WAC’s Harold Baker Shares His Favorite Distance 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.

This afternoon’s workout was submitted by Harold Baker, the founder and head coach of Virginia’s Williamsburg Aquatic Club. He also has served as head coach of the Lafayette High School swim team for the past 20+ years, where he has ranked 300+ wins and eight Team State Championship titles.

Here is his workout, specially designed for distance athletes:

This is a set for distance swimming.  I get bored with assigning a series of long swims. I also want my swimmers to push the long swims and not just swim mindlessly to survive the set.

We do this twice a week (Monday & Friday) from the 1st week all the way to taper.

Week 1: 10 x 100 @ 1:20

Week 2: 15 x 100 @ 1:20

Week 3: 20 x 100 @ 1:20

Week 4: 10 x 100 @ 1:15

Week 5: 15 x 100 @ 1:15

Week 6: 20 x 100 @ 1:15

Week 7: 10 x 100 @ 1:10

Week 8: 15 x 100 @ 1:10

Week 9: 20 x 100 @ 1:10

And so on.

We usually work our way down to the 1:05 or 1:00 range depending on how many weeks we have until taper.  Generally at about 1:10 we start to have some of our 15 or so Senior swimmers fall off.  I move them back 5 seconds and have them redo the cycle.

This way the stronger or more driven swimmers can move on instead of being held up.  I have started at 1:25, 1:20 or 1:15 depending on the Age or ability in the group.

Our top swimmer this year was Carter Kale at 15:48 (15 year old) Miler.  When we got down to 1:05 he could keep them under 1:00(many were in the 56-57 range).  One day as a variation he went as many as he could by himself.  I believe he got into the mid 30’s before missing an interval.

Since we have some good distance swimmers coming back this year we will try to start at 1:15 for part of the group and 1:20 for the rest.

I like the set because there is a lot of action and they have to push through a distance set.  There is no place to hide.  Generally I follow up with a little recovery set of mostly kicking and working on 6-8 fly kicks off of each wall.  That seems to be enough for them to recover from the push set.   I usually can hit them with another push set at that point.   We train mainly I.M, so that is usually the follow-up set with some speed play involved.

Got a workout that you would like to share with the swimming community? Submit it to Olivier at [email protected]

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7 years ago

Is this a set? Seems more like lap swim then training

Reply to  Poopool
7 years ago

Did this set many a time growing up while swimming for the great HB. Hate it and love it at the same time. Always a good sense of accomplishment when you make all 10 or 20 and you really have to work to push through with your lane/team mates.

7 years ago

Poo pool,
Why don’t you throw out one of your own then. I think it’s a great idea!! It’s a benchmark for the swimmers to know what’s going on with their training …. And realistically it only takes 20-25 minutes to do. Thanks for sharing

7 years ago

This is a forum, opinions are welcome, dont be so sensitive.

Done SCM– benchmarks hopefully relate to races. Transferable to 200, 500, by varying set. Cheers

10 x 50 @1
1/2 best 100 yd + 4 Extra 1:00
8 x 50 @1:05
1/2 best 100 yd + 3 Extra 1:00
6 x 50 @1:30
1/2 best 100yd +2 Extra 1:00
8 x 25 max effort [email protected]:40

Reply to  Poopool
7 years ago

Since this internet/forum thing is encouraged, lets look at your set relative to his.

I find it ironic you blast his set as just lap swimming when he explains it is a distance set, shows the season progression and when you look at that final time relative to the pace he was holding in the 1:05s, he was doing an approximate broken mile. If you look at USRPT and Rushall’s work, this set, when he gets down to it, is very relevant to the mile. Going projected mile pace on a short as rest as possible seems as close to race simulation as one can get in practice. If each of these sets through out the season was set to… Read more »

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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