The 12 Days of Christmas Practice, a Holiday Swim Tradition

Almost every swimmer knows that Christmas break does not mean a break from a pool. If anything, it just means more swimming.

Christmas break practices can come in many different forms and styles. One swim tradition that never goes old is the “12 Days of Christmas” practice. These practices can either be super fun or super grueling.

Last year, I wrote a “12 Days of Christmas” practice for my age group swimmers at Calvin Swim Club. This practice was originally aimed for a 12&U group who were looking for a lower-commitment style swimming experience, so I had fun writing it.

Throughout the whole practice, I had one theme that kept the kids both working and having fun. In between every swim, whether it was between sets or even 25s, I had every swimmer tell me one line of a Christmas story. Eventually I had to help them out with telling them the previous line, and then molding the story since it was told by middle schoolers. At the end of the practice, I read the whole team the story that they told me. It was a fun way to end practice!

Here is my “12 Days of Christmas” practice for any team! (add appropriate intervals, cooldown not included)

12x100s warm up 

3 EZ, 3 K/S, 3 IM, 3 build

11x 11-second sprints

3 kick, 3 swim, 3 with fins

10 “Lords of Leaping” during a 200 pull

*hop out on deck and do 10 squats in between each 25*

9 x “Ladies Dancing” 25s underwaters to 15M or better

*Everyone must sing a chorus of a christmas song in between each 25*

8x 75s Indy IM


7x 50s best stroke

6 minute kick

*tossing around a candy cane pullbuoy, the lane that has it must sprint kick*

5x50s progressive build (gear 1-5)

*style this your own way, fly doesn’t hurt!*

4x25s @R5 seconds 100 Pace

*essentially a broken 100*

3 minute recover

*my age-groupers loved to stand in the showers, but it’s your call*

2x50s ALL OUT from blocks

1 FR, 1 choice of stroke

1 “Santa’s Sack” Relay

*mesh bag, snorkel, 2 fins, kickboard, paddles* Every lane has a person swim a 25, retrieves the item, and swims a 25 back with it, filling the bag as it goes along the lane. First to fill the bag and finish wins!

Don’t forget to play Christmas music and dress festive!

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beth pishko
9 months ago

DO you have a copy of the age group one for 12u?

4 years ago

Our team did an 8,000 IM challenge for anyone that wanted to attempt it.

College swimmer
4 years ago

Fun Fact:

If you did a 12 days of Christmas practice starting with 1×25, then 1×25 1×50, then 1×25 1×50 1×75, etc. that yardage adds up quick…to 9100 yards!

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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