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 ūüôā 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


80% Aerobic. 10% Anaerobic


Warm-up FC 200m. Steady, long, smooth. 30 seconds rest 05:00
CH 200m . Fartlec. 10 Strokes easy, 5 strokes sprint pace. 30 seconds rest 10:00
Main Set 10 x 100m as: 02:00 / 02:30 / 03:00 30:00/ 40:00+
90% effort out. First 25m

80% middle 50m

100% effort in. Last 25m

4 x 100  IM Order

As CH 50 Kick or Drill/ 50 Swim



36:00 / 53:00
FLY. Single Arm Fly

BC. SloMo

BR. Extended Glide

FC. Zip Up

25m Fly Kick, BR arms to deep end 37:00 / 54:00
8 x 50 CH

From Deep End for start

0:45 // 01:00 //  01:15 45:00 / 60:00 +
Warm Down 200/100 FC Smooth 60:00


Hard work

The set is the kind of thing we give 10 and 11 years olds who are lighter and more flexible and probably than this overweight and unfit 50 year old. After a week in the sea I had hopes for staying the course, though up late to watch the Opening of the London Olympics left me tired.

Warm Up 200m FC

6 x 100m FC as 50 drill, 50 Swim


Short arm doggie paddle
Long arm doggie paddle
Single arm (left)
Single arm (right)

6×50 FC on 1.15

4×100 alternating between FC and something else

8x25m in IM Order

Swim Down

Surely I’ve missed something?

The doggie paddle was surpringly hardwork as you have to kick hard to keep the head up. It got me thinking about the shape of my hand – as I started doing on my sea swim I closed the thumb to creat a paddle. I don’t know if this is better but it feels more efficient.

Between the FC I do BR, working hardest on my transition, often getting half-way down the pool. I must have been feeling chipper as I tumbled all the 50s and for a few moments felt I was finding something – too much of it remains a slog, my lungs become sticky, I still get cramp in the my feet and towards the end I feel sluggish. I did push hard on the 100s and 50s now and when asked to swim Fly I will complete the length.

Wonderful support from our coach David who is so attentive even though he has three lanes of Masters swimmers. Tips for me on FC and BC.

FC to slide the hand in (last week it was relaxing rather than lifting my head)
BC to breathe (last week it was straight arm recovery)

This was a surprising and effective fix – by breathing as if I was on my front I found balance and stability that allowed a steady, synchronous set of strokes. My legs are ek though.



I should be able to remember the session – I’m traumatised enough from the experience (in agood way).

200m FC Warm Up
6x50m on 1:10

BC Drills
4 x 50m BC single arm
2 x 50m BC Torpedo kick
2 x 50m BR kick on back
2 x 50m Old English (the only one I enjoyed)
6 x 100m FC on 2:20
6×75 as FC and alternative stroke (I did BR)
100m swim down

I was warmed up enough for the 6x100m to go out first and compete. I got well into the grove or zone on the first, boyed up by the tips and support I’d had from the coach on head position and positive remarks a out the fluidity if my stroke. I even did flip turns. If I can retrieve this level of fitness to continue throughout the session THEN I’ll get fit and find my form (for a fifty year old)

Constructive criticism and positive feedback delivered in the right way works wonders, David watches his swimmers and has some useful pointers which I apply, slavishly, however awkward it may feel.

Swam a mile

I managed this sooner than I expected. I was down at Wave Leisure, Lewes for my early morning swim I swim ten lngths at a time (250m) made up of two 100 m i.e. 8 lengths of FC or BR then 50 m or two lengths as kick and then rest then repeat either on front crawl or breaststroke. In my simple way This lets me keep on top of how many lengths I have done. As i tite easily I use the kicker float as a pull-bouy and so do some of the FC as arms only.

E only set back? I cannot aford £4.10 a swim and buying in advance gains 1 swim for every 10. The alternative is a direct ebit that lets me come and go as I please.

Masters Two

It would be far too easy to make an excuse and skip the pool just because I felt a little bit grizzly. A swim it would be come what may.

Others tell me of nightmare swims. They can’t expect me to fly. Or as yet to cover great distances against the clock. This was a ‘remedial’ class.

200m FC
12 x 50m keeping in deep and long like Michael Phelps
6 x 25m lane clear exaggerated and slow
Some BC
A swim down

I used the pull-bouy from time to time.
I got cramp in one foot and then both.
My lungs became a little sticky from plegm.
I hung in!

Masters Swimming : Day One

No fuss, at 7.20am yesterday I made it into the slowest lane (of 6) as a Masters Swimmer with Mid-Susses Marlins Swimming Club. I felt like an outsider, like the teensger who occassionally dropped it to train with City of Newcastle and had to tag along as no.11 in a frenetic and driven club session often so out of place that i’d throw up on the side in my effort to keep up with the ludicrous pace. None of that here, I nearly volunteered myself into a mid-week remedial class. Instead I came away with 2000m completed; the pacing, spacing and emphasis on technique all thwt I could manage alternating between FC and BR:

200m warm up
12x50m FC long legs, reach, high elbow and slow with ample space between swimmers.
16x50m alternating between FC and own stroke trying to do a Michael Phelps with the head lower, the water brewking over the scalp.
200m Full Stroke (though I did it with a pull-buoy)
100m Swim Down

If there was any more to it I didn’t notice. There were odd moments to make small talk (who are you, I recognise you from somewhere. I am still known as ‘The Wellyman’ despite giving up the deck boots two years ago). I enjoyed being the pupil not the ‘teacher’. I was far better able to observe and appreciate the coach’s style as a ‘mystery shopper’. Firm, friendly, informed.

