Swim Training Set Of The Week: IM/Free Descending Set

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

Looking for a way to mix up your IM swim training? Emily Eaton of the Genesys Athletic Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan devised an effective and efficient IM workout that tackles endurance in all four strokes and helps swimmers punctuate their IMs with a solid freestyle. The appeal of this set is that it breaks away from conventional IM sets and is ever-changing, keeping the swimmers involved and focused.

8 x 150 @ 2:15 Odds: Rotate IM (25/50/75) Evens: Descend Free

1 – 25 Fly/50 Back/75 Breast

2 – 55% Free

3 – 25 Back/50 Breast/75 Free

4 – 70% Free

5 – 25 Breast/50 Free/75 fly

6 – 85% Free

7 – 25 Free/50 Fly/75 Back

8 – 100% Free

While continuing to get faster on each 150 free, swimmers need to maintain a strong IM (no matter how hard that 75 fly hurts at the end). Although short, the set pays dividends. “This will help improve the swimmers’ IM endurance and help them have a strong freestyle finish  to the race,” Eaton says.

The set’s intervals can change to fit varying ability levels and age groups. For good measure, you can throw in a 200 or 400 IM off the block at the end of the set to really challenge your swimmers.

Ultimately, being able to turn in a effective 150 free after a strong IM will help swimmers achieve the bottom line. It’s important that the swimmers make the jump in effort percentage with each 150 free. This allows for some control and lets the swimmers build a race strategy.

There’s an even larger takeaway from this set, though. “Swimmers love this set,” Eaton says. “They actually have fun doing it!”

Interested in having your set used in Swimming World’s Training Set of the Week? Submit your set to the Swim Coaches Idea Exchange Group on Facebook or email it to edulaney@fuse.net. Be sure to include your team name and any comments or explanations for your set. 


  1. Marie Sveingard

    Maren Øie Kristin Øie Tessa Janssen Helene Baxter Marie Hinna her samuli har fått inspirasjon

  2. Helene Baxter

    Hahah d e jo d me ska ha i dag?? Marie Sveingard

    • Marie Sveingard

      vett, men d kan vær eg ska vær me sprintgruppå 😀

    • Helene Baxter

      Eg og vil d?? Marie Sveingard

  3. Nino Sieling

    Jeroen Dellebeke

  4. Ray House

    Thanks for sharing. Forwarded this to our Head Coach. I think he’ll probably play around with this set, and see how our swimmers respond!

    • avatar
      Evan Dulaney

      Great! I actually did this set last night with my 15-18 year olds. I made the set 2 rounds and put a 400 IM off the blocks at the end of each round.

  5. Niles Keeran

    Damn glad I stuck with backstroke and freestyle sprints…

  6. Lew Ferrin

    We give it a whirl today. Nice mix up to help kids to stay sharp.