Will training in a 25m pool have an adverse impact on swimmers?

The simple answer is no, training in a 25m pool is not a major disadvantage for swimmers.  In fact, many swim coaches would argue that training in a short course (25 metre or 25 yard) swimming pool provides each swimmer and their coach with more opportunities to practice a variety of skills in preparation for racing.

Swimming in a 25m pool

Swimming in a 25m pool allows the athlete to increase dramatically the number of turns they do each practice.  In a 200m swim they will do 7 turns compared with only 3 in a 50m pool.  Because the turn and underwater swimming off each turn is so important in today’s swimming, the extra practice can lead to major improvements in both short course and long course racing.  Doing turns correctly in a short course pool assists the swimmer to manage their breath control more easily.

Short course swimming is also good for speed work. Sets like dive 15m sprints with 10m easy can be done whereby the swimmer hops out at the end of the pool and walks back.

Training in a 25m pool will also allow the coach to be closer to the athlete more often as they can walk around the ends of the pool and watch an athlete’s technique and skills more closely, more often.

In races, we see faster speeds in short course events than long course. This is mainly due to the extra turns one gets in the short course events. The extra turns in the short course events have many advantages. These include increased speed after each turn (from the push off the wall) and a period of inactivity after each turn when the arms are streamlined underwater. Both of these produce a decrease in lactate concentration in blood and muscle and also lower the heart rate of the swimmer.

Compared with a 50m pool

There are however, some advantages of training in a 50m pool that are difficult but not impossible to replicate in a 25m pool.  Training in a 50m pool will help swimmers to build their endurance capacity.  While short course swimming has a focus on turns, long course is well known for the consistent building of speed through each lap.  Swimmers must hold there stroke technique and rate for twice as long as they need to in a 25m pool.  Training in a 50m pool will build a different type of endurance that is beneficial for both short and long course swimming.

In an ideal world, it would be nice for swimmers to train in both a 25m and 50m pool however many athletes have been successful training primarily in one or the other.