How to Get the Most Out of a 12-16 Week Season by Marty Keating (2004)


Marty Keating started officiating for Section V and coaching for the Arnett YMCA in 1968. He started his high school coaching career at Aquinas Institute in 1970. In 1973 he became the first boys’ swimming coach at the brand new Pittsford Mendon High School. When girls’ swimming season started he was asked to take them also. Under the merged Pittsford high school teams, he remains the Varsity coach for girls and the Assistant Varsity coach for boys. He has been the head coach of the PACK, a USA-Swimming club that he founded following stints as the head coach at the Catholic Youth Organization, Greece Recreation Swim Team, and Rochester Recreation Swim Team. He is active with NISCA, ASCA, NSCA, SCANYS, and officiates at Division I  NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship meets. Over forty of his boys and girls swimmers have achieved All-American status. His swimmers are found at the Empire State Games, USS Zone meets and junior/senior national level swimming meets. His girls’ teams have won eleven sectional titles and his boys have won two. The girls are three time state champions and the boys have won one state championship. Last year he was honored at the Boys State meet. Several of his swimmers have gone on to successfully compete at the college level and many are coaches. He has coached and is coaching children of “old” swimmers, the second generation.



[Editor’s note:  PowerPoint text is at end of this talk]


I am Marty Keating.  I teach at Pittsford Central Schools in Pittsford, New York, which is a suburb of Rochester.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  That is a quaint little platitude, but it is very, very important I think in terms of swim coaching or any sort of coaching really.  With that in mind we have a season plan.


My season is 12 weeks from the first day of practice, which we started this year on August 16 until sectionals, which is November 11.  The state meet is November 19 and 20, down in Long Island, which will be 14 weeks from the first practice so what I do is I divide my season into some phases.  First, I use three weeks for pre-season.  This year it worked to three weeks.  In past years it has been two weeks from the first day of practice to the first day of school.  This year we had three full weeks because Labor Day was so late.  Then we go 4 ½ weeks of aerobic buildup where we are just pounding out the yardage and we are just trying to get that oxygen exchange and everything together.  We go four weeks of competitive phase, which we are in right now and then 2 ½ weeks of taper.  These are on handouts in the back and you can take notes as you are going.


In the preseason, that three-week preseason, we run two miles every day.  We have a park next to the high school which has softball diamonds, baseball diamonds, soccer field, lacrosse fields and it has a jogging path which is 2/3 of a mile so three times around is two miles and we run that two miles six days a week for the three week period.  Again, working on the aerobic base.


I then have a dry land program.  Now, this is very interesting because when I was a young coach in my 20’s, I don’t think anybody here would ever remember me when I was 20 years old.  For mental training, we had a real great system for learning and communicating.  High school coaches would go to the NCAA Men’s Division I championships.  I have been to every one except 1988, since 1972 when they were at West Point.  They were so close you just had to go.  One of the things that we would do is, NISCA would rent a section of seats in the pool and rent a section of hotel rooms.  So if you are sitting in your hotel room, it is 10 o’clock at night, it is after finals and you hear all this noise across the hall.  Ha-ha-ha.  Laughing and carrying on. You would look and the door is open and there are like 15 guys in there. You sort of ease out to see what is happening and as you are walking by you look in the bathroom and they have the bathtub full of ice with beer in it.  The guys are just sitting around, one guy would be talking about his weight program, his All-American free relay and another guy would talk about his dryland program, and another guy would talk about his water work and what he did for this and for that.


It was the best clinic in the world and because the meet didn’t start until 12 o’clock you could stay up until 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning and still get 6 or 7 hours of sleep you know, and be ready for the meet the next day.  So, a lot of this stuff is just things that you have picked up during the years and you worked on.  We have three dryland days.  I just basically like to shock the body and I don’t like them to get to adapt to one thing so one day we give them one thing – the next day we give them another thing – the next day we give them another thing – we go Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and just keep shocking the body.


So one day we have dryland – we call it med ball – med ball dry land and I will show you a little video of that later on.  We do chest pass squats for three minutes, throw-downs – each person does a minute, but we do it twice and then we do reach up sit-ups, tricep throws, sit-up throws with a med ball, jumping jacks with little balls, back flutter kicks and we do chest raises.  That’s it for the med balls.  On day 2, we do ten regular push-ups and again we will show you what that looks like and five push-ups, basically they are Marine push-ups plyometric.  They take a 15 second rest and then they form a triangle with their index finger and their thumb and they do triangle push-ups, 15 seconds rest and then 10 hands to the outside of their shoulders, 15 seconds rest and then 10 regular push-ups, 15 seconds rest.  They then take 30 seconds rest and they repeat that.


