Coach’s Intel: Scott O’Reilly from Prince William Swim Club Shares His Favorite Set

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.

Scott O’Reilly, head coach of Virginia’s Prince William Swim Club shares a set that is great for technique, maintaining stroke count, and conditioning your kick. Here it is:

6 rounds of 20 x 25 (yds) free on :30

  • Swimmer counts his/her strokes on the first 25 and holds that same stroke count through round 1
  • Swimmer reduces stroke count by a certain # of strokes each round.

I’ll usually set up a table like this:

If SC is greater than 17, reduce by 3 strokes.

If SC is between 12 and 16, reduce by 2 strokes.

If SC is less than 12, reduce by 1 stroke.


  • I’ve done variations of this set that include more rounds, fewer 25’s per round, and with other strokes (though I don’t always like their technique with the other strokes).
  • I’ve also done this set where I ask them to reduce stroke count on the 1st 4 rounds, then round 5 will be on :25 and round 6 will be on :20, with the same stroke count that they ended up with on round 4.
  • If I want it to be more of a kick set (which it pretty much turns into anyway), I may give them the starting stroke count (something pretty low, like 10 or 11). One of my best swimmers (who is now a junior at UVA) did 8 25’s with one stroke on :20 when she was 13.
  • I’ve done this set with age groupers and seniors; early season or mid-season during a recovery/off day; my favorite thing about this set is that, after talking to the kids about fixing different parts of their technique (rotation, head position, strong kick, streamline, etc.), it all comes together when they try to take fewer strokes. I don’t limit the amount of streamlining they can do. I love watching a kid who barely streamlines to the flags on swim sets, go half way or more at the end of this set.
  • I’ve also done a version of this set long course, with 50’s.
  • The swimmers could also keep track of their stroke count in a log if you were to do the exact same version multiple times through the year, but I have yet to do that. Usually I’ve just made the set more challenging as the season progresses.

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

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Billy Howard

We tried this today. Loved it. We only did 5 rounds, and I wish we had done 1 or 2 more. The extra long kickouts were fun to watch. My breaststroker started throwing in underwater pullouts in Round 4, which seemed appropriate to what he needs to work on. Thanks for sharing!

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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