Masters Monday 20  NOV  2017 COMPETITIVE A1 COACH COPY


Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: RunT Dur: Total
W/U 3 x 200m  as: 600 600 12/15 12
1 x 200m BC, 1 x 200m FC, 1 x 200m IM
Long strong counts per length. Think long push and glide in tight streamline on every turn.
MAIN 12 x 75 @ 400m FC pace over 75m = 80% Effort (?)

Check targets and monitor pace through set.

1:30 900 1500 18 30
Recovery 200m Reverse IM Emphasis on Distance achieved Per Stroke taken (DPS) 4:00 200 1700 4 34
6 x 100m IM (working on U/W skills) as:
2 x 100m as 50m Fly followed by 50m BC 2:00 200 1900 4 38
2 x 100m as 50m BC followed by 50m BR 2:15 200 2100 4:30 43
2 x 100m as 50m BR followed by 50m FC 2:00 200 2300 4 47
Recovery 200m FC as:
1 x 25m FC kick on side, 50m breathe every 5th, 25m FC any high elbow drill such as ‘Zip it Up/Fingers Trailing’. 4:00 200 2500 4 51
4 x 25 CH Sprint 0:30 100 2600 2 53
S/D 200m CH Easy, long, smooth, silent swimming 4:00 200 2800 4 57+


The Monday Evening Masters session at the Dolphin has 6 lanes and 5 standard/levels of swimmer: A1, A2 competitive, who swim in adjacent lanes each covering respectively 2800m and 2200m approx: in an hour; B Fitness who have two lanes and cover around 1900m, and C1 Competitive and C2 Fitness who cover around 1800m. Historically I have produced three sessions, all a variation on the sessions first devised for A1. This A1 session is often adapted from a 90 minute session put together for the Junior National Squad. In this instance they would have done 24 x 75m FC at 400m Pace on a shorter turn-around time (TRT) and 12 x 100m IM. Recovery was over 300m rather than 400m. There was also a skills set over 8m on underwater Dolphin Kick and Fly Kick On Back with fins. This I drop for Masters as a) only one or perhaps two swimmers have fins and b) they hate UDLK enough to skip it anyway.


This is the Coach Copy. Poolside is in a larger font, of 18pt, sometimes 24pt and leaves out the last three columns that show the cumulative distance covered, duration and running total time covered. As the swimmers do the set I keep an eye on the time it has taken them and the splits. For A1 this above set delivered to the minute. The variations on this for A2, B and C1 and C2 turned out to be too adequate for A2, stretching it for B, not enough for C1 (though they simply dropped parts of it anyway) and about right, though a more demanding set than they are used to for C2. The distinction between Competitive and Fitness is in their heads, as it is the ‘Competitive’ session that delivers the fitness, whereas too many ‘fitness’ sessions simply get the swimmers wet – like going for a walk, rather than a run.



Introducing Butterfly to 8 and 9 year olds


Three groups of Grade 5 Swimmers (NPS Grade 7/8)

The introduction of Butterfly takes time. I have learnt to concentrate on the correct leg kick, initiated in the hits though running from the chin to the toes, before tackling the arms. I certainly see little purpose in introducing the full-stroke for more than a few moments and only once all the parts of the stroke have been introduced and worked on.

I have ages ranging from 8 to 11, with three competent swimmers while the fourth struggles. It is a shame when someone lacks fluidity, who is uncomfortable, even ungainly in water. Ideally such a swimmer ought to be doing a programme that develops confidence through fun. It is always apparent when someone is confident in water, better still, as with a couple of these swimmers, when they clearly feel joy at being in water.

The plan I run to for this grade and age on Butterfly is typically:

A warm up of 2 x 5m Front Crawl, asking for ‘long legs, smooth arms’. Followed by something similar on Back Crawl, asking for ‘steady leg kick, straight arm recovery’.

I then get them out of the water (perhaps better to do this before they get wet, which I did with one group).

Have them against the wall, ankles to the wall, bum to the wall, shoulder blades and head to the wall, then stretch into the streamlined position. I will bring the head forward and invite them to see if by stretching they can make their elbows touch (possible only with the most flexible). I don’t push for the impossible, but rather emphasize (as they are told all the time) the important of streamlining.

(See the Ruben Guzman images in ‘The Swimming Drill Book).

They then step away from the wall and rest their hands at their sides. I invite them to imagine they are wearing a fish tail. I will physically role-play putting on such a thing, over my toes, the ankles together, up to the knees, also together and up to the navel. Some will copy, on reflection I’d get them all to do this and then hop around a bit). Next, to make this tail work they have to move the hips back, then forwards. The point is made that fish do not have knees. We run through this a few times, then they get into the water.

Ideally the swimmers have short fins on. In the deep end an introductory exercise is to have them rest their arms on the lane rope, feet pointing straight down and to do the ‘butterfly wiggle’ trying to gain some purchase on the water in the upright position (far easier with fins on). They are then challenged to do this first away from the lane rope and then with arms raised. From this we go into the kick in the horizontal position.

Whist kicking with a stiff float is potentially painful for the lower back, using a noodle, with outstretched arms offers enough flexibility to do 4 x25 fly kick, perhaps with some of it on the back. As they swim up the pool I will repeat something like ‘bum back, bum forward’ or ‘imagine you are a mermaid,’ or ‘imagine you are wearing flippers’. No surprises that the boys prefer to be dolphins.

From this we go into ‘dolphin’ with the hands at the side, raising the chin to breath, and then jamming to chin in to go down. This might be tied into ‘sea otter’ the game whereby they play being otters, or mermaids, swimming to the bottom of the pool for either oysters or pearls They have to do a butterfly kick throughout. The next step is to do the kick on the surface, ‘stitching’ through the water raising the head with a kick and ducking the head down with a kick.

Then a single arm pull, with emphasis on the straight arm recovery. This can take quite a while to get right, may require a short session on the poolside and usually works best if they are encouraged to turn their head and watch the arm describe an arc through the air. They are also encouraged to think about ‘kicking the hand in’ and ‘kicking he hand out’.

To get them up to the deep end ahead of diving practice I may have them get into the streamlined position then bounced along the black line from one end of the pool to the other. It’s a break, and fun and of value as a drill for diving and streamlining, even controlling breathing.

Diving practice here uses the butterfly kick, so a dive a glide, followed by a dive, 2 second glide then six fly kicks, then 2 second glide, 2 kicks and 2 full arms strokes before swimming out the 25m on Front Crawl. After this, I may ask them to do a 25m of full stroke FLY but only if I am confident they will be able to give it a realistic shot. In my first group one swimmer executed a delightfully fluid and effective 25m of Fly. Most bend the knees and drop the body then struggle to get their arms out of the water.

With a minute or so left they might quickly run through:

• A handstand with pointed toes
• A mushroom float
• ‘Dead swimmer’ straightening out into the streamlined position
• Somersaults.

With a little variation this is repeated with the three groups I take in the morning. They are all aged 8-11. Some are more able than others, with one or two struggling with coordination to such a degree you wonder if they’ll ever get it: all do, if they stick with it. Sadly only one of the swimmers in the three groups swims more than once a week. This, not surprisingly, makes a huge difference, as in any one week they will repeat similar drills, with a different teacher, who may introduce an idea or approach that makes more sense to them.