Swim Speed Workouts: 2-1


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



Purpose: Strength for the high-elbow catch and strong kicking to train the core. If necessary, see to find videos of each drill. 


3 x 150 easy @ 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, or 4:00 (Choose interval for 0:15-25 rest)
50 swim/25 horizontal scull drill / 50 swim / 25 streamline kick on your back 


 8 x 50 moderate @ 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, or 1:45 (Choose interval for 0:15-30 rest)

Do these in 2 rounds:
50 one-arm with kickboard drill (right arm)
50 one-arm with kickboard drill (left arm)
50 one-arm with kickboard drill (25 right / 25 left)
50 swim concentrating on high-elbow catch, especially that the upper arm arcs slightly out as you gradually direct your forearm down



4 x 75 free mod/fast @ 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, or 1:45
(Choose tight interval for no more than 0:10 rest)
Keep strong on this as you might be tired from the drill set.

2 x 50 easy @ 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, or 1:45 (Choose interval for 0:15-30 rest)
25 Tarzan drill / 25 easy

4 x 25 kick with board fast @ 0:40, 0:50, 1:00, or 1:10 (Choose interval for 0:15-25 rest)
Yes, this should hurt—go go go!

100 easy with 1:00 rest 


6 x 100 pull with buoy @ 1:50, 2:05, 2:20, or 2:40 (Choose interval for 0:10-20 rest)
25 moderate catch-up drill / 75 build to 90-95% effort


Use a buoy for both the catch-up drill and the build 


100 easy 


4-6 x 0:30 full pulls with 1:00 rest
Free or fly, your choice 


2150 (2750 with bonus set) + 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  

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