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Ultra-short distance training 1) 100 m FC event 2) 200 m Breaststroke event

Previously, I submitted a workout based on ultra-short distance training, however, it solely focused on sprinter. Ultra-short distance training can also be applied toward development for any event (strokes and distance).

Let me make the following point before continuing. High intensity training research is increasingly proving that it is more effective in producing aerobic adaptations than high volume training i.e. it produces similar physiology changes but in significantly less time. High volume training is based on belief not evidence.

Returning to ultra-short distance training; I will submit two workouts for two different distances.

Typically these workouts should consist of 30-40 repeats with no more than 20 seconds rest. The guidelines for the pace in each distance are as follows:

12.5m = Max effort / 25m = 100 Race pace / 50m = 200 Race pace / 100m = 1500 Race pace.

Ultra-short sets stimulate the aerobic system to maximum capacity which low intensity training cannot achieve. The sets also develop the bodies anaerobic and lactate systems.

Option 1

5 x (6 x 25 m) Frontcrawl swim @ 100m Goal race pace on 0.30 (or target time which provides 10-15 secs rest)

  1. set – focus on body rotation
  2. set – focus on kick
  3. set – focus on fore-arm pull
  4. set – alternate between dive from blocks and push off; develop underwater and breakout
  5. set – main focus finishes

Option 2

5 x (5 x 50 m) Breaststroke swim @ 200m Goal race pace on 0.55 (or target time which provides 15-20 secs rest)

  1. set – focus on underwater and breakout
  2. set – focus on kick
  3. set – practice stroke rate
  4. set – turn development
  5. set – main focus finishes


Additional Comments:
Swimmers should drop out of a set when they fail to maintain the pace; if they complete the set, they use a faster pace in the next practice.

Ultra-short sets are ideal for children and age-group swimmers, as well as older, as it does not carry the dangers of overtraining. It also provides opportunity to develop mental skills and technical ability – the latter of which cannot be achieved under fatigued conditions.

It is a coaches responsibility to ensure that they use evidence and science for choosing, developing, and justifying a training strategy.

This free workout was provided by Coach Stuart Dustan.

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About Stuart Dustan

Coach Stuart is currently studying medicine and has a huge interest in the science of swimming, in particular the physiological aspect. [Full Bio]

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2 Comments on "Ultra-short distance training 1) 100 m FC event 2) 200 m Breaststroke event"

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What benefit sets focus pull ?

Nico Messer
In both of his options Coach Stuart gives his athletes ONE focus point for each repetition of the set. This in my opinion is for the simple reason that focusing on more than one thing won’t have you do any of them right and probably in this type of workout not swim at the expected speed. To be more specific on the “pull” part which I guess refers to the freestyle option and the fore-arm part – this “EVF” seems to be a big focus for many coaches and is obviously a pretty important part of the freestyle (actually any… Read more »