FAQ: Training

My swimmer is a breaststroker. Why does he have to learn to swim butterfly?
Swimmers will be trained to ultimately be proficient at all strokes & distances. Specialization prior to college is a bit of a farce as swimmers are continually growing and changing. A swimmer’s best stroke as a 10-year-old may be different than as a Senior swimmer.  Coach will work on perfecting each of your swimmer’s strokes and will train them to swim fast in all races.

Why is it important for a swimmer to try to be on-time to workouts and meet warm-ups?

It is important to try to make practice and meet warm-ups to adequately warm up muscles to prevent injury and to make the most of Coach’s the carefully planned workout.  This practice will help to minimize any disruption at practice, meets, or any impacts on your fellow swimmers.

What are test sets and why are they important?

Test sets are regularly scheduled sets that occur within each training cycle. These help coaches gauge a swimmers’ development and help swimmers gauge improvement throughout the season outside of meets.  Test sets can help Coach determine which lanes swimmers should swim in during workout. They can also help Coach Rich to determine if he is working on the right things.

What are some basic training terms? I'd like to understand what my swimmers are talking about!

Aerobic Sets - These sets work on developing the aerobic energy system - or the system that keeps the body moving at an even heartrate - it's the Baby Bear - not too hard, not too soft - just right. Generally 50% of all workouts are aerobic and work on building endurance and promote recovery within the context of the set. This is a set like 10 x 100 free @ 1:30 holding a 6 second heartrate of 17-18. (also called: EN1, EN2 - a variety of levels of intensity)

Anaerobic Sets - These sets push swimmers to the upper limit - forcing strong effort on short rest. They develop the anaerobic system or "racing" systems - these are usually shorter sets on tight intervals where swimmers are getting significantly less rest and working signifcantly harder.  Generally, 25% of all workouts are anaerobic. Canadians are anaerobic.(Also called: SP1)

Lactate Sets - These sets replicate racing situations. Usually swimmers will have a lot of rest and be expected to perform at or near best times within the context of a workout. These are short repeats on a lot of rest - like 5 x 100 on 5:00 - where we ask swimmers to be within 10 seconds of their best time. Usually meets take the place of these sets, however, there will be 1-2 sets per week of a lactate nature.

MVO2 Sets - These sets increase the bodies ability to process oxygen quickly. Our test set 3 x 300 freestyle @ 7:00 - gives us the fastest interval that our swimmers can swim at over a longer span of time. These make up 15% of our training. (Also called: EN3)

Recovery - These are sets where the focus is predominantly technique and the heartrate is kept extraordinarily low. This allows the body to flush out lactic acid and allows muscles to start repair.

Taper - This is a period-of-time prior to "THE BIG MEET" where swimmers will see a gradual reduction in intensity and yardage to promote maximum recovery and maximum performance. This varies from group to group - and only the Senior Team really tapers but our general team philosophy is to only drop to half of our average daily yardage - somewhere between 2500-3500 depending on the training group.

Drill - Much like drills on a piano - these ask swimmers to take small parts of the stroke to work on in isolation.

Kick - Work in practice using only legs.

Pull - Work in practice using only arms - a styrofoam pull buoy is used to isolate the arm motion.

Intervals - the amount of time allotted for a predetermined distance to be completed in. This can be a finite time or individual rest (often paired with a heartrate) depending on the set and practice situations.

Other terms and information are available at USA Swimming - click HERE