Test Yourself

By Garrett Weber-Gale//Olympian

Although I like sprinting and going fast just as much as the next guy, I also like grinding out some good yardage.
Here at The University of Texas, we do a good deal of both. Eddie Reese believes that to be successful you need both quality and quantity. A balance of both not only keeps out bodies sharp, but also gives our minds a change of pace so we stay stimulated.
Recently we did a set that was neither a sprint set nor a grind-it-out aerobic set. Interestingly, the work was short and sweet, but definitely brought pain with it.
The Set:

  • 4x50s on :30
  • 3x50s on :35
  • 2x50s on :40
  • 1x50 on :45
  • Two easy 50’s on 1:00. 
  • Do the set twice through.

Eddie wanted the freestylers to hold 27 or better. Some of us were holding 25’s and 26’s. Eddie told me the goal is to try and hold the same time throughout no matter how bad it hurts. We gradually get a bit more rest so that we can account for the fatigue, and maintain our speed. Although he considers this set a quality aerobic set, it wasn’t a grinder. You don’t have to do a ton of yardage to have a set be considered aerobic. This particular set was only 1000 yards but it definitely increased our aerobic fitness level.
Don’t worry if you can’t hold the intervals we did here at Texas. Believe me, it took many years to work up to this speed.
Talk to your coaches about how you could adjust the set to make it work for you. It’s ok if you start the set at :40 or even 1:00. We are all at different levels of swimming. Like Eddie Reese always tells us, “The most important thing is that we’re improving compared to where we were in the past.”
Although this is not a classic benchmark set, it could be used as a way to test your fitness every month or two. Ultimately we want to see it get easier to hold the same times on each interval. Take into account that depending upon where you are in your season you may struggle more at certain times than at others. Keep working hard so that you’re constantly improving yourself. Before you know it, you may be doing the set starting off at :30, too… Who knows?

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