New to 2021 is the Pennine Endurance Swim Squad. Based on the successful Triathlon Squad, the Swim Squad aims to provide high quality swim sessions throughout the year, based on a UK, Europe or North American triathlon season.

How It Works

There will be 6 sets of Swim Squad plans through the year, published every 2 months and each set of plans will contain 24 individual swim sessions. Ideally you will be swimming 3 times per week meaning that each plan lasts for 8 weeks and 6 plans gives 48 weeks per year. (The 4 weeks that are missing make allowances for summer holidays, Christmas, Easter and some time off at the end of the triathlon season.) If you are only swimming twice per week then each plan lasts for 12 weeks and you will only need 4 out of the 6 plans for a full year.

Each plan is available at three different swimming levels depending on your ability. The sessions are designed to last for 1 hour so pick Level 1 if you can normally swim 2000 – 2200m in an hour, Level 2 will be 2600 – 2800m per hour and Level 3 will be 3200 – 3400m per hour. The table below gives you some idea of which plan to choose based on your fastest 100m time.

Distance RangeTime per 100m
Level 12000m to 2200m2:00 mins to 3:00 mins pe 100m
Level 22600m to 2800m1:30 mins to 2:00 mins per 100m
Level 33200m to 3400mUnder 1:30 mins pr 100m

Who is the Swim Squad designed for?

The Swim Squad is primarily designed for triathletes and other open water swimmers participating in events including Olympic/Standard distance (1500m swim), 70.3/Middle distance (1900m swim) and Ironman/Full distance (3800m swim) as well as individual swim events of similar distances including the popular mile and 5km options. The Swim Squad sessions will also suit someone racing Sprint distance triathlons of between 400m and 750m.

It is not a swim teaching plan or a technique advice plan and I would highly recommend that you take individual teaching or coaching if you feel that your stroke technique needs improving. There is nothing like having an experienced person watch you swim and pass on the correct advice.

What about Ironman?

I am an Ironman Certified Coach and know all about the training required for this challenging event. Over the winter period you will not need to swim any longer than any other swimmer and this is the time to concentrate on technique and basic skills. Once we reach the early spring, I will offer an Ironman version of the Swim Squad where every 3rd session is longer at between 90 and 120 minutes. This will allow you to get an endurance swim session that will cover more than the 3800m needed on race day. The other two weekly sessions will still be the usual 1 hour. The longer, endurance sessions will be suitable for swimming outdoors in open water once the lakes and rivers are warm enough to swim safely.

When are the 6 plans released during the year?

I’m going to be slightly different and start my year at the end of October, 8 weeks before Christmas. This will be a return to the pool plan assuming that most triathletes and swimmers have a bit of a end of season break in October. A nice gentle start to the swimming year and building on some technical skills over winter. The second plan starts in the New Year and will be suitable for the base training (or general preparation) phase of most training plans. After this the plans will develop to include speed work, race skills and specific, race pace efforts during the summer aimed at peaking during race season.

2021 is an unusual year in many ways due to Covid restrictions so the Squad is launching with a special Lockdown Return plan before moving onto race specific sets and the “normal” annual cycle – whatever normal becomes. In future years this will become the Return to Swimming plan – a standalone plan that can be done after a prolonged break from swimming before starting our normal annual scheme.