ULTRA-SHORT TRAINING IS BENEFICIAL
Beckett, K. (1986). Swimming fast. Swimming Technique, August-October, 27-29.
Seven volunteers from the College of Wooster's swim team participated in a reduced yardage, high-velocity training program for a college season (16 weeks). Distance trained was reduced from 9,000+ to 3,000+ yards. Half of the training time was spent in recovery. Training consisted of 3-5 race simulations (MWF), a short anaerobic interval set (TTh), 60 short sprint swims (MTWTh), and 10 short sprint swims (F). Two weeks prior to the championships, work was reduced by 50% for the first week, and 66% for the second week. Each sprint swim was a maximum effort and often covered only 12.5 yards.
With only one exception all performers produced personal best-times in all events at the championships. Statistically significant improvements were determined over race distances of 50, 100, and 200 yards while an interpolated 500 yd swim was also improved.
The study infers that improvements were partly the result of the high-velocity of work (i.e., the swimmers were practicing to swim fast).
Implication. Although the results are impressive this is not an acceptable experiment. There is no comparison group in the program that did not participate in the swimming fast experience. Thus, it is not possible to attribute performance change to any one factor or training procedure.
However, the study is one datum that supports the specificity principle of training and the value of ultra-short interval work for sprint swimmers.
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