Reply To: 12.5s
12.5s rock. We have a diving well that is roughly 12.5yds long. It is nice to have a push off/breakout and finish each repetition.
When speaking with Dr. Rushall, I asked him about short course sprint training. He reminded me that short course swimming is even more skill dependent than long course swimming. He also told me that the difference in actual swimming velocities between athletes is almost negligible. What wins short course swimming is skills: starts, breakouts, turns, and finishes.
This has shaped my view of coaching sprinters. Of course we work on technique, that’s pretty much all I instruct them about during practice, but taking the time to consistently work “10 x 100-freestyle turns” is just as important, if not more important, than conditioning.
Another set, coincidentally every sprinter loves, that trains the 50 freestyle, is 10x 50-freestyle 25s from a dive. They walk back after each one, and we pretty much start when they are ready. While it can be nerve-wracking to stand patiently waiting for them to get ready for the next dive 25, I trust that they are giving their max. At the end of the day, it’s their swimming, not mine. If they should rest less, they know it. They can feel it. I trust them.
I also like “tethered-swimming” for technique work–more specifically for initiating a quick freestyle catch. Since this is generally shorter bursts, we do this after weights to mix things up a bit.
We tend to do our 12.5s first, because it is the most demanding on the nervous system and the muscles. If the athletes are fatigued from a 200, 500, or mile set, the chances of them being able to achieve and maintain the 50 freestyle technique in a 20-30 minute 50 freestyle set go down.
I would also like to do more 50 work with strokes. Breaststroke and backstroke can be tricky with 12.5s.
In general, we go highest intensity to lowest intensity. I can see that if you are training athletes for a plethora of events how it would be in your best interest to vary the sets, so that at competitions the athletes can do the 50 free after they did a 200IM.
A new addition to our program next year is going to be a delayed-feedback video station. There is a $5 “video delay” app, an ipad, a tripod, and a high definition television involved in the set-up. However, this tool will be used #1 for SKILLS, and #2 for swimming technique. I’m not sure if I can rig it to get underwater video, but I am researching. I’m not a techie, but perhaps using a go-pro with wifi, or getting a mounted underwater camera set-up would be needed.
Also, the width of our pool is roughly 17-yds. I love this fact, and I am trying to run lane-ropes along the width of our diving well and flags across for backstrokers. This would allow backstrokers, breaststrokers, and butterflyers the opportunity to practice proper underwater skills over yet still a shorter distance.
One thing I learned from USRPT is that it is really not different training. It is simply more precise training. By using shorter distances, and progressing to longer distances, athletes get the opportunity to improve (neuromuscularly and physiologically) one…step…at a time. It’s harder to overreach, fall down, and not get back up. Also, USRPT is inherently motivating. Athletes are getting accurate, instantaneous feedback (time clock) after every repeat.
I'm proud of what we've done, but I know 5, 10, 20 years from now I'll wonder what we'd done had we done it 'right'