This program keeps them busy.  My med ball program, I stole from Chris Martin when he was at Peddie.  It was a great program.  Of course he approved it so he said it’s all right, you can have this.  Day 2 continued.  Now we do the push-ups, which is one station.  Then we do sit-up crunches and we will show you what they look like.  We do 5 sit-up crunches, 5 seconds rest, 10 – 10 seconds rest – 15 – 15 seconds rest, 20 – 20 seconds and then back down again.  This is a killer, but they like it.  You will see them, happy faces, smiling, doing their dry land.  They love it.


We have a third station – it is burpees.  Now we do an 8 count burpee.  Burpees are a squat thrust, but you have push-ups in them and we add another just – the legs are together – spread them – put them back together and then do two more push-ups.  So they stand up erect, they squat down, they thrust their legs out behind them, do 2 push-ups and then they spread their legs back and forth and then they do 2 more push-ups – squat and jump up to a streamline.  That is a burpee.  They do 5, 10, 15, 15, 10 and 5.  I am trying to get them to do 20 but they rebelled.  They said if you can do it, we will do it.  Well, as you see, I can’t do that and I got grandkids.  I want to dance at my granddaughter’s wedding.  All right, Day 2 continued – a fourth station of squats.  We do 10 squats, 15 seconds rest, 20 squats, 15, 30 squats, 15 and 40 squats – 15 seconds rest.  Heavy on the dry lands, because remember, we only have 14 weeks.


Okay, Day 3.  That is when they come in on Wednesday and they have four stations.  Station 1, we have aerobic bars.  I got this from one of my phys. ed teachers at the high school.  They are weighted bars and they have rubber around them.  They have 15 pounds, 24 pounds, 30, pounds, 40 pounds – these bars.  I have 15 and 24-pound bars, but they do squat jumps with the bars on their shoulders.  They then take the bars and do 20 curls, 10 jumping jacks, 20 core presses.  Which is, they will sit on a bench or sit on a box.  They put their knees and thighs at a right angle.  They get their feet off the box or up off the floor.  They then take the bar and put it behind their back, straighten their back out and then they do military presses, but this really works the core for them to do that.  Then they have 20 ballet squats – got this from Jeremy Linn’s coach when he was in Pennsylvania.  They stand there – they put their feet east to west and they put the bar on their shoulder – they squat down until their thighs are parallel.  I will show you what that looks like, but they squat down until their thighs are parallel with the floor and then they just stand up.  It is like a plie in ballet and they can lift their heels up.  Normally I don’t let them lift their heels up when they are doing squats and stuff, but this one they can lift their heels up.  Twenty tricep curls, 20 bend over rolls – 6 lunges each leg and then 20 upright rows.  That is station 1.


They stay 9 minutes on each station and they have a minute to change stations.  Station 2 is ropes.  We have 23-foot ropes and they just climb the ropes three times.  Everybody has to climb it three times and then they walk over to the diving well and they get with their partner and I have chin up bars in the pool and they do three sets of 5 chin-ups with partner help.  We have them bend their knees at a 90 degree angle – the partner then gets between their knees and their ankles and just puts their hand there and all the partner is going to do is help them past that little tweaking point – you know.  They will start to go up, they get stuck and the partner just helps them.  So, with the partner it is only about 10 pounds of pressure.  There is no more than that.  The partner doesn’t have to really lift all of their body weight because they are just getting past that tweaking point.


Then the third one we do is sock – this is Dick Shoulberg’s baby – he is responsible.  We have 2-pound weights.  We started off with 1-pound weights – you can get them for .88 at K-Mart.  We started off with 1-pound weights in a sock – in a tube sock and they just swim.  They stand there – get their chest parallel with the floor and they just swim – 10 seconds normal speed and then 20 seconds as fast as you can go.  40 seconds normal – 20 seconds as fast as you can go.  You do that for 4 minutes, then they switch, and they do medicine ball jumping jacks for 4 minutes straight.

As you can see, the little suckers are hurting a little bit, but if it doesn’t kill them.  It makes them stronger and they are strong.  We do calisthenics.  Four regular push-ups with two claps – 4 sit-up crunches – 4 triangle push-ups with two claps, 4 burpies, 4 outside the shoulder push-ups with two claps.  Four squats, 4 regular push-ups with two claps and we just repeat that for the full 9 minutes non-stop.  Just go get it.


