will keep banging on about it as it is still the area I think most of us can improve.  I would recommend reading my previous post on this for some detail and good videos.  But the most important thing I want you to work on is the quick catch drill.  If you get it – great, keep working on it.  If you don’t, please do persevere and try and find that strong, quick catch that gives you a surge of power and makes you feel like you really have hold of the water.  Different things work for different people.  Some ideas that I know work for some of you that you can try are:

  • Imagining swimming over the top of your hand, keeping your elbow high
  • Imaging trying to get your hand onto a barrel or something solid underwater to push yourself past
  • Doing a strong front to mid scull to really feel the water
  • Just saying “quick” in your head every time you enter the water

Finally, we will be finishing off the session tomorrow with some 25 sprints, for a few different reasons.  Firstly, it is good preparation for those that will be heading up to the National Master Swimming Championships in Sheffield next weekend.  Secondly, it is great high intensity training and a change from the aerobic swimming we will be doing for most of the session.  And finally, and most importantly, 25 sprints are fun – but please do try and look like a proper swimmer when you are sprinting and kick your legs as hard and fast as you can!

See you Saturday,


I found it really interesting to watch people doing the 50m flat out sprints we did as part of the main set last week – especially how little most people changed their pace despite the obvious increase in effort that was put in.  I think doing some fast-paced swims like this are really useful for a variety of different reasons.  Firstly, they are great high-intensity swims that increase your fatigue levels for the rest of the sets when working on your speed endurance.  Secondly, I think they are a good way of increasing the range of speeds you can swim at – so making “normal” race pace feel more comfortable.  Finally, many top triathletes seem to get a lot of benefit from them and I have heard both Will Clarke and Mario Mola talk specifically about the value they have gained from doing fast swims as part of their swimming training.

We will be doing some more sprints this week to give you chance to work on top-end speed and I will be making it easier by just doing 25s after the usual aerobic and progressively paced swims.  When sprinting 25s please remember three key things:

  1. Keep your head down and breathe as little as possible (you should not really need to breath at all on a 25m sprint but I will accept once if really necessary!)
  2. Kick your legs REALLY fast! This sets the tempo for your arms even though they don’t provide much propulsion.  Only one person in the pool last week was kicking at anywhere near the speed required for fast swimming.
  3. Keep a really strong catch – don’t try and rush the underwater pull – just squeeze the water a bit harder.

For a great example of sprint freestyle watch Ben Proud win the gold for England in the 50m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in the following video:

You can see Ben, and all the others, doing a really good job of the 3 points I have mentioned above.  The underwater shots are the best and really show a strong catch and the speed of their legs.

See you Saturday!


Especially watch the strong catch, with high-elbow, and outboard-motor kick from the legs from Fran Halsall on the BBC.


This week our main set will be working on top-end swim speed and VO2 max with a mix of 100s and 50s.  To get the most from this set you will need to focus on doing all of the 50s at 100% effort.  This should help improve your VO2 max, top-end swimming speed and help improve your speed endurance when you are still looking to swim at 1500m pace for the 100s after the 50m sprints.

When you are swimming the 50s flat out the most important thing to do is put in 100% effort.  However, you will get more benefit and swim faster if you can also hold your technique together when putting in this effort.  When sprinting try to focus on kicking really hard and fast and getting your speed by pressing harder underwater on each stroke rather than trying to increase your stroke rate.  Your stroke rate will increase naturally as you kick faster and you should be able to keep hold of the water better rather than slipping water as you try to rip your hand through the water too quickly.  For a short video of Roland Schoeman doing some sprint freestyle see the following video.  Especially note the speed of his leg kick!

See you Saturday!


%d bloggers like this: