National qualifier standard swimmers were tested to see how long they could swim at EN-1, EN-2, AN-1, and AN-2 training intensities. The individual intensity speeds were developed through the establishment of each swimmer's economy profile.
The 30-minute swim for distance (t-30 test) has usually been used to determine the pace for EN-1 training stimuli. However, in this investigation it was found that EN-1 pace could be held for 45 minutes indicating that the t-30 test produces a pace that is too fast for EN-1 training.
Steady-state intensity is the key ingredient for EN-1 training. A repetition distance of 400 m is ideal while the total work time should be more than 15 min. A set of 4 x 400 m with very short rests (<10 sec) at a pace that could be held for 45 min provides an EN-1 training stimulus.
The maximum pace for a 15-minute swim is that which best matches EN-2 intensity. Sets at that pace should be formed to provide at least 15 min of total work. Repetition distances can be varied from 50 to 400 m but rest intervals must be short (<15 sec) and a steady state maintained. The heart rate during rests should fall no more than 10 bpm below the level sustained during the repeated swims.
The important feature of both endurance training intensities is to perform at a steady state. Stability is usually demonstrated after 5 min of continuous swimming.
A maximum 4-minute swim pace is that which best matches AN-1 training intensity. Repetition distances of 25 to 100 m are best, while rest intervals should be greater than 30 sec. The total work duration in a set should be between 5 and 10 minutes.
A maximum 2-minute swim pace is that which best matches AN-2 training intensity. Repetition distances of 25 to 100 m can be used with 50s and 100s being best. The total work duration in a set should not exceed 5 min.
The important feature of anaerobic training is that sets should be performed until repeat times can no longer be held. There is no magical number of repetitions for a set. What is important is swimming at the prescribed intensity pace for as long as possible. When that can no longer be sustained participation in the set should be terminated. In that manner, all swimmers can start the set, but termination will be according to ability to sustain the pace.
These paces allow a coach to determine for each individual, the appropriate speed of swimming to stimulate each training intensity. That will facilitate the prescription of specific training stimuli for producing training effects. The major factor is determining the pace to be swum for each swimmer at each intensity level. As improvements are recorded, retesting should occur so that the improved paces can be inserted into the training program. [Test-retest intervals of three weeks are suggested.]
Implications. It is necessary to individualize training to promote performance improvements. This study indicated four training paces and repetition parameters to produce four different training intensities and responses.
[A 1990-91 ICAR study modified the length of test swims for pace determination. In these implications the newer parameters will be recommended rather than the original values.]
Return to Table of Contents for ICAR 1989-90 Report.