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Open water Swim 3km race plan 12 weeks


Nick de Meyer BTF level 3 Coach, TRX Instructor

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12 Weeks

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Plan Description

In this 3km swim training plan for open water events and racing you'll be swimming 4 times a week. In the first week you'll do an aerobic based 1000 metre time trial which will help you to set your aerobic threshold pace, from which the rest of the plan will be based. There will also be at regular intervals other test based swim sessions to re test your fitness, and pacing.

Throughout the course of the 12 week plan, you'll progressively add more distance, with sessions focusing on aerobic pace control, distance per stroke, open water skills and drills, and speed work.

From the 5th week you'll be doing an open water training based session once a week, working on navigation, drafting, mass starts, sighting and race paced workouts.

This swim plan is designed by Nick de Meyer, Head coach for Speedy Swimming, (BTF level 3, STA level 2 swim teacher, Master endurance coach Training Bible UK) who specialise in teaching triathletes and swimmers. This plan encapsulates all of Nicks training, racing and coaching experience of many open water triathlons, long triathlon events, his swim skills and drills teaching methods and from completing the Dart 10km Swim in Devon.

Purchase of this plan includes our comprehensive Swim Training Guide, which explains how to use your training plan, including swim drills and open water articles, plus email access to Nick at any time for questions that you may have about this plan.

Once you have signed up we will email you the Description Document.

Questions? Please visit us on the web at or email Nick directly at:


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:30 hrs 1:30 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:30 hrs 1:30 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • GPS

All supported devices

Nick de Meyer

Speedy Swimming

Nick has been a Level 3 British Triathlon Coach for 14 years, and has been a master endurance coach with Training Bible Coaching UK in that time. He is also a Training Peaks Level 2 Accredited Coach, and has worked as a Regional Development Coach for the South East region for British Triathlon.

Alongside his online coaching business, Nick also runs Speedy Swimming which specialise in 1-2-1 front crawl technique lessons, endless pool swim video analysis, swim clinics and group swim sessions

Sample Day 1

10x100 (30 rest)

BT: WU 200m fc easy Then do 10 x 100 with 30 seconds rests. All-out effort. What was your total time for this set (or average 100 time)? cool down 200m mix of strokes

Sample Day 3

400's Anaerobic end

Warm Up 400 alt 100 free / 100 back 8x50 alt drill (personal weakness) / kick (use back and side kick) 100 choice easy Main Set 4x400m FC AS: #1 - 200 hard 200 mod-hard on 30s rest #2 - 400 TT pace on 30s rest #3 - 200 hard 100 steady 100 easy on 10s rest #4 - 400 TT pace Key swims are #2 and #4 - pacing is key to avoid exploding! This should be a difficult main set, requiring significant concentration for #4 Cool down 200 mix of FC/ BC easy

Sample Day 8

20x50 (10

BT: WU. 
200m FC build pace on 2nd 100m
Main set 
Then do 20 x 50m FC at 85% effort with 10 seconds rests. All-out effort. What was your total time for this set (or average 50 time)?
Cool down
200 mix of strokes easy

Sample Day 11

Aerobic pace control 20x100s

Warm Up 300 FC 100 pull Main 20 x 100m FC repeats - 10-15 sec Rest Working at a level of 70-80% (MHR) 1st,6th,11th and 16th 100m bilateral every 5 Every 5th 100m use paddles (no pull) Every 3rd 100 Stroke count -2 Drills if time: 100’s of drag fingers, zips, catch up, fists, spearing -30 recovery Cool Down 100 BC 4x 25 sculling 100 BR

Sample Day 13

Twin Towers (two 1K TTs)

Warm-Up 400 free b/l 3, 200 bk, 4x50 br, 200 kick all on 10s RI Prep-Set 8x50 free on 1 min Descend 1=>4 and 5=>8 1,000m Free TT for time 80% effort, remember that the goal is to set a standard that can be beaten 1,000m Free TT for time Two goals -- dead even or negative splits and an improvement on previous time Control required in first 300 500=>750 meters is hard effort, 750=>1,000 meters is very hard effort – Roly quote, “Show me some punch!” Cool Down Fins on, 12x50 drill work – mainly slow swimming with a goal to hold perfect form – main focus is entry, catch and high elbow throughout stroke – also water polo, b/l 3, slo-mo swim, one arm with breathing on stroking side

Sample Day 15

Anaerobic Threshold race preparation

Warm Up
4x 100 FC drill Recovery 10 secs between each
Drills: glide and touch thigh; zips and drag fingers; O Ring; touch head then shoulder then in
Main Set :
5x (4x 50m FC hard) reducing recovery as:
1.20 rest
2.15 rest
3.10 rest
4.5 rest
30 recovery after block of 4
2x500m FC negative splits (75%/85% effort) 30 seconds
100 BC
300 FC hard 30 rest
3x 100 FC hard 10 rest
cool down
100 front scull (figure of 8 sweeps 6” width)
100 mix of BR and BC

Sample Day 17

AT and open water skills

300 FC 100 Catch up + Pull 100 single arm pull 4 x 50m FC Accelerators 15 rest 4 x 25 FC Sprints max effort – 10 rest 15x 100m FC Hard 10 secs rest 8x 25 FC Eyes closed & sighting every 5th stroke to see where going 4 x 25 sculling 100 BC

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