Competitive Swimmer's Training Journal

I have noticed that there are several competitive swimmers and coaches on this board. I thought I would share my training regimen. I hope that this prompts discussion for everybody. Please feel free to offer suggestions and critiques.

I am 29 years old. I weight 180 pounds.

My focus this season is the 100 yard/meter individual medley, the 50 fly, the 50 breast, and the 50 free. My best times are as follows:

100 yard individual medley - 1:01
50 yd fly - :25.53
50 yd breast - :30.75
50 yd free - :22.96

Most of the time in the 50 yd free I hang in the 23 mid to high area. God willing I will get back down in the low 23’s, and make a run at 22 again.

I had ACL replacement surgery on June 4th. I was able to get back in the water in July. I am unable to sprint for now.

I have focused on sprint training to the point of neglecting any aerobic base at all, and I have theorized that this is the reason for the decline in my times that has been slow but sure for the last 3 years.

Between the lack of aerobic training, and the lack of any kind of training at all due to surgery, I have decided to begin with at least 6 weeks of intensive tempo work to regain the aerobic base. I am convinced this will help my 100 yard individual medley. Hopefully by the end of the six weeks I will be able to sprint again.

Sunday, August 17th began my 4th week of intensive tempo.

Sunday, August 17th
300 yard warmup
6x150’s freestyle. 3 minute interval.
2:08, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:12, 2:15. (As you can see, I averaged 45-50 seconds of rest per repeat.)
4x50’s. 1:30 minute interval.
1,3 - fly/back
2,4 - back, free

Bench Press:
1 WU set
7 sets of 3 reps. 210 pounds. Rest 90 seconds between sets.
6 sets seated dumbbell lateral raises.

Monday, August 18
200 warmup
4x100 freestyle. 1:30 interval
1:20, 1:24, 1:27, 1:33. (Averaged 3-10 seconds of rest per repeat.)
4x100 back/fly/back/free. Interval 2:00
1:35, 1:43, 1:47, 1:48?. (Averaged, as you can see, 15-25 seconds rest.)
5 sets of 3 reps with 35 pounds attached.
External rotators
3 sets of 5 reps at 30 pounds.
Dumbbell bicep curls (both hands for each sets.)
4 sets of 4 reps at 35 pounds.
Barbell bicep curls
4 sets of 4 reps at 55-65 pounds.
(Bicep curls are my vanity exercise.)

Tuesday, Aug. 19

Well done,Mikeh,thanks for sharing Your own swimming programs.
I will enjoy reading them through,and they will surely provide occasions of fruitful discussion on “our” Swimming side!

Just as it comes to my mind: depending on conditions of Your knee after surgery,why not to employ H.I. kick sets instead of Intensive Tempo full stroke Swimming in Your GPP? I find they establish a strong base for further development of full stroke sprinting still to come,while keeping full stroke swimming in the Extensive Tempo zone allows to put early seasonal emphasis on technique and stroke details.
H.I: emphasis on kicking also fits nicely with upper body development in the gym,which will again be of precious use when starting full stroke sprinting.

Your comments,as anyone else’s, of course are much appreciated.

My question is how do you distribute overload of kicking, pulling, swimming and weights Pakewi?

first take pulling out of the equation,since we actually do not use any strict "pulling"set,meaning specifically targeted to arm stroke building.
We use paddles overload (full stroke swimmimg),probably as what on the track would be called “power speed drills”,and paddles and band only pulling in some extensive tempo sets as mean of integrating some technique work.
I will get back to this thread and explain some of our programs modalities soon,as requested,hoping to start new discussion.

Greetings all.

I have just got back from a week’s vacation in the Bahamas. Great fun. The pools were not of regulation length (we stayed at a resort) but I was able to get 4 workouts in. I lifted weights in their makeshift gym 3 times, and between numerous snorkling trips I figure I lost very little if anything during that week.

My 17 month old daughter just walked up and clicked the mouse before I was finished with the post! [Grin.]

That makes five weeks of IT. One more week and I’ll switch to speed work. The knee feels excellent. I will be able to start jogging now to build it up further. There is not enough time in the day!

Pakewi, does H.I. stand for “high-intensity”? If so, I agree it is a good idea. You use more kicking that regular swimming for GPP?

Incidentally, I never use pull bouys (sp?) either. I have a theory that they cause you to ride differently in the water than regular swimming, thus adjusting the nervous system incorrectly for sprint swimming.

I’ll be posting more workouts in the coming week God willing.


August 29, 1974
My Birthday!

Flew back from Bahamas this morning and swam this afternoon. I thought I would pick a very fast interval (for me) and see if I could hold it for 4 repeats. Not even close! Felt lousy today. I am a long way from having that kind of aerobic stamina, and I wonder if it might take two GPP-SPP-Competititon cycles to fully get it back.

200 yard WU
4x100 yard free. Original interval 1:20.
1:20 (at this point I dumped the interval and left on the 1:30),
100 EZ
4x100 Individual Medley, Original interval 1:30.
1:30 (dumped interval here)
2:00. Argh.
100 EZ
4x50’s kick on the 1:30. Stayed around 1:13.
Rest 1:00
All0out 50 kick. :49 - terrible! In shape I have gone under :40

Also, as per doctor’s orders, I jogged today for the first time in almost five months! I jogged about a half mile, very slowly, in quarter mile increments.

My best wishes Mikeh!

Yes,H.I. is High Int. with L.I. for Low Int. of course.

We do use more kicking than full stroke swimming in GPP,though the overall volume is balanced out by the L.I. sessions,which are full stroke,sub-aerobic,with a partial emphasis on technique.

