Set Of The Week: Middle Distance Broken Swims

Photo Courtesy: Gian Mattia Dalberto/Lapresse

Welcome to Swimming World’s Set Of The Week! This week’s set has two examples of broken swims for middle distance swimmers that emphasize developing a strong finish to your race. Take a look at the set and the description that follows:

Broken 500

175 + 100 + 100 + 50 + 50 + 25

Rest = :20 for 175, :10 for 100, :05 for 50’s

400 – 500 easy swim on 10:00

Broken 200

75 + 50 + 50 + 25

Rest = :10 for all

The above broken swim set is a great way to make your swimmers “feel” fast at the end of these races and develop confidence in a finishing kick. The set does that by using descending distances in each broken swim, particularly in the 500. The 175 and first 100 should be “easy speed,” with an emphasis on feeling good in the water with a long and powerful stroke. As you move to the second 100 and into the 50’s and 25, swimmers should bring in the legs, as if they are making a move during their race. While the pace at the end should not change significantly, the shorter distance will make swimmers more aware of increasing their tempo and really driving with their legs at the end of a race.

The idea is the same for the broken 200. The first 75 should feel like easy speed going out, while the 50’s and last 25 bring in the legs as if they were starting to “dig” during their race. With each broken swim, swimmers should be timed from foot leave to foot touch, meaning they go to a flip on each of their distances. Start and stop the watch with each distance, and make swimmers responsible for their own rest so you can get the most accurate time (i.e. – you are only timing when they are swimming, which avoids having to subtract rest at the end). Both swims should also start from a dive.

A great way to use this set is on a Saturday morning, when you may have more time, and use it as race practice. Have your swimmers complete a normal meet warm up of 2,000-3,000 before you go into the set. Depending on where you are in your season, this can be a great set to teach them how to strategically approach these races or a good gauge for their fitness as you are approaching a championship meet. 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.

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Author: James Sica

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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