Coach’s Intel: Brad Thornton Shares Some Sprint Set Goodness

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.

The following swimming workout was submitted by Brad Thornton, head coach of men’s and women’s swimming at the Stevens Institute of Technology. They are a Div III program from Hoboken, New Jersey, that this past season placed 6th and 7th at NCAA’s for their men’s, and women’s programs respectfully.

Here it is:

This is a practice for our Sprint group 18 days prior to NCAA’s.  This particular version of the practice was for Simas Jarasunas and Brittany Geyer.  Brittany was starting her NCAA taper, and Simas was two weeks off a short taper for conference, and carrying that taper into NCAA’s.

Simas’ Times:
54.57/1:59.86 Breaststroke

Brittany’s Times:
1:03.09/2:15.09 Breaststroke
2:04.74/4:24.02 IM

*Brittany won a D.III national title in the 200 Breast in 2012, and Simas won the 100 Breaststroke in 2013.


Championship Season Warm Up = ~1,500 Yards

Pre Set:

8 x 50 @ 50 –
-25 Breaststroke “drill” = Double Pullout, 1 Up/2 extra kicks, 1 Up/1 extra kick if not at other end
-25 Build – Odd rounds = Full stroke breaststroke, Even = Breast pull, flutter kick
8 x 25 @ 30 – ‘Breakouts’ – Mix up strokes
*Breakouts = short push off wall, 2 max effort stroke cycles

Main Set:

4 Rounds:
8 x 25 FAST – 200 Tempo (@ 45, 40, 35, 30 by round)
75 EZ
50 Off Block Max Effort
125 EZ

Warm Down:

At least 400, get out when feeling good

The goal during the main set was to hold the same stroke count/time for the 25’s and then simply race on the 50’s.  With the extra rest on the 25’s in the earlier rounds, it forces you to establish your tempo and pay attention to what you’re doing (what else are you going to do when resting for 25-30 seconds?).

In the later rounds, you should be locked into your tempo/effort and be able to maintain without thinking about it.  Recovery swims at this point in the season aren’t on intervals.  When the heart rate comes back down, start the next round.

Got a workout you’d like to share with the swimming community? Send it on in to [email protected]

Leave a Reply

About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!