Set Of The Week: Aerobic Descends With Equipment

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

Welcome to Swimming World’s Set Of The Week! This week’s set is a general aerobic set that mixes in equipment and IM or main stroke work. Take a look at the set below and the explanation that follows:

500 find steady pace on 7:30

4 x 50 choice w/ fins on 1:00

→ 1st and last 15 meters fast

Rest :30

400 drop pace on 6:00

6 x 50 free w/ fins on :55

→ breath 3-5-7 by 50

Rest :30

300 drop pace on 4:30

8 x 50 w/ fins on :50

→ main stroke or IMO, odd 50’s moderate even 50’s fast

Rest :30

200 drop pace on 3:00

10 x 50 main stroke w/ fins and paddles on :45

→ descend sets of 3, number 10 all out

The set alternates between an aerobic swim and a set of 50’s with equipment. The aerobic swims descend in pace throughout the set as they also descend in distance. The shorter the set, the faster your swimmers pace should be. Meanwhile, the set’s of 50’s ascend from 4 x 50’s at the beginning to 10 x 50’s at the end. While the longer aerobic swims are focused on even pacing and distance per stroke, as you move through the 50’s the focus should be more on pure speed, using the fins and paddles to get up and go fast in your main stroke.

The best way to move through the set is start at a moderate aerobic pace at the 500 and use the first set of 4 x 50’s to tap into speed while working on refining breakouts and finishes. As you move through the 400, 300, and 200, the pace per 100 should get faster so that the last 200 is a near all-out effort. There should be a moderate amount of rest built in with the intervals so that swimmers both put in a high quality effort and have time to put on their fins as they move into the 50’s. During the 50’s, effort should be at a high level throughout the set, culminating with 10 x 50’s descending in sets of three at the end, with a final all out 50. While the interval drops down with each set of 50’s by :05 seconds, even at the end of the set your swimmers should be getting a decent amount of rest between each 50.

This set challenges your swimmers to control their pacing and manage their energy throughout the set. They will be switching gears between nearly every swim, which will help them stay engaged and focused to get the most out of the workout. Happy swimming!

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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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