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How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks
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Hi guys!

I'm hoping to get some advice from some experienced swimmers.

The situation is this: I have two different swimming goals for the next 3-12 months.

Goal 1:
By the end of January, I have to be able to swim 100m in 1:30 (just once!). It's for my sports science degree, and I have a swim class which will test that limit by the end of the course. I can't tell you my current 100m time yet (haven't timed it since 2015), but from my previous workouts, I'm guessing it's somewhere around 1:45-1:50. I'm not a fast swimmer.

Goal 2:
I'm doing some sprint and olympic triathlons starting in June '21, going up to my first half ironman in August. I'm just trying to get some volume here and drop my times to below 02:00min/100m for anything between 750m-2k till then.

The question
How can I make these two goals work together? If possible, I need more specific advice for the first goal. Should I build some volume in October/November and focus on technique, and then add in sprint-focused workouts in December/January?

Right now, I just started back up with swim training two weeks ago with regular sessions 3x a week (heavily technique focused since they're all three coached classes, average volume is 2k), and I'm looking to add a 4th session on my own, if necessary even a 5th session (although I'd rather not :P)

Does anyone have a game plan for me? Advice? Ideas?

THANK YOU! :)
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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Swim more. I’ll leave it up to fishes to give specific advice/workouts. But that really isn’t much time to drop a lot of time. So, you likely need much more volume than you plan.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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the coached sessions provide enough volume for your goals; session #4 should be focused on 25m and 50m (almost) all-out efforts with large recovery times. session #5 should be strenght training (@gym or @home), especially core, lats, shoulders and triceps. good luck
Last edited by: jollyroger88: Oct 15, 20 7:35
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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You have a plan, which is step one. I would do a 100M test now to see where you are. Then repeat that every 1-2 weeks. Seeing improvement will keep you motivated, but also don't be discouraged if your test speed doesn't improve every time. For me at least, I'll see a plateau and then a jump in performance, then another plateau, etc.

1:30 for 100 meters isn't easy but I think very doable if you're able to hold 1:45 / 100 meters for longer distances.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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I am an adult onset swimmer, and my all-in 100m short course is right at 1:30 now. I have never hired a coach, so I achieved my gains by watching a lot of videos, experimenting, and swimming about 6 km/week for a long time. My personal view of swimming is that speed comes almost entirely from correct technique coupled with training to sustain that ideal form at volume.

Going from 1:50 to 1:30 in 14 weeks is very aggressive. You will have to quickly identify your form issues and then work on improvements while ramping up your volume to at least 5 km/week. If the coached swims are giving you great attention to your form, you should be able to get there.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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I agree with JollyRoger. That 4th session should be devoted to speed. Warm up with some form drills and some kicking, then 4 or 8 x50 as fast/easy, easy/fast, all easy, all fast...those are effort levels by 25 meters. That should get you warmed up pretty good. After that I would do some hard 25's on 40 secs....shoot for 20 secs or better. Do as many of those as you can before you fail. Take a breather if you fail and try again. When you fail the second time, call it a day and warm down or use the rest of the time to do form drills. The number of those intervals you can hit in 20 secs (over 4) the better your chances of swimming an "all out" 100 in 1:30 or better. You can move on to hard 50's in later sessions...give yourself equal or greater rest when you're working on pure speed.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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Lionel Sanders had a great blog post years ago about learning how to swim fast. Biggest take away was you want to focus on a high elbow catch. Lots of videos and articles about it but one mistake I made was thinking it meant high elbow in the water. It should really be called elbow ahead of wrist/ shoulder line catch. Swimming fast in my experience comes down to learning how to catch and pull the water properly in a continuous motion.

Also learn how to swim slow. Maintain proper technique while going easy and focus on the catch and pull. Might take longer than 14 weeks though.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [JoelO] [ In reply to ]
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If you are swimming 1.50/100m there is probably some fundamental flaws with your stroke that will limit how fast you go. You will get quicker with more volume, but that would soon plateau if your technical issues aren't addressed. Get a video analysis done where you can see your stroke underwater. I would imagine your main issue would be body position.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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victorine_anna wrote:
Hi guys!

