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    Hey Everyone,

    As some of you know we are transitioning to a USRPT program. We have been doing 1-2 sets a day or every other day, trying to keep my kids fresh. On Monday (two days ago) we had a full USRPT type practice (stealing most sets from Billratio). We did skills/recovery yesterday and today my plan was to go at it again this afternoon. However, we were loosening up in the water this morning and we looked really fatigued. Of course this was only below 85% swimming, just to wakeup and get fresh for this afternoon but I’m a little worried to go at them again this afternoon with our first meet of the year Saturday, and it will be a nail bitter. We really want to win this meet as it will be the first meet in our Men’s program history and this is a team our Women beat last year in their first meet in program history.

    Anyway, here is what we did on Monday. Wondering if this is too much (as it does stray away from true USRPT sets a bit) or if there extreme tiredness is normal. I’m toying with the idea of spending the rest of the week freshening them up completely before we continue the transition or if we should continue on our path and let them adjust while still tired/fatigued.

    We have multiple groups, but for the most part people did the same 2 sets. In between we did some loosen up swimming and then did 8 x turns odds technique focus – get it all perfect, evens get it all perfect at race pace. All sets were standard USRPT rules.

    Set #1:
    16 x 25 (40) 100 pace (main stroke or free)
    300 swim
    200 choice
    8 x 25 (1) <100 pace


    30 x 50 (1) 500 pace – problem I had here is my one 500 girl made all her 50s at pace, but last week when we tried a faster interval we didn’t make more than 4 total. I was going to have her go this again as the second set today to see how she did. She did not do well on the 50’s at 200 pace following this.


    Set #2
    16 x 50 (1) 200 pace (free or main stroke)
    300 swim
    200 choice
    8 x 50 (1) 200 pace


    12 x 50 (2) 2nd 50 of 100 free


    12 x 50 (1) 200 IM backstroke pace
    300 swim
    200 choice
    12 x 50 (1) 200 IM breaststroke pace


    Thoughts? Are we struggling because the intervals allow so much high end speed to be part of the workout or am I overreacting to our level of tiredness?


    Boat load of questions here.

    Not sure I understand ” fresh” the system will keep them fresh. When they can no longer hold pace they get to stop. If you have them keep on going for whatever reason then good luck.

    Workouts: I know that is what you wrote. What did they accomplish? i.e. of the 16 x 25 the average made was? Again, I get you wrote it. but how much of it did they make? I really have a hard time believing that kids new to the program/system are making everything. If they are then the speeds are to slow.

    If you are just starting out. Your beginning numbers are a little high and are mentally hard on the swimmer because they think that they have to complete all of them or they failed. Control them in 2 week increases adding 2-4 depending on how the swimmers are doing with the work offered. (the ART of COACHING)

    4 x 25 on 1:00, should be 4-8 starting out.
    6 x 50 on 1:00, should be 6-12 range.
    3 x 100 on 2:00, should be in the 3-9 range. This may take 4-5 weeks to get to 9.
    3 x 200 :30 rest, should be in the same range of 100s and will take as long.
    2 x 400 :15 rest, should be in the 2-6 range, if you have distance swimmers.

    This is NOT some over night adaption curve that in a week will have kids swimming best times. It takes time for them to adapt to the training.

    I took over as Director of Performance for a college program with kids that were some what use to swimming at race pace. But had a recovery day in between and now have NO recovery days and they swim 3 and sometimes 4 race pace sets in a workout and really have no complaints. Sure they are tired. We just came thru a stretch where we had 3 meets in 3 consecutive weekends, traveled over 5,300 miles in two weeks and all swimmers swam within 3% of LTB each weekend.

    Just some thoughts,


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



    I understand it is a process and takes some time. They looked better in the afternoon. I guess the biggest question I had you hit on, were we starting out with too much and trying to move to fast to build up to a full program and is this sort of fatigue normal when first starting out.

    I have attached everything I tracked for the workout, I have the kids keep track of their misses, but record their first miss, last miss and total number made at pace. The paces we used at this practice are directly from a simulated meet we ran the previous Saturday. The plan to use these times to get us started and then follow USRPT rules and lower the pace after 2 successful sets.

    Right now we follow the pattern of 3 mulligans for 50s and 4 mulligans for 25s. I usually count the mulligans towards their total made. If they miss on a 50 they sit out one and if they miss on a 25 they sit out two.

    As a group I have noticed we are very good at 25’s and solid on the 50’s and great on anything that is faster than pace with big intervals, i.e. 8 x 25 (1) @ <100 pace. I have a few kids that dominate their 25 paces so I’m not sure if the next step should be to lower the pace or lower their interval (as we do 25s @ 100 pace on the 40 which is more than the 15s rest allotted).

