Experiments and Observations

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    Given how new true usrpt is (which I still believe is significantly different than HIT), I would like to start a thread where we can post any training experiments we have attempted, and the results we achieved. Given that all the people here have already undertaken the biggest experiment by trusting the research, I’m guessing that many of us are trying to fine tune our practices to achieve the best results.

    Here was my little experiment. Since it was the off season, I decided I would train my own child for the 200 free by swimming 25 yard sets exclusively. We also had plenty of opportunity to practice our turns. We agreed we would try this for 3 weeks and see if it has any affect on his ability to repeat 50 yard sets after this.

    We had excellent results in getting his by 25 goal time reduced. Better push off the wall, more powerful, quicker dolphin kicks, getting up to speed quickly, etc…

    Last week we started up the 50 frees, and, boy, he was frustrated. Over a second slower from his goal time at end of the season. He was not happy with me. However, after repeating the 50 frees in place of the 25’s for the last 5 sessions, he is back to his goal time at the end of the season.

    I took away 2 things from this. the first is that the fatigue factor when swimming 50’s is something that might be hard to replicate with 25’s. The second takeaway is how quickly a swimmer can activate that prior knowledge his brain retains from previous practices. I was amazed that when we hit the 5th practice, it was like flipping on a light switch, and his body remembered how to swim fast 50’s.

    I know this is completely anecdotal, but until I can find studies that conduct these sort of controlled experiments, I think this is the best I can hope for.

    Anybody else experimenting? Even better, how great would it be if a some of us tried some different training experiments, reported the results, and saved everybody from having to reinvent the wheel every season?

    Greg Tucker

    We did something similar. Due to lane restrictions our 100 flyers never swam more than 25s all year. We had nine HS girls achieve their CO state cut.
    On the other hand, our other 100 strokers swam 50s fairly routinely, especially at the end of the year. We had a similar number of successes as measured by State cuts in the breast and back. Conclusion: You can swim fast 100s either way??

    As mentioned earlier, we always arrange our lanes for similar speed strokers are swimming against – and pushing – each other. Conclusion: Kids love to push each other and make each other better.

    We also take extra rest before the last two reps. Maybe 20-30 secs. Then we race, sometimes even putting two freestylers in a single lane and racing four abreast. We also work hard on no breathing for last seven strokes of free or last five of fly. On the last rep, we ask them not to breathe at all when they race. Conclusions: The girls like the “reward” of extra rest at the end of a hard set. Then they like to race fast. Ends set on a high note. The energy and cheering at the end builds team spirit as well.

    Greg Tucker


    Noticed the same thing during the season with our 100 swimmers, too, Greg. We only had 5 lanes so we had them repeating 50’s more out of necessity, but it still gave us positive results even though they were repeating their 50’s at their 200 rp goal.

    We arrange the kids across the lanes before every set so that they are racing each other, too. It really does motivate them.

    This sort of training with a team provides a lot of opportunities to “race,” and I think that must also produce some positive psychological benefits when they really are racing in a meet.

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