Pre-Christmas Workout for Masters ‘A’

Masters Thurs 21 DEC 2017 A (COMPETITIVE) COACH COPY

Phase Activity Target TRT/Rest Dist: Dur: Total
W/U 3 x 150m as:

FC 1 x 50m Swim, 1 x 50m Pull, 1 x 50m Kick,

BC 1 x 50m Swim, 1 x 50m Pull, 1 x 50m Kick,

BR 1 x 50m Swim, 1 x 50m 3 Kicks on Arm Pull, 1 x 50m Kick,

15” Rest after each 150m 450 10 10
MAIN Race Pace Set 1

6 x 75m FC @ 200m FC pace

Try to develop your underwater kick throughout the set.  

1:03 01:15 450/900 9 19
Recovery 1

200m FC  25m Kick on Side, 75m Breathe every 5

05:00 200/1100 4 23
Race Pace Set 2

6 x 75m BC @ 200m pace

1:10 01:30 450/1550 10 33
Recovery 2

200m FC  25m Kick on Side, 75m Breathe every 5

05:00 200/1750 4 37
Race Pace Set 3

6 x 75m BR @ 200m pace

1:18 1:45 450/2200 12 49
Recovery 3

200m FC  25m Kick on Side, 75m Breathe every 5

05:00 200/2400 4 53
4 x 25m IM Order Sprints: 1 x 25m of each: Fly, BC, BR, FC 0:45 100/2500 4 56
S/D 200m CH Easy, Long, Smooth swimming 02:30 200/2700 4 60+
TOTAL 2500m

Not helped by having one swimmer in the lane being joined by three others after she had completed the warm up. We began to make up time but cutting back the rest of the Race Pace Set in turn for 75m FC to 01:15 from 01:30, for 75m BC to 01:30 from 01:45 and for BR to 01:45 from 02:00.

I have found that there are Masters who want to add rest, and Masters who want to cut back on rest. I do rather think that they ought to go with the sessions prepared for them. I would worry that they not working hard enough on these Race Pace Sets if they can get away with less rest.

The programme also lost Recovery 3 so that could get it all done in an hour.


I have


Masters Thurs 23 NOV 2017 A (COMPETITIVE)  

These swimmers can take a punishing schedule and are highly competitive. They will swim a set based on the National Squad, with a little more time for turn arounds and sometimes fewer repetitions.

Phase Activity TRT/Rest Dist: Dur: Total
W/U 1 x 200m FC

1 x 200m IM Kick (50 FLY, 50 BC, 50 BR, 50 FC)

Continual swim 400 10 12
MAIN Race Pace Set 1

18 x 50m through IM order @ 200m IM pace

6 x 50m Fly to BC

6 x 50m BC to BR

6 x 50m BR to FC

1 min rest after 6 x 50 12  x 50m
900 20 32

400m FC as 4 x (50m with pull-buoy as (25m FC kick, 25m FC arms only) + 50m FC)

Slow easy swimming just above 1500m pace, do not rush or race this.

05:00 400 8 40
Race Pace Set 2

24 x 25m @ 100m pace

Additional 1 mns rest after 8 and 16

0:30 600 14 54+
S/D 1 x 300m CH Easy 02:30 300 6 60
TOTAL 2600m


Only one swimmer to begin with, the second joining during the first Race Pace Set. I was asked about lactate production and didn’t have an answer. Up to Race Pace Set 2 the sets had gone like clockwork, to the upper limit of the margin I had given. They took an additional breather of 2 mins+ before this and took a longer rest at the 8 and 16 mark giving themselves only 2 mins for a swim down. One swimmer did all of the RPS2 as Fly, the other with a mix of strokes. One swimmer completed the swim down in the public lane.

Backstroke (Teaching Grades 4-7) ASA NPTS 9-10

I used Swim Drills as a prompt.

Poolside I don’t have time to read the tips (I know the book inside out anyway). What I can do is glance at the images as a reminder. Each chapter runs in a logical chronology in terms of ability and the drills that are likely to be appropriate.

We start poolside for a few moments before entering the water.

From the brilliant ‘The Swimming Drills Book’ Ruben Guzman. (2007) p.44

I want the swimmers’ shoulders against the tiled walls. Usefully there are protruding columns too, so that I can demonstrate and have them all in vision. I have to have them in reverse hight order so that the smaller ones can see.

We run through the drill three times with each arm, raising the hand like a dagger, turning the palm to face the tiled wall when it is perpendicular, then brining it above the head, as if entering the water, little finger first.
I repeat this for the other arm.


2 x 50m FC
1 x 50m BC


From the brilliant ‘The Swimming Drills Book’ Ruben Guzman. (2007)

Repeat from the deep end.

Streamline stretch in the water.
Bounce up an down.
Get this right then have them do a length of kicking on their backs.
None of the groups required a float (perhaps the 7 year old in the Grade 4 group)

Using the lane rope they swim 50m in one direction, then 50m in the opposite direction.

From the brilliant ‘The Swimming Drills Book’ Ruben Guzman. (2007 )

This is the’pull lane rope’ drill in which the outside arm touches and takes the lane rope, this helping (as the drill by the wall) to get the swimmers to rotate into the stroke.

More kicking, one arm stretched out, the other by the side doing a ‘sail boat’ drill.