Now, after they run they come in and they do one of these three days and then after they finish that – their little hour and 20 minutes are up – now we get in the water.  Pre-season, more dry land, but with a twist.  We do it in the water.  We do dry land in the water.  We will go twelve 50’s every day.  That is our warm-up.  We call them pigs.  Pigs are press-ups in the gutters.  When I first started coaching at this school, I have been there 32 years.  We had, I mean everybody on the team could go 58 for the 100 fly.  We didn’t have anybody that could do 52, 53, or 54, but that was my idea of team building.


What you do is, we did these pigs.  We started off, we did ten 50’s and the rest fly and that was just the flyers and we did ten 50’s fly – the rest was 10 press-ups.  You just form a triangle on the deck.  You put your hands down, let your arms get straight, you go into the water, you press your body weight up and then you go down.  You do ten of those.  That was rest and when you finished the 10th one you swam a 50 fly and we built from there.  We did 10 of those, 15, 20.  We started off with ten 50’s, we did 15 50’s and wound up with 20 50’s and then we got so that we could do those on 50 seconds with 20 press-ups.  20 50’s fly and I had flyers that could just swim fly all day long.  They weren’t fast, but they could swim fly all day long and it was kind of hard because we had three guys we were putting in the water.  One going 57, the other two going 58, and you had to either beat them or get beat so it worked out really well.  Now, we have these girls doing 12 50’s every day with 10 press-ups after each one so they are doing 120 press-ups per day – 720 press-ups a week.  That is all body weight.


Also, we will do this – we will go for 20 minutes – we will swim freestyle.  Maybe today at the shallow end of the pool we are going to do push-ups and at the deep end of the pool we are going to do press-ups.  So they will start at the deep end on the blocks, dive in, swim a 25 free, get out, do 7 push-ups, then they will dive in and swim a 50 free.  They are back at the shallow end they will do 7 push-ups, then they dive in and do a 75 and now they are at the deep end.  They do 7 press-ups and then they do 100 free, they do 7 press-ups and we just keep doing that for 20 minutes.  When the 20 minutes is up, I blow the whistle and then they start doing IM’s.  They dive in, they swim a 25 fly, do 7 sit-ups, then they do one lap fly – one lap back and they do 7 sit-ups, and then they do a 75 fly, back, breast, and they do 7 dips and then they do a 100 IM.  They are back at the deep end, they do 7 dips, they start that over, and they do that for 25 minutes and that is a nice little way to do your dryland right in, during the swimming practice.  Again, everything we are doing is aerobic buildup.  We are just trying to get that heart muscle in shape and get them ready to go.


Now, Dr. Al Craig, we have been fortunate at U of I.  We have had Bill Boomer who is there – the stroke guru and we have Dr. Al Craig.  He and Doc Counsilman had some running battles because Counsilman talked in ’75 about hypoxic swimming and Al Craig said you can’t create hypoxia in swimming because you need oxygen and hypoxia is without oxygen, therefore, it is a hypercapnic situation which is an abundance of carbon dioxide and he kept telling them no, no. Counsilman – you have got to use hypercapnia – you cannot use hypoxia, but Counsilman won out and everybody here knows what hypoxic is and some of you it’s the first time you read hypercapnia.  But they also said you work on technique you get a 4:1 result as opposed to work on conditioning which yields – organic conditioning which yields 1:1 results.  With that in mind, we work on technique every day.


So we will start off during that three weeks and we are doing 20 25’s. Everything is on 30 seconds.  We will do the first set freestyle and that is SSS.  A little total immersion.  It is called stop, stop, and switch.  They are in their sweet spot looking up at the ceiling, kicking on their side and they just kick sort of like 1, 2, 3.  They go stop and they put their face in the water and look with their eyes right down to the bottom of the pool.  Then they switch over to the other side and let that body roll over, head, the shoulders, the hips, roll as one unit like a log, and now they are back in the sweet spot on the other side.  They kick a little bit and then they go stop, stop and then they switch.  So, we will do that going down the pool, come back triple switch which is nothing more than stop, stop, switch, but they are doing three strokes now freestyle.  It gives you a chance to tweak them and get the little things out.


Then they do 20 25’s – fly, Biondi drill.  Which is nothing more than an underwater recovery and you throw your hands out maybe to the elbows you know, and we will do Biondi + 1.  We will do Biondi, Biondi +1, Biondi +2, that sort of thing.  Then coming back they are going to do two left arm – 2 right arm – 2 both arm.  They can breathe on the left and not on the right, but they have to no breath on the two strokes and then we do backstroke.  We do 8-1 switch.  I got this from Dave Marsh.  Which is, instead of just being on your back and swimming with your hand here, it is very important to get your thumb up, your little finger down and your palm facing the side of the pool and get your hand a foot under the water.


