Encouraging More Adults to Swim
Join/Renew/Update
Featured Picture
Coaching / Open Water / Training / Triathlon

Pool Open Water Sets

Prepare your swimmers for open water races and surf starts

Michael Collins | April 16, 2013

Preparing your athletes for an open water swim with a surf entry is an important part of helping them get ready for the coming open water season. The set below offers some ideas for how to teach swimmers this important skill for varying event distance options including sprint, Olympic, half-Ironman, and Ironman distance triathlons, as well as any other open water swim event with a surf start.

The purpose of this set is to simulate an open water surf start followed by a distance swim with steady pacing. Swimmers’ heart rates should be high on the sets of 50s to simulate actual racing conditions, and the distance freestyle swim segments should be held at a consistently strong pace to simulate the swim itself. This video contains highlights from this set.

Details

  • All 50s you see below should done with high intensity on an interval of 1:00 or :20 rest (whichever is greater).
  • Each 50 should be done as three strokes butterfly plus two underwater breaststroke pull-downs. (This simulates the need to dive under large waves that many surf-start swimmers encounter.)
  • Swim head-up freestyle for the remainder of the 25. It’s OK for swimmers to do an open turn at the 25, and repeat the same pattern on the second 25.
  • On the longer freestyle swims, swimmers should hold an even, but strong pace.
  • If your swimmers are training for a wetsuit race, using a pull buoy will simulate the extra leg buoyancy.

Sprint Distance

  • 3 rounds of (2 x 50 + 200) = 750

Olympic Distance

  • 3 rounds of (2 x 50 + 400) = 1500

70.3 Distance

  • 2 x 50 + 200
  • 2 x 50 + 400
  • 2 x 50 + 600
  • 2 x 50 + 800
  • 2 x 50 FASTEST!

Total = 2500

Ironman Distance

  • 2 x 50 + 200
  • 2 x 50 + 400
  • 2 x 50 + 600
  • 2 x 50 + 800
  • 2 x 50 + 800
  • 2 x 50 + 600
  • 2 x 50 + 400
  • 2 x 50 + 200
  • 2 x 50 FASTEST!

Total = 4900

Triathlon Tips and Technique Article Series

How to cope with utter disorder or confusion
You've probably witnessed or heard of one of your swimmers having something...
Prepare your swimmers for open water races and surf starts
Preparing your athletes for an open water swim with a surf entry is an...
A better way to combat sinking legs syndrome
Most triathletes who come from running and cycling backgrounds are well...
Training strategies for success in triathlon
It's undeniable: many triathletes consider themselves cyclists or runners and...
USMS Wave Seperator

About the Author—Michael Collins

Michael Collins coaches the 400-plus member Nova Masters Swimming as well as Multisports Orange County. He specializes in video analysis and technique improvement for swimming, cycling and running. He can be reached at mcollins@multisportsOC.com.

Sponsor #29Sponsor #42Sponsor #41Sponsor #43Sponsor #36
Sponsor #51Sponsor #47Sponsor #13Sponsor #21Sponsor #52Sponsor #25Sponsor #50
Sponsor #14Sponsor #35Sponsor #45Sponsor #44Sponsor #49Sponsor #33Sponsor #20