Swim Speed Workouts: 1-3 (She-Ra)


Swim Speed Workout Cover. (Small)Sheila Taormina is a four-time Olympian, gold medalist in the 4 x 200 free relay and ITU triathlon world champion. At just over 5 feet, 2 inches, Taormina found success at the highest levels of swimming by refining an exceptional freestyle swimming technique. She now works as a swimming coach, offering swim technique workshops around the world.

In her book Swim Speed Secrets published last spring, Taormina reveals the freestyle technique that is common to the world’s fastest swimmers. Her new book Swim Speed Workouts, which will be released in April, offers swimmers the workouts, drills, drylands, and 16-week training plan to get in the pool and focus on developing their fastest freestyle one crucial step at a time.

In this weekly series, USA Swimming is pleased to share the first four workouts from Swim Speed Workouts with permission of the publisher VeloPress. For more information about Swim Speed Workouts, go to www.swimspeedsecrets.com.



 “She-Ra” workouts appear once a week in the Swim Speed Workouts program. They come from Sheila Taormina’s personal training log. (She-Ra is the nickname given to Sheila by her college team.) These workouts, taken from Sheila’s racing career are distances she considers challenging yet manageable for Masters swimmers and triathletes. The purpose of the She-Ra workouts is to give a slightly longer workout for the week that’s more training based than technique based. Beginners should feel free to cut down the number of reps within each set to match their current level of training. The goal for all swimmers is to build fitness by churning out more yards/meters than a typical workout. 
Purpose: Speed, technique and aerobic swimming with breath control. If necessary, see swimspeedsecrets.com to find videos of each drill.

The send-off intervals in this workout are from my training log. Note the effort level and rest descriptions, and adjust the interval to be right for you. All sets are important, so if you need to reduce volume, cut the number of repetitions. Avoid eliminating any set entirely. 



2 x 400 easy @ 0:20 rest
1st 400: 100 free / 100 kick / 100 drill (choice) / 100 free
2nd 400: 100 fly / 100 kick / 100 drill (choice) / 100 fly
If you don’t know how to butterfly, substitute another stroke.

9 x 100 moderate pull with buoy @ 1:30
Do these 100s in 3 rounds:
100 breathe every 3 strokes
100 breathe every 5 strokes
100 breathe every 7 strokes 



8 x 75 @ 1:30 (If this interval is too tight, rest for 0:35. Focus on quality here.)
Odds: 25 Tarzan drill fast / 50 easy
Events: 25 fast / 50 easy

4 x 0:30 vertical kick with 0:30 rest
Vertical kicking is stationary kicking vertically in the water with your head and hands out of the water so you are relying fully on your kick.

8 x 75 @ 1:20 (If this interval is too tight, rest for 0:35. Focus on quality here.)
Odds: 25 fast / 50 easy
Evens: 25 Tarzan drill fast / 50 easy

200 easy one-arm drill

4 x 0:30 vertical kick with 0:30 rest

12 x 50 @ 1:00
4 rounds:
25 underwater / 25 easy
50 fly moderate
50 easy one-arm drill


This set strengthens your rhomboids. Feel them lift your arms out of the water during the fly and apply that same focus to the one-arm drill.



300 easy 



6 x 1:30 full pulls
Odd sets free, even sets fly

From training log: April 4, 2003 (SCY) 



4000 + tubing

Republished with permission of VeloPress from Swim Speed Workouts for Swimmers and Triathletes: The Breakout Plan for Your Fastest Freestyle by Sheila Taormina, 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and ITU world champion. Try two more free workouts and watch drill videos at www.swimspeedsecrets.com.