Roly-polly straight down the black line down.
Jump in off the block into a pencil jump.
Bounce all the way down to the shallow end.

Double-arm pull

From the deep end to use the blocks.

Racing start on backstroke, with a streamline glide ‘Like a harpoon’, a few dolphin kicks into the stroke at race pace.
Get them to count (or recount and verify) the number of strokes it takes them to get from the 5m flags in the shallow end to the wall.

From 2m beyond the flags in the shallow end
Swim in demonstrating a Backstroke tumble turn.


‘Sea Otter’ to the deep end
(Duck dives to the bottom of the pool collecting imaginary oysters that they bring to the surface and crack open on imaginary stones on their chests)


Raise arm to the perpendicular,
Pointed up at the ceiling.
Pause to rotate the hand then lower into the catch

(The grade 4 & 5 swimmers got this, while it took several goes and a variety of tactics before the grade 7 swimmers go it. More to do with the group than their age).

Used an image from the Swim Drills Book (have it on a Kindle)
Demoed upright from the poolside
(This worked for most)

Identified the swimmer who could do it and had them demonstrate.
Had them count ‘One mississippi’ with the hand paused and pointed at the ceiling, then another ‘Mississippi’ once they had rotated the palm.

Finally had them swim in pairs, over one length, checking on each other to synchronise the drill.

Synchronised Backstroke Drill (one to repeat)
(I do something similar with single-arm fly drill. They enjoy working like this and concentrate enough on the synchronicity to get it right)

Another RACE PACE swim
Start using the block
Correct position of feet,
Tucked in, head back
On my command using the whistle

A 3 lengths IM of BC, BR, FC,

Depending on timing a FUN FINISH

(Straight legs, legs together, pointed toes)

Mushroom or canon ball float

‘Dead swimmer’

Sitting on the bottom of the pool

On this occasion flyers were handed out for the next Gala. What is the best solution for this? They take them wet, into the showers, some then forget them, most hand over a dripped on or soaked flyer to their parents?


The swimmer who can’t dive can’t do a somersault either. Indeed, when doing a mushroom float they are likely to lift their head even here.
There is rarely any group cohesion, so working in teams of two or three for a drill or for something fun like ‘sea otter’ make it more like party games.
To get them into race mode I use a whistle; I should have a stop watch too.

Things to monitor, measure, weigh, count and assess during a competition

Things I monitor during competition and why

Everything and anything.

Finish time, splits, stroke rates & stroke count, quality of starts, turns and handover (videoed).

Heart Rate.


Intake of food & drink.

Medications (if they have any).

Competition Data

Type of Data

  Everything can be measured, assessed and improved … and then compared like for like until the athlete executes a skill, such as their turn, at a speed that is equivalent to good club, county, regional, national or international standards. Measured in the reasonably repeatable and similar conditions of a competition, i.e. in quasi-scientific conditions. This pre-amble applies to each of the following responses.


Race Pace Does this achieve what the swimmer and coach planned for. If so, well done, if not, why not? And what bearing did this have on the way the race played out and its outcome?


Critical Speed Was it achieved? If so when, too early or too late. What bearing did it have on the outcome of the race. How did it compare to previous competition races swimming the same stroke in the same or a different event. Why is it right, wrong or the desired figure? What bearing will this have on training and the next time this event is raced by this competitor?


Critical Stroke Rates Were they achieved? If so when, too early or too late. From break-out then held, dropping off during the middle of the race, then picking up for the last 25m or 50m. As planned or not? What bearing did it have on the outcome of the race? How was stroke rate affected by other competitors? And the lane swum in. How did stroke rates compare to previous competition races swimming the same stroke in the same or a different event. What worked and what didn’t? What bearing will this have on training and the next time this event is raced by this competitor?


Start Reaction Times Good, better or worse than usual. If so why so? How did this competitor compare to the rest of the field? How will this affect skills training poolside and land-based exercises? Does the swimmer compare well or badly with his or her peers? At what stage are they risking DQ?


Turn Times The turn times produced will tell the coach, the coaching team and the swimmer a great deal: are they performing as planned, or not? If not why not? Is their a component of the turn that is letting them down and needs to be improved? What bearing does their turn have on the outcome of their race?



Stroke Counts Up, down, spot on. Paced during the race. If not as planned what influenced a change and what effect did this have on the outcome of the race?


Heart Rates Degree to which Max HRT is reached and speed of recovery to suggest fitness.


Split Times Strategy during the race – how it was raced and whether it achieved the desire result. i.e. Did the swimmer set off too fast and have nothing left for the end of the race, or vice-versa? Or did they show no control at all speeding up and slowing down through-out. The aim is for the swimmer to feel in control because the race they give, evidenced by the split times, was that planned for.


Finish Times PB or better … or not. Short course or long (outdoors or indoors). Period in the training cycle, health, fitness & psychological wellbeing of the athlete … they can all impact on the finish time.


RPE Their perception and individual response to effort which will vary by personality, level of fitness, mood & state of health. Just as a doctor find out most by asking the patient what they consider to be wrong with them so a coach can find out from an athlete how they are coping simply by asking them. Doctors ask you to rate pain between 0 & 10; here the common practice is to ask the swimmer on a scale of 0 to 20 where 20 is outright effort.


Blood Lactate Levels Ability of the body to remove (or not produce) lactate when under sporting stress, and the ability to train this in … or to exploit a genetic advantage.