1801 NCASB Swim Coaches Newsletter



2018 – Edition 1

This being the first of this season’s newsletter I want to emphasize that your input is strongly encouraged.  Contributions to the content of this publication increase its value immensely.  Collectively the small and perhaps routine things that each of you do in your programs can significantly influence the success other coaches have with their individual swimmers. Please, make this a group project and let me be the vehicle that distributes the information.

I thought a new twist to this year’s newsletter would be to share athlete’s favorite sets or things that they see as valuable to their preparation.   If you have an athlete or two that you would like to solicit for their favorite practice or, supply me their name and email address I’ll contact them directly.

If you have questions – ask!  If you have input – share!

All the best to a great season!




Changes for the 2017-18 season. Source NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Book 2017-18.

Rule changes that affect swimmers for this season.

2-7-6, 3-4  Lap Counters – lap counters are now permitted to count the competitors laps by changing the number to the next higher or lower number, as the competitor makes each turn at the starting end.

3-3-2a Uniforms – consistent language has been established for all NFHS sports that describe what information is permitted on the uniform.  A competitor’s name, school name, school nickname and/or the school logo can be placed on the uniform, which consists of the suit and cap.

3-6, 4-1-8 Conduct – Rule 3 was reorganized to provide consistency and clarity for penalties associated with various competitor and/or meet personnel conduct.  In addition, the rule pertaining to language regarding the prohibition of an officials tobacco use at the competition site was moved from Rule 3-6 to Rule 4-1-8.

4-6-1, 8-3-5c       Relay Events – On relays, the second, third and fourth swimmers are prohibited from taking off from the top of the starting block wedge.  Competitors must have at least one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during take-off.  The responsibility to observe this aspect of this takeoff falls under the relay takeoff judge’s jurisdiction, and does not require dual confirmation.

4-6-4  Relay Takeoff Judges – Dual confirmation for relay takeoffs is now required for all championship meets.  Dual confirmation can be accomplished either (a) by two side judges observing the entire field, or, (b) by a combination of side and lane judges.  The referee and the starter may serve as relay takeoff judges as well.

The rule book app is available for download at www.nfhs.org/erules Search “NFHS Rules App” on iTunes or Google Play.

Coaches are responsible for knowing the NCASB exceptions to NFHS rules posted on the website ncasb.org.


Season Planning

This week’s Newsletter will focus on season planning.  You all routinely create lesson plans and IEP’s and can probably do so in your sleep.   How about planning your season?  This particular plan is based on 12 weeks, but, gives you the flexibility to adapt to the number of weeks, days and hours you have available.

A season plan is your team’s roadmap to success.  Having an idea of what you want to accomplish, assessing what are reasonable goals for your team/individuals and then creating a plan to make it happen can motivate you and the team in ways you never thought existed.  Explaining the plan to the swimmers allows them the opportunity to buy into the season.  If they understand you’re providing the plan, yet, they’re responsible for their own success you’re well on you way to a great season!

12 Week Season Training Plan

Phase 1 – Conditioning/Stroke Development – 3-4 weeks

Regardless of the individuals experience with swimming they have a need for adapting to the new season and a refresher in the basics of each stroke.  Here is where you will introduce new drills and begin their adjustment to the physical demands of training.  Emphasis should begin with basic body/head positions, evolving into kicking drills and then arm and timing drills.  Training should be  progressive aerobic exercise that includes increasing amounts of time (not necessarily distance) spent in continuous swimming.

Drills: Body and Head positions, streamlining (fingers to toes) and breathing drills.  Short distance (widths) repetitive with little rest, but, perfect technique is required.

Training:  Aerobic – progressively increasing time exercising in the water.   Kicking drills are essential at this time.  To the athletes nothing feels exceptionally good so you might as well stress the legs.

Intervals of 25 to 50 yd kicks with less than :10 rest, increasing to up to 30 minutes of intervals up to 200 yds at a time with no more than :10 rest per minute of exercise.

Individual and Team Goals should be determined during this phase.


Phase 2 Training   – 4 weeks

By week 5 you should have had time to assess group and individuals abilities determining appropriate intervals for them.  This is where you can be creative and present various distances and rest to work ratios.  Combine short distance (SD) with long rest interval (ri), moderate/middle distance (MD) with moderate rest interval, and long distance (LD) with short rest interval.  Examples below.

SD:Lri  25-50 yds w/ :45-2:00ri.

MD:Mri  100-200 yds w/ 1:00-3:00ri

LD:Sri  300 – 1000 yds w/ ri of max of :10ri per minute of swimming

Tracking these groups will allow you to progressively overload them on a weekly basis.  You should aim for approximately 10% increase in distance or time each week.  Capacity (test) sets done weekly give you a great view of their adaptation to the training.

Capacity Set – 6 x 50 yds – each swimmer has a specific goal/target time per 50 and a cycle typically around plus :20 seconds.   (6 x 50 yds – target :45 cycle 1:05).   You record all 50’s that they swim at or faster than :45.  Once they make all 6 you decrease the target time and cycle incrementally.

