Competition prep.

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    Hi Guys,

    To keep this from being too long winded I will try to summarize as much information as I can, while my account is waiting to be approved.

    I coach for a small club in the Cayman Islands. As a result of this I have one female swimmer who was scheduled to swim 3 high level competitions this summer with only 3 weeks between each competition. Traditionally I have trained this swimmer in a “traditional” manner but know that with three weeks between competition “traditional” will not have much impact in such a short period of time.

    That being said I have studied Dr.Rushall’s work and have implemented a USRPT program over the course of the next three weeks in the hope she will respond to the stimulus and adapt to racing that way. Our primary focus is on the 200 Back so our set was going to be 20×50’s BK @ 200BK pace on (1:00) holding 35’s. Even though you don’t count the first five toward failure she is missing pace by the third or fourth repetition and then failing on six, seven is rest, eight she makes, nine is fail, ten is rest, eleven she makes and fails finally on 12. So let’s be honest she has trouble holding pace for even 5×50’s and so we switched over to 30×25’s (0:35) holding 17.5, to slightly better results is this acceptable? I am afraid that by doing 25’s she is not going to be able to maintain this for the duration of the race. Bottom line she is just not able to hold 50’s or 75’s for any event or any stroke for more than three or four repetitions so we have reverted to 25’s for all our USRPT sets to ensure she is racing specific at her pace. Am I ok with this?



    Am I right 2:20 is what she’s able to swim in 200BK race? It’s okay to start with 50m intervals and go back to 25 if she can’t hold the pace. Important is to make as much meters in race pace as possible.


    I suggest moving the interval to 36 and complete 20×50 before the third fail. If she is only completing 2 or 3 before falling off pace, chances are she can’t hit 2:20 in a meet.

    For my 100’s I used to move the pace down after I made 20×25 before the third fail because I was in such a hurry to swim at a faster pace. For my 100 fly, at the beginning of the summer getting back into shape, I was on a pace of 17 or really 16 without the tempo trainer delay. I completed 20 before the third fail and then moved the interval to 15.5. I started failing at 7-8 on for the first fail and I figured I could slowly and steadily improve my reps but I didn’t. In the past I had been failing at low reps after moving the pace down but I was always able to steadily improve. But for some reason I was stuck at 7-10 reps before the first fail for like 2 months. I tried hard to improve but I couldn’t dig myself out of that hole. After 2 months of low reps my cardio level had decreased. Doing low reps like that won’t produce a training effect. The best I ever did at that pace was failing at 10,13,16. I decided to move the pace back to 16 and go to 30 reps like you are supposed to before moving back 15.5. It took about 3 weeks to complete 30. On Wednesday I did 30×25 on a 16 pace and failed once at 26. Yesterday, I moved the pace back to 15.5 and failed at 15,19,22. That’s a big improvement over 10,13,16 and if I stayed at that pace I would still probably be stuck at those same reps. At this point, I expect to steadily improve and hit 30 in 3 weeks at this pace because hitting the mid to upper teens is already enough to produce a training effect.

    If you just started at 35 seconds, she may just need to tweak her technique a little and settle into the new speed. Failing early initially because of not being used to the speed is no a terrible thing but if she doesn’t start improving her reps each time, she is slowly going to fall out of shape. I don’t know how soon the competition is but you should probably move the pace back and complete 20 reps of 50meters before the third fail before dropping the pace.

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