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    One of the knocks I commonly hear against USRPT is that it can be limited in set design and make things mundane over time. What are you doing to change things up?? I know of the video that was made for this, but I have to imagine that there are others out there with even more ideas…???



    Are you a coach or a swimmer? As a swimmer doing USRPT on my own, I never find it mundane. Why? because every day the challenge is to push the first failure further down the road! I’m not always successful, but the challenge is there each and every day.

    I am not sure why people think there needs to be a vast variety. By doing 50s and 25s I can do many combinations, e.g., one set of 50s and the second set of 25s. Two sets of 25s or 2 sets of 50s. Or do the 25s first and the second set is 50s.

    Also and more importantly, by doing similar sets I can see my progress in my log book very easily.

    When swimmers see their progress and times at meets, they will be pleased. I think coaches want variety more than swimmers. My 2 cents.

    Greg Tucker

    We use energy and enthusiasm on deck and in the water to prevent boredome. Lots of encouragement/teaching. We pair lanes to race side by side. We ask our captains and seniors to lead. We prep our sets so they know what we are asking and why. We create and feed off energy.

    Greg Tucker


    Gruber and Tucker are right! I have run similar system for the past 18 years with 10 standardized protocol sets, 5 free and 5 stroke we run them every week and have for 18 years recording data on each set. Not one kid has quit because it was boring/mandane. They enjoy knowing where they stand with regards to their goals at any point in the season. Wait until they go off to college and come back with “we never do the same set twice” or “they never write anything down” and the list goes on. You want frustration and boredom.

    Standardization will create “teachable moments” i.e. “50s on 1:00” pace is 33sec and they swim in a meet and hold 33.6 for 50s 2,3,& 4. You can now talk about how that set relates to swimming the 200s. They will began to see the correlations and know each set has a place in building the race. That’s not mundane to them that’s engaging.

    I agree with Gruber. I think that coaches feel if they don’t entertain them they will quit and that’s simply not the case.

    and that’s my 4 cents 🙂

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"


    Old school,

    Can you elaborate a bit more on those standardized sets? I taking over out team & we’ll be 100% usrpt. Just trying to have the best game plan possible.



    Sorry for the hijack Rob 🙂


    I read your post on your situation, sounds like you are now up to your “!@# in alligators, trying to remember the primary objective is to drain the swamp” Humor some times helps:)

    The sets we use are more of a Parametric System approach. Same damn principle; swim at race pace for as many repeats as you can and do more than you did the last time. The two differences are controlling the number offered and aerobic swimming (pulling, kicking and whatever else they have you do. We dropped all that back in 90s). Numbers; USRPT is 20-30 x 25, etc. and record numbers. With the Parmetric System you progressive move numbers i.e. week 1 would be 6 x 25 on 1:00, the following week might be 8 x 25, moving the numbers and is based on how the athletes are doing and are they making them or are they having problems. So with a VERY fundamental understanding here are the sets.

    Senior swimmers do: They will do 3 sets per day and QUALITY OF MOVEMENT sets/TECHNIQUE between sets
    n x 25 on 1:00, fr & stk
    n x 50 on 2:00, fr & stk
    n x 50 on 1:00, fr & stk (can be modified to 1:10 for Br/Fl)
    n x 75/100 on 2:00 fr & stk
    n x 150/200 with :30 rest fr
    Distance kids may also go:
    n x 400 fr with :15 rest

    Early season they will go 1:30 to 1:40 practice time and as numbers progress will be in the 1:50 to 2:00 hours per workout. Which makes total since as they become more “fit” they can do more.

    Age groupers: This is what we call the “IM protocol” The interval is going to be controlled by ability and the amount of time you have for practice. ” We train for the IM” can’t tell you how many times I hear that from age group coaches and when asked about what sets they do “they don’t have a clue”

    They will do 1 to 2 sets per workout depending on how they are doing with quality of movement and speed. My age group coaches have a good feel for when the wheels are about to come flying off the wagon and always have a quality of movement set ready to go.

    n x 25 fl
    n x 50 ba
    n x 50 br
    n x 75/100 as fr

    it’s a simple game. Once you understand the rules.

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"



    That’s pretty funny considering we are the Gators swim team!!

    Thanks for the help


    I am both a coach and a swimmer. I am in the midst of rehab for my own shoulder from a recent surgery, and had about 6 months of coaching experience with USRPT (20+ overall years in coaching). Once I get going again, it’s my intent to “eat my own dog food”, and train myself in the USRPT model. I expect to be very much in the minority when it comes to training in a masters environment and doing this much (or any) speed work. Masters swimmers in so many cases are opposed to this because it takes them way out of their comfort zone, and with many of the swimmers today being triathletes who want nothing but freestyle and yardage, I’m likely going to be reaching out to a few folks I know who I race against and see if we can come up with some kind of training group. Seeing what I have in USRPT from the kids I’ve trained, I cannot deny this does work, and much more so than the long-slow model. It’s a different mindset, which I love as well, but you gotta come to every practice with the intention of racing. I live for that… Especially after growing up in a model where if you’re not training more than the other guy, you’re going to be losing to them – to the tune of around 12-16K yards per day + weights + dryland. It’s no wonder I’m fighting with shoulder issues in my 40’s and get nauseous at the thought of swimming any repeat over 200 or a set more than 2000!!

    From a coaching perspective, we called the USRPT sets the “bricks” and the warm-up/warm-down items the “mortar”, and during the season, we strive to see just how high of a wall we can build. While you are able to slightly vary the bricks you assign by number and stroke, there is an eventual limitation on truly original sets, assuming you stick with the Rushall guidelines (mixed methods = mixed results). I’ve prided myself on NEVER giving the same set twice (ever) with the only exception being periodic test sets. Now, when it comes to the mortar, we definitely leverage that to mix things up – drills, recovery, pull, kick, games, etc. We’ll see how it goes with my attention span of a gnat! I was just looking to see what others do to see if I may be able to augment what I do as well.

    Energy is not a problem.. If you’ve ever seen Todd Schmitz (Missy’s coach), and his energy on deck, I like to think he got that from me when I was his coach 🙂 I’m a big practice cheerleader and highly interactive with mechanics, encouragement, & watch times. If I don’t leave a practice in a sweat, and a hoarse voice, I’ve left something out!


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