Swimming conditioning varies considerably dependent upon which stroke and distance you are training for. There is the sprinters, sometimes termed ‘drop dead sprinters’ who complete 50m FC sometimes without taking a single breath, the middle distance swimmers, long distance swimmers who compete over 1500m in the pool and open water swimmers competing in distances of 25km and up.
The body type of a sprint swimmer and a 1500m freestyle swimmer is significantly different. The training which they complete is also different. The sprinters must and spend a lot of time in the gym doing strength building exercises with weights with a much shorter weekly mileage in the pool in comparison to the 1500m freestyle swimmer who could churn through anything from 50-75 km in the pool each week.
I have read that Sun Yang was training an average of 14km a day by the age of 12. A gargantuan task for any swimmer never mind a 12 year old! It is worth noting that Sun Yang is the current 1500m freestyle world record holder, he took gold in 200m freestyle and Silver in the 400m freestyle at Rio.
In order for a professional/competitive swimmer to reach a peak, their training must be broken down into cycles or training periods throughout the year. This process is termed Periodization and it requires 3 distinct development periods.
The first of which is Preparation – the focus of this is for the demands of competition and generally includes physical, mental and technical preparation.
Secondly is Competition – the goal of this period is to peak all aspects of performance in between stabilize and pre-competition, it will involve fine tuning.
Finally their is the Transition period – 4 R’s (Rest, Recovery, Regeneration and Review).
An example of traditional periodization is as follows.
There is 5 microcycles within each of which will have a different emphasis, a certain number of weeks will also be dedicated to each microcycle.
- No 1. Preparation Phase – this involves focusing on swim skills and generally lasts for 4 weeks.
- No 2. Endurance Phase – this is the fitness building phase which will require 4 weeks to complete.
- No 3. Specific Preparation – stroke counts (specific for distance and stroke) also 4 weeks.
- No 4. Quality Phase – Lactate production and lactate tolerance training which should last for a period of 3 weeks.
- No 5. Race Preparation and Rest. This final phase should also last for 3 weeks.
If you have any questions feel free to use the comment box below.