Coach’s Intel: James Smith of the Myrtle Beach Riptides Shares a Mid-Season Aerobic Workout

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 workout was submitted by James Smith, head coach and CEO of South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Riptides. He is an ASCA Level 4 certified coach with over 30 years experience in competitive swimming.

Here is his workout:

For our team, this practice would be mid-season and typically done on one of our aerobic days, usually a Wednesday or Saturday. we do this style of set to work on IM endurance, develop the ability to change speed within a given 100, and finish with a challenge.  every swimmer who made junior nationals from our team did so in two base events – 400 IM and 500 free.

30 minutes dry-land – core work, bungee exercises, stretching

1 x 400 loosen swim

3 rounds – swimmer must hold base cycle count throughout entire set despite increasing tempo (need tempo trainer)

  • 1×225 @ 4:00.  Back/ breast/ free x 75.  cycles @ 1.5 tempo

o   (breast – swim beep, kick beep)

  • 1×150 @ 3:00.  Back/ breast/ free x 50.  cycles @ 1.4 tempo

o   (breast – swim beep, kick beep)

  • 1×75 @ 2:00.  Back/ breast/ free x 25.  cycles @ 1.3 tempo


3 rounds –

  • 1×300 backstroke kick @ 5:00, 4:50, 4:40 by round

o   Must do 10 butterfly kicks per wall!

  • 1×300 kick @ 5:00 –

o   Round 1 – 2×150 breast kick @ :10 rest

o   Round 2 – 3×100 fly kick @ :10 rest

o   Round 3 – 4×75 free kick @ :10 rest


5:00 break – stretch, use bathroom, refill water bottles


1 round –

  • 1×400 IM @ 5:30.  Fly is FAST

– back and breast are build/FAST x 50, free is FAST/ SPRINT x 50

  • 2×400 IM @ 5:20.  1st 100 is 50 fly FAST, 50 free

– back and breast are build/FAST x 50, free is FAST/ SPRINT x 50

  • 3×400 IM @ 5:10.  1st 100 is 25 fly FAST, 75 free

– back and breast are build/FAST x 50, free is FAST/ SPRINT x 50

  • 4×400 IM @ 5:00.  1st 100 is free.  Repeat time within 5% personal best time!

1×600 easy as 100 swim/ 50 kick/ 50 drill

Total yards: 8150 yards

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8 years ago

This set sounds absolutely dreadful!

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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