...What do we do we swim, swim, swim!
Just a little Finding Nemo for you there. It does go through my brain a lot when I swim.
Okay, this is a great swim workout to help build speed. I see people get in the pool and swim slow lap after slow lap after slow lap. I have news for you folks, you're not doing yourself much good. To have an effective swim workout it needs to be focused and purpose driven. You need to be working on something every lap, even when you warm up. You'll actually realize it's a lot less boring this way. If you've ever wondered how swimmers, runners, bikers, etc. don't get bored out of their minds, this is how...they are always actively working on something. And "actively" means they are mentally tuned in to what they are doing. I tell my swimmers for their warm up laps just to focus on lengthening out their stroke. As they focus on extension and rotation, even as they warm up, their stroke is getting concentrated work so it will take less focus as you fine tune other parts of your stroke.
Phew! Now that we have that out of the way here's the workout.
200 yd warm up (Focus on extension and rotation. As you fully extend your arm your body will naturally rotate. I tell my swimmers to pretend like they are reaching for something just out of reach. Try this out of water. You'll notice as you do this your other should drops down and the arm you are reaching with is able to extend just a few inches more, and your body has just naturally rotated. If you can grab a few inches more of water every stroke you will be much more efficient as you swim).
5 x 50 yd swims--catch up drill* down, regular freestyle back...take 10 secs rest between each 50
6 x 50 yd swims on the 1 minute send off** (if that is too fast for you try the 1:10 or 1:15 send off)
3 x 100 yd IMs OR freestyle on the 1:45, 2:00, or 2:15 send off
5 minute kick--20 secs hard, 10 secs easy until 5 minutes is up
100 yd cool down
*Catch up drill--This is a freestyle drill. Start with both hands out in front and start kicking. Bring one arm around and as soon as it gets out in front of you, next to the other hand, then send the other arm around. The one hand is always trying to "catch" the other hand.
** Send offs--the importance of doing swims on a send off is to help build speed and stamina. Pushing yourself to stay on a send off is very different than just taking 10 secs rest between each lap. If you are swimming on your own, without a coach, it is even more important to try to stay on a send off.