Ditto to pull buoys use,at least when you don’t deal with long distance swimmers!

Let’s keep this discussion slowly but proficiently growing!

How much volume of kicking do you use with your atheltes in Italy?

Also,Mikeh,having alook at your W/O and comments:

Your rest times look tight,even for intensive tempo: I actually do not consider anything under 1 minute as “Rest”,so a 4*100 w/20"/30"RI
would be counted as a 400m “split rep” in our approach.
I wouldn’t be scared of longer pause times -something most Swimming Coaches seem to be obsessed by- as they should be very individual,allowing not only general conditioning effects,but also more subtle intra swimming issues to be exploited at the best of one’s perception.

Regarding kicking: if Your session target is general conditioning via intensive tempo full stroke,why not to have a kick set right at the start of the w/o,before any full stroke swimming,which I find to be a good mean of: general w/u by use of larger leg muscles, and precious chance to work on body positioning in the water issues whille still not fatigued.
If You are to include an allout effort,then,and expect to be close to a whatever pb range,I would say Your only chance is to try it at least in the first part of Your w/o,or don’t be disappointed w/ Your +10 on par…put this way it doesn’t actually tell us much!

Good points all Pakewi. Perhaps my extremely tight rest periods could contribute to poor stroke mechanics (certainly I struggle at the end.) Maybe I need to take a step back and not be too obsessed with my loss of aerobic conditioning. I plan on continuing one intensive tempo day per week during SPP speed work. Swimming a 1:02 100 yard individual medley (or 1:10 short-course meters) would be a major step for me coming back from surgery and conditioning loss.

Today, I lifted only.

Bench press
1 WU set - 135 pounds, 6 reps.
5 work sets - 210 pounds, 3 reps on the first 3, 2 reps on the last two.

Plate raises
2 sets 35 pounds, 8 reps
1 set 37.5 pounds, 6 reps.
2 sets 40 pounds, 4 reps.

Close grip push-ups, 4 sets.

I’m impatient - decided to go ahead and begin spped work this week.

Monday, September 2, 2003.

Warmup. (25 meter pool)
4x25 butterfly all-out. Full recovery between.
Times - ?, 15 low, 15 low, 15.1 ht
4x25 freestyle all-out
Times - 14 low, 14 low, 14 low, 14.1 ht

3 sets external rotators. 4-5 reps each. 25 pounds, 30 pound dumbbells.
4 sets T-Bar. 5 reps each. 100 pounds, 115 pounds, 125, 125.
4 sets weighted pull ups. 3-4 reps each. 25 pds, 35, 40, 40.
3 sets two-handed dummbell curls. 5 reps each. 30, 30, 30.

Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Warmup. 25 yard pool.
8x75’s freestyle TEMPO. Times - 1:02-1:03. Rest: 90 seconds b/n each.
Felt very loose and easy.

Jogged 8x200 meters. Very easy. Times - :57 - 1:05. Rested 1:00 minute b/n each.

We’ll see how the knee holds up.

Wednesday, Sept. 5


Clemson,sorry for delayed answers:

> kicking volume is everywhere inbetween 300m/1200m per session,0 to
5 times weekly,non inclusive of W/U practices.
> In an old thread You asked about benching some days in a row…I will
come back on that,just let me have some data gathered all together.


> Re: Speed W/O
Isn’t 25m a little bit too long to start with (unless You’re planning to
go “long to short” :wink: ),when you do have yards available?
A 15" effort doesn’t look like pure “speed work”,no matter what the
sport and regardless of the impact You get from the activity.
Also I would make sure every “all out” effort is a quality one
(time/tecnique wise),and adjust duration/distances consequently.

> Re: Tempo
No " Core/BW " work at all ?
Perhaps in the Sport of Swimming small doses of sprint work could be
included also on days allocated for recovery / general conditioning
most of the season. This is also due to the more vast pool of training
“options” available in the sport when compared to Track ( full
stroke/partial; fly/free; pads/fins).

Your kind thoughts -as well as Clemson’s or Anybody herein
interested) are much appreciated!


Your comments regarding my speed work being a bit too long make me stop and think. I am going “short to long” this year. I have fiddled with that in the past.

A 25 meter butterfly (for me :14-:15 sec) is about equal to a 120-150 yard sprint on the track. An all-out 25 yard free from the blocks (for me 10.8 - 11.3) is about a 100 yard sprint. So perhaps that is a bit long to start with.

For sprint freestyle, you can take a given distance and multiply by four, and you’ll get the rough track equivalent. So the 100 free is roughly equivalent to the 400 meters in track.

In a moment I’ll give my goal time in the 100 I.M. broken down by splits. As I am going to “short to long” I am starting with a heavy butterfly emphasis and moving forward from there.

My goal time for the 100 yard I.M. (in a 25 yard pool) is 1:02.9. My fastest time in the 100 I.M. ever is a 1:01, but that has been several years and I have to start somewhere. The rough equivalent in a 25 meter pool is 1:10.25.

The first meet I will probably swim is short course meters (November). Here is the split breakdown I would like to do:

100 meter I.M. (25 meter pool)
Butterfly - 14.5
Backstroke - 18.0
Breaststroke - 20.5
Freestyle - 17.25

In my training (short to long) I plan to get to the desired split in butterfly, then move on to backstroke, etc.

Most of my practice times are from a push off the wall rather than off the blocks, which is significantly faster, perhaps as much as 1.3-1.5 seconds in a fifty.

My last sentence was confusing. Diving off the blocks is significantly faster than a push off the wall.