Training sets and fitness goals are a great way to improve your current swimming ability. More often than not, I see people swimming lap after lap, stopping, then doing more. However, you will probably get pretty tired and bored doing the same work over and over! Also, swimming just one stroke focuses on certain muscle groups rather than your entire body.

I believe that it is important to have a mix of strokes and sets which focus on a variety of heart rate zones to cover all your bases. By doing this you, will be able to build up stamina and speed, as well as technique across all four strokes.

To find out more on the technique of all four strokes check out the article on the strokes here.

By developing a training session that has a mix of all four strokes, not only are you able to mix up the sessions so you don’t get bored doing the same session every time you are in the pool, but you are also targeting all the different muscle groups that you use when you swim the four different styles. 

Try implementing set programmes on a set time. This will help you to make sure that you are getting to the right heart rate zone. An example would be a set like 12×100 on 1:40, holding the best average speed you can hold. Compared to implementing a sprint set that involves 12×25 on 1:30 all dive sprints focusing on the quality of the sprints rather than the distance.

By having diversity in your training programme you will get more out of your sessions each time you get in the water, you will enjoy your sessions more, and you will more likely than not improve at a faster rate due to all of the above mentioned factors.

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Jacob Garrod works for AUT Millennium Swim School and the Schools Programme. He started back in February 2015 and teaches from Breather Level right through to Development Two. Whilst working part time, he is also in the home stretch of completing his Bachelor of Business Degree at Massey University in Albany. Jacob learned to swim aged three, and became a competitive swimmer at the age of 7. He continued right through until 22, clocking up 15 years in the sport. He specialised in breaststroke and has represented New Zealand on the international level, attending two Oceania Championships in 2014 and 2016, where he managed to get five medals - three gold, and two silver. Jacob also attended the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, in Nanjing, China, and the 2017 World University Games, in Taipei, Taiwan. Jacob attended multiple National Championships where he managed to get medals throughout the years, from junior level, to age group level, right through to open level.