Coach’s Log, Trinity University’s Sprint Group

The Sprint Group (Black Group) at Trinity University swims once a day 6 days a week. Our practice block is 2 hours 30 minutes long, with a 15 minute land warm up which includes stretching and foam rolling.

Returning from Thanksgiving, as a group we are staying fit before finals week (next week) and preparing for our 3 week Christmas training camp held here at school. I am using this time to share with the athletes what training camp is going to be like, since some of the guys are now going to be training for the 200IM.
The general theme of today, and our training camp, is kicking and the 3rd and 4th 25s of the 100. We’ve already gotten the speed from the first semester of training.
400 swim every 4th 25 no freestyle
400 IM swim with no arms (arms by the side). focus: core awareness and body position
8×50 25 scull / 25 drill mix up the sculling, no adjacent 50s can be the same sculling (ex: windshield wiper scull on #1, seated chair scull on # 2, windshield wiper scull on #3)  (sometimes they do the same scull over and over and it drives me nuts because they need to develop a mastery of the water not repeat the same old stuff…however I like to encourage play and choice in the matter)
12×75 @ 1:45
25 kayak drill (thank you Mike Bottom at the Race Club, and Floswimming) / 25 choice drill / 25 swim
odds: freestyle  evens: backstroke
(backstroke is crucial for the IMERs and opens up the shoulders of the freestylers)
Right now, close to all, if not all, muscles are warmed up.
I will probably add 4×50 swim descend 1-4 on 1:00 to put it all together.
(I often call audibles during workout, so that I can change the course of workout based off of what I see)
IM Group
2 rounds
@ :30 per 25.
25 (butter)fly
50 fly/back(stroke)
75 fly/back/breast(stroke)
100 IM
6×50 with fins
25 underwater dolphin kick
25 dolphin surface kick on back
25fly/50back/75breast/100 free
(some may say this is what the 200 IM “feels like”)
Power Cords– stretchcordz red with safety belt. We wrap them around the blocks at our pool and swim against them. I like these, as opposed to powerwracks(which I like as well but we don’t have) because they are dynamic (the resistance gets harder as you go further) and they are easy to set up and transport. A stroke cycle is defined from hand entry to hand entry as 1. (2 strokes per cycle free/ba, 1 stroke per cycle fly/brst)
5×5 cycles
1×25 ALL OUT (no cord)
1×25 ALL OUT (no cord)
3×3 cycles
1×25 ALL OUT (no cord)
2×2 cycles
1×25 ALL OUT (no cord)
1×1 cycle
1×25 ALL OUT (no cord)
After the cords, the IMERS will do this same set mixing in strokes.
The freestylers will do:
10×100 @ 2:00
odds: Easy
even: 25 fast/75 ez, 50 fast/50 ez, 75 fast/25 ez, 100 ez, 100 fast
Then, both groups finish together with:
24×25 kick @ :40
1ez, 2 fast, 2 ez, 3 fast

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9 years ago

what target number 5-4-1 cycles?

Penpen fr
10 years ago

How much rest do you put between the different tethered swim and sprint ?

Michael Schuber
Reply to  Penpen fr
10 years ago

Good question. On that day, I let them decide when they were ready. They trade the belts, usually get set for about 10 to 15 seconds, and then let it rip. On average, they get about 60-70 seconds rest after each cord and 90-120 seconds after each 25. I wanted them to take the time and focus on the quality of each sprint.

10 years ago

I am confused about the cords. Do you shorten the chord as you do less cycles? It doesn’t seem like there would be much resistance after 1 or 2 cycles. Maybe I am just confused.

Reply to  ndb
10 years ago

NDB, the resistance decreases. However, the cords are tethered several feet behind the wall so there is always some resistance. I’ve seen people shorten the cords as cycles decrease; it’s a good idea, but if the resistance spikes too much it will impact the swimmer’s technique. The way this cord set was designed, the focus shifts from the cords to the sprint 25s as the set progresses.

10 years ago

Michael! Great practice. I hope that the Sprint work is going well. Very glad that you made your practice available to everyone.

Noah (Cortland y)

10 years ago

Use your kick board as a paddle. Grab it on the ends and while on your back, push water towards your feet. Right arm goes in first on the right side and likewise with the left. You connect from your core, out to your arm. The kids should focus on that connection, right Coach? Recover your arms like backstroke, you could think of it as double arm backstroke with rotation?

Reply to  coacherik
10 years ago

Yes. That is a very good description Coach Erik. I got the idea from this video a while back when I was still in college.

HS Swimmer
Reply to  Michael Schuber
10 years ago

CoachErik & Coach Schuber: thank you so much for taking the time to explain the drill.

Reply to  Michael Schuber
9 years ago

We created a short video of the drill. Check it out at

HS Swimmer
10 years ago

Would someone describe/explain what is kayak drill? Thank you much.

10 years ago

Thanks, Scott, and thank you swimswam. I was hoping for questions, comments, criticisms, and concerns. I must say coaching is a great profession, and I feel blessed to be here coaching at Trinity.

We’ve certainly had more stressful and less stressful practices. I also think the strength work we do is a big decider in what we focus on in the pool and vice versa. This was a day that followed strength work.

When it’s time to go fast, the black group does a great job of putting their hearts into it, which is why intervals often seem easy or even non-existent on paper. I am a new coach for sure, but I believe that by now sprinters have… Read more »

10 years ago

Thanks for submitting the workout! Always great to see what different programs are doing.

About Garrett McCaffrey

No one lives the sport of swimming like Garrett McCaffrey. A Division I swimmer who spent 4 years covering the sport as a journalist, now coaches club swimming and competes as a masters swimmer, Garrett truly lives the sport of swimming. After graduating from University of Missouri’s award winning journalism program …

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