Practice + Pancakes: NC State Runs 500, 200 IM, 50 Free Groups

SwimSwam wants to give you an inside look at what a normal day-in-the-life looks like for any given swimmer, and how that differs from team to team or city to city. We send our head of production, Coleman Hodges, to be a fly on the wall at practice, then relay what he discovered back to you over pancakes. Or at least breakfast.

With winter nationals being held in Greensboro, North Carolina, we couldn’t resist driving over to Raleigh to get in a practice with the wolfpack at NC State. We’ve seen the videos, we’ve heard the legends, and we had to get a closer look for ourselves. Here’s the breakdown: NC State doubles Monday, doubles Tuesday, singles Wednesday morning, then takes Wednesday afternoon/Thursday morning off.

We went Thursday afternoon, when the pack splits into secondary groups: 500 free group, 200 IM group, and 50 free group. When you put it in that context, it’s a little easier to see how they developed 3 NCAA champs over 3 different distances… plus garnered 2 relay titles. So let’s get down to business.

500 Group

After a technique and feel focused warm up, 500 crew started things with some fast turn work

3×50 @ :50 (flip turn + 200 KC + Middle 25 fast)

2×75 @ :55 ((2 lines in and out no air to FT, #2 faster)

6×25 to FT (2 @ :20, 1 @ :15)

The main set was a classic distance set; longer aerobic distance descending down to some pace work, ultimately ending in a broken 500.

600 LG Pdls/buoy/strap (desc 200’s), 400 LG pdls/buoy (drop buoy at 300), 200 LG pdls (100 aer/100 go!)

10×50 to FT @ :45 (1aer/2pace+1/2aer/2pace/1aer/2pace-1) br 5:1 on aer

400 MD pdls/buoy (HARD neg split), 200 MD pdls (build to 80/90% by 100), 100 (50 rhythm/50 legs)

5×100 @ 1:00/1:05/1:10/1:15 BEST POSSIBLE AVERAGE

200 SM pdls (bld from 90% to GO!), 100 fins (3 kicks off each wall + 500 pace), 2×50 w fins (overkick, no air final 4 lines)

250 @ 2:45 + 150 @ 1:45 + 100 GO!

200 IM Group

After warm up, IM group had more of a pace day, where lead coach Paulina was looking for small details (turns, transitions, breakouts) done correctly

6x (100 free 1:20 + 50 fly FAST :40)

100 EZ @ 2:00

200!!! 50 fly, 25 back, 25 breast, 100 free @ 3:30

6x (75 free 1:00, 50 back FAST :40)

100 EZ @ 2:00

200!!! 25 fly, 50 back, 25 breast, 100 free @ 3:30

6x (50 free :40, 50 breast FAST :45)

100 EZ @ 2:00

200!!! 25 fly, 25 back, 50 breast, 100 free @ 3:30

6x (25 free :20, 25 free FAST :20)

100 EZ @ 2:00


50 Free Group

There was A LOT going on in the 50 free group, which I see as a good thing. Lots of attention to detail in every facet of the workout, whether it was warming up, pre set, or the power workout.

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Photo Pls

Is there a higher res photo of the workout? Can’t read it at all sadly

Working on it.


any luck??


Kinda cool idea run groups based on events on particular day of NCAA competition


Wouldn’t be the first time an NCAA team did that….


On yeah? What other teams do this?

Coach J

We did Day 1 (500 Free, 200 IM 50 Free) Day 2 and Day 3 workouts 15 years ago. We did great with it and I believe all workouts should have a purpose (event)


The better question is what teams don’t do this?


My school does (Univ of Tampa) and has been doing it for at least 20+ years.


NC STATE is one of a handful of teams which evokes excitement and refreshing attitudes. Nice article!

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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