View Full Version : Training for the 200 Breast

March 5th, 2014, 11:33 AM
I need some advice on how to train for the 200 Yard Breaststroke. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

March 5th, 2014, 11:46 AM
I need some advice on how to train for the 200 Yard Breaststroke. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

I get email updates, organized by subject. Since the USMS emails are all sent with the same subject, they wind up in the same "conversation" in Gmail. I saw your request, immediately followed by:

Merlot works for me

I did a quick double-take, then realized __steve__ was responding in another thread (about foot cramps). Still, it might be worth a try, at least on your rest days. :)

Allen Stark
March 5th, 2014, 03:35 PM
If you are beginning to play with the 200 BR,I'd suggest you start with broken 200s,giving your self 10-20 sec rest between 50s.Do like sets of 4 and each one focus on some aspect of the stroke(streamline,shoulder shrug,leg snap etc.) Evidently the Ultra short race pace idea http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?22783-Ultra-Short-Training-At-Race-Pace is adaptable for 200 BR too.
If you know your goal time and your goal strokes per length,this is my favorite set. It is 8X100 with recovery swims between each 100. The first 3 are BR with the goal time of my second 100 of my 200 and the goal SPL as my goal SPL for the race.If I can't make the goal,I add extra rest.Currently I do a 150 recovery swim after each 100(yes the recovery is longer than the race pace,I feel race pace and SPL is more important than yardage.) Since I have found if I swim too much race pace BR my knees hurt the next 3X100 is BR pull,dolphin kick with fins.The same parameters apply in terms of goal time,SPL and recovery,except,since I can't do a good open turn with fins,I flip my turns.This gives me less work on the actual spin part of the turn,but it has the added "benefit"of getting less air at the turn,which helps train for the last pullouts of the 200.The last 2X100 are eggbeater kick with snorkel,trying to give the same effort as the first 6.I allow 1X50 recovery between the eggbeaters.If your legs aren't totally burning with lactic acid by the end of the 100 you went too slow.YMMV.

March 6th, 2014, 12:43 PM
Speaking as someone who's best event is, theoretically, the 200 breast, here's my 2c worth. I say 'theoretically' because it's only true if I've done the work...

I fully agree with what Allen has said. Stoke count and tempo are critical. I know that I'm 8 strokes per 25m for 100m, and 7 for 200m. Therefore, I train at race 'pace' according to stroke count more than what the clock says.

I find that the only way to swim 200m is to be right on pace, which means as fast as you can go without putting the same effort in as you do on the 100m. Sounds obvious, but it takes practice. As a masters swimmer, my theory for 200 breast is: Go out too fast, you're a dead man. Go out too slow, you'll still drop off in the 2nd 100, and end up with a crappy time. I used to be able to even split a reasonable 200. Not any more. No chance.

My mistakes over the years as a masters in 200m, as well as going too slow, have been to go out with the right stroke count, but without the right amount of feel/pressure on the stroke. I've swum the right tempo and length but without applying the right pressure and that just means going out slower than expected and dying anyway.

This means that you have to practice with the same conviction and consistency.

Conditioning is still anaerobic, but it is worth doing some longer sets on breast if your knees are up to it. Not only will you gain some aerobic endurance but you have more opportunity to practice holding your stroke together when tired. This is the critical element on 200 breast.

I firmly believe in doing gym work, but because breast is a power stroke anyway, more pool time spent doing breast will help. I do gym work at high intensity, in circuits where I recreate that feeling of not being able to hold it together. Core work is also important, because 'holding it together' means holding your glide while working hard and getting tired.

The other thing that is critical is getting maximum distance on your breakouts in training, even when you are tired - because your lungs will be screaming at you not to, on the last 50 of a 200.

That said, I'd love to come to the US and do a 200m yards. It sounds like a lot of fun cutting the most painful 20m off the swim!

March 6th, 2014, 08:30 PM
Here are a couple stroke sets we do for mid distance training that seem to work well. I call these "monday" sets since we tend to do them with an effort consistent with EN-2/EN-3 training goals so it helps to have the sunday of rest for our team that allows them to swim the set at the correct effort level. EN-2/EN-3 for these sets means you're above your anerobic threshold for at a few of the parts of the set (ends of the swims). This helps train the body to cope with lactic acid by shunting it from the muscles. We do other stroke sets on peak days at race pace but will only do a stroke set like this once or twice a week.

