2 Swim Sets to Help Increase Your Speed in the Water


Triathletes need the ability to settle into a steady pace and swim a long distance during a race. What I want you to do is make that steady pace faster, and I've got a couple of swim sets that can help.

Before launching into the workouts, you need to know the two biggest mistakes that can be made in these workouts. The first error is not going fast when it's time to go fast. You must have a noticeable difference between your steady pace and your fast pace.

The second error is reducing the amount of recovery between swims on the first workout. Triathletes often feel that the least amount of rest during a set, the better. Not this time. You need the recovery so you can go fast.

More: 4 Tips for a Faster Freestyle Swim

Swim Set No. 1

  • 200-meter (m) swim
  • 100m your choice of drills
  • 400m pull with or without paddles

Main Set

Depending on your fitness, swim speed and training time available, do three to five repeats of the set below. Before beginning, select a swim interval that is your current steady pace time, plus 40 seconds. For example, if your current steady pace is 1:40 per 100, the swim interval will be 2:20. That means leaving the wall every 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Actual rest time will vary depending on swim speed.

  • 4 x 100m with a full minute of rest between rounds:
  • No. 1 – Swim 75m at your current steady pace, then 25m FAST!
  • No. 2 – Swim 50m at your current steady pace, then 50m FAST!
  • No. 3 – Swim 25m at your current steady pace, then 75m FAST!
  • No. 4 – Swim 100m FAST!

Cool Down

  • Finish up with 300m pull, with or without paddles, and 100m very easy
  • Total distance = 2300m to 3100m

Note: Workout adapted from Anaerobic Endurance workout No. 7 "Workouts in a Binder for Triathletes."

More: Swim Drills for Triathletes

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