Coach Stuart – 1500 Rush Set

A number of myths exist regarding Ultra-Short Race-Pace Training (USRPT). One in particular is that it is only suitable for sprinters. Wrong! In fact, USRPT comes into it’s element when implemented for longer distance events.

It allows a swimmer to maintain race-pace, and technique, for longer than any other form of training. Below is a USRPT set, or as I like to call it, a ‘Rush Set’ (in homage to the founder Brent S. Rushall) for the 1500 m distance swimmer.

If you wish to include a technical session and/or skill set to this session (which I would recommend, if you have the time), please include it between the ‘Preparation to race’ stage and, the ‘Sharpener’. This is to ensure the swimmers are not experiencing the neural fatigue which will come from the main set.


Preparation to race (AKA ‘warm up’) – 10 mins:

  • Relaxed swimming, swimmer should become familiar with the pool and turning;
  • The athlete should recall which individual technical and psychological items they are required to continue from previous sessions;
  • Leave swimmer to decide on repetitions or distance;
  • Swimmer can stop prior to 10 mins if they feel ready to race.

Sharpener (AKA ‘pre set’) – 10 mins:
4 x 25 m Free = progressively increase speed 1-4 to approx. 1500 m pace
2 x 50 m Free = maintain approx. 1500 m pace

  • Main focus = individual technical items;
  • Coaches should provide technical feedback between repetitions;
  • Interval between reps should be sufficient as to allow poolside coaches the opportunity to provide feedback to swimmers.

Main set – 30-50 mins:

Technical focus Event & stroke Repetition Distance Work + rest time No. of max reps
No breathing within the 5m turn zone (in and out) 1500 Free 100 1500 PB time + 20 seconds 25
  • Excluding the first 5 repetitions, when the athlete is unable to maintain ‘1500 m PB’ pace the swimmer should miss out the following 100 m rep = 1st ‘failure’. This point should be recorded in the swimmer’s logbook. The swimmer should re-join the set after this passive rest period.
  • When the swimmer reaches a point in which they, again, cannot maintain the pace, they should miss out another 100 m rep, record the number of reps of their 2nd failure, and thereafter, re-join the set on the next rep.
  • At any time the swimmer has two failures in a row, the set should be abandoned. This point should be recorded.
  • The swimmer should not be able to exceed to the max number of reps (e.g. 25); if this occurs, an adaption should be made for the swimmer, by the coach, i.e. they should receive a faster pace to meet.
  • You can find out how to make your own ‘USRPT’ session by studying the following pdf:
  • And, by researching the following ‘USRPT’ resources:

Workout Total: ∼2500

This workout was provided by Free Style SC Coach Stuart Dustan.

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Timothy Morrison
4 years ago

So objective is repeating 25 X 100 at one’s 1500 best time with 20sec rest?
Why not at a goal time?

Reply to  Timothy Morrison
4 years ago

Hi Timothy, thank you for the question. I believe that it´s 25 repeats of 100 free at your 1500 PB (100 avg) on 20″ rest. The first 5 repeats sound like a “tune up” for the athetes to get used to the pace required and then he or she would keep going until failing to hold the pace for the first time. The number of repeats achieved at goal pace would then be recorded and the aim would be to be able to improve on it next time around. So I would guess it´s like having them swim at a… Read more »

Reply to  Timothy Morrison
4 years ago

Hi Tim,

I wrote this a considerable time ago and, yes, you’re completely correct – this should be at goal pace for your 1500m event.