Top Tips,  Training Sessions

5.9km Swim Training session (~2 hrs)

Credit to this session to ‘X’ GB Triathlete, Andy Jopson. 

To complete this as written, you should be capable of swimming repeatedly 100m off 90secs. Times and distances should be altered to match your current ability and fitness levels.
You will need Pullbuoy, Paddles and Flippers.
WARM UP – 1300m

  • 2 x 100m freestyle 10 sec rest
  • 2 x 100m breaststroke 10 sec rest
  • 500 Freestyle. Ensuring bilateral breathing – every 3rd stroke to promote an even/balanced stroke
  • 2 x 100m back stroke 10 sec rest
  • 2 x 100m kicking with board 10 sec rest


  • 50m – doggie paddle – Long pulls underwater with the arms, using fast hard leg kick as constant propulsion.
  • 50m – sculling – Lie on your back, hips close to the water surface with feet out in front of you. Skull with your feet first, pointed toes and really get the feel for that water. This engages the forearms and trains core stability and correct positioning in the water.
  • 50m – corkscrew (or I call it CRAZY CRAWL named after one of my younger water slaves, Kirsty Fehily, just 14yrs old!!) – a key drill for open water swimming. You keep alternating 1 arm frontcrawl, (roll over), 1 arm backstroke (roll over) 1 arm frontcrawl etc etc, so keep rotating like a cork screw up the length. Great for dis-orientation.
  • 3 x 50m – catch up


  • 200 freestyle kick with board – no fins

Fins on

  • 50m butterfly kick
  • 50m backstroke kick
  • 50m butterfly kick
  • 50m backstroke kick

10 x 100 meters, alternating as follows: –

  • 100m IM’s (Individual Medleys) 10 seconds rest
  • 100m freestyle – 10 seconds rest

On the IM’s, (odd numbers), work that butterfly stroke very hard to get your pulse rate right up. Then gradually try to bring that heart rate back to a controlled level for the remainder. Then when you move onto the 100m freestyle (evens), try controlling that pace/heart rate, (getting ready for the next exertion, i.e. the Butterfly length). As only 10secs rest between each of these, it is important to learn how to monitor your heart rate. A heart rate monitor will assist you, as there is not an awful lot of rest period during this set to manually take pulse. (This is a great exercise for mirroring that mass open water start where the pulse rate will often have to adapt to take on board changing circumstances). Your fitness levels will need to be good to achieve maximum results from this exercise, so repeat this set periodically throughout the month to check your progress.

  • 5 x 200m F/S with just 15 secs rest between each. Try to hold pace.
  • 5 x 100m F/S with just 10 secs rest between each. Try to hold pace.
  • 5 x 50m F/S with just 5 secs rest between each. Try to hold pace.

3 sets of the following: –

  • 50m breathe every 3rd stroke, take 10 sec rest
  • 50m breathe every 5th stroke, take 10 sec rest
  • 50m breathe every 7th stroke, take 20 seconds
  • 50m breathe every 9th stroke, take 30 seconds – Ouch !

COOL DOWN – 550m

  • 2 x 100m backstroke
  • 4 x 50m breaststroke
  • 8 x 25m freestyle

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