Workout: Lifting the Ceiling for Open Water Swimming

In this workout we are working to lift the aerobic ceiling for our open water swimming.   Before joining us, many of our swimmers spent lots of time logging the distance in the pool in an effort to improve their open water swimming.   A lot of these swimmers are triathletes and  they could swim long distances but when it came to racing they often came up short.  In simple terms they had become conditioned to swimming great distances at a relatively low intensity so when it came time to race they weren’t ready.

One of our foci on this workout is swimming to, and above our aerobic threshold – the purpose is help the swimmers increase the intensity they can exert in a longer swim. In very simple terms, the body has two primary ways to make energy: 1) use glucose with oxygen (aerobic) or 2) use glucose without oxygen (anaerobic).   The aerobic system is good for long term activity whereas the anaerobic system is suited for short, intense bouts of activity.   The goal for the endurance swimmer is to raise the threshold, or ceiling, for aerobic activity to go longer periods at higher intensity.

Give this one a try with the focus on moving above your threshold

Warm up (first set at :10 after):  General warm up or 6 x100 @ 1:30 

12 x 75 last 25 kick @ 1:20/1:30/1:45

Main Set

600 free @ aerobic pace

4 x 150 build each to threshold by 50 2:15/2:30/3:00

400 free @ aerobic pace

4 x 100 @ above threshold 1:20/1:30/1:40

200 free @ aerobic

4 x 50 @ above  threshold :40/:50/1:00



6 x 100 pull @ 1:30/1:40 – forward sighting every 4th stroke

200 warm down


Wind-n-Sea Masters  team is based in one of the mecca’s for open water swimming and a large number of it’s members are actively engaged in open water swimming all year round.    The team features many top open water swimmers who have completed Catalina and English channel crossings.    Additionally, many members are new to open water swimming and the program encourages fun and camaraderie in the open water.

The team trains at the Coggan Family Aquatic Center – a beautiful 50m complex that is less than a mile away from the La Jolla Cove – site of the La Jolla Rough Water Swim; the largest open water swim in the United States.   Wind-n-Sea Masters archives all their works for the open water swimming and triathlon communities.

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what is mean above ?

About Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis is a freelance commercial, sport and lifestyle photographer based in San Diego.  Mike began making photos in the early 80’s and immersed himself in all aspects of the photographic arts.  Mike’s professional career in in photography began after 12 years working within the United States Olympic movement; he …

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