What difference - 10 Weeks of Squad Training !!
10 weeks ago 20 people joined me in starting up my New Swim squad. This training is designed for Triathletes and Open Water Swimmers alike. The prerequisite for the group was that people could swim a continuous 200m of freestyle.
As people signed up, I had many conversations with them, a few concerned about their fitness, swimming style or general enjoyment for the water. It was clear at this point my job was to help create the right training environment to allow these Triathletes and Swimmers to flourish, achieve their goals, whilst monitoring their progress.
On the first week, we put everyone through their CSS, which basically means: The time you can sustain every 100m for a 1500m swim. An example of this being Triathlete 'James', who's CSS on the first week was: 1 mins 55 sec per 100m for 1500m, which gives him a 28min 45sec 1500m time.
More information on CSS and how we do the testing: check out this link.
The reason why we do our CSS is to give each of the swimmers an individual time to help monitor each of their sessions and therefore allow them to track progress. Basically it draws a line in the sand....Saying this is where I started and allows you to see the reduction in times over the weeks.
One of the hardest things as a swimmer unless you are finely tuned at pacing and speed, is monitoring progress just by feel. Many swimmers will be unaware of just how much they have progressed over a period of time. This is where CSS times start to really work well, as it gives every individual something to work on, which is personal and achievable for you. The results below are a great example, showing many of the squad making significant improvements over the 10 weeks.
So how did we train?
We kept it simple, consistent and sustainable.
We had 1 coached session a week and 2 additional sessions that I sent out. None of them over complicated, but they focused on Endurance, improving your CSS and Technique. These were delivered in many ways and included Open Water skills too.
3 sessions a week - with 3 focuses - How did they go?
Fact 1 = 20 people started and 14 people have retested. The others have not yet completed their second CSS. Data still to come.
Fact 2 = In 10 weeks 14 people lost a total of 130 secs per 100m when swimming 1500m. Losing 32.5 Mins overall for their 1500m times.
Fact 3 = The biggest loser lost 26 sec per 100m for a 1500m swim. Which means he is now 6.5 mins faster over his previous 1500m time 10 weeks ago.
Fact 4 = No one did every session, but the biggest losers were most consistent.
Fact 5 = Even if peoples CSS time did not reduce massively, their split times did.
Top 10 - Biggest Loser Score Board.
Gary - 26 sec per 100m for 1500m swim.
Kath - 19 Sec per 100m for 1500m swim.
Tim - 18 Sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Tony - 17 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Kathrine - 13 Sec per 100m for 1500m swim.
Nigel - 12 Sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
James - 10 Sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
John - 4 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Rob - 4 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
Adam 3 sec per 100m for 1500m Swim.
How have some people lost so much?
The answer is, the biggest losers trained every week and kept it consistant. They worked on a balanced training week and developing areas of weakness, (not ignoring the sessions they liked least) They made sure the sessions had focus and structure and this really developed their individual times and efficiency in the water.
Interested? There is still time to prepare for your season, whether it be Triathlon or Open Water!!
If you are keen to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
New Open Water Development Squad starting in May. At the Windermere office :)
Want to hear what the squad had to say:
"The squad has really developed my confidence in the water, and I am now able to comfortably swim distances that I would have struggled 50% of before. I am at the slow end of the squad, but have always felt encouraged and supported by Emma and Paddy, and their focus on personal improvement from your own starting point rather than trying to meet some arbitary time goal or comparision to others has kept my spirits up. It has also been great to meet other swimmers and make new friends, and my lane buddies have been very supportive". Katherine 2014
"I started ‘proper’ swimming just over a year ago and joined Emma swim squad at the end of 2013 – I needed to know that before I started worked on fitness and learning a new skill I had to learn the right technique from the start. The swim squad sessions have provided both and the lane groupings means there is no pressure from anybody other than you – no worries about being the slowest. Improvements come in different ways – if its’ numbers then I’ve knocked off 18 secs per 100m over 10 weeks but perhaps the best improvement is starting to feel changes in the way I swim. The future is bright the future is Blu". Tim 2014
"The squad has been great for me. It is the first time that I have had focussed coached training with a regular group of swimmers. As a good swimmer with lots of bad habits it has been hard to increase my pace and my swimming has plateaued for years. Over the last ten weeks I have seen a significant increase in may pace and endurance. I have enjoyed the structure of the programme and it has ensured that even in my solo sessions I have pushed myself harder. Squad members are friendly and everyone is there to develop, it has been good to swim with people who push me. Emma and Paddy have created an environment which effectively balances fun with a focussed hard work out. Join us you know it makes sense"… Jane 2014
"The squad is hard work, I won’t lie! But if you commit to the main sessions and the ‘homework’ sessions, your work will be rewarded – I have absolutely no doubt about that. The best thing about the squad, apart from the massive potential improvements are the drills; they target specific areas of the stroke, allowing you to understand how each element should feel when done properly and highlighting where your main improvements need to be made. The experience, atmosphere and most of all the improvements have been great and that has been lead by the coaches, that’s why i’ve just signed up for another ten weeks! " Rob 2014
At this point I want to say a massive well done to everyone in the squad, as a coach I am proud of everyone and looking forward to supporting you over the coming season.