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Mental Physical Technical Swimming

Article

: Touch Time Training

Touch Time Training

30 Oct

This form of training provides junior- and senior-level swimmers with individual touch times or goal times for each repeat, enhancing the training experience from a specificity and motivational point of view. Test sets used to determine individual touch times are as follows:

  • 50 test set: 4 x 25 > 10” @ 25
  • 100 test set: 8 x 25 > 10” @ 25
  • 200 test set: 12 x 25 > 10” @ 25
  • 300 test set: 16 x 25 > 10” @ 25

Note: All test sets are performed over a twenty-five-yard/meter distance. There is nothing magical about this distance other than the fact that swimmers have a much better chance of maintaining best-form stroke and turn technique at the desired speed. The maximum test set distance is 300 yards/meters, as experience has shown most swimmers find it extremely difficult to meet test objectives beyond this distance. Longer test sets may be added should the need arise.

Swimmers must strive to maintain the same speed or pace over the entire test set or the results will be less than favorable. Obviously a 100 test set is performed at a faster speed than a 300 test set.

Typically test sets are repeated several times before swimmers gain a full understanding of how to perform them correctly. Upon completion swimmers estimate the average time held per 25. If a 50 test set was performed, the holistic coach multiplies the average time held per 25 by two to determine the 50 touch time with an additional second added to account for the omitted turn. If a 100 test set was performed, the holistic coach multiplies the average time held per 25 by four to determine the 100 touch time with an additional three seconds added to account for the three omitted turns. If a 200 test set was performed, the holistic coach multiplies the average time held per 25 by eight to determine the 200 touch time with an additional seven seconds added to account for the seven omitted turns. If a 300 test set was performed, the holistic coach multiplies the average time held per 25 by twelve to determine the 300 touch time with an additional eleven seconds added to account for the eleven omitted turns.

In a holistic approach, test sets are offered on a weekly basis early in the season and every two to three weeks after that. Most swimmers reach a saturation point by the final third of the short-course and long-course season, at which point improvements in test results are minimal. Once the short-course season ends, the process is repeated for the long-course season, and accurate records must be maintained throughout both. Tracking test results provides the holistic coach with invaluable information and serves as an excellent motivational tool for swimmers. In addition swimmers receive updated copies of individual touch times once a test set is complete.

Note: The successful execution of test sets is largely dependent on swimmers’ willingness to act responsibly and put forth their best efforts. For some coaches this may be a deal breaker; they may believe that given a choice most swimmers will choose the path of least resistance and slack off. While this may be true in some cases, the majority of swimmers are highly responsible, care deeply about swimming, and enjoy a good challenge. In my view the potential action of a few should not disqualify this method of training.


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