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First, I’m a BIG believer in making the athlete responsible for their intervals and times. I feel we, as coaches, sometimes become such a crutch for the clock, that we miss coaching the swimmers. For this set, we use two PACE PAL underwater pace clocks.

These clocks allow the swimmers to see when to go, but more importantly, they see their time coming into the finish, and don’t practice the bad habits of lifting their heads.

With the athlete knowing they’re responsible for their intervals and times, we can get started.

This specific swimmer has not done much of this, so we’re introducing her to the demands of swimming fast during practice.

The set starts with 16 x 25 on :40 with all 25s swum as close to :14.0 as possible. The swimmer understands that if she missed the target time, she must stop, and reset. She was able to make all of her goal times.

After the completion of that short set, she takes a short recovery swim.

Next, we reduce the amount of rest by :05 and repeat the set with the same goal time. The swimmer was only able to make 6 of the 25s at goal pace prior to missing. She went on another short recovery swim.

We repeated the set again, with the rest reduced another :05. Now at her goal time of :14.0 on the :30, she was able to make 7 of the 25s at goal pace. This showed the athlete is just learning how to sprint at this pace, and will do better next time.

We immediately got her up on the blocks for a fast 100 free, which she completed within 2 seconds of her lifetime best time.

As she continued to improve with her understanding, we revisited a few more 25s on the :40, but resetting the goal time to :13.0. Which she was able to do.

Transitioning from a long smooth stroke, to one that can generate some speed isn’t an immediate process, but rather, a process that takes some time and understanding.