Maximizing Your Swim Workouts – Learning the Coach’s Lingo

Understanding swim lingo can be a challenge. In some cases it’s similar to learning a new language. Instead of spending your quality workout time with your feet on the pool floor we’ve assembled a “user manual” to help guide you to more swimming and less interpreting of a written workout that may be posted.

  • S: Swim-Typically most swimmers resort to “freestyle” or “crawl” stroke during this, but swim truly means swim, just move through the water.
  • P: Pull-arms only (add a pull bouy in between your legs, paddles are used here too IF written in th workout)
  • K: Kick-legs only (with a kick board, with fins, with zoomers, without kick board, so many options)
  • OTF: Other than freestyle
  • DPS: Distance per stroke: getting as much “length” with each arm stroke
  • Drill: There are lots of drills to choose from, choose the ones that would benefit your stroke the best. Just think of the crazy movements your coach has you do all the time.
  • I.M.: Individual Medley: This consists of all four strokes in the order of fly, back, breast, and freestyle.
  • F: fly
  • B: backstroke
  • BR: breaststroke
  • FR: freestyle
  • Descend: Get faster on each one
  • Descend within the distance: Get faster within
  • Bilateral Breathing: Alternating sides that the breath is taken on. This would mean taking a breath on “odd” numbers of strokes. Three, five and seven are most common.
  • Length of a pool: Pools are typically 25 yards, 25 meters, or 50 meters (SAC is 20 yards).
  • Length: One way down, ending up on the opposite end of where you started.
  • Lap: Down and back in the pool, ending up where you started
  • How many laps for a mile: 1650 yards (66 lengths OR 33 laps in a 25 yard pool); 1500 meters (60 lengths OR 30 laps in a 25 meter pool); 1500 meters (30 lengths OR 15 laps in a 50 meter pool). Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is a 20 yard pool. One mile: 1650 yards (just shy of 82 lengths OR 41 laps).

Swim sets defined:
10X50 “on” 1:00
Defined: You start a 50 every minute and repeat 10 times. This includes your REST period.
If you swim the 50 in :45 seconds you get :15 seconds rest.
If you swim the 50 in :55 seconds you get 5 seconds rest.

10X50 with :10 seconds rest
Defined: You swim 50 yards and take :10 seconds to rest and then do it again. Repeat this 10 times.

Descending sets:
5X100 descend :10 sec rest
Defined: Get faster on “each” 100.
Ie: First 100 1:45,
Second 100: 1:40
3rd 100 1:35
4th 100 1:30
5th 100 1:25
*all with 10 second rest after each one
*This is an example of descending by 5 second per 100.
*The first on is slow and the last one is fast.

5X100 descend within the 100 with :10 sec rest
Defined: Getting faster “within” each 100. The first 25 yards is slow, the middle two get progressively faster and the last 25 is FAST. There is 10 seconds rest after each 100.

5X75 going 25 drill/50 swim with :10 sec rest
Defined: The first 25 of each 75 is a “drill” of your choice unless specified, the last 50 is regular swim. There is a :10 sec rest period after each 75.

If you have any questions on your swim workouts or need some variety in your training or even a lesson. Please contact Aquatic Director/Multisport Coach Teresa Nelson.

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