Set Of The Week: Aerobic IM Progression

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Welcome to Swimming World’s Set Of The Week! This week’s set is an aerobic IM progression set. Running through 200’s of each stroke and 200 IM’s, this set challenges swimmers to control their pace moving through each stroke while also pushing them aerobically. Take a look at the set below:

1 x 200 butterfly negative split

4 x 200 IM’s descend

Rest :30

2 x 200 backstroke negative split

3 x 200 IM’s descend

Rest :30

3 x 200 breaststroke negative split

2 x 200 IM descend

Rest :30

4 x 200 free negative split

1 x 200 IM all out

Beginning with a full stroke 200 butterfly, this set does not mess around. An ideal workout for high school, club, or college swimmers, the main focus of this set in negative splitting the 200’s of stroke and descending all of the IM swims, ultimately ending with an all out 200 IM. Intervals should be constructed so swimmers get no less than :15 and no more than :30 seconds of rest between each swim, with an extra :30 to :60 seconds of rest after each round of IM swims.

The biggest point to get across with this set is consistency. Fast, technically correct turns and transitions should be stressed, as should controlling pace. Negative splitting the 200’s of stroke teaches your swimmers how to control their tempo across all four strokes, which is key to any IM race. Additionally, by descending the 200 IM’s they learn what it feels like to finish an IM swim fast even when they are tired.

If your swimmer descends down to a fast 200 IM on the first 4 x 200’s but then progressively slows down throughout the set, then she is missing the point of the set. For slightly younger swimmers who may be moving into heavier training, it’s more than appropriate to adjust intervals to give swimmers additional rest. Pace and technique should be maintained throughout the set, so those same characteristics carry over when it is race time. Happy swimming!

6 Comments

6 comments

  1. avatar
    Rachel Nevinson

    Andy Landy

    • avatar
      Andy Landy

      Wednesday night – you’re on! Only 1 issue for me – only 1 X 200 Fly ?

    • avatar
      Rachel Nevinson

      I think it would kill me but I’m willing to try ?

    • avatar
      Andy Landy

      Birthday eve & you have aqua as well, might wait for following week ?

    • avatar
      Rachel Nevinson

      Yup ?

  2. avatar
    Clare Higgins

    Ouchy!!

Author: James Sica

avatar
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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