Train like a master

7A

The slightly misleading term “masters swimming” usually refers to pool-based swimmers aged 25 plus. Masters swimmers compete in five-year age bands (eg. 25-29, 50-54) and the majority of competitions are pool-based. However, as open water swimming has become more popular, increasing numbers of pool-based masters swimmers have started competing outside. At the same time, outdoor swimmers have begun to appreciate the benefits of training in a pool with masters swimmers to improve speed and technique across all four competitive strokes rather than just front crawl, as is common among open water swimmers. Joining and training with a club can really boost your swimming, but we know clubs are not for everyone, so we've put together three different sessions for you to try.

As we’ve mentioned previously, training on strokes other than front crawl is good for your development as a swimmer – and the sessions this issue (guided by the practice in masters swimming squads) make use of that. These sessions focus on technique, strength and conditioning. The winter is an ideal time to focus on developing weaker areas of performance to ensure consistent improvement and progression. We encourage you to identify which stroke requires more attention in technical terms as you work through these sessions and complete proportionately more of this compared to your stronger strokes. For open water swimmers, swimming backstroke can help to develop symmetry and rhythm in freestyle and butterfly improves your functional core strength and conditioning.

Short Distance (750m to 2000m)

Warm up: 100m FS, 100m kick, 100m pull, 100m FS

Main set: 8x50m as 25m choice stroke (not FS) into FS +10 sec rest

4x100m +15 sec rest, as:

1. 75m choice stroke(s), 25m FS

2. 50m choice stroke(s), 50m FS

3. 25m choice stroke, 75m FS

4. 100m FS 

2x200m @ CSS pace +20-30 sec rest

400m FS, every fourth length choice kick +30 sec rest

Cool down: 50m FS, 50m kick, 50m pull

Total: 2200m 

Medium Distance (3km to 5km)

Warm up: 200m FS, 200m kick, 200m pull, 200m FS

Main set: 8x50m as 25m choice stroke (not FS) into FS +10 sec rest

8x100m +15 sec rest, as:

1. 75m choice stroke(s), 25m FS

2. 50m choice stroke(s), 50m FS

3. 25m choice stroke, 75m FS

4. 100m FS 

5. Repeat 1.

6. Repeat 2.

7. Repeat 3.

8. Repeat 4.

2x200m @ CSS pace +20-30 sec rest

400m FS, every fourth length choice kick +30 sec

Cool down: 100m FS, 100m kick, 100m pull

Total: 3200m 

Long distance (10km+)

Warm up: 200m FS, 200m kick, 200m pull, 200m FS

Main set: 8x50m as 25m choice stroke (not FS) into FS +10 sec rest

16-20 x100m +15 sec rest, as:

1. 75m choice stroke(s), 25m FS

2. 50m choice stroke(s), 50m FS

3. 25m choice stroke, 75m FS

4. 100m FS 

Repeat 4-5 times @ CSS pace +20-30 sec rest

800m FS, every fourth length choice kick +30 sec

Cool down: 200m FS, 200m kick, 200m pull

Total: 5200-5800

Guidance notes

CSS - Critical Swim Speed. Effectively training at your threshold pace provides you with significant speed efficiency gains

Pacing - using the pool clock, your own stopwatch or a timing device such as a Finis Tempo Trainer or Wetronome

BB = Bilateral Breathing

UB = Unilateral Breathing

BS = Backstroke

FS = Freestyle or front crawl

BRS = Breaststroke

FLY = Butterfly

PULL = Swimming with a pullbuoy or float between your legs. No kicking. 

Swim Smooth Squad training and video analysis sessions

Triathlon Europe provides weekly Swim Smooth squad training in South West London. The squad enjoy training all year round in fabulous indoor and outdoor 33m pools. Fiona offers 1-2-1 video analysis sessions and stroke correction sessions on weekday mornings and weekend Swim Smooth workshops.
Find out more: www.fionafordcoaching.com

Cover Web Image

Issue 42 October 2020

  • Q&A with Jaimie Monahan - marathon swimmer and Queen of the Ice
  • Autumn swim adventures around the UK
  • The science behind cold water acclimatisation
  • Reviewed: The Best Open Water Goggles
  • The often deadly history of unsupported marathon swims

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