Rules of the road

The Rules of the Road


This handy guide is a quick explanation to reading workouts, knowing your place in space, and leading the pack. Give it a quick read before practice and it might make things just a bit smoother for everyone.


Workout Vocabulary


Often times, what causes confusion in the lane is the workout itself. I do my best to write up a succinct and easy to understand workout, but it only works when you all can understand the vocabulary. So here’s a quick tutorial



8 x 75 @ 1:30 – IM order - kick / drill / swim by 25


8 = the number of repetitions to perform


75 = the total distance of the repetition


@ 1:30 = is the interval TIME. You have 1:30 to complete the rep AND rest. Once 1:30 has been reached on the clock, you start the next rep. For more info check out this link regarding “Watching the Clock.”


IM order = individual medley order = fly, back, breast, free. One stroke per repetition


Kick / drill / swim by 25 specifies how you complete the rep. In this instance, the 1st 25 is kick, the 2nd 25 is a drill of choice, and the 3rd 25 is swim.


This is only an example but shows the basic parts of the set. If you have any questions, check out these links for more info on how to read a swim workout.


For more workout tablature check out these links:


Lane order


Another very important aspect to keeping things running smoothly is setting up the order with which people leave for a set. Typically, you want to place yourself in order from fastest to slowest based on what you’re doing. This allows everyone to get a good set in and have less of a chance being passed. This also means that if you’re a leader for one set, you might NOT be for another set. For instance, when I swim free or fly, I’ll be closer to the front end of the lane. But put me on a kick board, and I’m gladly trying to do my best to catch the feet of the person in front of me.


The Lane Leader


The person designated to lead a set has special responsibilities. Not only does he or she need to be aware if everyone is ready to start the set by asking, but they also have to be in charge of watching the pace clock (not your watch.) The lane leader sets the pace for the set and ensures that the interval is being met. If you’re the leading, please make sure you know how to read the clock and check with people before starting the next set!



The entire effort in this page and at each swim practice is just geared at being aware of your surroundings and respecting your teammates. Everyone wants to have a good workout and enjoy a good time. As long as you keep that in perspective, you’ll have a great time!