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Swim Club Blog: Assessing Your Swim

Swim Club Swim Training Articles

The Endurance Store Swim Club provides you with simple swim training plans throughout the winter months. The plan runs October to October and is completely free. We only ask that you pre-register so that your training plans can be emailed directly.

Registration is free and you may unsubscribe at any time from the Swim Club and stop receiving updates. Overview of the swim plan be seen below, but before you start you need to complete a test to set your swim paces, then register and download the sessions.GO HERE to register for swim club.

Level 1 = Easy recovery swimming, no effort.
Level 2 = Steady swimming.
Level 3 = Steady/Hard, equivalent to 3.8-5k race pace.
Level 4 = Hard, equivalent to 1000-1500m race pace.
Level 5 = Very hard, equivalent to 400m race pace.
Level 6 = Maximal sprint 25-50m with long recoveries.
Level 7 = Near maximal sprint 25-50m with short recoveries, repeated.

Before you can start the swim plan, you will need to complete a swim test which gives an overall assessment of your stroke. To complete the swim test, follow these guidelines:

1. The test must be done in a 25m pool.
2. You should be fresh for the test, if tired, all of the calculated swim paces will be wrong.
3. You should complete it in the same pool you intend to train in, as pools vary in speed depending upon their design (can be 1-5 seconds per 100m faster/slower).

What does the test assess?

Specifically it will measure:

1. How far you can swim in 10 minutes.
2. How fast you can swim 100m.
3. Your stroke count (number of strokes) per 25m length.
4. Distance per stroke (metres)
5. Stroke rate (strokes per minute)
6. Comparison of 100m/10 minute speeds and its relevance for performance.

How do I view or download the test and start?

Before you download the test there are some things you need to know:

1. The link will take you to an excel spreadsheet, you will need to download before you can use
2. If you don't have excel on your computer, borrow a friend's computer!
3. Read the instruction carefully before completing each part of the test.

When you're ready, you can GO HERE to view or download.

What do the results mean?

1. Setting your swim paces:

The first thing to discuss is the distance completed during the 10 minute test and your average speed (metres per second / seconds per 25m length). The average pace maintained throughout the 10 minutes is your 'threshold' level/pace and from that, we calculate all other levels/paces 1-7. Take a look at the paced calculated on the bottom of your spreadsheet.

2. Whats' your stroke count / distance per stroke? The stroke count is the average number of strokes per 25m length. This is an indicator of how far your travel each stroke so if you have a long, effective pull under the water and glide between each stroke, this stroke count will be low. With regards to how low the stroke count should be, we use the following:

30+ = Way too many!!
27-30 = Much still to be improved, but you've broken the 30 barrier..
24-27 = Getting better and a good start point!
20-24 = The region most amateur triathletes fall into, so you're normal!
18-20 = Well done, you're very effective..
16-18 = Most of us don't like you..
-16 = Well done flipper, you get a sardine..

3. What's your stroke rate / strokes per minute? Most people know how many strokes per length they take (stroke count) but very few know there stroke rate (how many strokes they take per minute). Having a low stroke count of less than 20 strokes per length is great, but if your arms move really slowly, you'll still swim slow. Gliding is nice, but going fast is much nicer. Generally when swimmer get tired, their distance per stroke (the number of strokes they take each length) doesn't really change. The reason they get slower is that their stroke rate drops and they simply move the arms more slowly. With regards to how quick the stroke rate should be, we use the following:

75-85 = Super quick
65-75 = Quick
55-65 = Ideal
45-55 = A bit on the slow side
35-45 = Wake up..
-35 = Look closer to see if they're moving..  

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