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One-Hour Workout: Sara McClarty’s Super Simple Swim

You'll cover drills and some short bursts of intensity in this one-hour pool workout.

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Training doesn’t need to be complicated—sometimes it’s just best to keep things simple, especially when it comes to swimming. This workout, from coach Sara McClarty, does exactly that. It covers some short stronger efforts, as well as some drills, and can be adapted for beginners or those who are more advanced/looking for a longer workout.

Begin with a warm-up of four 100s, each one should be swum as 75 freestyle, 25 non-free, with 60 seconds rest between each. Those looking for a longer workout can double this and do eight repeats.

McClarty said: “It’s important to build in some non-free from time to time. This is any stroke other than freestyle. Take the opportunity to practice breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke, or anything else to increase your comfort in the water.”

The first part of the main set involves six 75s, swum as 25 strong effort (think RPE, Rate of Perceived Exertion, 7-8/10) into 50 active recovery. Take 30 seconds rest between each 75. Again, those looking to cover more distance can do two rounds of this for a total of 12 x 75. McClarty described active recovery as “continuing to swim (any stroke) after getting out of breath and lowering your heart rate while still moving rather than holding onto the wall to rest.”

Recover for 100, kicking with fins on. This can be done with or without a kick board or on your back.

The second part of the main set follows a similar pattern to the first: 6 x 75 on 30 seconds rest swum as: 25 distance per stroke drill into 50 building to fast. Those looking to swim for longer can repeat this for a total of 12 x 75.

McClarty said: “On the distance per stroke, focus on getting the most forward distance as possible with each stroke. Think: catch-up drill with a purposeful underwater pull and push.” For more information on some key beginner swim drills, check out this video. 

With the build to fast 50s, you should aim to slowly increase your effort over the whole 50, going from super easy to finish strong and fast, McClarty added.

Wrap up the workout with 200 easy pull, practicing bilateral breathing (breathing to both sides). This helps to develop a balanced stroke and could be breathing every 3 strokes or covering 25 as right side breathing only, 25 left side breathing only.

 

One-Hour Workout: Super Simple Swim

Warm-up

4 x 100 with 60 sec. rest between each as: 75 freestyle/25 non-free

Repeat twice (8 x 100) if looking for longer workout

Main set #1

6 x 75 with 30 sec. rest between each as: 25 strong effort, RPE 7-8/10/50 active recovery

Repeat twice (12 x 75) if looking for longer workout

100 kick with fins recovery

Main set #2

6 x 75 with 30 sec. rest between each as: 25 distance per stroke, 50 build to fast

Repeat twice (12 x 75) if looking for longer workout

Cooldown

200 easy pull, practicing bilateral breathing