We’re trying a new recurring post in our blog session with our friends over at ROKA Sports. The focus will naturally be on swimming and typically entail a swim set or discussion of swim mechanics and more often than not, both. There are some ground rules on the swim sets on this blog. At Dynamo during the season we typically give our athletes main sets that run at the 2k-3k range. This provides the training stimulus necessary for the open water distances our athletes have to face on race day regardless of distance. Leading into the main set, there’s typically a structured warm-up of 1k (400 choice / 200 as 50 drill – 50 swim / 200 as 50 kick – 50 swim / 200 build) followed by a pre-main set (600-1500m or yards) that has a skill focus mixed with short intensity as we prepare the body for the work ahead. As you, the reader, follow the workouts and if you do them on your own, take this into consideration. Depending on how much time you have, you should always aim to complete the main set in entirety. If you need to cut anything down, shorten the warm-up and pre-main set by doing what’s necessary to prepare your body for the main set.


For this week, we have a nice race-season set since we’re in the middle of final preps on a lot of  ‘A’ races this time of year.  We use some toys for this session, so you’ll need paddles and fins.  This is also a great set to use your ROKA Sim Shorts, so if you have them available, this is a good one for them.  We use these items to set the kinesthetic platform for the nervous system so we can feel what we want the body to feel like in the water at near race intensity going speeds much faster than race pace.  The “props” of paddles and fins help keep the body position high in the water, hips up and hidden behind the head and shoulders to maximize both speed and efficiency.  The props also create excess speed which provides great kinesthetic feedback for  a lot of deficiencies in body position.  At high speeds, it’s much easier for us to really feel if we’re plowing through the water – hips low, head position too high.  Think of a cyclist in a wind-tunnel and that’s what we’re effectively creating here by using these toys at this intensity.  If our hips are high, head position is in alignment, we have the “slippery” sensation in the water that we strive to feel.  As the set goes on, we eliminate the “props” and go to pure swimming while increasing our effort with the goal of maintaining body position and alignment consistently through the entire set.  We’ll have some accumulated fatigue going into the final 1000 and we’ll need to rely on great body position to maintain good, efficient speed.

Race Season Nervous System Set

20×50 @ 10″ Rest Interval (RI) as 2 sets of 8×50 | at the end of each 50, rest 10 seconds before the next repeat.

1-10: fins & paddles at 80% of race effort

11-20: paddles-only at 90% of race effort | take an additional 30sec at the end of #20, then…

10×100 as 2 sets of 5×100, all at race effort, no toys swim-only

1-2: @ 10″ RI

3-4: @ 5″ RI

5: @ 15″ RI

–2000 meters or yards total

Happy and safe training!