From the BarryS Coaching Training Library

How to Swim Faster

by Jessie Halladay and Mike Jotautus

Juggling all the training required for a triathlon isn't easy, especially when also trying to balance it with time for family and friends as well as work.

With limited time for each of the three disciplines, triathletes often find themselves wondering how they can devote the time they need to become faster swimmers.

Unlike competitive swimmers, who often spend 15-20 hours per week just honing their swimming skills, triathletes often can only find three to four hours to practice their swimming.

That's why Coach Mike Jotautas believes the key to becoming a faster triathlon swimmer is through structured workouts that give a purpose to your training.

As triathletes we are very spread out in the amount of time we have to train, Mike said. We are trying to accomplish as much as we can in the pool in a very limited amount of time.

So, a planned workout gives you the focus you need to build skills, while also building endurance, speed, lactate threshold or whatever other goal you working toward.

Mike, who has written hundreds of workouts during his time as both an athlete and a coach, suggests a four-component structure for pool workouts.

Component 1: Warm Up

The warm up should include 5 to 10 minutes of swimming or kicking that allows your muscles to activate and get your breathing under control. It loosens your body up for the work that is to come.

Component 2: Pre-Set

This section should focus on drills that work on a specific skill. When thinking about what drills to do, if there is one drill that you particularly dread that might be the very one you need because it indicates a weakness in a particular skill.

Component 3: Main Set

Depending on your particular goal, this section of the workout will revolve around a broader component of your swimming, such as endurance or speed. That can be combined with a skill practice as well, such as open water sighting techniques.

Component 4: Cool Down

Use this time to revisit a drill or two while easing off the intensity of the main set.

Mike has compiled all the swim workouts he did with his regular BarryS Coaching groups for the month of January.

You can download 11 stuctured workouts for FREE by visiting


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