Different pool sizes, require different training methods. So what do you do when you only have access to one pool?

In this #WhiteboardWednesday video, we’re breaking down why and how you need to train differently in a short course pool, when you’re preparing for a long course or open water swimming competition.

Pool Lengths Explained:

Traditional short course pools range from 20 – 25 yards or meters and are most commonly found in public gyms, schools, or aquatic facilities.

Long course pools, also known as Olympic-sized pools, are typically 50 meters long and are used frequently in collegiate and professional swimming competitions. They are considered the “gold standard” in international competitions.

There is no question that swimming in a short course pool is faster than swimming in a long course pool! You can learn more in the video below:

Short Course:

Short course (SC) is significantly faster than long course swimming because of the turns! Each turn does two things:

  1. Increases speed
  2. Allows for a period of inactivity

Pushing off the wall is much faster than swimming any stroke (including underwater dolphin kick). The period immediately following the push off the wall is a ‘resting‘ period where the arms and legs are taken out of their normal stroke cycles allowing the body to recover. This is why you are much faster in short course!

When you look at the best swimmers in the world, their times in short course (25 meters or 25 yards) are significantly faster than their long course times.

Long Course:

Times recorded in a 50-meter long course (LC) pool are considered the most respectable in the swimming community. Most elite swimmers spend 50% of their training in a long course pool, so they are primed and ready for competition.

If you swim long course, you will probably notice yourself get tired more easily, or more sore. This is because you are spending a majority of your time on your stroke, instead of flip turns and “rest” periods pushing off the wall.

Related: Short Course vs. Long Course Pools

How To Train For Long Course In a Short Course Pool:

So what do you do when you only have access to a short course pool? If you are preparing for a triathlon, open water swim, or a long course swimming competition, you will have to adjust your training.

Check out our 8 tips below or in the video above!

  1. Improve Technique
    1. Stroke imperfections are amplified in long course
    2. Build rhythm, increase distance per stroke
  2. Attack The Walls
    1. Turns give you the opportunity to loaf or at least get a little rest
    2. Short course training can be equally or more taxing than long course training
    3. Flip turn or not
  3. Extend Repeat Distance
    1. Since most long course events are 10% longer, repeats can be adjusted to 125 yards in place of 100’s and 225 yards in place of 200’s
    2. Train body by time, not distance
  4. Increase Kicking Endurance
    1. Many top short course swimmers who don’t do well in long course often complain that their legs give out
    2. Kick harder, and kick more often. Vertical kicking sets are beneficial and can be done in a small space
  5. Modify Your Workouts
    1. Recognize that long course competition can be more taxing and commit yourself to a more strenuous all-around program
    2. Decrease rest between sets, increase distance
  6. Use Resistance Equipment
    1. Train for time, not distance – try a power tower, or parachute
  7. Race/Training Strategy
    1. Training for and racing in long course is different than short course
  8. Go To a Meet
    1. Sign up for meets that are long course and use them as a test
    2. Show up early to the meet!

200 I.M. Training Ideas

Here is a great 200 I.M. workout that will help your body get used to the fatigue when transitioning to a long course swim.

4,000 Yards:


  • 1 x 400 Freestyle
  • 8 x 75s Kick/Swim/Kick
  • 8 x 50s Drill IM order

Main-Set (x2 times)

  • 1 x 300 IM (Stroke/Free/Stroke) – Strong Walls
  • 4 x 150s Freestyle Pull – Aerobic Cruise
  • 4 x 75s IM Order (Even Split Every 25)

Cool Down

  • 4 x 50s Freestyle cool down

Related: How To Improve Your Underwater Dolphin Kick

We hope you enjoyed this #WhiteboardWednesday episode! Ask us your questions in the comments below, or email us at support@myswimpro.com.

For more swim tips, workout ideas and technique videos, download the MySwimPro app! Happy swimming!



  1. I am interested in getting more information about the IMX Pro challenge workout/s you mentioned in this video.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.