Any Thoughts Appreciated

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    Hello, my name is Liv. I am 16, and I started USRPT in March, 2017. My family and I decided to switch to USRPT because I had been fairly stagnant in my times for the past 2 years, and we felt I wasn’t getting what I needed from my current training. Back then I was practicing for an hour and a half, 5x a week, about 5,000 yards a practice. It was mostly just long sets at an moderate pace, with some technique work mixed in. Now I train 11x a week usually, with a 2 hour A.M. practice and a 1 hour P.M. practice Mon-Fri, and a 2 hour A.M. practice on Sat. I don’t exactly know how many yards I do now, it depends on the day.

    During the first 6 months of USRPT, we did exactly what this program prescribes. Mostly 25s on :15 rest, some 50s on :20 rest, lots of repeats, and we used fails, ( The usual 2 in a row or 3 overall ends the set, double rest after each fail, first 5 don’t count if you miss.) After August of 2017, when LCM season and my SCY State Champs was over, I decided to change the sets. I have read these forums a lot, and have really appreciated all of the info that Doc has put out. I based my practices off of his data. I switched the sets to 25s on 1, 50s on 2, and some ALL-OUT 25s on 2. We still used fails, but we made it so only the first 3 don’t count. The ALL-OUTS were initially 10×25, but it got changed to 5 after a few months. We saw some major time drops with this, but i wasn’t able to finish my races as strong a I would have likes, so after August, 2018, I changed the sets to what we are currently doing.

    In the A.M., we do our long rest sets. Here they are:
    I don’t train any BR. I have ankle issues that make it very painful.

    5×25 FR on Full Recovery, (5 min ish,) always starting from the same side of the pool. #2 & #5 are from the Blocks to a foot touch, the rest are from the pool to a hand touch. This is the first set we do, every single morning. I have found that the times from the pool normally match the 1st 25 split of a 50 FR.

    Up to 20×25 on 1 min, to a foot touch. We use fails on these. I need the long rest because these are mostly underwater for me. I hold 16 DKs per 25 for BK, and 15 for FL & FR. I’m faster underwater than on the surface, even in FR. These are to a foot touch because i like to work on my turns as much as possible. I do a full turn and push-off, then come up.

    Up to 10×50 on 2, to a hand touch. With fails. Again, a lot of underwaters. For BK i do 16 out/15 back, FL & FR is 12 out/10 back. These usually predict how fast I can take out the first 50 of a 100.

    In the evening we do the short rest sets, they seem to be help me not die as bad in a race.

    Up to 20×25 to a hand touch on :15 rest. I can’t hold many DKs on these, i’ll do the first 2 with full underwaters, then it’s 6 for FL&BK, and 4 for FR.

    Up to 10×50 to a hand touch on :20 rest. We haven’t really been taking this set seriously yet, we just use the cut off time from the A.M. 50s on 2. Due to this, i never get past #5. I do these Fly and Die, with emphasis on the “Die.”
    I do as many DKs as my lungs will let me.

    Sorry for the long post, but I want to ask you guys some questions, and I want you to have all the Information you need.


    Here are my times March 2017 VS. Now ~
    * = Not suited or tapered
    All SCY

    50 FR: 25.41 ~ 23.72
    50 BK: 28.39 ~ 26.48
    50 FL: 27.06 ~ 25.55
    100 FR: 56.38 ~ 52.82
    100 BK: 1.05.74 ~ 58.54
    100 FL: 1.02.00 ~ 57.82
    100 BR: 1.26.51* ~ 1.22.13*
    200 IM: 2.26.88* ~ 2.23.56*


    I would like your opinion on my practice times. I think that based on them, I am not performing up to my potential.
    I only have data for the long rest sets right now, the short sets are too new for me to have usable information.
    My Dad times me most of the time. He starts the watch when my feet leave the wall or AS he says “GO” if its from the blocks.He stops it when my hand or foot hits the wall, or in the case of the 25s FL on 1, when my feet leave the wall after the turn. For cut times, when I make a whole set, (with up to 2 fails,) we then drop the time so that I would have failed 3. Everything but the 5×25 is with fails.

    This is all from the past 2 weeks of training. All SCY

    5×25 FR on Full Rest. From the pool I’ve been at 11.2 – 11.4, with some at 11.1. From the Blocks I’ve been at 11.6 – 11.9.
    20×25 FR on 1 with flip. My current cut time is 12.4, I think I’ve gotten up to 12 including 3 fails.
    10×50 FR on 2. Cut time is 26.15. It was 26.25, but I made those with only 2 fails last week.