I'm hoping to get some advice from some experienced swimmers.

The situation is this: I have two different swimming goals for the next 3-12 months.

Goal 1:
By the end of January, I have to be able to swim 100m in 1:30 (just once!). It's for my sports science degree, and I have a swim class which will test that limit by the end of the course. I can't tell you my current 100m time yet (haven't timed it since 2015), but from my previous workouts, I'm guessing it's somewhere around 1:45-1:50. I'm not a fast swimmer.

If you are simply wanting to get to 1.30/100m once, an easy way to gain a few seconds is to work on your tumble turns, stream lining off the wall and breakout. Especially if you are in a 25m pool, you can easily knock 2 - 3s off each lap. I've hardly swam this year, 6 month out the pool due to COVID, got back in 8 weeks ago and swam 10 x 100m around 1.45. I've only swam 1 - 2 times a week and am now down to 1.20 - 1.22/3 for 10 x 100m. Most of that improvement isn't fitness, but remembering all the little things that when combined mean a decent drop in time. e.g not breathing when you breakout after stream lining
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [lang] [ In reply to ]
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lang wrote:
Lionel Sanders had a great blog post years ago about learning how to swim fast.


This one (I think).
Last edited by: sathomasga: Oct 15, 20 16:55
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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Butterfly

I swim fast because I'm afraid of sharks.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [sathomasga] [ In reply to ]
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sathomasga wrote:
lang wrote:
Lionel Sanders had a great blog post years ago about learning how to swim fast.


This one (I think).

Thanks for looking. Interesting analogy with the invisible ladder, but that wasn't the post I was thinking of, even though he mentions the early vertical forearm.

This is the one, from 2014
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [lang] [ In reply to ]
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lang wrote:
Lionel Sanders had a great blog post years ago about learning how to swim fast. Biggest take away was you want to focus on a high elbow catch. Lots of videos and articles about it but one mistake I made was thinking it meant high elbow in the water. It should really be called elbow ahead of wrist/ shoulder line catch. Swimming fast in my experience comes down to learning how to catch and pull the water properly in a continuous motion.

Also learn how to swim slow. Maintain proper technique while going easy and focus on the catch and pull. Might take longer than 14 weeks though.

^^THIS....thank you for spelling this out. I have been doing it wrong for a long, long time not noticing that my arms were slipping through rather than holding the water. Now, I have a lot of work ahead of me to de-train my poor catch....
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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Swim faster

I know that sounds silly but to swim faster you have to swim faster. You can have all the structured swim workouts you want, great coaches, training aids, ect but at the end of the day you have to swim faster to get faster.
Last edited by: Rideon77: Oct 16, 20 6:43
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [Mike200fly] [ In reply to ]
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Yes!!!!!
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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victorine_anna wrote:
heavily technique focused
What does that even mean?

Easy steps for getting better at swim:
- get to the pool consistently 3-4x a week
- do some hard efforts every session
- enjoy it

For noob swimmers I tell them to use a pull buoy a lot until their arms have some fitness, otherwise you're probably burning a bunch of matches with a horrible kick and body position.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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14 weeks - ok. Yeah to echo what others said, swim as much as you can. I think you can add 2/day gym workouts some days as well to focus on a few things including strength, HIIT, cardio, and core.

For the how on getting stronger and more explosive push offs could be box jumps, jumping air squats, running up stairs.

For arm strength and explosiveness, the ski erg could get you some HIIT. Push-ups are good as well as planking. I generally think on your fists is superior. Single arm Arnold presses are good for shoulder strength. The row erg is good too. For the row machine, I think the goal should be HIIT.

For core and legs, flutter kicks, scissor kicks, leg raises to pushing up with lower back off mat. You could also do some kickpad work if you wanted to in the pool to condition your kicking. Mountain climbers, burpees, 8 count bodybuilders.

