Archives for posts with tag: will clarke

I will be away this Saturday and will leave the sessions in the box so whoever is first on the poolside please put them out in the lanes.  I know many of you will be away anyway doing the Great East Swim so for those of you doing the session I don’t want you to miss out of the fun of some faster swimming.  Therefore, the main set will be the Will Clarke set of fast and steady-paced 50s.

Remember, the secret to getting the most from this set is to focus on making all the fast 50s at a good pace, even when the turnarounds are short at the start of the set.  You can best achieve this by relaxing on the steady swims – focusing on good technique and easy speed with high stroke rate – and saving yourselves for good efforts on the fast 50s.

See you next week!



Photo courtesy of Will Clarke


Well done for your efforts last week on the faster paced 100s.  It was good to see you putting in some great efforts consistently over the whole set and many of you hitting consistently fast times.


I will be swimming and coaching the session as usual this week (4th August) and then away for the next 3 weeks returning on 31st August.  Chrissie and Simon are also away then so you will be doing the sessions yourselves.  I will leave them in the club box tomorrow for you to get out for each of the sessions over the next few weeks so please help set up the pool and get the sessions out if you are there first for the 7am session.  The plan for August is as follows:

  • This week we will be building on the fast 100s last week with some even faster 50s this week with the return of the USRPT (Ultra Short Race Pace Training) set with every swim at your 200m race pace.
  • Next week is more 50s with the Will Clarke Set of faster and steadier paced 50s off different turnaround times.  The aim of this is to keep the top-end swim speed you have been building over the previous two weeks and combine it with some more speed endurance.
  • The week after that sees the return of the ratchet set which is all about speed endurance.  With the faster paced swimming we have been doing leading up to that you should be able to really feel comfortable at the start of the set with some easy speed to help you make the increasingly tight turnaround times and stay relaxed.
  • The final week before I am back will be the main set of positive-split 200s.  It is a very long main set and including plenty of 200s where you will be practising starting fast before dropping back into a sustainable race-pace cruise.

Enjoy your August and your holidays if you are going away.  Have fun and enjoy the swimming wherever you can!


Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

This week week we will be doing some focus on breathing drills and the Will Clarke set of fast and steady 50s to provide some more speed work.  Key things to think about:

  • Please watch the video I posted last week from Chloe Sutton about how to breath well in front crawl.  You will have chance in the technique set this week just to focus on quick breathing and keeping one goggle in the water as she demonstrates really well in her video.  A quick breath will also help you maintain a good tempo with a quick stroke rate.
  • Please try and make sure you get a good pace variation in the 50s, even when the turnaround is tight, to get the most from the Will Clarke set of 50s.  Re-read my previous post on this for some ideas to help

See you all Saturday!


This week we will be doing a variant of the Will Clarke 50s main set to give us chance to do some more fast-paced swimming before we do the January time trial next week.  All the 50s in the main set will be off the same turnaround time rather than a gradually increasing turnaround time that we have done before, which will make it too easy if you don’t make all the fast 50s really fast.  In fact, I would like you to aim to swim all the fast 50s at your 200m race pace.  Your 200m race pace should be around 3-4 secs faster than your 400m race pace so as a rough guide:

  • Lane 1 swimmers who swim 5:30 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 36-37 secs per 50.
  • Lane 2 swimmers who swim 6:20 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 43-44 secs per 50.
  • Lane 3 swimmers who swim 7:00 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 48-49 secs per 50.
  • Lane 4 swimmers who swim 7:50 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 55-56 secs per 50.

See you Saturday,


As the triathlon season is drawing to a close for most people, this Saturday will be the last race season session before we start on Autumn and Winter training.  And to celebrate Will Clarke’s fantastic win in Lanzarote last week I thought we’d do one of his favourite sets of alternating hard and easy 50s, which we have done earlier in the year.  Will won in Lanzarote by only two seconds in a thrilling finish (good race report here) and hopefully this set will help some of us try and emulate Will’s performance in our next race!

Also, a big well done must also go to Lucy for a fantastic second place in Lanzarote while doing most of the bike leg with her brake on –  just to make it that bit harder.  We’ll save a Lucy-inspired swimming session – like the 1km Fly we did as last year’s Christmas Swim – for later in the year…

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!


Back to the usual pattern of training this week with normal 7-8 session and 8-9:15 sessions.  We’re continuing with the theme of fairly fast-paced sessions to help you maintain your swimming speed, now we’re well into race season, with the Will Clarke set of hard and easy 50s.  Also, for those that didn’t see it I thought the comments in 220 Magazine on swim technique from Mario Mola and Gwen Jorgensen were interesting.  They are both pretty fair comments I think even though they sound contradictory.  I’d agree with the the main message from both – it is important to try and maintain your technique as much as possible when you get tired – but don’t obsess too much about the perfect technique as different styles can still be very fast and effective.

See you Saturday,


This week we will be repeating a session from a couple of months ago that was inspired by Will Clarke.  The aim is to continue working on our current pre-season focus of swimming faster and more efficiently to allow us to build and maintain swimming speed for longer sets.  You can re-read my previous post on this session for a reminder of some things to think about.

If you haven’t seen it already I would recommend Chrissie Wellington’s article about swimming faster in this week’s 220 Magazine, which you can see here.  I think all of her tips are good, especially for the less-experienced swimmers, and particularly like her advice about trying to stay relaxed and work on feel rather than trying to fight the water.

On April 26th and May 3rd the Juniors will not be using the pool from 9:15 to 10:00 so we have a great opportunity to get some more pool time for a couple of longer sessions.  For those weeks I will set two longer sessions, one from 7 to 8:30 and the other from 8:30 to 10, to give us all chance to get a bit of extra quality swimming in ready for the start of the main competition season.

See you Saturday!


We will continue the theme from last week and continue to add some more faster-paced swims.  This week we’re going to pick up the pace by basing our main set on one of Will Clarke’s favourite sets, from his recent blog.  I think he has some good things to say about what is important when increasing your swim speed in his blog.  Two things I would pick out of particular attention:

  1. The importance of technique and especially maintaining it at the end of a long set.  This is usually where most of us find it hardest to maintain our technique and where we get the most benefit .  Every session – and set – should be a technique session no matter how hard you are working!
  2. The importance of frequency in swimming as it is very easy to lose your feel for the water.  It can be difficult to fit in multiple sessions for many of us with job and family commitments but even if you can squeeze in an extra short session you will often feel the benefit.  Even if you are staying away from home with work, with only a short hotel pool to use, you can benefit from time in the water just practising sculling or other drills to try and keep your feel of the water.  So please do take any opportunity you can.

We will continue the theme of increasing pace in future weeks and also be doing some time trials so you get a chance to see how you are all doing.  I want to do them slightly differently though, this year, and will let you know ahead of time when we are doing them as well as providing some more details.

Thanks to Will Clarke for the inspiration for this week’s session.  See you Saturday!


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