    20×25 FL on 1 with turn. Cut time is 13.7. It was 13.85 last week, but I made those with no fails. Just a note, my average turn time is 1.4 sec.
    10×50 FL on 2. Cut time is 28.3. I made 28.4 last week with 2 fails.

    20×25 BK on 1 with flip. Cut is 13.3. Made 13.4 last week with no fails.
    10×50 BK on 2. Cut is 28.9. I think I’ve gotten up to 9 with 3 fails.


    I had a meet this weekend. I was sick, (still am,) overtired, unshaved, and wearing a normal suit. I guess I was kinda still tapered from the meet I had the week before that, but not really. It was prelims on Sat, finals on Sun.
    P 100 FL: 1.00.75
    F 100 FL: 1.00.62
    P 100 BK: 1.03.26
    F 100 BK: 1.01.87
    P 50 FR: 24.88
    F 50 FR: 25.08

    Here are my swims from the previous weekend. I was suited, shaved, and tapered. It was 100 FR on Sat, 50 & BK on Sun.
    100 FR: 52.82
    50 FR: 23.72
    11.3/12.5 guestimate from the video
    100 BK: 58.54

    When I race, I take off a few DKs, otherwise I would be over the 15m. Here they are by race, by ~
    50 FR: 13,10.
    100 FR: 13,10,8,8.
    100 BK: 14,13,13,13.
    100 FL: 13,10,8,8.

    How do I know when my DKs are hurting me more than helping me? I know more is better in BK because my stroke is bad, but it’s hard to tell for FR and FL. Also, what do you think of my splits from the first (faster) meet? Am I too slow out? Add too much on the way back?


    Interesting. You kinda explained your “deceleration” with the “We haven’t really been taking this set seriously yet” Think of training as a puzzle and the more pieces you have the better you can see the picture.

    I’m going to guess that your second 50 split of 100fr is in the 27.39 range? Your 100fr time would suggest on “50s on :50/1:00” be no slower than 30.86.

    Also, you may think about flipping the sets occasionally. Take your short rest 50s and do them as the first set. It may allow you to get past 5. There is an accumulation of fatigue that occurs during a workout.

    Just some quick thoughts


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    Hi Liv!

    Agree with Doc. Doc, I’m looking at her underwater kicks in the 100 FR and FL – I would rather see a change of maybe 2 kicks from first to last underwater. Change of 5 probably means she’s over-kicking the first lap and/or not maintaining her underwater speed the last 2 laps. What is your experience in this?

    We almost always do N x 50’s first before we work down to sprint speeds. Respiratory fatigue is easier to recover from (breathing and heart muscle; 5-15 minutes) than peripheral fatigue (pulling muscle during sprints; 12-48 hours).

    Your underwaters are only helping you IF you’re getting faster to the flags/half/15 marker. And if you’re getting faster with fewer kicks. Just like surface swimming. It’s a balance; if you feel like you’re breaching the surface and the first pull is hard then you’re coming up at a slower speed. Just a thought, hard to completely know from the write-up.

    MA demonstrating the short radius turn. He’s turning at about .8 seconds

    Bronze-Level USRPT Coach


    Thank you for your response. My splits from my 100 FR PB of 52.82 were 25.32 & 27.50. When I swam it in August it was 52.89, with splits of 25.56 & 27.33.

    We used to switch around the sets, but I found that I like doing the 50s set last. That way I’m a little fatigued already, so it feels more like the 2nd 50 of a 100. Just a personal preference. Every once in a while we will still switch them up. Also, the 50s sets really kill my legs, where as the 25 sets don’t. Doing the 50s first guarantees I will have a slow 25s set, but it’s not true the other way around. Maybe that’s just me.

    We just started adding in the short rest sets again a few weeks ago, and we’ve been trying to establish times in the 25s before really getting into the 50s. When we used to do the 50s on :50 set, (I think it was sometime last winter,) I could hold them all on 28 mid, so I assume I would be around there or faster. We also used to do a 50s on :10 sec rest, and I could hold 29 mid-high for 10 of ’em without terrible difficulty.

    I’m just curious, where did you come up with the time of 30.86 for the 50s on :50? Is it a percentage over the split?


    Hello ryanupper. On the FR & FL underwaters I can tell you i do lose speed with every lap, and that is why I lowered the number of DKs I do on the FL. It used to be 14 off every wall. My best time came when I did 14,12,12,12. I’m trying to find a balance between having air to do the DKs well, and having enough of them, because they are faster than my actual FL.

