Swimming S&C Plans


Swimming is one of the largest, wide-ranging Olympic sports. With over 35 swimming events, that range from 50m to 1,500m, and open water swimming distances of 10,000m. Not only is there a wide range of distances but also a large variety of swimming techniques: front-crawl, breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, with events combining all 4 disciplines. This article outlines Swimming S&C plans and how we can support you.

A basic overview of a swimming event can be split in to three sections: the start, the turns, and the swim. The sport of swimming is physically, tactically and technically complex due to the number of strokes, distances and elements that make up the swimming event.

James Barwick – International Masters Swimmer

What you need:

The sport of swimming is made up of many elements including acceleration, deceleration and maximum speed. Below is a list of sport needs analysis:

  • Acceleration – Swimmers need acceleration from the catch phase to the pull phase of the swimming stroke. Acceleration needed at the start (off blocks) and at the turns.
  • Deceleration – Drag force increases and the hands travel through turbulent water. Decrease in velocity is related to swimming stroke length. Small amounts of decleration up to each swimming turn, due to pausing of swim stroke repetition.
  • Change of Direction – Swimmers move their arms/legs during the stroke execution, a corresponding opposite reaction of the water occurs. Swimmer changes direction at swimming turns. Rotation movements of swimming stroke.
  • Max Speed – Swimmers achieve maximum speed over short distances, such as 25m-50m. This is rarely achieved beyond this distance. Velocity is the best measure of swimming performances, to take in to account longer distances.
  • Multi-Directional – Only occurs at turns, the swimmer will perform either a tumble turn / touch and go turn, and use the wall to push towards to opposing wall.
  • Vertical Jump – Ground Reaction Forces occur at the start (from the blocks, up to 15m) and the turns (<15m)
  • Shoulder Rotation – Rotational movements of arms throughout the swimming event and training.

Energy Systems

The sport of swimming uses a number of energy systems. Below is a list of the energy systems used; which will differ depending on the swimming event.

  • ATP-PC – When the swimmer first pushes off the start, they will be using maximum force. This will also be the case at each swimming turn, which will then be used to push towards the opposing wall. The ATP-PC system is used at the start of the race and the underwater work.
  • Glycolytic/Lactate System – 50m – 100m races will take between 22 seconds to 1min 30 seconds for most competitive swimemrs at Masters National level. After 45 seconds, there will be an increase in hydrogen ions causing fatigue.
  • Aerobic System – After 45 seconds, the aerobic system is used. However, this isn’t used for a long duration of the swimming event – although depending on the swimming event – eg. Events greater than 100m.

Performance Benchmarks

Whilst performance benchmarks should be centred around pool work, we need to consider the performance benchmarks to monitor progress for the landwork set within a training plan.

  • 1RM Squat – 1.8 x BW, The squat movement closely resembles that of the swimmers start and the swimming turns. Swimmers are required to use high amounts of ground reaction forces at the start and the turns (multiple turns / swim event) (West, et al, 2011)
  • Vertical Jump – 41-52cm, Demonstrating explosive power, the vertical jump movement closely resembles that of the swimmers start and the swimming turns (Pool, Maneval, 1987)
  • Power Clean – 1.2 * BW, To measure the power and to resemble to shapes within the sport of swimming. Base strength, power and speed is required. (West, et al, 2011)

How Ox Strong Health can help

Our coaching team is highly experienced within the sport of swimming, having competed at regional, national and international level.

How can we work together?

After an initial consultation, a personalised and structured programme which is specific to your sporting needs is produced which will enhance your land training work as an athlete. Support and regular consultations support continued progress and to set new goals.

There are a number of training plans that we offer, for free, within our online shop.

Interested in how we can support you? Contact us to start your free consultation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.