establishing pace times

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    I am a high school coach in Arroyo Grande, CA, and I am planning on implementing usrpt into my training this spring. I did some last year, more in the second half of the season, and it seemed to be very effective.
    One of the things I was unsure of last year was how to establish pace times. At the beginning of the season I talk with all the swimmers one on one and we establish goal times for the end of the season. Should the pace times we try to achieve on usrpt sets be correlated to our end of season goal times, even at the beginning of the season?



    There are a few variables in there but one thing for sure, do not use goal times as pace times. A couple important variables is whether they are coming off of layoff or have they been swimming? Next is…..are they starting usrpt for the first time?

    As per doc, swimmers who are not in their swim shape or are just starting this type of a program will take their established time and even ad time for their pace time until they begin to adapt. So a swimmer who swims a 1:00 100free may need to hold 16’s (instead of 15’s) until they adapt.

    hope that helps some



    I agree with drpaul, ags. Regardless of their goal times for the end of the season, where they are starting is what matters. We do a test set for each swimmer where it is their job to establish a training goal time based on how well they performed the test set. Initially, most of the kids pick slower times than they can actually do because they are apprehensive about “missing” a time. When they see our fastest/hardest working swimmers sitting out the 5th rep of a 50 x 12 because they missed their goal time, they start to understand that if you are truly working to capacity, you are going to miss times. Very important to break the mindset that a missed time equals failure. At this point, I often get swimmers coming up who want to lower their goal time because they realize they are capable of going faster.

    I like this approach because it gives the athlete some ownership, and it allows swimmers who are new to this type of training to feel successful during those first couple of weeks of practice. After that, however, I tend to be the one who makes sure we are keeping on track in goal times and reps. Need to strike a balance, I think, between goal times and yards at race pace for a practice. Both seem important in getting good results.


    You don’t want to start with the end. That is probably the best way to look at it. It is a process to get to that end goal time, also the goal time should be determined by the training. Its great to want to go from 48.7 to a 46.9 but it must be realistic. The only way to be realistic is to start with what you know they are capable of (their actual best time) then progress through the season and track their improvement percentage on protocol sets.

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