Now, your hips are up on the water, you are kicking on your side, you are looking up this way, then you kick 8 kicks, and then you switch to the other side.  But the kid has to learn.  You are going to get a lot of kids swimming that backstroke.  They stop the hand right at the water level and then they press down and go.  It is important that the hand goes right through the surface to the catch and if you look at that film of Aaron Peirsol in Swim Dart and Dart Fish.  It is just perfect seeing him swim down the pool.  Boy, that hand goes a good foot under the water, right into that catch and he just pulls through so we are trying to teach them there how to do that and then we do 12 spin drills.


And we do spin drills the Texas way, the Eddie Reese way.  We don’t kick.  We cross our legs at the ankles.  We sit up in a 90-degree angle and we turn those arms over as fast as we can.  The head is up – the hips are under the head and we do 12 arm pulls as fast as we can and then we do 12 regular swimming.  The object is when they are doing spin drill they can really, really get those hands moving.  So the object is when they are doing the 12-stroke to keep the hands moving.  I tell them that backstroke is controlled spin drill.  It is not, you know, you get a lot of kids going bam, bam, bam and then they start laying back boom, boom, boom – they got to go bam, bam, bam alright?


Breaststroke, we do three kicks under water.  KUW is kicks under water and then six pulls.  We like to do that when going down.  We like to come back flat and I stole this again from Dave Marsh at Auburn.  He has this thing where you use the snorkel.  The front load snorkel and I use a noodle going across the arm – armpits to get the body flat.  I tell them what to do and then I let them work on it for about 10 minutes and they use a pull buoy between their legs and they are just swimming breaststroke and they can breathe any time they want so they don’t have to worry about hunching their shoulders or getting their shoulders up.  They can get the whole body flat and straight and then once they have learned that, we take the snorkel off – the noodles off – leave the buoy on and now we just swim breaststroke.


Eyes are looking at the bottom of the pool and that is flat.  Goggles is when you just get the goggles up out of the water so you go – a stroke flat and stroke goggle – a stroke flat and a stroke goggle.  If you take the time, maybe a half an hour, you are going to really, really see some good breaststroke out of that drill and I love it.  My kids like it.  It is really, really helping us.  We do these drills every day.  I like them so much that I am still doing it.


And then the man during this time, Dick Shoulberg does this thing called success drill – 2000 yards in 27 minutes.  Well, basically what that is, is a 1:21 per hundred, and all of those are just sets and you have them on the handout.  All of those are just sets that we do that add up to 27 minutes and it is 2000 yards – four 25’s fly on 22, three 50’s free on 40, two 75’s free on 58, 100 IM on 1:21 – you do that whole thing four times through and you have got 2000 yards.  Nice aerobic.  Just easy basic swimming.  Nothing really, really hard and fast.  You are doing four 50’s stroke :45.  If you are a breaststroker sorry, you are out of luck – you got to do the :45.  100 IM on 1:25 and then four 50’s free :35.  Now the preseason is over and now we are going to do the aerobic buildup phase – we have 4 ½ weeks of that.


We warm up basically 1200 yards to 2000 per day.  Usually something fast right after that 1200-2000 warm-up.  For example we will do 8-12 half laps on 30 seconds – greater than race pace.  This comes from Dr. Brent Rushall from the University of San Diego. No, San Diego State University out in California and he calls it US training.  It is ultra sprint training.  Major aerobic sets – we will do 3 X 1200.  This is another favorite Shoulberg set on 17 minutes:  #1 is a 100 IM, 100 free, 100 IM, 100 free all the way through for the 1200 yards.  #2 100 back, 100 breast, 100 back, 100 breast.  #3:  100 IM reverse normal so they are going to do free, breast, back, fly and then fly, back, breast, free, okay?  For 1200 yards.


Major pull sets:  Dick Joachim’s – every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  They come into practice.  They are looking forward to this.   We go 400-lung busters on 5:20 and then four 800’s on 10:30 – BC is breath control.  So I tell them a little story on this left side down, right side back.  Your mother gave you the gas and electric bill, cash money.  You got $350 in your bag and you are going to watch it.  You are not going to let anybody come near that bag and take that money.  So when you swim down the pool.  The bag is over here.  You swim down the pool.  You breathe on your left side, you come back, you breathe on your right side, and your eyes do not go off of that bag.  That gives them then a chance for balance and bilateral breathing.


Then they do a 400-lung bust.  A lung bust is breathing every 3, 5, 7, 9 by hundreds and when you get to that 7 and that 9, them little puppies are huffing and puffing.  Another set we will do, maybe on Wednesday would be 400 lung busts on 5:20, 32 100’s on 1:20 and then pull a 400 lung bust.  Friday:  400 lung bust, about 16 200’s on 2:40, breathe every 3, 5 so they go one, two, three breathe – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 breathe.  1, 2, 3, breathe.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 breathe so it is bilateral breathing, but again, we are just working on that stroke trying to tweak it and then they do a 400 lung bust.


Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays we will pull anywhere from 1800 – 3200 yard pool sets.  Now, we pull with hand paddles, bands and pull buoys.  One of the things that you have to be really careful about and I am going to knock on wood.  We have never had any shoulder problems.  I will tell you what to do in case you do though.  Because we start off the first day, they might pull 800 yards, but the first 200 will be with hand paddles.  For two weeks all our pulling is with pull buoy, no hand paddles, pull buoy and band, and then we start with the hand paddles.


We start off with 200’s.  The next day we will do three and the next day we will do five and the next day we will do seven and the next day we will do 1000 yards with the hand paddles and we just gradually increase.  The human body is an unbelievable machine.  It will adapt to anything, but you have to do it gradually.  You just can’t go to a clinic and come back and say – oh boys and girls – this is your lucky day.  We are going to do 4000 yards pulling today.  We loaded – ready go and sure enough the next day they will come into practice.  Oh I can’t move my arms.  I couldn’t comb my hair.  I couldn’t brush my teeth.  My dog had to brush my teeth you know.  So if you do it with moderation, you can do just about anything.


Start them off easy and then we will do an IM set after our pull set.  You notice we start off warm-up, we did something a little fast, maybe 2-300 yards and then we do a major pull set and now we are going to come in and we are going to do an IM set and each one of those is a little IM set.  Here you have a 75 IM – you are doing a 50 fly with a 25 back, 50 back with a 25 breast, 50 breast with a 25 free.  We are doing a 400 free after each one on 4:50, then you got a 75 with a 50 free, and one of Dick Shoulberg’s things is least efficient stroke.  LES is least efficient stroke for 25 and then a 400 free total race.  Just get after it.  That is a nice little set to get those bad boys ready.


And then we get to the phase of the season that we are in right now, as we speak, which is called the competitive phase and that will last four weeks and this is when we are getting after it.  Still maintain stroke technique warm-up, but now everything is a little faster.  We might do those 25’s on 25 now instead of 30-35.  This is the time we break into groups.  Now, I have four groups working right now.  We have a breaststroke group, a middle distance group – Lane 1 is breaststroke because they do a lot of stuff so they need that wall – believe it or not.  Lane 2 is my middle distance group – those are the people that basically do the 2 and the 5 for us and Lane 3 are my flyers, IM’ers and Lanes 4, 5, and 6 are my sprinters.  Those are my backstroke sprinters and my free sprinters and we all did the same workout for the first 7 ½ weeks.


Every day they did the same workout.  I might say okay do stroke.  You do stroke for this set of 50’s.   It might be four or five or six 50’s or something like that, but that is the only thing that we do differently and then we will stay in these groups until the Championship.  Typical breaststroke set would be six 25’s for 40 minutes – hold under – no excuse me – it is not 40 minutes – it is on 40 seconds – hold.


So six 25’s on .40.  You hold your goal pace.  Your example is you want to go a 1:05 for the 100-yard breaststroke – well – that is 3 turns.  We are trying to get those turns down to a second apiece so you subtract those three turns and it is 62 second pace that a person has to learn for four laps and you divide that 62 by 4 and you get 15.5 for the pace that they have to do.  Now we have a little catch 22 in there.  So let’s say in the six 25’s the person – now remember they have to do 15.5.  They did a 15.1, 15.4, and a 15.9 – whoops 15.5, 15.3 and a 14.9.


So you throw out the fast and the slow, add the remaining four and you wind up with a 1:01.3.  You add the three seconds back in for the turn and this sort of predicts that they are ready to do a 104.2.  Now this is not to say they get in the water today, they do this, and tomorrow they are going to stand up on the blocks and do a 1:04.3.  It is after they have done it several times you know, like a week or two and then you will start seeing some real, real good results out of it.  You add two 25’s for every one that they miss.  They do them at the end of the set – all out and we really just put them back on an interval of 40 seconds, but now we don’t just say there is a time or anything.  Sometimes I will let them dive those 25’s.  Sometimes I will let them push off those 25’s, but there is a little penalty for not making your goal pace.  You have to add two 25’s for every 25 you miss out of those six.


I have a coach and my second’s name is Eric Ingrey and like me, he is a math teacher – I taught math for 33 years for the City School District of Rochester, but I have been retired now for six years.  Anyhow, Eric has this nice set.  I love this set.  It is really a geometric progression.  We will talk about that in a little bit.  It is a broken 500, which is broken into four 125’s on 9 minutes.  A broken 400 – four 100’s.  A broken 300 – four 75’s.  A broken 200 – four 50’s.  A broken 100 on 4:25.


