Single event athletes

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    I am currently coaching a few post-graduate athletes who are training for 1 or 2 events. We are currently using 2-3 protocol sets per athlete per event and build on those in a parametric format, meaning the number of repetitions per set offered is controlled throughout the season. We train 8 times a week and typically perform 1-2 protocol sets per session (1 per event).

    Our protocol sets are as followed:
    50 pace
    25s on 2:00
    25s from blocks
    25s on :30
    25s on 1:00
    50s on 2:00
    50s on 50/1:00
    100s on 2:00

    I understand that this is not USRPT format and am not asking how to make this fit the USRPT model. I am wondering: Is any necessity to add anything else? For example, my 50/100 swimmer will typically only swim 50/100 pace. Never slower. His practices typically last 50 minutes to 1:20. I have seen success with my athletes training this way but am wondering if there is any need for any additional work. Will 200 pace work 1-2 times a week impair any improvements needed for the 100? If not, is there any necessity to improve on 200 work? Will adding any secondary stroke training benefit fitness that leads to improvement in primary stroke?

    Just some thoughts


    You obviously have a pretty good handle on the system. Your protocol sets are event specific and race speed and if you start doing some correlations between race splits and training sets you should see some pretty interesting numbers.

    200 pace work. Unless on occasion he swims the 200, probably no need to swim the “50s on 1:00” or “n x 100 on 2:00”. If he does, then I’d keep it at “lower level of improvement” for “n x 50 on 50/1:00”, doing no more than 9-12, just short of one shift. Just another FYI, here is what we’ve seen for 200s: “n x 50 on 50/1:00” , the average of 2, 3, & 4 is .987 – .99815 and “n x 100” is .987 – .95673 to back ½ 100 of 200. (You do have to factor in standard deviation)

    Secondary stroke. We have protocol sets for their primary and secondary events. But my kids are 14-18 years old so still have some work to do with regard to event specificity. In an older swimmer that knows they are a 50/100 freestyler not sure swimming a secondary will make any improvements (Principle of Specificity). Again if on occasion they dabble in the 50/100 of another stroke I’d keep it to “n x 25s” on :30/1:00 and lower level improvement say 6-8, again just short of one shift. If you do decide to add a secondary stroke an indicator will be impact on numbers made in primary stroke. If he starts to “back slide” from previous cycles. I’d pitch the secondary work. Did that with a swimmer I had in 08, he was 3rd at WUG and 12th at USOT in the 50 and we dropped the 100 back work that summer.

    Hope this makes sense.

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