Workout of the Week: Fast Hands

As swimmers, we can fall into the “trap” of swimming the same speed each day, week and month. To become faster and a more efficient swimmer, we need to incorporate speed into our workouts. Swimming fast can help us feel the water differently compared to slower swim paces. During this workout, pay attention to your body position and your swim mechanics. Here’s a few areas to focus on:

Head Position: Be sure to keep your head down with the water hitting the top of your forehead. Lifting your head too high will cause the rest of your body to drop. Also, pay close attention to your head movements during your breaths. The goal is to rotate your head to breath, exposing only as much of our mouth as needed, to grab a breath. A common mistake is to lift the head (while rotating).

Body Position: Freestyle is not just “freestyle”. SwimSwam has a great set of articles on different body positions and when to use each depending on what your goals are. Experiment with each and see which produces the fastest result for you.

Cadence: One of the easiest ways to swim faster is to increase your stroke rate. Specifically, try to decrease the amount of time you spend in the recovery phase of the stroke. You can monitor your Strokes Per Length (SPL) in your app. For this workout, try to increase the number of strokes you take between rounds in the main set and see what stroke count results in the fastest pace for you.

Kick: When swimming hard and focusing on stroke rate, it’s easy to forget about your kick. Be sure to maintain a strong kick throughout the fast 25s.


For Apple Watch users, don’t forget to enable Guided Workouts under Labs (found in Settings). This new feature will walk you through the workout – interval by interval – so you don’t have to memorize or print out this workout! 


Click on the below button on your mobile device to view this workout in the app.


  • Warmup – Let’s get warmed up. Remember to start off slow and focus on form.
    • 3 x 100 Free @ 2:00 ( Swim Pretty, nice long strokes work DPS and try not to cross midline or drop the arm when you breathe)
  • Main Set – Beginners 1-2 rounds, intermediate 3 rounds, Advanced 4 rounds
    • 1-4 rounds of  {
      4 x 25 Kick @ :30 (Kick on Back in a Streamline head back, body up work neutral bodyline)
      2 x 50 Drill @ 1:00 (Catchup Free)
      6 x 25 Free @ :45  (Fast Feet, Fast Hands)
      1 x 50 EZ @ 1:00
  • Cool Down – Use this set to both cool down and focus on good technique. Pick one thing on each interval to work such as good head position, early vertical forearm, good rotation, breathing without lifting the head, etc.
    • 1 x 200 Free @ 2:00 (Nice and EZ)

This WOW is provided to you by:

Shelbi Oskolkoff-Campbell
Head Coach / Aquatics Director
Los Gatos Swim and Racquet Club

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