Designing high school swim team workouts can be a complex task. It is necessary to take into account the varying skill levels of the students but still provide advanced swimmers with the opportunity to grow. Preventing injuries and keeping students interested in swim training also play a role in swim team training.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses: 200 m Medley
This workout combines all four swim strokes--butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Students swim 50 meters of each stroke without a break in between. This is a good workout to use at the beginning of a swim team season to identify swimmers' strengths and weaknesses.
Endurance: 500 m Freestyle
Although this workout might be easy for some swimmers, it can be extremely difficult for less experienced swimmers. Do this exercise any time during the season to measure times and help assign practice lanes. Redistributing swimmers to faster or slower practice lanes will help keep students in lanes with other swimmers who have similar strengths and swim times.
Speed: 20 x 25 m Sprints
Speed is an important aspect of any swim team. Have swimmers time themselves by looking at the pool clock after each 25 m. The goal is for each swimmer to swim as fast on sprint 20 as on sprint 1. It's not usually going to happen, but trying to achieve consistent sprint times will push students to swim faster than they thought was possible when they are tired.
Stroke Variability: 5 x 100 m Medley
Have swimmers complete the 25 m butterfly, 25 m backstroke, 25 m breaststroke and 25 m freestyle five times, with 30-second breaks after each 100 m. This helps students become more comfortable with the strokes they do not usually prefer.
Improve Specific Strokes: 100 m Stroke of Choice
Giving student swimmers the chance to swim their strokes of choice is helpful in establishing preferences. The coach should noted which stroke each swimmer chooses for this exercise. A swimmer who prefers backstroke, for example, will be much more interested in training in this stroke than in other strokes.
Competition Ready: Race Day Strokes
Each swimmer should have a chance to complete their race day strokes before race day comes. If you, as the coach, are not sure which stroke or race each of your swimmers will be competing in, this is a great chance to put a few swimmers in the lanes and have them swim the length of the races. Pre-race competitions will give the coach a better idea of which swimmers to use throughout the next swim meet.
A rest day has to be part of a regular swim team workout routine. This does not mean the whole team should take the day off from working out; swimmers can do weight training, running or reflex drills. Some examples of rest day workouts include a mile run or sprint-start runs to hone gun start reflexes.
Building fun into a high school workout routine will help students relax and enjoy their time at swim practice. To build lung strength, drop a quarter in the deep end of the pool and have the swimmers start at the other end of the pool and try to swim under water all the way to the quarter. Another fun exercise is the 10 m medley, which consists of one stroke of butterfly, one backstroke, one breaststroke and one freestyle stroke. Students can also devise fun exercises for high school swim workouts; ask them to think up an exercise they think will be fun, and agree to participate in it with them.
- Photo Credit Swimming image by Stana from Fotolia.com
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