Now you notice that they are getting a lot of rest, so they can go fast.  There is 20 seconds rest after each interval.  So if you look at those four 125’s, the 20 second rest after each 1:25, is really a minute rest.  So, when you get their times, the times they did, the time on the clock is 6:50.  They really did actually a 5:50.  Now that is in your handout.  Now, I have said these are geometric progressions like in a geometric progression – 1 and 1 is almost 2.


Now, say they went the 5:50 for the 500 – that is 1:10 per hundred.  Then the 400 will be one second faster than that.  So they have to go a 4:36 for that 400 which is a 1:09 per hundred.  Then the 300 will be 2 seconds faster.  So they have got to go a 1:07 per hundred or 3:21 for that fifty and then they go a 200 and it has to be 1:03 per hundred because now you are going one and then two times one is 2 and then 2 X 2 is 4 and then 2 X 4 is 8.  That is the geometric progression.  So now they have to go for that 200 a 2:06 or 1:03 per hundred and then that hundred has to be a 55 because they have to go 8 seconds faster than the 1:03 so they have to go a 55.  So these people are getting up, they are picking it up and putting it down.  They are getting busy. And I love this.  We call it sphincter II, affectionately.


When you get through with this set we will take you to the hospital and get you that second sphincter, you will be all right.  We got Rule #1 – The coach is always right.  Rule #2 – refer to rule #1.  If coach is not right, refer to Rule #1 – the coach is always right.  Okay – sprint set – Mike Walker from the University of Texas – women – we do five 25’s on 20 as fast as humanly possible.  You have got to get on those sprinters.  You have got to convince them that they have to do these with intensity.  #4 is no air and then they are going to do an easy pull 200 on 3:30 to recover and then they do it again.  They do that set four times.  Five 25’s on 20 – sprinting their brains out.  #4 is no air – rob that air from them on #4 and then #5 – they really have to work.  Sharpening, but they went.


When are we going to taper?  Oh yeah.  We have to taper.  Well man – forget that stuff – no, no, no – we love the taper.  I use a drop taper.  We cut our yardage in half for a week and then we cut that in half for a week and then we call it the 72 hour rule.  I read somewhere about 10 or 15 years ago that you can sort of use 72 hours to adjust.  If they are swimming fast then you can keep sort of doing what you are doing to keep them swimming fast.  If they are not recovered, you can let them loose and maybe kick them out of the pool on Sunday and Monday.  Let them recover and then come back Tuesday and Wednesday and give them a little pace work and then get going.  Our meets are always either Thursday is prelims and Saturday is finals or Wednesday is prelims – Friday is finals.


So we have that little break in between because prelims are Wednesday or Thursday.  That is my 72 hours.  Sunday, Monday, Tuesday is the 72 hours or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday is my 72 hours to adjust and then I mean, the taper is individual.  I individualize it by saying how do you feel?  How is it going today?  What is your story?  I feel good you know.   I am feeling good.  You get probably half of them saying I am ready.  I am ready and you say oh man, if I could put this in a can.  Let me put it in a can you know.  Then we just warm-up for those last three days when they feel good.  You feel good?  You feel ready?  I am ready – okay? Go home.


We drop dry lands, med balls, calisthenics and stations about 21 days out for the big meets.  In the water we are getting after it, so we try to maintain strength.  We maintain strength by doing pace work, by doing the fast stuff.  Now everybody doesn’t drop the dry land program.  I have a little girl that is 5’ 2” and weighs about 105 pounds and she is built very nicely – right now she is a 5:05 500 freestyler and a 1:54 200 freestyler and I wouldn’t give her 21 days rest.  She will get maybe 7. So you sort of taper the body size.


If they are heavy muscular and they have short arms and short legs you sort of give them a lot of rest.  You give them the 2 ½ – 3-week rest.  If they are lean and mean and light boned then you just keep swimming them.  You can spit on them the day before the meet and that is their taper.  And guess what?  That’s it – I am ready now.


Now I will show you that little dry land thing and Coach Shoulberg is coming on so he is the man – he will be ready .  I am sorry. – Video:  alright? These are chest presses, these are throw downs, and those are tricep throws.  There is the little girl in the red suit in the foreground I was telling you about, the little thing.  These are reach up sit-ups right there. See we do a lot of stomach work.  Hey, be quiet.  No, you are not quiet.  You are still talking.  Where is the mute button?  Those are sit up throws.  These are sit up throws.  Oh yeah they smile – really yes.