I think the breast stroke is a nice break from freestyle if you want to keep putting hours in the pool without feeling like youre working super hard.

Then also cross train your cardio engine with some running, jump rope, cycling.

Finally, I think punches and kicks on the heavy bag are great for developing explosive power if you know how to kickbox. 2-3lb weights shadow boxing, and also arm circles and sun gods with and without weights.

Good luck - have fun.

https://www.strava.com/...tes/zachary_mckinney
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [zedzded] [ In reply to ]
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We actually have to do flip turns and a start jump as well, so that's not even optional. Right now, I'm still dying on those because they seem to take my breath away.

@all

Thanks to everyone for their inputs!! Super valuable! I did some fast 50s the other day and my fastest with the jump and turn was 43 seconds, so I think I'll just have to keep adding the fast stuff, like all of you said! The coached sessions aren't really with a coach who can pinpoint my flaws since two classes are part of the mandatory college swim class (we're being taught freestyle, dolphin, breast and back) and one is a swim course with like 20 people. But, each session has lots of technique in it, so that should definitely help.

I do also run/bike and do core workouts!

I'll focus on a fourth session with speed elements then. Thanks again for all of your help!
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [JoelO] [ In reply to ]
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I'm going to try this, thanks a bunch!
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [lang] [ In reply to ]
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thanks you two, very interesting
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [NordicSkier] [ In reply to ]
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Basically, I have no idea what the outline of the class actually looks like. I'm studying sports science and swimming is a course taking place twice a week over the course of four months. So far, mostly all of the sessions have been technique drills only. That's what I meant by "heavily technique based". I guess this might change in future sessions.
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [victorine_anna] [ In reply to ]
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Generally speaking, to get faster you need to
- Swim at least 4 days per week. At 2 days you are barely staying fit for swimming and will eventually start to creep backwards
- Improve deficiencies in your technique - which can only be done with an organized & good Masters swim coach .. who will run a proper workout & critique your technique
- Proper dry land training will help build strength, where needed
- Your work outs need to be sufficiently challenging to build strength and endurance .... which is hard to do "on your own" & get you back to a good Masters swim program
- Be prepared to follow this regimen (all of it) for 3 or more months. the longer, = the more improvement you will make
- Not be in your 60s or older ... at which point "not losing ground per year" is a very meaningful goal.

Such a Bad Runner
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [SBR_bestgoodbad] [ In reply to ]
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- Not be in your 60s or older ... at which point "not losing ground per year" is a very meaningful goal.



Not to be picky but as a "participant" in this AG, there's a fella in there that went from duathlons 10 years ago to swimming in the 25 minute range for 1500m...SOB can run as well. So age has absolutely nothing to do with it. .......:0) (I know picky picky picky).
Last edited by: michael Hatch: Oct 20, 20 7:47
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [michael Hatch] [ In reply to ]
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michael Hatch wrote:
- Not be in your 60s or older ... at which point "not losing ground per year" is a very meaningful goal.




Not to be picky but as a "participant" in this AG, there's a fella in there that went from duathlons 10 years ago to swimming in the 25 minute range for 1500m...SOB can run as well. So age has absolutely nothing to do with it. .......:0) (I know picky picky picky).
There's always "that guy". In this case he's probably a natural or exceptional athlete moving into a new (to him) sport. A more average experience would be more like my own (at (67). I'm training harder, picking up nagging injuries, my technique is better than it was but I can barely do as well as last year. Oh well.

"Aquabike is a swim then sleep session on aerobars ...."
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Re: How to drop my swim time from 1:50/100m to 1:30/100m in 14 weeks [Fuller] [ In reply to ]
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I agree about "that guy" the other poster referred to. If he has been swimming for a few years, then he likely reached his peak and won't be getting faster. He will only slow down slower than most of his age group competitors. And there is no way he is maintaining his run performance each year after 60.
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