Set Of The Week: 50’s Pace & Aerobic Mix

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Welcome to Swimming World’s Set of the Week! This week’s set is 30 x 50’s that is focused on mixing pace work with a little aerobic maintenance. Take a look at the set and the description that follows below:

30 x 50’s as 2 x (15 x 50’s):

1 stroke pace on 1:00

4 free moderate on :40

1 stroke pace on 1:00

3 free moderate on :40

1 stroke pace on 1:00

2 free moderate on :40

1 strokes pace on 1:00

1 free moderate on :40

1 stroke pace on 1:00

***200 easy between rounds

This is a very flexible set of 50’s that mixes in general aerobic work and main stroke pacing. The set begins with a 50 main stroke pace on 1:00 and then alternates between descending repeats of aerobic freestyle on :40 and 50’s of main stroke on 1:00. The idea behind the set is for your swimmers to be challenged to maintain their pace without any significant amount of rest. While they should get roughly 30 seconds or more after each pace 50, once they begin the aerobic free repeats they should be on an interval that gives them between 5-7 seconds of rest to keep them moving.

This adds an extra challenge to the 50’s pace, but also gives your athletes a more realistic sense of what it will feel like to hold a certain pace in a race. As written above, the 50’s main stroke should be at or near 200 pace, but you can adjust that based on your needs or your team’s ability level. For younger age group swimmers, this set may be valuable just to teach them the distinction of different practice speeds and teach how to maintain their stroke despite having less rest.

For distance swimmers, you can also adjust to do the 50’s as 500, 1000, or mile pace and make the intervals on both the pace and aerobic repeats a little tighter to give them less rest (and possibly add in a third or fourth round for volume). However you do it, make sure your athletes are pushing the pace 50’s to keep their intensity up and get the most out of the set. Happy swimming!

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Brandon Simpson

    This is almost as sadistic as some of your favorite sets Aleksandar!!!

Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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