Coach’s Intel: Swim Dogs Sprint 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.

The following swim workout was submitted by the head coach and owner, Mark Johnston of the Colorado-based Swim Dogs. The set that Mark submitted is designed to help swimmers help learn the speed of their goal 100 freestyle time–

The athlete must determine what their split should be for the 3rd length of their 100-yard goal time. Let’s make it simple by saying that they want to split :15-seconds.

After a warm-up and speed transition, here’s the main set:

30 x 25s on :35 at goal pace.

If you miss your goal pace (:15-seconds), you sit the next one out.  At the end, you count total up the number (out of 30) that you missed and try to improve over time.

We do a set like this every two weeks, or so.  If the athlete makes all 30 efforts at the race pace split, the next time, they must hold :14.5.

It’s a very simple, specific set, and it’s fun when you have people going fast in both directions.

The key for the lane logistics is that swimmers must stay in their respective send off spot:  The first person ALWAYS goes first, and second person ALWAYS goes second (etc.), regardless of the end of the pool they are on.  Remember, as athletes sit out different 25s, they will be scattered on both ends of each lane.

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This is the exact sort of training that ‘ the infamous Dr. Rushall’ (sports scientist involved with Team Andrew Indie Swimming) recommends that swimmers do EVERY day. In my opinion, this kind of set is going to become more and more widely used over the next decade or so. It’s also very adaptable to other distances, not just sprint races.

Good post! 🙂


I believe that Jim Montrella was doing this back in the 70’s (maybe 60’s)


Rushall is taking over swim training in the US.


Will Dr. Rushall give insight into making all athletes as big and as developed as Michael Andrew? I think as long as Andrew stays in the water he is going to get faster. What are his physical measurements?


Overtraining athletes at a young age can stunt growth and hinder the building of muscle mass. Whilst I appreciate that not all 14 year olds end up at 6’4″, I feel that his type of training probably has benefited his height and physique in some way or another (remember he does not lift weights at all) when compared to a traditional program.


I agree in some regards, but a 14 year old that is 5′ and 70 lbs will have a tough battle training for the 50 and the 100. How is “overtraining” determined? I feel as long as Andrew swims on a consistent basis he will improve regardless of what “infamous” training he is doing. He is a talented athlete with awesome physical gifts.

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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