    In hindsight you are probably right we are doing too much too fast with paces/intervals that are not challenging enough so our race pace volume is too high. This is something I was worried about, and I am making the adjustments based on results as we move forward. As I said before I understand the process and the art of coaching, but as this is a new paradigm for me I feel I am fumbling for a starting point and was reaching out to people who have done and are doing this already for any insights. Appreciate your comments and helpfulness.



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    Forgot to mention, we train most days short course meters so I adjust their paces from yards to meters using the NCAA conversion factor. Again, this was just to get us started to help us find our initial pace. All adjusted paces listed are what they need to be faster than.


    From reading your document it seems your swimmers have to meet their goal times from the beginning. My advice you should ignore goal times for attempts 1 – 4 or 5 as swimmers need time to adjust. Tell them not to look at their times before 5th interval.


    Although completing 16 reps will most likely correlate to the race time, I think you need to offer at least 24 reps for the 100’s if time allows for it. I think you will find that if they can’t get at least 24 before the third fail, moving the pace down will be difficult only doing 16 before. If they can get 18 before the first fail or 24 before the third fail, they should be fine to move down. If they can’t get to at least 10 reps before the first fail after the first 2 or 3 sessions on a faster pace, you can get stuck and some detraining will occur. It has happened to me several times where I got stuck at 7-9 before the first fail and I had to scale the pace back to rebuild my level of conditioning. It may not be an issue early in the season because they will get in better shape and the people doing low reps will probably be able to dig themselves out but once they are in good shape mid season they may hit a wall if they are doing low reps. For the swimmers doing low reps, I would make the pace slower so that they can hit at least 10 before the first fail. They should improve fast and will be able to move the pace down soon.



    I have several thoughts but not a lot of time to respond. OldSchool’s advice has always served me well in the past so I’d recommended valuing his input highly. I hope your meet goes well today.

    I think if they are truly resting when they miss their pace they should be fresh all the time. Just had my top girl break our school record on a “get out swim” at the end of practice on Thursday. They are ready to swim fast any time.

    I think you should be willing to change their paces whenever you think it is too easy for them. If your 500 swimmer completed 30 without missing then the pace is too slow. My best 500 swimmer has gone 5:36 this year with a best time from sections of 5:28. But her training pace is 32.2 because she has proven that she can complete pretty high numbers at that pace but it is still a huge challenge for her. One day she went almost to 40×50 before her third fail holding 31.9-32.1. If we had her going 33.6 based on her 500 she has swam this season, she would swim 50s for 2 hours straight. Just find the pace that is right for them even if it is faster than their actual 500.

    Same goes for the 100 swimmers. I’ll add more later.

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."


    Okay, I’m back now. One other note/story on the pace thing.

    I’ll use my top 100 girl as an example. She came back this season in much better shape than last year. Started out able to make good numbers at 13.75 and with a lifetime best of 55.3 that was technically her pace. She quickly reached the point (within 2 weeks) where she could hold 13.75 or faster for extremely high numbers. Pretty much never had to sit. Even though her best time was still 55.3 we moved her pace down. We’ve kept moving it down even though her best time is 54.9 now so she really only would need to swim 13.75 to be at her pace.

    Yesterday in a test set she swam 30×25 @:40 all at 13.25 or faster. That’s the best set she’s done all season but she’s holding under 13.5 consistently. We’re probably going to need to move her pace down if she comes in next week holding 13.25 for big numbers again. I don’t expect her to swim a 53 at any of our next 3 meets but when we rest and put a suit on for sections I’d be very disappointed if she doesn’t do it.

    So here is my main point/thought. You don’t necessarily want to have everyone swimming at “best time race pace.” You need to be swimming at a pace that will create failure. If they don’t reach the point of failure there will be no training effect. For a swimmer that can hold 33.5 on 50s for 40×50 and not have a problem with it, they need to be at a much faster pace. If a swimmer is holding 12.0 on her 25s and never failing, ask them to hold 11.75 or else sit out. We determine pace more based on what they are doing in practice than on what their times are. You need to keep everyone failing. Oldschool says if they complete a set twice at a certain pace then they have mastered that pace and are ready to move on.

    I think that could also be the reason for exhaustion if they are swimming at a pace that is too easy and completing tons of yards without failure. I suppose our other option would have been to lower the interval but that isn’t the way we have gone. I guess we’ll see at sections how it works out.

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."


    Hey everyone thanks for the input. Just got back from our meet, overall I think we did well. The kids that did the best in practice had the hardest time, I think that is from doing touch at race pace and we need to lower their times.

    Our top 50/100 guys really struggled on the second 50, actually got 3rd in our group, but my initial reaction is because he did work on a pace that was to slow and too much race pace for the week.

    Initial reaction. We will go one set everyday next week on some adjusted paces and then maybe try to add a second pace set the following week one or two days depending on how next week goes. I have a lot of thinking to do tomorrow to plan our week and will obviously make adjustments as we work through, let you guys know how it goes.



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