In swimming, time and clocks are important. In a nutshell, time is the way we track our progress. When I raced competitively in college, people would always keep track of our splits and times because even a hundredth of a second was something to celebrate. If your time drops little by little, it can make a big difference in the end. So I came up with 3 ways outside of race day to track your progress:
We had something called a T-20 back in my college and high school days. This was a great way to track your progress. It is basically a time trial. So in this case, you were given 20 minutes to swim as far as you could. If you have an extra person there, the person can even get your splits to see where you start to lose your pace and fall off your rhythm.
Another tough test was called the kick best average. I only did this in highschool, but I think it was a challenge. The test consisted of six 100’s with a kick board. You rest a short amount of time in between each 100 yards, but by the end your legs are burning. But if you add up all of the 100 split times and divide by six you will get your average 100 kick time.
The third thing that I would do is keep track of your intervals. As you get in better shape, you will start to require less rest. Instead of sitting around on the wall, adjust your interval time and make it more challenging.
These are all challenging drills, but they definitely help track your progress, and, in the end, improve your times. At the pool I coach at we always have a clock for the kids to watch. This really helps in keeping track of your intervals. Some of these things may be challenging, but remember, “No challenge, no change.” If you have a goal, you have to work for it. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone!
Keep calm and swim on!