Considerations for designing and performing specific training sets for swimmers.

Specific Training Sets

Specific training sets refer to set designs which are closely related to the event being trained for.

The repeats should be at:
• Race speed
• The desired stroke rate
• The desired stroke count
• The desired breathing pattern

This type of training needs to be done twice per week.

Specific training sets can be done as sets entirely at race pace or integrated with other sets with repeats at lower intensities.
Coaches should introduce this work early in the preparation. It is often left until it is too late resulting in incomplete adaptation taking place.

The early season race specific sets require reduced volume compared to the quality phase of training.


Considerations for designing and performing specific training sets.

• It is critical for the swimmer to be able to swim at race speed.

• The rest period must be long enough for speed maintenance but short enough in some sets to create an endurance stress.

• Each swimmer must practice swimming at the required speed with the desired stroke rate and stroke count.

• The 100m events require sets designed for the first 50 as distinct from sets created for the second 50.

• Racing at constant velocity is a common strategy used in the events 200,400,800&1500. Specific sets may need to be developed for the first 50 split of the 200, first 100 of the 400.or first 200 of the 1500.

• Speeds need to be determined from the projected race time and not current PB.

• Individual medley sets need to be done as broken IM’s as well as sets dedicated to each particular stroke.
• Swimmers need to learn what the selected stroke rate and speed feels like. Get regular feed back from the swimmer of what they think their stroke rate and time was. By doing this the swimmer will become more in tune with their body.
• For sets for the first 50 of the 100, repeats can vary from 25 to 40m. The second 50 is best reproduced with 50m repeats. Maximum distance of 400-500m per set.

• Sets for the 200 events are best done as 50s with a maximum distance of the sets achieving up to 800m.

• 50s and 100s are the best repeats for the 400 race pace work. A well conditioned swimmer can expect to swim about 1200m in one of these sets.

• Race speeds for the distance swimmer are regularly achieved in their VO2 or heart rate sets. Up to 3000m are swum in these sets.

• Race specific training is an essential part of all preparations and must be included in the training cycles from the early stages of the preparation to achieve a complete adaptive response.