Although we are fortunate that Bournemouth and Poole both offer good access for open water training, athletes can also practise positioning (P), drafting (D), and finishing (F) in their home pool with teammates. Some of the PDF pool sets undertaken by 24 of America’s best young distance freestylers at a USA Swimming intensive open water training camp this week include:
- Paceline Sets
Purpose: To learn proper drafting techniques
3-person 100m paceline swims: 3 swimmers draft off each other in rotation. At the end of each 100, the lead swimmer stops to let the other swimmers pass and then drafts off the end. After 3 rotations by each swimmer, the set is completed by a sprint 200 with no paceline – just “win the swim.”
3-person 50m paceline swims: 3 swimmers draft off each other in rotation. At the end of each 50, the lead swimmer stops to let the other swimmers pass and then drafts off the end. The overall pace will be faster than the 100m paceline sets.
- 3-Wide Sets
Purpose: To learn how to react to a sudden move by a competitor and how to draft in close proximity.
3 x 3 x 100 swims: 3 swimmers swim together in one lane starting at the same time. The middle swimmer tries to swim away from the swimmers on either side. The middle swimmer can make a move at any time up to the 75m mark. The swimmers on the outside cannot make a move until the middle swimmer has initiated their sprint, but they try not to let the middle swimmer win. After each swim, the swimmers change positions. Each swimmer takes turns starting in the middle position.
- Open Water Finish Sprints
Purpose: To practice finish sprints and to learn how to react when a swimmer makes a mistake in navigation.
8 x 50 finish swims: lane lines are taken out of the pool for this drill where 8 swimmers in 8 different positions start together with their head down. At the 15m mark, they lift their head and try to locate the coach (or traffic cone) that is placed at a variety of positions at the end of the pool (note: a different position each time). After they locate the position of the coach or the cone, then they sprint to that lane. Swimmers rotate starting position after each 50. Winners of each 50 must start 1 second behind the rest of the field on subsequent 50s.
- Turn Buoy Sets
Purpose: To learn how to start fast and change direction quickly without the benefit of walls.
10 x 80 swims: swimmers do not touch or rest on any walls at any time while they do 2 laps of a 50m pool. However, the swimmers start at the backstroke flags and turn around at the backstroke flags at the end of the first 50. 800m total.
Purpose: To learn how to be in the best position around turn buoys and get familiar with physical contact.
Loops: Remove all lane lines from pool and replace with four turn buoys placed at the four corners of the pool. Practice buoy turns and open water finishes, swimming both in the clockwise and counter-clockwise direction.