A breakaway sprint is a speed switching activity. There are a couple ways we do these...
Breakaway to finish
This will typically be assigned as a Cruise Distance of some duration, during which you are to swim most of it at Cruise Pace and then, at some point before the end of the swim, you are to break away by switching speed to a full-out sprint and hold that sprint speed to the end of the repeat distance. These swims are usually done in sets where the breakaway distance gets longer on each one. (See: Cruise Terms)
Here's one way Coach might assign such a set:
Depending on his mood, Coach will allow varying amounts of rest between repeats - usually at least 1 minute and possibly up to several minutes of rest/EZ between repeats.
Mid-Swim Breakaway for specified distance (or number of strokes)
This is generally a longer swim - could be anythig between 8 and 24 minutes - where your job is to go most of the swim at a moderate pace at a specific, controlled stroke count, but at specified intervals - say, every 200 yards - break away and sprint for a specific distance (i.e. 25 yards) or a specific number of strokes (i.e. 20 strokes), and then return to the original stroke count until the next breakaway point. The whole point is to do whatever it takes to return to the original controlled stroke count immediately instead of eventually working back to it.
In some cases, instead of pre-defining breakaway intervals, Coach will stand on the side of the pool during the swim and, occasionally he'll start hollerin' and wavin' a kickboard around to signal the start of the next breakaway. When he does this, your next sprint begins with your next turn.
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