Strokes for Distance

A Strokes For Distance (SFD) swim is where Coach designates a specific number of strokes - generally 50 or 100 - a then each swimmer's job is to see how far he can swim using that number of strokes. This has to be a best-technique effort using the longest strokes you are capable using a swimming rhythm.

Swimming vs Drilling - It is important that this be done in a swimming rhythm, and not turned into a drill:

  • Swimmers must use either a 6-beat kick or a 2-beat kick. Otherwise it is considered a drill. As soon as the stroking arm finishes the pull it must immediately be lifted into forward recovery - not held at the side while kick-kick-kicking before beginning recovery.
  • And doing a bunch of extra kicking during a very slow recovery is considered drilling.
  • Also, though the swimmer may exagerate the front quadrant aspect of the stroke, pushing that all the way to full catch-up would be considered a drill.

Pushoffs - Unless otherwise instructed, extra-long pushoffs are fine BUT as soon as you surface you must take the first stroke of the length. Loads of extra kicking, however, is frowned upon. If, as you go from length to length you are unable to maintain the same number of underwater kicks after each pushoff, then you started out overkicking.

Stroke tempo - There are a few different ways we approach stroke tempo in these swims:

  • Choice - Unless otherwise instructed, this is done at whatever tempo allows you to take the longest strokes. For most people this will be a rather slow tempo.
  • Fast - Sometimes Coach will ask for this swim to be done at a fast tempo.
  • Specific - Swimmers with Tempo Trainers can derive great benefit from doing SFD swims at different specific beeper settings.

Snorkels - unless otherwise indicated snorkels are fine on these sets.

Recording results - recording your results in these swims can be greatly beneficial in gauging progress over time.

When - There are different times we do SFD swims - each with it's own training rewards:

  • Sometimes this set will be called for when swimmers are relatively fresh, allowing them to go for PRs.
  • Often we'll do two or more of these swims back to back, or with short rests between, trying to get longer distances on the subsequent repeats.
  • Sometimes an SFD swim will be called for immediately after a hard set while swimmers are still tired. This forces the swimmer to execute with great precision in the face of fatigue. Often this will be done in the same workout as a fresh one, allowing the swimmer to guage the effects of fatigue on technique execution.
  • From time to time an easy SFD swim will be used as a warmdown.

Index of all the workout terms, sets, concepts, etc. that have links in the workouts.

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