The return to swim teaching and coaching

Staggered. The masters in the club hold World, European and National swimming records. These successes and the numbers of masters swimmers are in part what make ‘the Marlins’ such a success.

This is only my second day poolside in three weeks, indeed only my second day in ten months having taken a break from swimming coaching, something that became an important part of my week nearly five years ago as I climbed the ASA qualifications: I now have 10/11 modules successfully completed but will need six months I would have thought to get back up to speed with the complexities of developing young athletes to County & Regional standards.

I receive an official club polo shirt. I have a couple more somewhere, along with a Really Useful Box (they are) containing folders, reference books and qualifications.

Saturday a.m I teach (in future weeks I may also have an early morning swim). There have been days when I have taught or coached six times a week,sometimes clocking up 16 or more hours of coaching, teaching and preparation.

Our club is the largest in the South East Region (a vast area that takes in the entire Southern and South East chunk of England excluding London. We have over 1000 active members. Of these, if I remember the figures (I have taken the club successfully through Swim 21 Accreditation three or four times now) some 200 are Masters swimmers, not quite 100 in competitive squads, but an easy figure to work with, leaving another 500 in teaching groups and 150 in training groups, with another 50 playing water-polo. We swim at four venues, with Saturday mornings at Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath ours exclusively.

Today I conveniently find myself with the same grade of swimmer for the three 3/4 hour sessions that start at 9.15 a.m. after three hours of masters. There is a qualified level 2 ASA assigned to each of five lanes with a sixth ‘behind the group’ taking one of the groups new to club swimming who are still on widths.

Historically I have kept a meticulous electronic record of ‘my’ swimmers, using FileamakerPro to collate all manner of things regarding the swimmer’s progress, strengths, weaknesses and times; a system that became more detailed at the competitive level as i helped nurture, develop and direct talent into a skills group then mini-squad.

I feel I have a good eye for potential, which is reflected in a natural fluidity in the water, a sense of eagerness and skill in and underwater that is best described as ‘fish-like’ as well as an eagerness to listen, learn and apply training methods (evidenced of course by competitive times).

To say I am yet to get into the swing of things is an exaggeration: I remember my registration and skills charts and flip-flips (used to be deck wellies, hence the nickname ‘the Welly boot man’) but forget a bottle of water, whistle and stop watch. I don’t even have my Kindle that I’ve taken to use as diagrams from ‘The Swimming Drill Book’ are brilliantly illustrative of what I want the swimmers to do. With squads I used a digital camera, typically to record and monitor strokes into and out of the turn.

Today, after a warm-up and an unscheduled Front Crawl time trial we are working on Breaststroke and Breaststroke turns.

My warm up, the swimmers are age 8-11, our Grade 5 (which is about ASA NPT Grade 8 I think), comprises off.

50m FC smooth swimming.
50m BC smooth swimming.
25m FC as 5 strokes hard/fast followed by 5 strokes slow/smooth and climb out.
They then do a dive, with an extended transition and break-out for a few strokes then easy to the end.

Whilst you teach the group, you support, observe and address strengths and weaknesses of the individual. Glancing at the swimmer to take in their overall body position, head position and action, shoulders, position of torso and legs in the water, becomes second nature. This applies from the moment they push off and includes any turn and how they finish. With each stroke you are always looking at: Body, Legs, Arms, Breathing and Timing and placing the swimmer on some kind of continuum of development, judging what they clearly can do which warrants them being in the group, wondering why they are in the group if they cannot (there are many justifiable reasons for this) and often wondering why they aren’t a group or more ahead, indeed, wishing they would take a second swim in the week or join our skills group for developing talent.

In my first group an eight and nine year old stand out, the younger swimmer I took for a few months over year ago: she is sharp and enthusiastic. A high elbow and steady kick the tumble turn and the dolphin kick through the transition are all there. The nine year old is new to the club this term and shows the gymnastic grace of someone who has been swimming from an early age. The eleven year old would ideally be several grades higher by now. As the Principal Teacher put it to me, and we have said before, “we need them younger and to come with us with more of the basics in place’.

I make a point of using the swimmer’s name repeatedly so that I know that all after their first session: this becomes a challenge if I see more than sixty swimmers a week – there was a time I might have been seeing over 200 different swimmers.

We asses the swimmers as we go along: I like to be sure they can do a thing on three different occasions across the term and will put emphasis on fixing problems early in an attempt to get most through.

Of the 13 swimmers I take today only 1 swims twice a week. At this age this makes a huge difference to their progress, they are of course far more likely to pass through the grade and at times a swimmer is considered competent enough to jump a grade. This one answer to fast tracking the swimmers as they arrive at the club; the challenge is always the dedication of the parents or a parent to bring their child along.

The session after the 50m time trial (most have a dive, some a reasonable transition with some even doing a tumble turn) may have started with a bit of fun, either ‘otter’ in which they mimic a sea-otter collecting oysters from the seabed and cracking them open, to bouncing the length of the pool in a streamlined position. Then, with breaststroke a length or two to asses, then whole-part-whole with legs the part, first on the back, possibly with two floats, then on the front working into the drill 2 kicks 1 arm pull (2K1P). Invariably there are problems a) leg kick not symmetrical and b) arms pulling done to the side to the waist. I address this through demonstration, if necessary on the poolside and occasionally with a wiggle under the arms. The transition is taught in three parts: the 3 second glide out, the 2 second glide arms at the side after the ‘key-hole’ action, then sneaking the arms up and off.

I added a 100m swim of 25m BC, 25m BR, 50m FC.

A BR sprint over 25m

And some skills/fun: handstand, summersault and mushroom float.