Watching Fast Swimmers Makes Me Swim Fast

21 November 2020

LA Fitness - Barrie Cundles Road - 25 yards


Anytime over the last few weeks I have done a workout after watching one of the International Swimming League "matches," I have had great performances of my own. This past Saturday, after watching Day 1 of the Finals where multiple world and country-level records were set, I headed over to my usual pool to repeat my 400 IM Test Set.


Going into the water and even through most of my standard, "long" warmup of 1,750 yards, I didn't expect to perform very well. My body's been feeling quite knotted up and tight ever since Thursday, when I had to drive to and from Toronto. Three-plus hours in a car is just something I'm not used to anymore since the March lockdown, and I've been unable to foam roll or "yoga-out" the constrictions since then. I started to see a little light by the end of the warmup, thanks to thinking about all the great form I saw through the ISL racing, trying to replay these swimmers in my mind as I swam:

I then jumped right into my 400 IM test set, putting up my best performance since moving to Canada almost two years ago (but still a ways to go to catch my 46 year old self from 2013):


8 x 50: on 0:55, 2 each stroke, build the odds and make sure the evens are at target 400 IM race pace

  • My dream splits would be 29+ fly, 31+ back, 36+ breast, 29.0 free

  • 10/10/13 - 29, 30+, 36-, 28-

  • 01/26/20 - 34, 35, 40, 32

  • 08/03/20 - 34, 35, 42, 32

  • 09/21/20 - 37, 34, 42, 31+

  • 10/02/20 - 32, 34, 40, 31

  • 11/21/20 - 31, 32, 38, 29

1 x 50: on 1:20, easy breast kick w/snorkel

4 x 100: on 1:40, do as 100 IMs, descend to target 400 IM race pace divided by 4, ideally starting on #1 no slower than 12 seconds above that

  • SCY target would be to descend from 1:14+ to 1:02

  • 10/10/13 - 1:11+, 1:10, 1:07, 1:03+

  • 01/26/20 - 1:22, 1:18, 1:14+, 1:10

  • 08/03/20 - 1:27, 1:20, 1:15, 1:13

  • 09/21/20 - 1:25, 1:21, 1:18, 1:15

  • 10/02/20 - 1:22, 1:18, 1:14+, 1:11++

  • 11/21/20 - 1:17+, 1:14, 1:10+, 1:07

1 x 50: on 1:20, easy breast kick w/snorkel

2 x 200: on 3:00, build each stroke on #1, try to make #2 at target 400 IM race pace divided by two (e.g., 2:05+ in SCY)

  • 10/10/13 - 2:28, 2:13+

  • 01/26/20 - 2:42, 2:27

  • 08/03/20 - 2:57, 2:37

  • 09/21/20 - 2:48, 2:37

  • 10/02/20 - 2:45+, 2:31

  • 11/21/20 - 2:42, 2:25

4 x 50: active recovery on 0:45, 0:50, 0:55, 1:30

1 x 400: IM on 5:20, hard

  • 10/10/13 - 4:36 (1:05, 1:09, 1:20, 1:02)

  • 01/26/20 - 5:05

  • 08/03/20 - 5:30

  • 09/21/20 - 5:18

  • 10/02/20 - 5:09

  • 11/21/20 - 4:58.7 (thanks Garmin Swim 2 watch for timing me!)

4 x 50: active recovery on 0:45, 0:50, 0:55, 1:30


After that, I took another run at my 400 kick for time and just squeaked under six minutes, going 5:59.6!


Now, I just need to find some fast swimmers to watch every time before I workout!

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