Time Is Not The Only Measure Of Performance

I  swam 2100m today, starting at 10:40. The pool was 29 degrees C.

500m warm-up w/ tempo bursts

4x [25, 50, 75, 100, 50 recovery] TT sprints w/ focus on fast recovery, tight spear-hand entry. Descend tempos per repeat from 1.03, 1.00, .97, then 1.00. Make them as ‘effortless’ as possible.

TT 1.03 TT 1.00 TT .97 TT 1.00
time SPL time SPL time SPL time SPL
25s :22 18+ :20 18. :20 18. :20 17.
50s :45 18+.. :43 19.. :42 18.. :42 17.18.
75s 1:07 18+… 1:06 19… 1:05 18.19.. 1:04 17.18.19
100s 1:31 18+…. 1:29 18..19.. 1:28 19…. 1:28 18…19

200 FG with SPL at 17

100m timed. Came in at 1:24 with SPL 16.17..18.

200 cool-down holding SPL 16


The first set was intended to work my SR, especially focusing on making my recovery arm move faster, but it was not suppose to be a ‘hard’ effort- I need to move faster while still staying as relaxed as possible. The .97 tempo seems to be about where I am swimming my 100m Prs at. So this is where I wanted to approach and condition so that it becomes easier and easier to swim at this tempo. Then I can expand it out. Ease up to it, then back off one step and see what happens.

If being faster is the only way a swimmer measures improvement then they are blind to the other factors that contribute to faster swimming. If I only measured time and just guessed at my level of effort in today’s workout it would seem I made no progress from repeat #3 to #4. But in fact, since I was measuring both SR and SPL I was able to see in my chart that I did in fact improve- I came in at the same times in both #3 and #4 but on #4 I used a lower tempo and I used a lower SPL.

However, I have an outer ear canal infection and started taking antibiotics tablets last night. I made the mistake of taking one this morning on an empty stomach and I paid for it. I got increasingly nauseas during this main set which was distracting and eventually energy-draining. So I had to get out early.

I had planned to do an SPL stretch set of 200 FG/200 SPL 16 right after this first set, then do a timed 100m to see if I could reach a new PR from the tempo stretching. I did the 200 FG then took a chance I could crank a 100 sprint before the nausea got too much. When I launched I was fairly rested, and on #1,2 and 3 I felt fast, holding a nice SPL. But I was a little surprised and disappointed to see only 1:24 on my watch at the wall. On one hand I felt loose enough to swim at that tempo, yet my strength was obviously dropping from my nausea.

I still need to experiment with these tempo stretches to see how I can use them to improve my sprint performance. I still like the results I get with SPL control more.



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