Open Water Swim Workout Ideas

These workouts are meant to be suggestions and used as a baseline to help encourage adults who are used to swimming in a pool to get a good open water workout that offers similar components. We will use different units of measurements to facilitate swimming without lane lines, walls, and the ability to count milage. Please scale these workouts to work for your swimming area and needs.

Workout 1

Warm up
5 minutes Swim
5 minutes: alternate 30 strokes drill, 30 strokes swim or the same stroke
2x build: pick a point to swim to and build your speed until you reach your target.
3 minutes: alternate 20 strokes drill, 20 strokes swim

Set: pick a route to swim for this set
3x laps Descend: swim faster each time you swim it
1x easy
10, 20: 10 strokes sprint, 20 strokes easy for the whole route
1x easy
10, 20: 10 strokes sprint, 20 strokes easy for the whole route

Cool Down
1x easy

Workout 2 (IM)

Warm up
5 minutes choice
4, 20: 4 strokes non free, 20 strokes free

Set: pick a route or segments of a larger distance to swim
1×5 strokes non free, 20 strokes free
1×5 strokes non free, 10 strokes free, 15 strokes non free, 20 strokes free
1x freestyle negative split
1x 5 strokes fly, 10 strokes backstroke, 15 strokes breaststroke, 20 strokes freestyle

Cool Down
1x easy

Workout 3 (Fun to do with others)

Pick 3 points on your route.
Warm up
1x lap swim
1x lap (alt drill and swim after each point)
1x lap descend each segment of your swim

Set: sing out loud or in your head if you want
3x laps vertical kick each time you get to one of those points on your route.
Pick a song chorus for each lap and sing it once in your head each time you vertical kick.
1x lap descend each segment of your swim

Cool Down
1x easy

Different levels of vertical kick

  • no hands
  • hands out of the water
  • one arm raised out of the water
  • both arms raised out of the water
  • raise one arm out of the water and only use the opposite leg to kick