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Swim Speed Workout from Sheila Taormina

swimSheila Taormina is a 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and ITU triathlon world champion. At just over 5’ 2”, Taormina found success at the highest levels of swimming by refining an exceptional freestyle swimming technique. Taormina now works as a swim coach, offering swim technique workshops around the world.  

In her book Swim Speed Secrets published last spring, Taormina reveals the freestyle technique that is common to the world’s fastest swimmers. Her new book, Swim Speed Workouts, which released in April, offers swimmers the workouts, drills, dryland, and 16-week training plan to get in the pool and focus on developing their fastest freestyle one crucial step at a time.

Try this workout from the book:


PURPOSE: Feel for the water during all three phases of the underwater pull (high-elbow catch, diagonal, and finish). If necessary, see to find videos of each drill.

4 x 75 easy @ :15 rest
50 swim / 25 horizontal scull drill

0:40 standing scull drill
4 x 25 one-arm drill @ 0:15 rest
Round 1: Focus on hand entry and high-elbow catch
Round 2: Focus on pitch of hand and forearm during diagonal phase
Round 3: Focus on pitch of hand during finish phase

6 x 200 moderate @ 0:20 rest
50 one-arm with kickboard drill / 150 swim
1-2: Focus on high-elbow catch phase
3-4: Focus on diagonal phase
5-6: Focus on finish phase

6 x 50 kick @ 1:00, 1:15, 1:30, or 1:45 (Choose interval for 0:10-20 rest)
25 ALL-OUT /  25 easy

6 x 100 moderate @ 1:50, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30 (Choose interval for 0:20-30 rest)
Odds: 50 Tarzan drill / 50 dog-paddle drill
Events: 100 pull with buoy

100 easy

5x (rest 1:00-1:30 between sets)
10-15 full pulls
5-10 triceps only pulls
Free or fly, your choice
Rounds 1, 3, 5: Focus on high-elbow catch during full pulls
Rounds 2,4: Focus on diagonal phase during full pulls
Triceps only: Focus on finish phase of stroke

TOTAL: 2200 (2800 with bonus set) + tubing

bookRepublished with permission of VeloPress from Swim Speed Workouts for Swimmers and Triathletes: The Breakout Plan for Your Fastest Freestyle by Sheila Taormina, 4-time Olympian, gold medalist, and ITU world champion. Try two more free workouts and watch drill videos at