    My 15m underwater time is 7.0-7.1 whenever we test it, usually with 15 DKs or so. When I get tired my DKs get really big, beluga whale style.

    On the 100 FR I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out how many DKs I should be doing. I lose a lot of air on my flip turn, and I can’t wear a nose clip like I do in the 50 FR, so i’m left with a lot less air than I would like.

    Any suggestions on how many kicks might be good? Should I add some more back to the FL?



    Ok. One big thing: You’re asking a lot of questions, which is good, but I don’t want you to try to make a whole bunch of adjustments all at once. Pick 1-2 concepts for the next month. Don’t think about the underwater kick as getting to the 15m mark; think about the kick as hitting the surface at a high speed, no matter where that occurs.

    With that said, I’m going to break down the underwater race:
    1. push off the wall about 18 inches below the surface.
    2. streamline downward at 25-30 degrees for a full 1000-1 count (attack angle) before kicking. You may be 3-3.5 feet deep after this segment.
    3. perform a DK to alter your attack angle to 30-40 degrees upward.
    4. kick to the surface.

    DKs are performed by:
    1. rapid downward, knee extension with feet at hip width, toes about 6-10 inches apart.
    2. initiate kicks from the hips.
    3. upper body should be as motionless as possible.
    4. hands should lead the breakout and be used to adjust the “attack angle”. Point your fingers where you want to go.

    It seems like you really emphasize the underwater kick so work on this for a few weeks and get back to us. I usually do 8-10 25’s underwaters past half with a smooth breakout in my warmup. Moderate swim to the wall on a :40. Focus on kicking downward hard. Make sure your first pull doesn’t have any water on top of the arm when the arm begins recovery. If you feel water on the elbow then you are too low.

    Bronze-Level USRPT Coach
    Gold-Level Coaching Candidate


    Your questions are good. Ryanupper is correct in be careful making to many changes at once. You shouldn’t change more than 10% over that and you’ll have no idea what worked or didn’t.

    Couple more questions. 1. what is your stroke tempo? 2. what is your kick tempo and 3. your number of cycles per 25?
    Kinda left out some pieces of the puzzle critical to knowing whether it would be better to be on the surface swimming.

    Here’s where I’m going to differ from ryanupper on the underwater work. Think of your “direction of travel and application of force”. You don’t want the feel of water to be vertical/ up & down. But horizontal/ back towards feet. (flow) This will take some work. You will also have to work in a very narrow space with movements i.e. as deep as you are thick in the water.

    I’m a believer in that you “run the line” 18-24 inches underwater traveling in the”boundary layer or blue water” with a perfect intersect (all body parts arrive at the surface at the same time) with the surface and “line moving forward” so you carry your wall speed as long as you can. No angles. Just “run the line”. Again this will take some time to develop.

    Try working from just under your armpits to start the movement. Arms and head remain still and you crack the whip and let the energy flow down the body. If you create any angles/bends it’s like tying a knot in the whip and energy stops at the knot and you become a 2nd class lever. Not good espicially in butterfly 🙂

    Just some FYI that I’ve used with swimmers. These are for females 11 kicks/5 cycles, 7 kicks/7 cycles, and 7 kicks/ 6 cycles.

    Your 15m time is on the slower end with a swimmer going 52.82 with fast 6.52 median 6.75 or slow 6.99. So, not terrible.

    Your split differential between first and second 50 is fine. I use race data of the top 3 women at NCAAs in each event as a model for all strokes and distances.

    The “n x 50fr on 50/1:00” is based on your 50 & 100 and is just the upper limit to as slow as you can go. p.s. I did add 1.5% back into 29.93. You didn’t appear to swim many 200s 🙂 My guess would be in the 1:57 range?

    Just some thoughts

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    Thank you both very much.
    I apologize if I am asking a lot of questions, I truly love this sport and I just want to be the very best I can be.
    I promise I don’t plan on going off the deep end and changing everything overnight, my focus is on my underwaters. Once I’m happy with those I’ll move on to something else that needs work.

    Doc, I tried to get the info you asked for. I wasn’t able to get kick tempo from the videos, the camera was too far away.
    For stroke tempo, I took it as each time a hand entered the water for the catch, so Right, Left, Right, Left.
    For # of strokes, I also took this as Right, Left, Right, Left. Except FL of course.
    Also, when I said 7.0 for 15m before, that was just my times from practice. I hadn’t ever timed it in my races before.

