Coaching IM

According to my Meta Plan for the year I coach IM in the first week of the month – so a bit of everything.

The set of always written in advance, the metres totted up and times calculated. I like to jot down how this goes on the whiteboard so that I can make later adjustments for future sets.


This has more changes in it than usual.

Having introduced the Backstroke to Breaststroke turn I then took the opportunity to add Butterfly to Backstroke and Breaststroke to Front Crawl.

I then wanted some sprints, and to push them a bit. So include 2 x 50m with 3 or 4 swimmers against each other.

My second 90 minutes took in two teaching groups. Teaching Breaststroke can often be a challenge but today was the first time in 20 years of doing this that I had all 7 swimmers unable to do a breaststroke whipkick. This will take some unpicking and a whole raft of ideas to fix: kick with one float, then two, running through the kick in the side of the pool, kick in back, old English backstroke and so on. We managed to for in some dicing too.




Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: RunT Dur: Total
W/U 3 x 100m  as:
1 x 100m BC, 1 x 100m FC, 1 x 100m IM 2:30 300 300 8 8
Long strong counts per length. Think long push and glide in tight streamline on every turn.
MAIN 6 x 75 @ 400m FC pace over 75m = 80% Effort (?)

Check targets and monitor pace through set.

2:00 450 750 12 20
Recovery 200m Reverse IM Emphasis on Distance achieved Per Stroke taken (DPS) 5:00 200 950 5 25
6 x 100m IM (working on U/W skills) as:
2 x 100m as 50m Fly followed by 50m BC 2:45 200 1150 5:30 31
2 x 100m as 50m BC followed by 50m BR 2:45 200 1350 5:30 37
2 x 100m as 50m BR followed by 50m FC 2:45 200 1550 5:30 42
Recovery 200m FC as:
x2 (1 x 25m FC kick on side, 50m breathe every 5th, 25m FC any high elbow drill such as ‘Zip it Up/Fingers Trailing’). 5:00 200 1750 5 47
8 x 25 CH Sprint 1:00 200 1950 8 55
S/D 200m CH Easy, long, smooth, silent swimming 5:00 200 2150 5 60+

As a fitness group they prefer a choice CH of strokes, less FLY and IM and potentially longer rest. They worked their way through this but were short by some 200m so only 4 x 25 sprints and the Swim Down was compromised to 100m. Next time aim to keep the total distance below 2000m.

Masters Monday 6 NOV  2017 A (COMPETITIVE) COACH COPY

This was written to include some ‘Pure Speed’ and ‘Overload’ work for Masters Competitive A Swimmers. The target splits, ambitiously, is what these swimmers can produce on regular 50m swims. With six lanes to manage it wasn’t feasible to call out splits – though this is what would have been required to keep them moving at the required effort.

Phase Activity Target Splits on each 50m TRT/Rest Dist: RunT Dur: Total
W/U 1 x 200m FC  As 50m Kick, 50m Swim 30”  Rest 200 200 5 5
1 x 200m BC  As 50m Kick, 50m Swim 30”  Rest 200 400 5 10
MAIN 2 x 100m FC    Working at 80% + So longer rest after each 100m 35”/40”/45” 3:00 200 600 6 16
1 x 200m   FC        Easy 50% effort 30”  Rest 200 800 3 19
2  x 100m BC  Working at 80% + So longer rest after each 100m 45”/50”/55” 3:15 200 1000 7 26
1 x 200m    BC       Easy 50% effort 30”  Rest 200 1200 3 29
2 x 100m BR    Working at 80% + So longer rest after each 100m 50”/55”/60” 3:30 200 1400 6 35
1 x 200m     BR     Easy 50% effort 30”  Rest 200 1600 3 38
16 x 25m        I M Order. Pure Speed. Fast as possible.

                      Each 25m on 1 minute.

                      Work Hard to justify the longer rest.

1:00 400 2000 16 54
S/D 1 x 200m CH Easy   4:00 200m 2200m 6 60+

Monday evening Dolphin divides firstly into 3: ‘Competitive’, ‘Fitness A’ and ‘Fitness B’.

In actual fact there are 3 competitive lanes, each with different demands/needs, which might divide approximately between age groups 30/40s, 40/50s and 60/70s (80s) with a consequent impact on rest, turnaround times and distances.

When ‘mileage’ has been the drive these differ roughly between 3000m, 2500m and 2000m or less in an hour covered.  

This set was designed specifically around injecting some race pace work, in this instance expecting greater effort and including a longer rest. It was achieved by the A Competitive Lane, with the second Competitive Lane some 300m behind and needing to break the 16 x 25 into 8 x 25m in order to include a swim down.

The pattern of this set, with reduced distances, longer turnaround times and rest and in turn 8 x 25 and then 4 x 25 ‘Pure Speed’ were used for the Fitness B, Fitness C and Competitive C lanes.

To break this down to the needs of individual swimmers is quite impossible, but in most cases they know their strengths and needs and make choices about the stroke they wish to work on. The difficulty is if one swimmer in the lane chooses to ignore the rest or turn around. Rare.

Masters Thursday 2 NOV  2017 A (COMPETITIVE) COACH COPY

Drills included in warm up as part of technique development. Basic Aerobic with some aerobic-anaerobic threshold for 8 x 25m Fly. Club Zone 1. Requires mover threshold and overland work, or pure speed in second third. Distance completed in the hour.

Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: RunT Dur: Total
W/U 1 x 200m FC Alt 50s Zip Up Drill 200 200 4 4
1 x 200m BC Atl 50s SloMo Drill 200 400 8 9
1 x 100m BR  Alt 50s Extended Glide Drill 100 500 3 12
MAIN 8 x 50m FC     Splits 35”/45” 1:00 400 900 8 20
1 x 150m Easy 30”  Rest 150 1050 3 23
8 x 50m BC     Splits 44”/48” 1:10 400 1450 10 33
1 x 150m Easy 30”  Rest 150 1600 3 36
8 x 50m BR   Splits 48”/53” 1:15 400 2000 10 48
1 x 150m Easy 30”  Rest 150 2150 3 50
8 x 25m FLY or CH     Splits 17”/18” 0:45 200 2350 6 56
S/D 1 x 300 CH Easy   2:00 300 2650 6 60+
Total 2700m 1 hour


Masters Monday 16 OCT 2017 A (COMPETITIVE) COACH COPY

Too ambitious and doesn’t cater for the hesitant starts as the competitive swimmers join the late. This can delay the warm up by 5 minutes. Another 5 minutes can be lost in catch-up chatter 🙂 Once underway they swim like clockwork and can often, but not always, make up lost time. The (brackets) indicate where times have been adjusted. 2/3rd of the way through a set was cut and the swimmers given an ‘either or’ option over 8 x 25m CH with dive sprints or 4 x 100m CH. The ‘official’ Swim Down was also reduced, but the 4 x 100s meant they were there already.

Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: Dur: Total
Increasing feel for the water and design to help you master stroke rate
W/U 1 x 400m FC/BC Mix up as you wish Continual swim 400m 8 8
MAIN 8 x 50m FC

Work on underwater DLK. Fast Break Outs. High Stroke Rate

1:00 400m 8 16
4 x 100m

FC Arms or BC Arms Only. Aim for distance per stroke.

02:00 400m 8 24
1 x 400m Super Slow Swimming – Controlled, feel how far you can travel 01:00 rest at end of 400m 400m 8 32 (40)
8 x 50m FC (or CH and adjust TRT)

Set a target for the number of underwater DLK you will do and stick with it!

Fast Break Outs. High Stroke Rate. Tight Streamlines mandatory. Keep your core braced.

1:00 400m 8 40
EITHER 4 x 100m CH 01:45


400m 8 48 (56)
OR 8 x 25m CH (dive from deep end if prefered)

Work on underwater DLK. Fast Break Outs. High Stroke Rate

0:20 200m 4 52
1 x 400m Super Slow Swimming – Controlled, feel how far you can travel 400m (100) 8 60
Totals 3000m (2700m)  1 hour


Masters Thursday 12 OCT 2017 A (COMPETITIVE) COACH COPY


Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: Dur: Total
W/U 1 x 100m FC

1 x 50m FC Kick

1 x 100m BC

1 x 50m BC Kick

Continual swim 300 8 8
MAIN 5 x 50m as

1 x 50m BC

1 x 50m as 25m BC 25m BR

1 x 50m BR

1 x 50m as 25m BR/FC

1 x 50m FC



250 5 13
24 x 25m  Pace Set
Set yourself a demanding time to achieve. Try to achieve this every time.

If you miss the time take 25m out and go on the next one.

Next time we do this try to get closer to 24/24

0:30 600 14 27
8 x 150m as 50m BC 50m BR 50m FC

Odds modest/hard -20 BBM or 80%

Evens Easy – 60/70%

2:30 1200 23 50
S/D Depending on time remaining)

5 (or 3) x  100 as CH

Reducing pace on each from 90% to 80% to 70% to 60% to 50% effort

2:00 400 8 60
Totals 2750m 1 hour


FC/BC/FLY – an aerobic set for T2










400 1X100








Full Stroke

Head Up

Catch Up

Stretch and Easy





A600 6X50 each


F/C Legs Only + Fins head up always

Arms Only + Pull Buoy

Full Stroke Timed off blocks



4 x25 IM IM
A600 6X50 each


BR Legs Only + fins

Arms Only + fins, arms outstretched

Full Stroke

@1:00 30
100 100 FC Arms Only 3
200m F/C SWIM DOWN 4
Total Distance

2800m – 2100

Total Time

60 mins

Mixed set for a teen training group. 2000m One hour

Mixed set for T2  









800 2X100








75 Free / 25 Fly

75 Free / 25 Back

75 Free / 25 Breast

100m IM





200 8 x 25 Alt Fly KOB, Kick on Front @1:15 10
X2 FC 150 Smooth and easy R30


X2 CHOICE 75 BC/BR/Free @1:45
X2 Form (2nd) 50 Focus on fast turn @1:00
750 STF 50 MPS 2:30
200m F/C SWIM DOWN 4

Total Distance


Total Time

60 mins


Masters IM

I haven’t trained in ten years and when I was doing so it was distance swims for Triathlon Relays and charity swims. I haven’t trained with a club for over thirty years. My return t club swimming, with the Masters at Mid-Sussex Marlins SC has been a gentle affair unitl now, not helped by a three week break I join today and have to do a sessions that takes in all strokes, including kciking for fly, back, breast and front. I give it my best shot and struggle.

As a swimming teacher and coach I hear my own voice trying to get the technique right; I also have informed instruction from the coach which feels as if I am being bent double, insome parts my stroke has been doing the wring thing for decades: raising the arms too high during front crawl, failing to bring the feet together in breaststroke and bending my arm ahead of the entry in backstroke. It iis therefore with surorise and delight when I recieve praise for my butterfly, a stroke I have not attempted in decades. Once agai I hear the instructions I give to 7 to 11 year olds aout kciking fromthe hip and turning the hand upwards on the recovering, enter the hand at shoulder width and accelerate back to the ‘pockets’ with a flick. It works. Though in my very unfit state I don’t even manage a length, 20m at a time in four bursts is all that I do.

Exhausted, my heart racing (I check) and out if breath I finish early. I need to be in the water during the week too, possiblly three swims a week to crack it.