View Full Version : For time or for distance??

August 13th, 2004, 07:29 PM
I was hoping someone could help me out here. I started swimming about 4 months ago. I try to swim 1600 meters 3-4 times a week freestyle. My fastest time so far is 27.5 min's to finish and I just can't seem to do it any faster. I guess my first question is "is that even a good time??"

2nd question - To help speed up my time should I continue to do the mile a day and keep working on my time, or should I do more laps to build up my endurance? I really want to get to 25 min's but I'm getting a little discouraged because I'm not improving on my time

August 15th, 2004, 09:42 AM
my $.02:

is 27:30 a good time for 1600? Depends on your age, gender and experience level... For someone swimming for only 4 months that is very respectable.

You want to go a 25min for 1600 (btw, the "mile" in meters is only 1500)? I recommend interval training mixed with long pace swims. Swimming straight distance without changing up the speed just aclimates your body to swim at that same speed. If you change it up by swimming at least some of your training as intervals you should see an increase of speed. (Aside: my distance swimmers keep telling me they don't have to swim "fast" to swim distance events, I remind them that for Janet Evans to swim the 400m in 4:03, she had to average :59+ for all four 100m, and Grant Hackett needs to go around :58 for 15 (!) 100s to get 14:30 -- may not be world record pace for the 100, but fast, nonetheless.

So, to do 25 mins/1600 you need to average 1:33.+ for 16 100s, right now you appear to be maintaining about a 143 pace--work some of your training to bring down this pace. Can you swim 2 x 100 @ 1:40 (as your interval)? When you can, you are on your way. Swim 3X100 @ 1:55, each one should be around 1:38, 2X100 @ 1:45, then 1X100 on 1:35. As you become stronger, work on increasing the number of repeat 100 swims, adding one to each on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.

You can also do some fartleks, or locomotives, where you go fast/ez/fast/ez throughout the course of your long swim (25F/25EZ, 50F/25EZ, 75F/25EZ, etc to 1600 or 25/25, 50/50, 75/75, etc -- the point is to actually swim fast on the fast parts but not slow down too much on the recovery swims in between.

I'm sure you'll end up with a lot of suggestions -- good luck!

August 16th, 2004, 02:46 PM
Originally posted by AF_swim_girl

(btw, the "mile" in meters is only 1500)?

Hair-splitting time.

Most 25m pools will say that it takes 32 laps (64 length) for a mile. That's 1600 meters. Most 25y pools will say it takes 36 laps (72 length) for a mile. That's 1800 yards.

At meets they do 1500m "mile" events when the pool is meters. Or they do 1650y if the pool is yards.

A mile is 1760 yards.

A rough conversion is that a meter is 1.1 yards. 1600 meters x 1.1 yards is 1760 yards. (The actual conversion of 1600 meters is 1,749.78 yards.)

So I like to consider 1600 meters to be a full mile, if you want to count actual miles. Swim a full mile routinely, and the 1500m/1650y race becomes a piece of cake!


Regarding your suggestions for varying the workout to improve mile performance, you're right on target.


WetFish -- 27.5 mins for 1600 meters is all relative. Most fitness swimmers would love to be able to do that. Olympic swimmers wouldn't be happy with anything over 17.5 mins! (Or 16.5 mins for 1500m). You'll find threads on this board talking about the possibility of the men breaking 14.5 mins this year. At most local masters meets where they do a 1500m/1650y event, you'll generally find several swimmers breaking 20 mins, and even one or two swimmers breaking 18. (Add an extra minute and a half or so to translate that to a 1600m.) But most of the swimmers who do that distance at the local meets will be over 30 minutes, and some even in the 40s.

Four months and you're already at 27.5? You're a natural!

August 17th, 2004, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the feedback! I will try your suggestions for varying my workout, hopefully this will help! Someone suggested to me that if I learned how to do a flip turn eventually this would take a lot of time off. I have never learned how to do a flip turn and every time I try I get a nose full of water! Maybe with more practice I can get it down. I have looked everywhere on the internet to try to find some sort of picture diagram to show the steps of the flip turn but all I seem to find are descriptions and I just don't get it :>( Anyone know where to find something like that?