    From March 2018
    100 FL: 57.82
    DKs: 14,12,12,12.
    Splits by 25: 11.9, 15.0, 15.7, 15.1.
    Time to 15m mark: 6.7. ( could only get the first one, bad video.)
    Strokes per 25: 5, 6, 7, 7.
    Stroke Tempo by 25: 1.1, 1.2, 1.2, 1.2.

    From November 2018
    100 FR: 52.82
    DKs: 13,8,8,8.
    Splits by 25: 11.5, 13.8, 14.1, 13.4.
    Time to 15m mark: 6.6, 7.8, 8.5, 8.2.
    Strokes per 25: 8, 14, 14, 15.
    Stroke Tempo by 25: 0.5, 0.6, 0.65, 0.6.

    100 BK: 58.54
    DKs: 14,13,10,13.
    Splits by 25: 13.6, 14.8, 15.6, 14.5.
    Time to 15m mark: 8.0, 8.3, 9.2, 8.5.
    Strokes per 25: 9, 9, 12, 10.
    Stroke Tempo by 25: 0.6, 0.7, 0.7, 0.6.

    50 FR: 23.72
    DKs: 13,10.
    Splits by 25: 11.3, 12.4.
    Time to 15m mark: 6.5, 7.4.
    Strokes per 25: 10, 15.
    Stroke tempo by 25: o.4, o.5.

    Please tell me if there is any more information that could be useful.

    Right now with my underwaters, I kind of start the dolphin motion at my fingertips, and my whole body does a sort of wave motion. It’s more noticeable in Fly. I usually push off deep, like 3.5 feet. My legs feel like they are pushing water up and down, not really backwards. I guess I have some stuff to work on 🙂

    I haven’t raced a 200 FR in over 2 years. My PB is from when I was 13. 2.01.70. Last time I raced it I was 14, 2.04. My mother decided I should stop doing it, apparently I was embarrassing her by going so slow…. I plan on doing one later this year, just to see how it goes. I don’t really know how I should train for it though, any suggestions?

    I’ve never done a 200 FL or BR, 400 IM, or the Mile. Haven’t done 200 BK in forever. I only do 100 BR and 200 IM at pentathlon meets.


    Don’t apologize. This is how you learn. Swimmers should be asking questions.

    The kick tempo is kind of critical. If you think you’re faster underwater. You must be covering more distance underwater faster than on the surface swimming.

    Stroke tempo is from R hand hit to R hand hit or L to L. But I understand .40 is .80ish and .50 is 1.0ish.

    Cycles are R to R. But again, I understand cycle count as hand hits. It’s liking speaking two different languages.

    With regards to depth of push-offs. Starting at 1.6m/s velocity and .2m or 7.87 inches drag is reduced by 9.5%, at .4m or 15.7” drag is reduced 12.3% or .6m or 23.62” drag is reduced by 13.9%. and drag is reduced at a greater % as velocities increases and not depth. So, why go deep? Run the line 18 to 24 inches to surface. It gives you the maximum reduction in drag at velocity. Going deeper holds no advantage. Yes, you work realy hard but that doesn’t always equate to speed.

    The 200. Think of it as another piece of the puzzle. You don’t need to swim it at every meet, but you need to swim it. You need to work above and below the primary events. Just FYI. Your mom is not trying to go faster! You are:)


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    I don’t have any real reason for pushing off the wall so deep, I just haven’t had a reason not to. I’ll see if I can find some better footage to time the kicks.

    This past winter/spring my Dad and I ran some 200s for time. Always just one, at the beginning of practice after warmup. I’d say we did like, 5 of them total, and they were always on 2.01, so I think I would be in the 1.56.00 range in a race.
    I’m notoriously slow at in practice races, so 5 sec is realistic for me.


    I found some better video. I couldn’t find a usable 100 FL, so I took a 50 FL from August instead. The time was 25.55

    DK tempo By 25
    50 FR: 0.35, 0.39.
    50 FL: 0.30, 0.36.
    100 FR: 0.32, 0.40, 0.39, 0.41.
    100 BK: 0.40, 0.47, 0.48, 0.50.

    I counted each kick as starting and ending on the “Down” kick, so each one is Up & Down.


    Here is the 50 FL info

    Time: 25.55
    DKs: 13, 9.
    Splits: 11.7, 13.8.
    15m. Time: 6.8, 8.4.
    Strokes per 25: 6, 9.
    Stroke Tempo: 0.96, 1.02.

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