Warm-up routine for clock awareness

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by Bridger Bell

We affectionately call it "the greatest set ever."

In the first video you hear "30! 30!" and in the second "29!" You see some synchronized swimming across the waves, because they're pacing off each other. You see some of them hit exactly at :30 and you hear one who hit at :31 yell "darn!"

This set runs about every 10 days, the first set of practice: it is the warm-up set.

16 x 50 @ 1:00

First 50, hit EXACTLY :38 seconds (not :38 or faster, but EXACTLY :38). Second 50, :37. Subtract a second all the way down :36, :35, :34... to :23.

Figure out the final target, then add :15 seconds to get the first target time of the set. Our final target was :23, so +:15 and the first 50 target of the set is :38.

The final target might be a time nobody hits the first day the set is run that season. The goal is that some hit it by the end of the season.

Primary goal of set: 

  • Hit every target time EXACTLY all the way down. 

*Important to stress doing it by swimming a uniform freestyle stroke through the whole 50 (not swimming 45 yards/meters then looking at the clock and kicking in the last 5 to hit on time). "Make it look good; like real swimming" the first few when the times are slow.

Secondary goal of set:

  • Go as fast or faster on each subsequent 50 but just don't slow down on any 50. So, if a swimmer goes from :38 down to :28 and holds :28 for the last six 50s, that's a success for this secondary goal.

Tertiary goal of set:

  • Remember how you did last time / for next time. Know what you got down to, if you never slowed down and how many were slower than previous, etc.

Swimmers run the set.

Opportunity to cultivate leadership, being vocal, encouraging each other, helping remind where they are in the set.

Individually, swimmers have personal goals based on previous run of the set and see clear progress through the season.

They learn a sense of pace and they sure get moving in the first 16 minutes of practice!

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Swim, water polo and SKWIM coach in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Also the webmaster for the International Swim Coaches Association.

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