The times are for a swimmer who does about a 1:05 100 breast and 2:20 200, so adjust accordingly.
Option 1:

Once or twice through
4 x 50 Breast Swim on :55 interval. Goal long strong strokes, pace of first 100 of 200 race swim.
3 x 100 on 1:30 25 breast long and strong/50 free moderate/25 breast fast
4 x 50 Breast Swim on :50 interval. Hold stroke together, pace last 100 of 200 race swim.
200 EZ swim recovery

Option 2: The goal here is to hold your form. Try to maintain a manageable, constant pace for the stroke swims.
Once or twice through
Example Intervals as above
200 Swim 50 breast/100 Free/50 Breast on 3:00
2 x 150 Swim 50 Breast/ 50 Free /50 Breast on 2:15
3 x 100 Swim 25 Breast/25 Free/50 Breast on 1:30
4 x 50 Swim Breast on :50
2:00 bonus rest between rounds

We do a lot of broken swims as others have suggested working on pacing. We also will do race pace sets on peak days if we haven't had a meet in a while. One of my favorites for training the 200 is to swim a few repeat 175s trying to beat your 200 goal time on an interval that gvies you about a 2:1-4:1 rest:work ratio. As an alternative for sprinters we'll swim a max effort 75 followed by a 225 drift/float/active recovery. These sets are intense SP-2, lactic acid buffering sets and while this training is critical for good race performance, don't overdo it and follow with a recovery day! Respect recovery days!

Some Tuneup sets that I find very helpful for pacing

8 x 25 on :30 or :40 interval trying to make every single 25 identical. Same stroke rate, same stroke count, everything. This gets very challenging after a few and you have to stay mentally tough and hold everything together.

Same thing with 50s.

A couple days a week, typically recovery days, we'll do 20-30 x 50s of various stroke drills on a longish interval that guarantees the swimmers can maintain a quality swim. Important drills are

Sculling both out front and in the insweep position to improve feel and muscular endurance in your arms, forearms and wrists

One pull two or three kicks with a focus on maintaining your body line

One pull, three second glide for the same reason as above

3-2-1 drill where you swim gliding for 3 seconds one stroke, then 2 seconds, then 1, then repeat. Great for developing better short axis coordination.

Pull stop kick stop where you isolate the pull and the kick. This is to break the natural link that makes us want to pull and kick at the same time. The goal is to allow you to comfortably delay your kick until the appropriate time in the stroke (after you're in the streamline) Note: in my experience I have never seen a breaststroker who kicks too late :)

Along the same line as the last one, swim breast only focusing on getting the most out of each kick at the appropriate time.

Tempo trainer drills: I'll set a tempo trainer to beep once every 1.5, 1.7 or 2.0 seconds for 50,100,200 pacing and swim 50s trying to stay as loose as possible while maintaining the stroke rate.

Hope this helps!

March 7th, 2014, 11:19 AM
I need some advice on how to train for the 200 Yard Breaststroke. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Hi MP,

How are you currently training?
swims per week?
yards per practice?
types of sets?
coached or by yourself?
practice times?

When's your meet?

Tell us about you and your swimming background

There's lots of breastroke info in
THE BREASTROKE LANE (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?16584-The-Breaststroke-Lane)

Pretty sure I've written some about it in S F F (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?4229-Ande-s-Swimming-Tips-Swimming-Faster-Faster&p=276466#post276466)

The fastest way to get faster in breastroke is to correct technique mistakes.
1) Pushoffs / Streamlines / Pullouts
2) arm movements
3) kicking
4) timing &
5) turns

Also focus on the number of strokes per length and after each kick
try to streamline better and glide a little further and faster

always push off hard and fast even when you're swimming easy

On pull outs,
perfect when and how to do the single dolphin kick. Most swimmings do it when they are pulling down or at the end of the pull down. Many fast breastrokers streamline slightly separate their hands / dolphin kick / then begin their pull. If you do this, your separation needs to be noticeable to judges.

March 7th, 2014, 11:59 AM

I work out with a coach 2 evenings a week, we do about 2600 yards in an hour. We do mostly freestyle, but sometimes through in some stroke work. I also try to swim 3-4 other times a week. I find it harder to hit 2600 training on my own. I've had numerous sessions over the years with Roque Santos and also a couple with Glenn Mills (I had the pleasure of photographing his wedding 2.5 years ago) My times are pretty pathetic these days. Way back when after instructions with Roque Santos I did a 1:11 in the 100 breast at S.C. Nationals in Seattle, but I was 37 then. I'm now 53 and the last 100 yard race 3 years ago was a horrible 1:18. My last 200 was the same year and was a 3:02 (with virtually no training). I'm thinking that with age I've lost my spark. I think my fast twitch muscles don't want to twitch.

March 7th, 2014, 12:00 PM

Thanks so much for your input. I'm definitely going to start doing the broken 200s for now.