Those are med ball jumping jacks in the background so she needs to spread her legs a little bit more.  Those are small jumping jacks way back in the back.  These are back flutter kicks.  These are chest raises.  She is doing very poorly on those, but we will just kick her butt on Monday.  These are those push-ups – push-ups regular – she should have her head up smiling.  These are triangle push-ups.  These are the outside push-ups and these are the regulars.  These are the sit-up crunches.  Keep those elbows back.


Now you do 15 of those – 5, 10, 15, 10, 5 – they get a little workout.  So you see, we are heavy on the dry land because we don’t have a lot of time.  Those are the squats.  Those are the socks.  She should be down more – chest parallel with the floor, but she is doing a good job – nice high elbows because they will chicken out on you every time.  Pick it up – that is me videotaping with one arm – I am taking pictures of the ceiling – the floor and everything – trying to get this thing together.  Those are what we call med ball combos – squats.  This is the aerobic bar – there are the aerobic bars – jumps, curls, those are curls.


These guys are all young – the tall kid –Jeremy. He is a senior, but all these other guys are sophomores, freshmen.  Jumping jacks.  Those are the core body military presses – feet are up off the floor.  These are the plies.  Of course, this guy straight ahead so you can see.  This kid over here with the hat on he is nothing.  So he can barely walk.  Triceps and lunges.  Make sure the back leg knee touches.  Keep that back straight.  These are the upright rows.  Keep those hands together and elbows up.


PowerPoint Outline – Marty Keating


Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail


Season Plan

12 -14 Weeks

3 Weeks – Pre-Season Phase

41/2 Weeks – Aerobic Build-Up Phase

4 Weeks – Competitive Phase

21/2 Weeks – Taper



2 Mile Run Every Day


Day 1 – Dry Land Med Balls:

Chest Pass Squats

Throw Downs

Reach Up Sit-Ups

Tricep Throws

Sit-Up Throws

Med Ball Jumping Jacks

Back Flutter Kicks

Chest Raises


Day 2 Calisthenics – Push-Ups

10 Regular Push-Ups + 5Claps/15 SR

10 Triangle Push-Ups + 5Claps/15 SR

10 Hands Outside Push-Ups + 5Claps/15 SR

10 Regular Push-Ups + 5Claps/15 SR

30 SR; Repeat


Sit-Up Crunches

5 Sit-Up Crunches/5 SR

10 Sit-Up Crunches/10 SR

15 Sit-Up Crunches/15 SR

20 Sit-Up Crunches/20 SR

20 Sit-Up Crunches/20 SR

15 Sit-Up Crunches/15 SR

10 Sit-Up Crunches/10 SR

5 Sit-Up Crunches/5 SR

5 Burpees/5 SR               15 Burpees/15 SR

10 Burpees/10 SR           10 Burpees/10 SR

15 Burpees/15 SR           5 Burpees/5 SR



10 Squats/15 SR

20 Squats/15 SR

30 Squats/15 SR

40 Squats/15 SR


Day 3  —  4 Stations
1. Aerobic Bars

Jump Squats W/Bar on Shoulders

20 Curls

20 Jumping Jacks

20 Core Presses

20 Ballet Squats W Thighs Parallel

20 Tricep Curls

20 Bent-Over Rows

6 Lunges @ Leg

20 Up-right Rows


  1. Ropes + Chin-Ups

Climb Ropes 3 Times

3 x 5 Chin-Ups With Partner


  1. Socks + Med Ball Jumping Jacks

2 lb  Weights in Each Sock

40 Seconds Regular Speed Then 20 Seconds Fast for 4 Minutes

Meb Ball Jumping Jacks For 4 Minutes


  1. Calisthenics

4 Regular PU + 2 Claps

4 SU Crunches

4 Triangle PU + 2 Claps

4 Burpees

4 Outside PU + 2 Claps

4 Squats

4 Regular PU + 2 Claps


Swimming In Pre-Season
More Dry Land, But with a Twist:  In the H2O

12 x 50 PIGS Every Day = 120 Press Ups per Day

720 Press Ups per Week


Also We Did:

25FR; 7 PU, 50FR; 7PU 75FR; 7PU, 100FR; 7PU,

For 20 Min.

25FL; 7 SU, 50FL/BK; 7SU 75FL/BK/BR; 7DIPS, 100IM; 7DIPS, For 25 Min.


Technique Work in Pre-Season

AL CRAIG JR., MD at University of Rochester States:

“Work On Technique Yields 4 : 1 Results, As Opposed To Work On Conditioning Which Yields 1 : 1 Results!

With That in Mind We Work Every Day on Technique.

