Coach’s Intel: Paul Silver of the Marlins of Raleigh Drops Two Workouts

Today’s Coach’s Intel features two swim workouts from Paul Silver, head coach of North Carolina’s Marlins of Raleigh.

Silver has been voted North Carolina Swim Coach of the Year 3x in his 20 years of coaching, and is a Level 5 certified coach with ASCA. He was an assistant with the Bolles School Sharks from 1982-84, head coach of the Raleigh Swimming Association from ’84-2001 before becoming head coach of the Marlins in 2001.

His past swimmers include Martin Zubero from age 12-14, Kristen Linehan, 3 Junior National Champions, an Olympian for the 2008 Colombia squad, and most recently qualified 5 swimmers for the 2012 Olympic Trials and placed numerous consolation finalists earlier this year at the 2013 US Open.

Here are his two workouts:

1-Wed. 5-6:30am

This practice is an example from our power stations practice during our power/lactate weekly cycle.  Goal is to develop strength and power and to be conscious of every .10 improvement.

2x     {400    100 bow drill, 200 DPS Free, 100 IM drill    5:30

{2×75 K with snorkel/buoy on 1:25

10×50 2 turn on :55    4 Free with 2 flips separated by :10 wall flutter K at 1st wall.  6 IM work crossover turn.

Power Stations

Lane 4/5    Surgical tubing attached to block and belt on swimmer.

3×100 on 1:45    75 Free fast, rest :10, 25 fast choice.  (time 25’s)

6 x50 broken on 1:10     :10 at 25.  3 Br, 3 Choice.  (time 25’s)

Lane 3     Blue Parachutes.  2x  {3×50 Breast on 1:05

  {5×25 on :30    1-chute tucked in suit, 1 sprint Free

Lane 2    Fins/Paddles    3x      {75 Fast on :40

{100 Bow drill 1:40

{2×25 Free race side by side on :30

{50 DPS with 8 strokes/25 on 1:05

Lane 1    Rope turns          Place rope over lane at 17 meters

10×50 on 1:10    5 Back, 5 Back/Br

2×300 warm down on 4:00 pulse 24, 23

Total-4,600 yards


#2    Wed.    3:30-6pm   This practice is done during our Aerobic Weekly cycle and is great for developing endurance for the 400 IM and teaching negative splitting strokes.  Makes a 400 IM seem short!

10 minutes group stretching/dynamic warm-up routine

10 minutes    Core strength through abs, planks, etc.


4×50    mid scull w/ snorkel/buoy     on 1:05

2×250 DPS on 3:30

4×100 IM    1-SD on 1:40, 1-Fast turns on 1:30

2×250 IM    25 fly, 50 Bk, 75 Br, 100 Free-good turns on 3:50

4×50    IM/Fr by 25’s.  IM is fast, Fr is no splash    on :55


4×75    3-pull    1:10    25 fly, 50 bk               1-Free pull

3×400 IM          5:20    Fly is fr/fly by 25’s.  Neg split each stroke

4×75                1:10    3-25 bk pull, 50 Br Doublepullouts,     1-DPS Free

2×600 IM          7:50    Fly is 25 Fr, 50 fly    Neg split each stroke

4×75                1:10    3-25 Br, 50 Free overkick, 1-DPS Free

1×800 IM          9:20    Neg split each stroke.  Top girls have been 9:09, top guys 8:57


800 K w/fins    25 underwater, 75 up on 11:30

16×25 K no fins    2 fast on :30+:30vert Kick, 2 Fast on :30 +10 Press outs

8×25 Race IM order.  Add up 200 IM time and great finishes.

4×100 warmdown…take less strokes each 100


Total- 7700 yards


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Silly workout, overdoing the yards


Silly? That’s pretty pompous. When you’re 10 years into your coaching career, please let us know how it worked out for you with your gatorade chug workouts for teenagers. We should all be so lucky as to be as successful as Paul – or Bill Rose, or Shoulberg and the like. Thank God for Team USA, the developmental coaches for most of our Olympians didn’t have this silly “work isn’t necessary” philosophy.


I think we are jumping the gun comparing Bill Rose and Shoulberg to Paul.

I respect Paul and his swimmers are respectable as well, but I think you are overcomparing here.

There are many ways to skin a cat… as someone else said below… This is how Paul functions and feels comfortable functioning… Great.

My worries (as CoachErik has pointed out) is the look of that fly deep in the set… how many great strokes is the swimmer taking that late…

Precision (to me) matters much more than just toughness… the swimmer needs both no doubt… but technique is paramount for my tastes.

Thanks Paul.


Coach, this is the way its always been and this is the way it always should be? There are other ways…

I don’t think swimmer thinks that work isn’t necessary, just that unnecessary work isn’t necessary. I look at this workout and I think about the need for the IM set as its written. What does that fly look like when you are at the 800 IM (3300 into a 4100 yard set) and is that the kind of fly stroke you want to train or race with in a 400IM? I can’t imagine its the stroke count or rate you will use in the 400IM.


There are other ways? Possibly – but we haven’t seen them succeed yet. I guess when our Olympic Gold Medalists start coming from age-group programs that don’t value work (call it whatever makes you feel better), I can better accept such pompous criticism of one our best developers of talent who was willing to share. Totally off the top of my head – Nathan Adrian, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkay, Elizabeth Beisel, Natalie Coughlin, Katie Ledecky, Lia Neal come to mind immediately who were developed on the high side. So far, Missy is one of the rare exceptions – can’t think of any others off the top of my head. But by all means – lets be cool with… Read more »

Kukors would be a notable exception, coming from Sean Hutchison.


I apologize for the tone, I am by no means meant to come off as defending the troll that got you fired up. It doesn’t invalidate the info and questions I brought up. We haven’t seen them succeed because the methods out there have not been tested over long periods of time, like that of the “more is better” side of the argument. There are some of us out there that are trying it the other way and finding great success. Those people you listed off achieved a high level of success, but what was the attrition rate in these programs? It may not be within the coach in questions group, but what about the path to that training group… Read more »

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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