Season results

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    I wanted to give an overview of my fall season because I tried some new things and had positive results. Since last Feb-July I was inconsistent with training. I was still doing USRPT the whole time and I did enough to stay in decent shape. As far getting faster, I got a little better but mainly just kind of maintained over that period of time. At the beginning of August, I began to practice consistently and focused on training for 2 meets at the end of October and beginning of November. The events that I trained for were 50 breast/fly, 100 breast/fly and 100 IM.

    During August, I changed things around a few times but from September through the end of October, this is what my weekly schedule was. I use a Sportcount finger stop watch and everything is timed from when the feet leave the wall to when the hand touches. On the 50’s the set is over after 1 fail and the max reps were 6 on breast and 5 on fly and im but I swim them a little different which I’ll explain later. but it’s still rp or faster than rp. I swim in scm most of the time.

    Mon- breast 50’s under 36.0 on 4:00

    Tues-sprints for 50’s with more emphasis on fly – mostly 25’s with lots of rest.

    Wed- br/fr 50’s (for the back half of the 100 IM) under 32.8 on 2:00

    Thurs- easy 30 minute aerobic swim

    Fri- Fly 50’s under 33.0 on 2:00

    Saturday-sprints for 50’s with more emphasis on breaststroke – mostly 25’s

    For breast, my current best back half 50 was 37.7 before a couple weeks ago. During the spring and summer, I was doing 50’s on 2 and focusing on getting as many reps as possible under 37.7. I was pretty good at pacing it and coming in just under so I could conserve as much energy as possible on each rep and make a higher total at the end. The problem with this though is that for most of the set I would be gliding longer and on a slower tempo than real second 50 race pace. I could really dig deep at the end and crank out some makes with horrible technique at this interval. Then, I tried getting on the proper tempo from the beginning and just not worry about coming in way under the time limit on the first few. But with this, I failed really early and couldn’t improve my total reps. I knew I needed to change something so I decided to add a lot rest but go faster. I started improving when I went to 4 minutes. I would swim the set with regular tempo from the first rep. I would hold myself back and go a little bit slower than first 50 pace but not much more than that. The rest of the set I would push the whole way and not just try to come in a 36.0 on the dot. The great thing about this set is that I can’t go below 36.0 without good technique. Most of the time I would fail on 5 or 6 but I would be like a 36.3 or something not that far off. I actually only made 6 once and that was my best set for sure. My times on that set were 34.74, 35.25, 35.20, 35.63, 35.63, 35.44.

    For the 50’s on 2 for fly and IM, I swam in a similar way to the breast set. I would push the whole way but try to keep it slower than first 50 speed on the first one or two. I put the limit of 5 on this and rep number 5 was usually a 50/50 make or fail. I would always try to go as fast as possible on 5. Put my head down at the end, not breath, and charge to the wall just like at the end of a 100 race. I would try to hold under 32.8 for IM and 33.0 for fly which was faster than my current best times at the time. My best set for fly was actually in yards 26.59, 27.13, 27.53, 27.90, 28.71. The best set for IM was 31.25, 31.53, 32.06, 32.25, 32.20.

    On the sprint days I would do mostly 25’s focusing hard on technique. I would stop when I started slowing down. I put more focus on fly on Tuesday and breast on Saturday but I would do multiple strokes some days. I did a little free and back, but not very often.

    For the 30 minute swims, I would swim an easy pace for a continuous 30 minutes. My hr would be 130 at the end. I started doing this in mid-September and cut it off 2 weeks out from the meet so I only did it about 5 times. This is definitely not USRPT. However, I was getting nervous about not getting enough aerobic stuff in because I wasn’t doing any 200 pace stuff and I was doing less reps with longer rest. When I decided to do this, I was reading a lot about track. It’s not uncommon for 400m guys to do an easy 20-30 minute jog once per week. Michael Johnson, the former wr holder in the 400 used to do this. His coach Clyde Hart, is one of the best 400 meter coaches. The 400 is closest to the 100 meters in swimming. Clyde Hart’s training for the 400 has a lot of similarities to the stuff we talk about on this site. He has race pace sets that get really close correlation to the actual race times. For example 200’s on 1:53-2:00 at back half 400 pace which is just like doc’s 50’s on 2 at back half 100 pace. He believes that the 400 is way more anaerobic but the athletes do need some aerobic ability. Hart’s philosophy on the 30 minute runs is that it helps with recovery and something to do with oxygen uptake which can help with recovery between repeated sprint efforts or races.
    Also, I had read years ago that Rich Abrahams did a 30 minute swim once a week leading up to his 50/100 free 65-69 age group record. He went 22.1 and a 49 something I believe. At the age of 65 that’s serious business. I went back and read about it a couple months ago. He was really big on rp stuff but the reason that he did the 30 minute swims was some fancy stuff about building up lactate clearing enzymes. In both of these examples, they made it clear that your aerobic ability won’t make you any faster in a race but it will increase your ability to recover within a high intensity set. Increased ability to perform better high intensity sets will lead to faster racing. So, the aerobic stuff indirectly helps your sprint endurance but has no meaning if you can’t improve on your rp sets. I don’t know how accurate the science behind this is, but it made sense to me at the time. I had always heard that slow swimming kills your speed but I think that is more about doing mile pace stuff every day on tight intervals. The 30 minute swims certainly didn’t have any negative affect on Rich Abrahams speed, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I only did it for 5 weeks. I think it had a little positive effect but I don’t really know for sure.