20 x 25 FREE/:30 SSS>3-Switch<

20 x 25 FL/:30 Biondi>2L,2R,2B<

20 x 25 BK/:30 8-1 Switch > 12 Spin; 12 Reg>

20 x 25 BR/:30 3KUW, 6 Pulls> Flat/Goggles<

We Do These Drills


Sample Practices

Dick Shoulberg’s Success Drills

2,000 Yards in 27 Minutes

4 [100FL /FR/1:30          4 [2X100IM/1:30

100BK/FR/1:25              100BK/BR/1:25

100BR/FR/1:30              2X100FR/1:10

2X100FR/1:10                2X100/1:25#1=BK/BR


4 [8X25/2/:22-2/:23         4 [4X25FL/:22

2X50BK/BR/:41-:44        3X50FR/:40

2X100FR/1:10                2X75FR/:58


4 [2X50FR/:40

100FL Drill/1:25             4 [4X50 Strk/:45

50/4-1/50 Race                100IM/1:25

2X50FR/:35                   4X50FR/:35

This, By The Way, Is 1:21/100 Yards. It Can Be Stroke or IM.


Aerobic Build-Up Phase Practices

Warm Up – 1,200 – 2,000 Yards  Per day Usually

Something Fast Right Away – For Example:

8  to 12  Half Laps /:30 > Race Pace


Major Aerobic Set:

3x 1,200/17:00

#1 = 100IM/100FR

#2 = 100BK/100BR



Major Pull Set 3 Days Per Week (M,W,F):


400 Lungbuster/5:20

4X800/10:30 BC*LS>RS<

400 Lungbuster/5:20


400 lb/5:20


400 lb/5:20


400 lb/5:20

16X200/2:40 BC*3/5

400 lb/5:20

T-R-S = 1,800 – 3,200 – Yard Pull Sets


IM Set To Finish Up:

4X50FL For 45 Min.       75IM For 1:10 – 50FL For 25BK

100IM For 1:30              400FR  For 4:50

4X50BK For 45 Min.      75IM For 1:10 – 50FK/25BR

200IM For 2:50              400FR  For 4:50

4X50BR For 45 Min.      75IM/1:10-50BR/25FR

300IM For 4:00              400FR  For 4:50

4X50FR For 40 Min.       75IM For 1:10 – 50FR For 25 L.E.S.

400IM For 5:15              400FR  For 4:50 Total Race

4X100IM For 1:30          3X150 IM (1212) For 2:15

3X200IM For 2:50          4X125 For 1:45 3BK For 2 BR

2X300IM For 4:00(3X100IM)       3X150 IM (1212) For 2:15

1X400IM For 5:00          4X125 For 1:45 2BK For 3 BR

(4X100IM Rev Norm)      3X150 For 2:15 FL/BK/BR/50S


Competitive Phase Practices

This Is The time We Break Up Into Groups:


Mid Distance


Sprint (Back and Free Sprinters)


We Will Stay In These Groups Until The Championships.


Breaststroke Set:

6X25 @ :40. Hold Under Goal Pace (Dave Denniston)

I.E. Goal 1:05.00 – 3 Turns = 62 Secs. For 4 Laps = 15.50

15.1,15.4,15.9,15.5,15.3,14.9 Throw Out Fast & Slow Add The Remaining 4 Times = 61.3+3.0 Turns = 1:04.3 Predicts What They’re Capable Of Doing Now!

Add 2 X 25’s For Every One They Miss. Do Them At The End Of Set All-Out!


Middle Distance Set: Eric Ingerick

500 BRKN (4X125/9:00 20 SR Every Segment

400 BRKN (4X100)/8:00 20 SR Every Segment

300 BRKN (4X75)/7:00 20 SR Every Segment

200 BRKN (4X50)/6:00 20 SR Every Segment

100 BRKN (4X25)/5:00 20 SR Every Segment


These Are Geometric Progressions:

I.E. 5:50 FOR THE 500=1:10/100

Then The 400 Will Be 1 Sec. Faster or 4:36 Which Is 1:09/100

Then The 300 Will Be 3:21 Or 1:07/100

Then The 200 Will Be 2:O6 Or 1:03/100

Then The 100 Will Be :55!


Sprint Set: Mike Walker

4(5X25/:20 As Fast As Possible, #4 No Air)

Pull 200 EZ/3:30


Taper Phase: Drop Taper

I Cut Yardage In-Half For A Week; Cut It In-Half Again For A Week.

Just Warm Up The Last 3 Days And Go Home When They Feel Ready To Go!

We Drop Dry Land (Med Balls-Calisthenics-Stations) 21 Days From The Big Meet. In The Water, We Are Getting After It So We Try To Maintain Strength.



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