Training ‘Distance’ Events in Practice


How to train for ALL events in short practices

Answer these questions based on your program:

  1. How do you train your swimmers for the 400 IM? 200 FR? What about the 1650 FR?
  2. If you train your swimmers to swim the event by practicing that whole event, ask yourself why and how much time are you wasting by doing so?

Our process:

We train events based on a portion of that event. Let me explain why we train this way.

Why you should train portions of the events vs the entire event

  • Easy for the swimmer to grasp going all out for a shorter distance rather than a longer event
  • Opens up your practice to more opportunities to correct and train for the race
  • Can add it into any set
  • Make goal times for different speeds for timed descend swims
  • This simulates the end of the races which push swimmers to dig deep even at the end of their races when they are tired

How to do this

Take each event and the swimmers seed time, divide the seed time by each 50 or 75 and even 25s for your young swimmers. This will create a ‘goal time’ for the event at that distance.

Eventually you can work towards their goals such as getting AAA times. We have them repeat the same goal time multiple times in a row to show them that the distances aren’t that big of a deal.

With our older groups that are working on a much more diverse set of events, it does take a little more time and dedication to sort out everything. Once this is sorted out in goal times. How do you incorporate this into your practices?

Using this into your sets

There are a couple ways to incorporate this into your practices: you can add this as a timed race at the end of your set, you can add in a descend time race in the middle of the set, you can add in a hold time for multiple reps in the middle of your sets, and a ton more ways. What I want to focus on is how to help build a set around this. We simulate the end of the races by doing some resistance training before doing a portion race for time. This is stressing the muscles and heart out before racing for the goal time meaning they are tired and have to dig deep to get their goal time.

Resistance training is anything from using paddles, parachutes, and Power Bags. All of these are forms or resistance that make the swimmer feel something different with their stroke. Resistance comes in a ton of different forms. Resistance does not only mean drag socks/Power Bags/Parachutes. It also includes Displacement Paddles, Resistance Gloves, Power Paddles, and ride-on chutes and even fins! Lets dig into these a little:

Power Bags/drag socks

The best diversity and cost effective resistance product out there. These can be used on the feet like drag socks, over the calves, over the hips with the String Belts, over the forearms, over the hands, and many more ways to optimize the use in your sets.

Click here for more information on how to use the Power Bags and get yours now


The most thought of product when someone says ‘resistance’. Parachutes are a great addition to sets BUT the size of the chute has to match the swimmers and the purpose and goal of your set. If you have too big of a chute and are going for a high speed/all out set, the swimmers will not deliver because of the size of the chute AND the psyche that goes with having a chute on. With those sets, you need the correct size chute. Luckily, you can get the exact sizes you need for your sets here(link). You can even get an add-on chute to change the size of your chute by just a carabiner while keeping the same belt and tether on. Click here to get your Chute now

Long Cords

This is the second most thought about piece of equipment you think of when you hear about resistance training. These are awesome to teach the swimmer to dig deep when tired and at the end of the lane. You can also use these as an ‘over-racing’ tool (watch video explanation). Like the Parachutes, there is too much resistance with these. If the swimmer cannot make the entire length while going all out, there is little motivation to get further and further down the lane. The biggest con to this though is that it is 1-4 swimmers per lane. In a big group with 8-10 kids per lane, this is hard to justify adding into practice. Click here to get your Long Cord now

Resistance Gloves

Paddles are not typically thought of as part of “Resistance Training” BUT it is one of the most common way of resistance training even if you do not realize that it is resistance training. The Resistance Gloves are great as a way to introduce paddles. Click here to get your Gloves

Brute Paddles

The Brute Paddles is the ultimate displacement paddle. Displacement Paddles are not usually utilized in practices and there are little to no displacement paddles in the industry. The closest thing you can get to a displacement paddle is telling the swimmers to do the Fist Drill (swimming with the hands in a fist). The Brute Paddles are designed for maximum pull and emphasizes the fingertip high catch. Click here to get your Brute Paddles


IM Paddles

The IM Paddles were designed to engage the Lats and Back muscles. We did this by bending the upper outside part of the paddle. This means that part of the paddle grabs more water making the pinky and outer fingers feel more pressure. The outer muscles like the Lats are engaged by the outer fingers. This gives the swimmer a more powerful feel while swimming because of the maximum engagement of muscles. The key to training with this paddle is making sure everyone gets the correct size. Just like the parachutes, there is too big of a paddle size for a swimmer. Our recommendation is to get a size slightly larger than the width of your palm. This will ensure that the swimmer can still go all out at race pace with the paddle without putting unnecessary pressure on the shoulders.
Click Here to get your IM Paddles

Stroke Master Paddles

Stroke Master Paddles i.e. Flat Paddles of any sorts, even the Agility Paddle. These types of paddles are nice to use occasionally in practice. Here are the following pros and cons of Flat Paddles.
Pros: They are easy to hold onto. There are a ton of sizes. You can use them in a knuckle wrap to help with the high catch. If get the right size, it does not put extra pressure on the shoulders
Cons: It is easy to get too big of a size. There are tons of sizes. It is easy for swimmers to ‘cheat’ with the paddles by slightly changing the pitch of the hand.
Click Here to get your Stroke Master Paddles

PowerChute/Ride-on Chute

Parachutes are awesome to train with but they do not engage off the walls until the tether is taunt. More times than not, the tether is long enough that the swimmer is already up swimming before the chute fully engages. This leaves out the Underwaters and the Breakout under NO resistance. The PowerChute is a ride-on chute that fits in the small of the back. This feels like an 8″ chute when it is fully engaged. This engages immediately off the wall because there is no tether. You can also wear this on your stomach or on your back. To increase the engagement of the chute while on your stomach just bring the chute to the front.Get your PowerChute Here


Bottom Line

All resistance forms are useful and all swimmers improve by using all of these. The key is to diversify your sets so you keep the swimmers engaged and excited for practices. With mixing ways to tire the swimmers then following those swims with a race for goal time, will train and prep the swimmers for the longer events.