By Margaret Cyphers

Source: Active.Com


A former college swimmer and high school assistant coach, Margaret Cyphers has built a number of workouts that she uses to keep her stroke strong. All of these workouts involve some or all of the four strokes. They are all between 2,000 and 3,000 yards and take about an hour to complete. Cyphers has printed all of them out, laminated them, and now takes them to the pool with her.

Before we get to the drills, swimming newcomers (the so-called “adult-onset swimmers”) may benefit from learning some quick terminology in the drills that you may not immediately understand:

  • Kick: A set focusing on your kicking. Often done while holding a kickboard to prevent assistance from your arms.
  • Pull: A set focusing on your strokes. Often done with a pull buoy to prevent assistance from your legs.
  • Drill: These sets do not have goal times. Focus solely on your technique during drill sets.
  • Descend: Swim each repetition faster than the one before it.
  • Dolphin Dives: Dive down below the surface of the water, similar to diving under waves. Here is a video demonstration.
  • IM Order: The order of medley swims are butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
  • Dolphin Kick: A type of kicking (typically used in the butterfly) where both legs kick together in rhythm.
  • Choice: Choose whichever stroke you want.
  • Negative Split: The second half of the set is swum faster than the first half.

More: 6 One-Hour Freestyle Workouts

Mix Tape

Warm-up (800)

  • 200 free
  • 150 breast
  • 100 back
  • 50 butterfly
  • 6×50 kick (odd: freestyle, even: breaststroke)

Main set (1600)

  • 4×100 with 15-second rest (first 25 butterfly)
  • 100 easy breaststroke
  • 3×100 with 10-second rest (first 25 butterfly)
  • 100 easy backstroke
  • 2×100 with 5-second rest (first 25 butterfly)
  • 100 easy breaststroke
  • 8×50 freestyle (easy/fast)

Cooldown (400)

  • 4 x 100 (free, back, breast, free by 100’s)

Total: 2800 yards

The Medley

Warm-Up (400)

  • 1 x 400 (75 swim, 25 kick of each stroke)

Main Set (800)

  • 200 freestyle, moderate
  • 2×50 drill breast/50 swim breast
  • 200 freestyle, moderate
  • 200 breaststroke, negative split

Pull/Kick Set (600)

  • 8 x 50 Pull freestyle (10-second rest)
  • 200 moderate kick

Final Set (400)


  • 8 x 50, descend 1-4 and 5-8


Cool Down (100)


  • 100 Easy


Total: 2300 yards