Coach’s Intel: Edward Denny of Cal U of PA

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.

Today’s workout is courtesy of Edward Denny, the head coach of the California University of Pennsylvania. Cal U of PA is a NCAA II women’s program and they are a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

A recent graduate of CALU, Melissa Gates, was a 3 x NCAA II national champion (50 Free – 2011, 50/100 Free – 2012) and current NCAA II recordholder in the 50 Free (22.56).

Here is the set:

I developed this set from studying workouts provided by Mr. Dick Shoulberg of Germantown Academy Aquatic Club, whom I had the good fortune to swim for during the summer of 1980. In fact, I have about 20 such sets.

We will do sets like this perhaps 2 x week immediately following a 1000-1500 yard warm-up and the basic premise is a continuation of warm-up that allows the athletes to start adding faster swims to get ready for the main portion of the workout. The sets are straight thru meaning the only “rest” is the time remaining on the previous interval before the next begins and is a mix of fast swims with recover swims but the recover swims are such that the athlete cannot slow down completely. If she does, then she is not ready for the next fast swim about to come.

The athletes generally give positive reviews on sets like this because they know that most distances are not going to be over 100 yards and the total distance of the set is approximately 1500 yards. What I like about such sets are that the athletes really seem to attack it and race each other on the fast swims, some intervals are such that the athletes must engage their brains a bit while swimming and I get to push the yards/minute pace a bit above the athletes’ comfort zone.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

2 x 50




1 x 100




2 x 50




1 x 100




2 x 25




Total yards: 1350

Yards Per Minute: 76

Got a workout or set that you would like to share with the swimming community? Send it on by emailing Olivier here: [email protected]


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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 …

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