To continuously improve in swimming, it’s important to routinely measure your performance in training. Test sets are a fantastic way to track your progress because after all, what gets measured, gets improved!
Let’s dive into the most important data to track in swimming, and how test sets can help you benchmark your improvement over time.
5 Numbers Every Swimmer Should Track
If you’re interested in improving your swimming speed, endurance or performance, you need to keep track of a few important data points.
- Lap Splits: This is how fast you swim for a given distance, usually a 25, 50 or 100. In the MySwimPro app, 1 lap is equal to one length of the pool.
- Swimming Distance: It’s important to track your total swimming distance to make sure your swimming volume is progressing correctly over time.
- Strokes Per Lap: This is a measure of your stroke efficiency. Your stroke count will vary depending on the stroke you are swimming, your pace and how fatigued you are.
- SWOLF Score: SWOLF is a measure of swimming efficiency. It’s a combination of the time it takes you to swim 25 meters and your stroke count. The lower your SWOLF, the better!
- Heart Rate: Tracking heart rate is a great way to measure your overall effort.
The best way to track all of these numbers is to swim with a smartwatch with the MySwimPro app. Sync a Guided Workout to your watch for set-by-set tracking while you swim, and detailed analytics in the MySwimPro app after every workout.
What is a Test Set?
A Test Set is a specific workout or set designed to collect data on your development and improvement over time. This is the best way to track progress across the season and in your swimming career. Test sets are best when done at regular intervals as a part of a greater seasonal training plan so you can compare your results. You can learn how to build a seasonal training plan here.
Test sets need to have a specific focus to be effective. Oftentimes this will either be an Aerobic Test Set, or an Anaerobic Test Set. It’s most beneficial to have these laid out ahead of time so they fit into your weekly or monthly plan. We can categorize test sets into one of three buckets:
- Pure Aerobic: Tests your aerobic threshold (EX: “30 Minute Swim”)
- Anaerobic: Tests your best average pace (EX: “10 x 100 @ 1:30 Best Average”)
- Pace: Tests your race pace (EX: “4 x 50s @ 1:00 200 pace”)
Related: How To Swim Faster
How to Create a Test Set Progression
Some training programs and philosophies apply a progression to the concept of test sets. An example could be doing a test set every week or every other week with a varying distance and amount of rest. This prevents burnout and keeps things mentally engaging. It’s also more beneficial to apply a progression if your goal is to compete in a specific event at the end of a training cycle.
Test Set Best Practices
- Plan ahead: it’s important not to be overly fatigued when starting a test set
- Don’t let your technique fall apart in order to swim faster
- Be consistent with equipment use
- Record your metrics and see your progress
- Have fun!
Try Test Sets in the MySwimPro App
Ready to try your first test set? Download the MySwimPro app and log a personalized Test Set designed just for you! MySwimPro Coach will let you know when it’s time to swim a Test Set, and walk you through the entire workout right on your Apple Watch.
Track your results and analytics in the MySwimPro app for every Test Set to see your progress over time! Learn more about MySwimPro Test Sets here.
Thanks Fares, that was excellent overview!