Sprint Swimming Challenge

Swim Workouts for Swimmers

Sports Psychology - Killer Instinct
Florent Manaudou, does he have the killer instinct?. Getty Images

This sprint swimming challenge workout is all about speed. Once you are warmed up, you start each set with a strong effort, take your rest, and then push your swimming speed up a little bit more. There are easy recovery swims between each group of four faster efforts, and the workout concludes with four swims that ask you to test your own limits. Enjoy, sprinters!

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The Swim Workout

Warm-up

1,200
1 x 200 (:30 Swim easy
1 x 200 (:30 Swim and drill mix. Do drills for technique practice for one length, then swim for one length, then repeat.
1 x 200 (:30 Kick easy
1 x 200 (:30 Kick. Alternate 1 length easy effort and one length moderate effort.
1 x 200 (:30 Pull easy
1 x 200 (:30 Pull. Alternate 1 length easy effort and one length moderate effort.

Take a minute or two extra rest, sip some water or sports drink, and get ready for the main set.

Main Set
4 x 25 (1:00 Swim. Faster effort on each, start at about 90% effort, increase to the 4th swim at 100% effort.
1 x 50 (1:00 Swim very easy.
4 x 100 (1:00 Swim. Faster effort on each, start at about 90% effort, increase to the 4th swim at 100% effort.
1 x 200 (1:00 Swim very easy.
4 x 75 (1:00 Swim. Faster effort on each, start at about 90% effort, increase to the 4th swim at 100% effort.


1 x 150 (1:00 Swim very easy.
4 x 50 (1:00 Swim. Faster effort on each, start at about 90% effort, increase to the 4th swim at 100% effort.
1 x 100 (2:00 Swim very easy.
4 x 50 (2:00 Swim. All at 100% effort.
1 x 100 Swim easy cool-down
TOTAL DISTANCE = 3,000
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About Swimming Work Outs

This workout is designed to take between 75-minutes and 90-minutes. If that is too much time or distance, then cut things out, but do not always cut out the same thing every workout. And never skip the loosen at the end of the workout. Use that as one last bit of technique work before you leave the swimming pool at the end of the workout.

After the description of the set there is a number in a half-parentheses, like this - (:30 - that is how much rest you get after each swim. For example, 6 x 100 (:30 means you are to swim a 100 (yards or meters), rest 30-seconds, then repeat five more times.

There is nothing special about these swim practice sessions other than what you bring to them. Lots of freedom here. You control how hard or fast you swim and what swim strokes you want to use while swimming the workouts. Normally the amount of rest per swim will limit your top-end speed on a workout, but that does not mean go as fast as you can all of the time. A few guidelines:

  • The more rest you get, the faster the swim.
  • The early parts of a workout should always be easy to moderate and very deliberate.
  • Use your best swimming technique.
  • Stop the workout if you are too tired, go for it again in the future.You get to be a better swimmer by recovering from the workouts you do, not by doing more and more swimming without resting and recovering from that swimming.
  • Have fun with the workouts.
  • Change the strokes you are doing from time to time, try new things, and don't get caught in a rut.

Each workout has:

  • a warm-up
  • stroke drills or swimming technique work
  • kicking
  • pulling
  • the main set
  • a loosen or cool-down

More Reading for Swimmers on Swim Workouts:

Swim on!