Consideration needs to be given to how much practice time and you have daily but these types of test sets are very valuable when it comes to assessing the swimmers adaptation to training.

Drills: Stroke emphasis during this phase should be distance per stroke (DPS), stroke rate (SR) and stroke count (SC).  By this point you should know which drills are working best or needed most for each of the strokes.  Concentrate on doing a few drills very well rather than an assortment that you have to continually correct.

Training:  Mix of anaerobic and aerobic – progressively overload.  It’s ok for them to come to the next practice feeling a little sore from yesterday’s practice.

Individual and Team Goals should be reviewed regularly during this phase to remind the swimmers why extra effort is important now.


Phase 3 – Competitive 3- 4 weeks

Although you may have already had a meet or two prior to entering this phase, this is when specificity in your training becomes important.  On a regular basis, practices look more and more like repetitive races.  Realizing that in the NCASB conference swimmers may swim three individual events and another two relays.  The distances may span 50 yards up to 500 yards.  You’ll probably use one of two different strategies: train for the longer of their races, or, rank their individual events one to three in order of preference, or, expected success.  Once you’ve decided which works best in your team planning tailor your Race Pace (RP) sets to those events.

Race Pace (RP) sets attempt to mimic the race conditions the swimmer will encounter and allow them to swim at speeds very close, if not faster, than in actual competition.  Just as in a meet swimmers will have significant recovery time so should these sets be on long rest intervals (Lri).  Swims should be broken with rest to allow maximum speed during each part.

Speed (SP) sets are very important but if done properly take a little bit of time compared to the amount of yardage you gain.  Swimming faster than RP is critical, but will be done so in shorter than race distance.  Speedplay or variable speed sets are effective.

Here are some examples of RP sets:

Event – 200 Free

3 x 200 C 8:00   1) Broken at 100/:15ri, 2) Broken at 50 & 100 for :15ri each, 3) Broken at every 50 for :15ri each.  Subtract the cumulative ri time from the total time and this time should be as close to their goal time as possible.

8 x 50 C 2:00   Each 50 must be faster than the average of the last three 50s of their goal 200 Fr

You may add in a couple of sprints at the 150 mark to mimic what they may be feeling on the end of a race 200.  Easy swimming during or in addition to the cycle will help recovery between swims.

Here are some examples of SP sets:

8 x 25 C 2:00 – All done very fast – from a start is good or mid-pool 25’s allows them to incorporate their turn technique.

Speedplay – continuous 300 alternating 25 fast with 50 moderate.

Variable Speed Set  – 2 x 4 x 25yd  C 1:00 with an extra 1:00ri /set.  Each set of 4 x 25’s = 1) Easy, 2) Easy/Fast x 12.5’s, 3) Fast/Easy x 12.5, 4) Fast   These sets can be done at distances of 50 yds for your 200 swimmers and 100’s for your 500 swimmers.

Adjust these sets according to event distance and add them in periodically throughout this phase.  You should see them getting closer and closer to goal times as this competitive phase continuous.


Phase 4 – Rest 1-2 weeks

In most cases your final week or two will be time to rest.  You will determine how long they need to rest (taper) for the upcoming championship.  The basic rule of thumb in resting is to not allow one practice to effect the next.  In other words you don’t want to do anything that will make them sore or overly tired.  Fast swimming is ok, but should be followed up with plenty of recovery exercise.  Warm up as you would for the meet and rehearse all parts of their races; starts, turns, finishes and pacing.  Extra work on relay exchanges and swimmer order are important during this time.

You’ll want to present another reminder of team and individual goals to get them excited about the opportunity to compete well at the championship meet and focus on being smart in their behavior away from the pool.


Last Lap   

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the sport or topics for this season I can address as Swimming Director, I’ll be glad to take a stab at answering and/or research to provide the best possible response.  Email me at youthletics@columbus.rr.com

This edition along with last year’s series of newsletters will be posted to the new NCASB website.   If you want to add any staff members to this email list, please, let me know.


Weekly Workout (Abbreviations are listed at bottom of this page)

In subsequent editions I’ll add my workouts or submitted workouts to the mix.  These are abbreviations I use that will help you understand the workouts a little better:

Codes –

best avg – best effort over entire set,  Bk – Backstroke, Br – Breaststroke, build – increase speed over designated distance, C –cycle,  Catch-up  – overlapping stroke, dol – dolphin kick, DPK -Distance per kick, DPS -Distance per stroke, Dr –Drill, Fl- Butterfly,     fltr – flutter kick, Fr-Freestyle, K –Kick, K-6’s –(K 6 times on alternate sides),  R/L K-6’s (K 6 times for each arm pull remaining on same side for designated distance), P1- Pull w/ pullbouy, P2 – Pull w/ pullbouy and paddles, ri – rest interval,  R/L – right/left, RP Race Pace, Sc – Sculling,  Sw- Swim, LT- lactate tolerance, WU/WD warm-up/warm-down.


Jim Peterfish is the Swimming Director of the NCASB and member of USA Swimming National Disability Committee. Please direct  any questions, suggestions or comments to Coach Jim at youthletics@columbus.rr.com

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