Swimmer does as many 100-yard efforts as possible until the swimmer can no longer make the interval to start the next 100.
Begin the set with the first 100 at the slowest interval at 1:35. Then descend by one second for the following 100, and so on, until the swimmer does not swim fast enough to complete 100 and be ready to depart for the next send-off.
Go to failure.
The hard part of doing this type of set is having clear understandings of when to depart for the next 100 without needing to do a bunch of math while under stress. The charts below help as a cheat sheet for deploying the challenging test set.
Jerry Diamond calls this an Interval Regression Set.
Thanks Lori Jo McCullough for the test set.
Figure out "points of failure"
Documenting point of failure happens within the set. This is a survival challenge / test set where the clock generally wins at least once, if not twice. So, hitting FAILURE is expected. The aim is to avoid the #FAIL for as long as possible.
Some thought leaders and educators have suggested that kids need more opportunities in life for dealing with failure. Chart these sticking points and see if they change in the weeks or months to come with growth and as the season(s) progress.
Depart on clock at
Running total time
Break out the lamination machine for this set.
The data table of the send-offs are presented in links on this page for easy printing. Print enough so that each lane is supplied with the chart at both ends of the pool. Once the fail for the 100s happen, then swimmers do 75s, so that another copy of the paper needs to be located at the other end of the 25-yard pool.
Easier printing of the above table for lane leaders and coaches
- https://isca.blue/?page_id=1250 (just 3 columns)
- Even easier, 1-up table
- Easiest to laminate, 2-up table
Run the set off of the scoreboard.
Pre-program the practice and test set within the workout mode in the scoreboard in advance of the session. Every set has one rep, each one-second faster. So, set one is at 1:35, and so on. (Exact instructions desired.)
Get the spreadsheet
A raw spreadsheet in a ODF format (made with the open-source LibreOffice) that has the calculations and ability to be extended with your email to Mark@Rauterkus.com.
In an age group setting and when there are kids of various abilities all in the same practice group, do what Pete Nauman suggests.
Once the swimmer can't make the faster interval, that swimmer can skip one repeat to rest a bit and recover. Then resume with the next repeat but do one less length. So, if you can't make it back in time to do any additional 100s, rest one repeat, then begin again but do 75s. Once you fail to make it back for the 75s, skip one, then do 50s.
Furthermore, there should be a team building process going on where the slower guys are pulling for the faster guys to make as many of the 100s as possible. Put a spotlight on them, but get everyone supporting the fastest swimmers.
Other protocols options
Adjust the start point
Perhaps it would better suit your team to start the set at a different launch point. Rather than a beginning with 1:35-second interval for the first one, begin at 1:45 or even 2:00.
Adjust the drop points and quantity
One coach did a similar set by cutting the interval on each step by five-seconds instead of one-second drops. However, that coach also did two 100s at the same interval. Then the next two at a faster interval by five seconds.
For example, do 2 x 100s at 1:35. Then, 2 x 100s at 1:30. Then, 2 x 100s at 1:25. Then, 2 x 100s at 1:20. Go to failure.
After failure, go to 50s, rather than 75s
Once a swimmer can't make the progressively faster interval for the 100s, then rather than doing 75s as described above, have the swimmers go straight to 50s instead.
Swim the test set with fins
Might make sense to have the younger or slower swimmers do the test set with fins so as to keep the group more uniform. Also, might put on the fins after a certain point is reached in the test.
Swim the test set with another stroke
Might make sense to have the faster swimmers or certain swimmers do the test set with another stroke, and not freestyle. Do it all backstroke, breastroke or 100 IMs.
Notice anything wonky or wrong?
If you find a mistake, we'd be happy to be notified of the error so it can be corrected. Deposit a comment below or else email Mark@Rauterkus.com. Suggestions welcome too.
This set was done with four of The Ellis School varsity swimmers on December 11, 2019.
This is early season, before any meets. Furthermore, only one of the four swimmers was on the high school team last year. So, great progress is expected in the future. All the swimmers were looking at the laminated sheet of send-offs from time to time.
Swimmer Z swam the first three 100s and then failed to do the 4th rep. Then 75s were done until the 23rd rep which was sat out. Then 50s were done for the remainder of the set to the end, rep 43.
Swimmer X did the first 100 then sat out the second rep. Then did one 75, but failed rep 4 and sat out. Then sat out the 7th rep and moved to 25s. Also rep 33 was missed.
Swimmer BY did the first 100 then sat out the second. Did a 75 and sat out the 4th rep. Then at rep 13, fins were put on and 25s were done for the remainder.
Swimmer ITY did the first 100, then sat out rep 2. Swam one 75 and then sat out rep 4 and did 50s to rep 7. At rep 7, was an extra fail, but 50s continued. It was circled. Fins were added. After rep 13, the rest were 25 repeats.