Cesar Cielo is fastest swimmer in the world -- 25 yards in 8.88 to the foot -- he was just trying to "maintain" on the second 25...
There are 3 ways to swim faster in any given race:
1) Improve your technique -- if you become more effecient in your technique, your times will drop across the board
2) Maintain a pace as close as possible to maximum speed -- You can hold your maximum speed for 6-8 seconds. There are no swim races of that length - so when training for any swimming race (50 up the mile), you are trying to maintain a pace as close to your maximum speed as possible.
3) Get Faster = improve your maximum speed
I would say on average, Masters swimmers (and age-groupers) spend their in the water workout season according to the following breakdown (rough guess):
1) Improving technique = 20-30%
2) Maintaining close to max = 65-79%
3) Improving Max Speed = 1-5%
Think about it -- if you swim 4-5 times per week, that equals about 20 hours a month. Did you spend more than a full hour in October on maximum speed ?
This Thread is all about Category 3 -- Improving your Max Speed --