Effective Swim Training

by Andrew Mackay

The King of the Bays is the final race of the Series and for those that have pushed themselves through the season I’d recommend taking some time after this event to pull back on the swimming and offer the body an opportunity to recover, as well as providing a mental break from focused training before planning for your “winter block”. During this down time sit back and evaluate how can you do next season better? What can we learn from elite swimmers and apply to our training?

On this website we can learn how the swimming elite strategies are implemented and executed at the highest level. For example we can compare multiple athletes in the Women’s 400m Free at the 2016 Olympics and look at stroke rates, splits and more…



While we are not all aiming for the 400m freestyle at the Olympics (and for the majority of us, the closest we will come to these athletes is when we start at one of the Banana Boat Ocean Swim Races and the NZ and Australian Elites happen to be there to compete 🙂 ) we can still take something from this…

• Have you ever considered what your optimal stroke rate is?
• Do you train multiple paces and vary the time at which you execute those paces within swim sets?
• Do you have structured workouts that have specific targets to develop varying training intensities?

This type of training and knowledge is what could help you climb to the next level within your swimming, and the sessions that elite swimmers complete help them to adapt to racing and performing at that level. Have a look at what Bob Bowman prepared for Phelps at various stages prior to some of his Olympic Campaigns – click here

Most good swim squads will have a range of sessions that focus on various training intensities over varying distances, and a number of coaches will use devices such as a Tempo Trainer Pro to help swimmers develop stroke rates which simply relate to the intensities the individual needs to swim. In my experience I’ve seen swimmers using the Tempo Trainer Pro hit consistent paces, where in the past they’d usually fade through the end of a set.

I see a number of people who don’t swim in a squad, and prefer to swim on their own or with their small social group that continue to train year in year out doing the same thing and getting the same result. This lack of training stimulation tends to result in the same, or close to the same performances. I would simply put this down to the fact that your body knows the workouts you do each week and therefore has comfortably adapted to doing these workouts.

What are your strengths and weaknesses when you reflect on the events you have completed through the season? Was it your starts? Could you start fast enough to get with better swimmers? Were you able to hold pace through the middle of the swim and build to the end so you finished strong? Was it your open water skills? etc.

Things might need to change – what are you going to do about it?
1. Do you need to join a swim squad? There are many great squads in NZ that cater for a range of abilities & ages.
2. Do you need to test what your optimal stroke rates are? **
3. Do you need to evaluate your swimming technique? **
4. Do you need to evolve your swimming program? **

**Services provided by Boost Coaching email andrew@boostcoaching.co.nz

If you would like a taste of what a swim plan could look like then I am offering a 4 week FREE TRIAL for Boost Coaching’s Swim Plan

Good luck to all the swimmers taking part in the last race of the Series and congratulations to many of you who have swum the country this season. Once you’ve finished your season, take the time to evaluate and reflect and drive yourself to be your own Super Champion!


This Swim Tip has been created by the experts at Boast Coaching


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