Dear Lava Community,

I hope everyone is doing well. I have to admit that it does become quite a challenge to come up with new topics about swimming. It feels like I have covered a lot of stuff since we started and today is the first day where I do not really have anything to talk about. I sat here for some time before I decided to write about my last swim on Monday. I am currently back in the pool anywhere from twice to four times a week in order to attempt a win in a swimming bet against a friend and fellow Swimazing Coach Christian Kubusch. The goal it to swim a fast 1500m short course sometime within the next 3 months. I am currently building up my volume and my intensity slowly because I have not training for swimming fast in a long time.

The set I swam this past Monday is a training plan from Swimazing’s Level 3 program. I modified it slightly towards the end but it come very close to what some of the members of the community will swim in their 2nd swim for this week. The goal of the training session is to work on strength and therefore we are swimming a long set with paddles. The cool thing about the session was that I did get to try a lot of new stuff from Finis. While new equipment does not automatically make you go faster it certainly will add motivation and fun to your training when you get to try your new toys. I did just that.

Here is the training:

  • 100 warm up
  • 9*100 fins (1*free w snorkel 1*backstroke 25 right arm 25 left arm 50 swim 1*IM)R’20
  • 8*50 (1*25 streamline kick +25swim 1*25fist 25swim)R’20
  • 100 – 200 – 300 – 400 pull w snorkel an freestyler paddles R’10 per 100 steady effort of 70%
  • 400pull – 3*100swim – 200pull – 100swim all with freestyler paddles R’10 per 100 effort 70-80%
  • 200loosen

Here is quick list of the new items that I used for this session:

Finis Lightning googles:

I used these in the light blue version and I absolutely love them. First of all I think they are very cool looking googles with a great fit but more importantly I like that you can see well through the sides and the top front. I really like that feature in a pair of googles as I have my head down and don’t like to lift much in order to see what is happening in front of me. Through the top front I do not have clear vision but just enough to see of there is a swimmer who I might need to pass. Great!

For the 9*100 I used the Finis Edge fins. My focus during that set was to use my legs well of the walls and not to over glide in front just because I am wearing fins. I see a lot of swimmers make that mistake. I always make an effort to keep my normal rhythm when I wear fins. The Finis Edge fin is another great product with a very solid fit. The Edge fins enable you to produce a lot of power which makes them great for shorter distance and sprint sets. I would recommend them for that use as I think that they might be a little bit too tight and too hard for long and easy swims.

The 8*50 set is basically some technique and drill work before the main set. Here I tried to ride as high in the water as I could during the streamline kick and tried to carry that body position over into the 25 swim. I think this is a very good way to work on your body position and one of the most important drills for swimming in my opinion. Adding some 25s with fists is a great way to work on your feel for the water especially when you have one of those days when everything just seems to be a little bit off.

Next up is the main set for the training session. Here I was aiming for a steady speed without pushing myself to hard in the beginning of getting back to the pool. Technique wise I put a strong emphasis on finishing my stroke all the way until the end as it is easy to get short with paddles when you start to fatigue. In addition to that I constantly thought about my hip rotation as I have always struggled to keep that up when I was wearing a snorkel. I used the Finis Freestyler Paddle for that set and again this is a product that I would recommend to swimmers of all levels. You get great feedback about your stroke since the paddle lets you know when you do something wrong. Once you get sloppy during your stroke you will lose your paddles or at least lose the right position of the paddle on your hand. You are therefore forced to swim with a proper technique.

On the way down from 400 to 100 I added some 100s with just paddles and tried to pick up the pace a little bit on these. Nothing out of control but I made sure to keep a steady kick and again to follow all the way though at the end of the stroke.

At the end of the day I really enjoyed the swim session. I had a lot of fun with the new equipment and I was decently happy with my performance. I had a little bit of a struggle during the two 400s but towards the end I really felt pretty good. I think it is very important to keep your focus during the whole training session even if it is not a key session for the week. I hope I could help you a little bit by letting you know what I was thinking during that training session and what I focus on when I swim. Again, always try and be aware of what you are doing and try to improve at any given time.

Have a great week everybody and until next week!


Jan Wolfgarten is the founder of Swimazing, a web-based swim coaching platform. Beyond his weekly column here, you can look into his detailed program offerings at swimazing.com

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