Whether your aim is to swim the channel, do a
triathlon, play waterpolo or simply achieve a personal swimming goal, improving your
level of fitness is obviously crucial. Even if you’re a speed demon it’s
still high up there because you’ve got to be fit enough to prevent fatigue
compromising your sprint training.
All swimmers need to keep their weight down – imagine swimming any
distance with half a kilo strapped to your back and then imagine how fast
you could swim it if you lost half a kilo!
A continuous steady swim of around about 20 to 30 minutes is the most
obvious way to get fit for swimming. One way to get around the biggest
problem of pacing is to use a waterproof watch with a countdown repeat
Take the strap off and put it in your swimming hat just above your ear.
You can set it to bleep at a pace that suits you every 50m.
The problem is that continuous swims can get boring even for the most
dedicated of us. A bit of variation is what’s needed so here are a few
suggestions for other fitness sessions you can do in the pool:
Session 1 - 100m reps
A standard club fitness training set is to swim reps of 100m off a given
time (e.g. 2 minutes for front crawl). This means that you have to start a
new 100m swim every 2 minutes and therefore you obviously have to complete
each of them in less than 2 minutes.
The time you choose to go off
obviously depends on your standard and how many you want to do but you
should have about 10-15 seconds rest between each swim. It is likely to be
somewhere between 1:45 and 2:30 (for front crawl).
The most you’d want to do in a set would be about 20. So a good
starting point would be 10-12.
If you’re the kind of person that loses count, a good variation of this
is to work around the clock. For example, if you decide to go off 2:10 and
start at the top of the clock, you know that six reps will take you around
the clock and your seventh will be starting off the top again. So you
could work around the clock either once or twice. Of course, if 100m is a
bit too far for you, you can always do reps of 50 or 75 m in a similar