Teddington Swimming Club
Teddington Swimming Club

Test sets

So what is the point of that then? Over the past few months we have started to introduce the concept of test sets in training sessions at Teddington Swimming Club.

The fastest swimmer will win, won’t they? Well, not necessarily. A great swimmer may loose if their starts and turns are poor. A strong swimmer with poor legs will not maintain sprinting speed over a longer distance etc.

Swimming has a number of elements, technique, strength, legs and arms, starts, turns.

The whole point of test sets is to give swimmers and coaches the opportunity to analyse the swimmer development without the need for galas. Test sets contribute to training, give swimmers a target in sessions and of course a little extra bite. The whole point of test sets is that swimmers do not know what is coming!!

The test sets that I have decided on for the club are as follows. They all have a distinctly different testing role. All test set times will be recorded for swimmer analysis and development emphasis.

They measure things such as leg strength, aerobic fitness, speed, dive and turn ability. The 2000 challenge is interesting. 2k will take most swimmers between 30 and 40 minutes. Aerobic impact and test kicks in at about 20 minutes of continuous work. (Parents, this is worth remembering when out for you Saturday morning run!!) This distance therefore is like a timed 30 min swim, a classic swimming test, without the complication of measuring mid pool finishes.

Lactate acid is the holy grail of fitness development. Developing and tolerating are the critical issues. The more you can tolerate the impact of lactate acid the faster and further at high speed you can go. Tests actually generate lactate and measure your ability to tolerate it.

Interestingly few people train at 100%. It is too hard to do both physically and mentally. Racing is at 100%. Test sets develop conditions conducive to 100% effort and measuring athletes ability to maintain this.

Added to all this is that improvers will get rewards, to be seen!!

  • 200 Front Crawl – Pure aerobic speed capacity
  • 200 Number 1 not Front Crawl – Choice aerobic speed
  • 200 Individual Medley – The all round swim test
  • 200 FC Kick – Leg ability
  • 200 Number 1 not Front Crawl Kick – Leg ability
  • Maximum speed – known as “vCrit” or critical velocity
  • 50 m FC – Sprint speed
  • 50 m Choice – Sprint speed
  • Dive and 10 m – Dive speed and reaction time
  • Turn and 10 m swim – Turn speed
  • 2000 challenge – Aerobic fitness
  • 10 x 100 - Lactate acid tolerance

Test sets will be an integral part of training. Enjoy them and use them as an opportunity to improve various aspects of your swimming.