    10/30 swim meet

    100 breast- 1:01.89 (28.72/33.17)
    My previous ltb was 1:02.95 (28.98/33.97). I’m happy about dropping .80 off of the back half. I had an awful turn at the 75. I had to decide between a long glide and 2 short strokes. I started gliding but then I changed my mind and took a quick stroke. I was jammed up on the wall and it took forever to get off. Plus the way my feet were planted, I got a bad push off. I really should have been a 32 high at least on the second 50 but still a 1 second drop is nice.

    100 fly- 54.41 (24.95/29.46)
    Previous ltb was 56.69(25.56/31.13) I knew I was due for a drop but dropping 2.28 off my pb at the age of 29 is pretty cool. It was a good race, no big mistakes or anything. Although I didn’t hit the numbers of my best set that I talked about earlier, I was still under my training pace of 33.0scm or 29.73scy. My best rep number 5 in meters was 32.70 which converts to 29.46 on the dot. I thought that was interesting.
    If I had gone 32 high in breast like I should have with a regular turn, that is about a 36.5 in meters which is dead on my best rep number 6 adjusted for turn time. 35.5 + 1.0= 36.5. A mid 36 is also about what my fail rep is. So even practicing these on 4 minutes, I still got correlation. The great thing was that the second 50 in both fly and breast, felt exactly like the last rep in practice.

    At the end of this meet there were also 25’s of each stroke. I did all 4. They were in IM order fly,bk,br,fr and I went 10.53, 12.60, 12.28, 10.17. I thought my breaststroke was the best one. My sprint breaststroke is wildly inconsistent in practice. Sometimes I will be feeling good coming into practice and it will be flop. Other days I randomly hit a practice pb without expecting it. Fly and free are pretty consistent. I don’t understand what the deal is with sprint breast but I guess I was on this day. I wish I had swam the 50 breast.

    11/5 swim meet in short course meters-

    50 breast- 31.03
    I was really disappointed with this. I had a bad start, dove to shallow, had a weird break out, and came to a halt during the first stroke. But I felt kind of stiff and lacking power the whole way, it wasn’t just the first 15 that was bad. Going a 12.28 the previous week, I was expecting something better than this. But like I said, sprint breast is inconsistent for me and I guess I was off on this day.

    50 fly-25.91
    My previous ltb was 26.28. This is also a better time than my best scy time converted. I feel like my yards times converted are always better than my meters times so I was definitely happy about this swim.

    100 IM- 1:02.08 (29.15/32.93)
    I was really happy to split a 32.93. That is right there with my training pace of 32.80. I felt like this was the best back 50 in any 100 that I have ever swam. The free leg was especially good. I closed really strong in this race. My stroke counts were identical to training, 11 and 19. I actually hit the lane line in backstroke which cost me a good chunk of time probably, but this was still a pb. It was a 1:04.59 in meters before but that wasn’t a very good swim. But it is still .8 faster than my best yards converted time.

    Overall, these were some really good results for me. The 50’s on 2 and 50 breast on 4, felt exactly like the race. I lost count of strokes on breast and fly, but I think is was right on my training stroke rates as well. I’d like to give a big thank you to doc and all of the insight that he has shared on this site. The training schedule I used was heavily influenced by him. I’m not really sure where to go from here. The schedule worked well but I feel like I can improve on the 50yard/meter races training. I haven’t really gotten faster top speed wise in 2 years. My improvements in the 50’s have come from holding speed longer and probably faster last 10 meters. I would like to improve my top end speed so I can drop more time in the 50’s. I’ve tried full rest and shorter rest for the sprints, so I’m really not sure what to do. I’ve done 3 sprint days a week but that starts to wear on me and hurts all the sets towards the back half of the week. That’s another reason why I cut it to 2 sprint days and threw in that 30 minute swim. Other than that, I may try doing fly on 3 minutes and see what happens because my improvement on 2 was great for a while but then I flat lined towards the end. Anyway, I just wanted to get the info out there in case anyone ever reads this and finds it helpful.


    First, nice job on your performances and the kind words.

    Now the issue of speed development and The Holy Grail of swimming. We’re going to think outside the traditional box here and you are going to have to play with this to find the distance/time.

    We’ll say you want to be able to swim the 50 breast in 30.41 (rough 2% improvement). Which is 1.644 meters or yards per second (D/t). So you are just starting out and you pick 12.5s, which would be 7.60 seconds. Get a tempo trainer and set it at 7.60 seconds and swim 12.5s. You make between 8 and 12. Try pushing it to 15s, which would be 9.12 and you make between 4 and 6, then you probably would stay there until you can do in the 8-12 range. You just keep pushing the distance out at the speed you want. As you can see this can and is a very tedious process. It does work, I’ve used this with some very fast swimmers i.e WC and Olympic medal winners. But again, it takes a lot of time.

    I’d be interested in your results/feedback.

    Food for thought.

    ? All that is not shared... is lost.


    I tried some 12.5’s and 15’s on 7.60 and 9.12 with the tempo trainer the other day. I didn’t do them on any kind of interval, I was just trying to get used to accurately determining my distance traveled when the beep went off. It’s a little tricky, but I think I got it down pretty good now. 7.6 and 9.12 put me right at 12.5 and 15. What kind of interval am I supposed to do these on?

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