Set Of The Week: Refining Breakouts

Photo Courtesy: Griffin Scott

Welcome to Swimming World’s Set of the Week! This week’s set is a short secondary set to work on speed through your breakouts. Take a look at the set and the description below.

4 x (5 x 50 on :50)

#1: 1 fast cycle off each wall

#2: 2 fast cycles off each wall

#3: 3 fast cycles off each wall

#4: 4 fast cycles off each wall

#5: easy

There are four rounds of 5 x 50’s in the set. The first 50 begins simply with a fast underwater and single fast cycle off of the wall. From there, you add in one fast cycle with each 50. For butterfly and breaststroke, a single cycle is just one full stroke (i.e. – 4 cycles = 4 strokes). For freestyle and backstroke, a single cycles is two hand hits (i.e. – 4 cycles = 8 hand hits). Everything aside from the underwater and breakout should just be easy swimming. For butterfly and breaststroke, have your swimmers do drill or easy freestyle between the breakouts off each wall.

As swimmers progress through each round, the distance they will travel fast off the wall will increase, forcing them to translate a fast underwater and breakout into actual swimming. Conversely, it will also show swimmers who struggle with their breakouts how much inefficiencies off of the wall can slow them down. Use this opportunity to provide specific feedback to your swimmers and challenge them to make technical changes from 50 to 50 as needed.

Athletes should make sure they are being “clean” through their breakouts, avoiding popping up to the surface or pausing at any part of their stroke. The short distance and relatively easy interval will allow your athletes to really hone in on where they may be encountering resistance in their breakouts or where they have trouble translating them into their swimming following the breakouts. This is a great set to include as a secondary sprint set before a competition or at the end of the season to really tune into the details of a swimmer’s walls. 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

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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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