3 Swim Workouts from a 3-Time Olympian


3 Swim Workouts from a 3-Time Olympian

An excellent way of staying happy, healthy and injury-free, swimming — not just for when you’re basking in the sun on holiday — is one of the best ways to add some gusto to your training. Not only that, but hitting the pool will improve cardiovascular health, increase muscular strength and endurance, and enhance flexibility and coordination outside of the pool.

In short, it could well be the boost to your training that you’ve been looking for and, to speed things up, we’ve recruited the help of an expert to get you making waves in next to no time. Brian Johns, a three-time Olympian and Head of Coaching Science at swim tech company FORM, presents his poolside coaching cues to get you fitter, faster and stronger in the water.


Speed Workout

“It’s important when training for speed that you are warmed up and are ready to give a good effort for each swim,” says Johns. “In this workout, there is a good amount of rest to allow you to swim fast on each effort.”

“The fast efforts are followed by longer, smoother swimming that may be uncomfortable to do after the hard effort, but will teach your body to recover more quickly from the hard effort so that your next speed workout (or race!) will be even better.”


  • 100m Freestyle
  • 6 x 25m, Odds: Long and Smooth, Evens: Fast! @ 20 Seconds Rest (SR)
  • 50m Choice

Main Set

  • 6 x 25m Free FAST! @ 30 SR
  • 50m Easy @ 30 SR
  • 6 x 25m Free FAST! @ 30 SR
  • 50m Easy @ 30 SR
  • 6 x 25m Free FAST! @ 30 SR

Take an extra minute rest, put on Fins if available

  • 5 x 100 Free @ 20 SR, 75% effort

Warm Down

50m Free – 50m Kick – 50m Choice


Endurance Workout

“This workout is meant to challenge how you can control your pace for longer distances and is an ideal way to practice for an upcoming open-water or triathlon race,” says Johns. “The main set starts immediately at the beginning of workout, so this is a great way to practice your preparation prior to an upcoming race, especially with how you will warm yourself up on dryland before getting into the water for your race.  Make sure to start the workout in control so that you have something left to go fast in the end.”

Main Set:

  • 1 x 400m Free @ 60 SR, 60% Effort
  • 2 x 300m Free @ 45 SR, 70% Effort
  • 3 x 200m Free @ 30 SR, 80% Effort
  • 4 x 100m Free @ 15 SR, 90-100% Effort

Warm Down:

100m Back – 100m Kick – 100m Choice


Short and Sharp

“For the time crunched, this will be a workout where you can be prepared to go strong at the start but still feel like you can lift at the end of the workout and leave satisfied with the effort you’ve done,” explains Johns. “The challenge here is to establish a strong speed at the start of the main set, hold that speed when the distance gets longer, then as the distance comes back down go even faster than what you started with.”


  • 75m Choice
  • 50m Kick, Building your effort from 60->90%
  • 50m Free, Building your effort from 60->90%
  • 25m Free, Long and Smooth

Main Set

  • 4 x 25m Free @ 20 SR, 85% Effort
  • 3 x 50m Free @ 30 SR, Same speed as the 25’s
  • 2 x 100m Free @ 40 SR, Same speed as the 50’s
  • 3 x 50m Free @ 30 SR, Faster than your 100’s
  • 4 x 25m Free @ 20 SR, Fastest swimming of the set!

Warm Down

  • 100m choice


Fast Track Your Swimming Progress with FORM

With so many important variables, tracking your swimming progress can feel overwhelming. But with the right tools, you can simplify your metrics and progress your performance.

FORM’s smart swimming goggles offer you real-time metrics right there in your goggles. Plus, get a free 1-year membership to their library of 1,000+ workouts, 30+ training plans programmed by Olympic swimmers and an in app custom workout builder.

Learn more at FORMswim.com

Third Space Training For Life

Not a member? Get the latest inspiration straight to your inbox

Related articles