Blue Wave Aquatics provides opportunities for adults to achieve success and build confidence in swimming at all skill levels through a variety of programs

Blue Wave Aquatics :: Frequently Asked Questions


Does Swim Team Have It's Own Language? Get the D.I.R.T.

Neely, Wendy - Saturday, December 24, 2011

Swimming with a group can be an amazing experience! If you are not getting the D.I.R.T. you may be missing the most important details of your daily workout. What does D.I.R.T stand for?

D = distance of the set

I = interval

R = Rest - how much rest and what your heart rate should be

T = Time

You have permission to ask the purpose of the set if it not clear. Questions stimulate growth and creativity.

The Coach is giving you a workout that is designed specifically for your group or lane. As a club we operate on a yearly plan based on different events and goals our swimmers have. Your coach will bring attention to details and focal points within each set. Our Coaches attention to details and specific sets is what sets our workouts apart from others you may have had.

During your workout you will be hearing different sets, acronyms and skill names. Here is a list that will support your swim workouts.


  • 25 yards = 1 lengths
  • 50 yards = 2 lengths
  • 75 yards = 3 lengths
  • 100 yards = 4 lengths
  • 200 yards = 8 lengths
  • 300 yards = 12 lengths (mini sprint triathlon)
  • 400 yards = 16 lengths (sprint triathlon)
  • 500 yards = 20 lengths
  • 800 yards = 32 lengths (sprint triathlon)
  • 1000 yards = 40 lengths
  • 1650 yards = 66 lengths (swimmers mile)

 Example Set:

10 x 50's at 85% hr on 1:00 minute

  • Swim 50 yards (2 lengths without stopping) - you have 1 minute to swim 50 yards which includes a rest period
  • Repeat this 10 times
  • Total yards swum 500 yards


  • 4 - 2: swim 4 strokes, breath the next 2. This breath pattern helps with exhaling and relaxing
  • 3 - 2: swim 3 strokes, breath the next 2. This breath patterns helps simulate respiration of running and biking
  • Every 3rd: breath every 3 stroke. Bilateral breathing every third stroke promotes a balanced rotation and is great is swimming conditions change (waves, sun etc)


A drill breaks down a specific focus point in your stroke. There are stroke specific drills for all strokes.


An interval is a specific amount of time given to complete and rest during a set. Intervals can be based on a pace clock or by people. Intervals measure the time it takes to swim the set and the amount of rest you should have.


A kick set indicates you will only be kicking. Pay attention to the type of kick that is included in the set; kicking with a board incorporates endurance and power, kicking without a board incorporates body position.


Last person in first person out. This is another type of interval that keeps flow in a lane allowing each person to get an equal rest period. This can also be 3rd person in or 4th person in depending on how many swimmers you have in the lane.


Other than freestyle. Breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke are allowed during this set.


This set incorporates using a pull buoy between your legs and focuses on using your core and arms. Pulling sets may also use paddles.


A set is a specific set of instructions, given by your coach, that includes distance (how far you swim), cycles (how many times you swim each distance), and interval (how long you have to complete each distance - this will include a rest period), and point to focus on.


You will be using a dowel (wooden stick) while swimming; this promotes lengthening your stroke, core strengthening and positive muscle memory while building base endurance.


Keep a notebook of yardage, how you feel during your workouts, strengths and weaknesses of different sets. If you hit a point where you are not seeing results it is easy to tweak traning by sharing your log with your Coach.


Swimmers often use training equipment to enhance our workouts; a short list of training equipment is listed below. As a new swimmer you do not need to go out and purchase any new training equipment, some of the pools have kickboards and pull buoys available for us to use. If you are interested in purchasing equipment talk to your Coach and visit  - they have a great selection of equipment and great prices.

SWIM FINS are used in training to concentrate on proper kicking form and natural kicking cadence. There are a lot of fins on the market, if you are interested in purchasing fins check with your Coach to ensure you purchase the right fin for swim team workouts.

KICKBOARDS are used during our kicking drills.

PULL BUOY are used during our pulling drills. Pull buoys are great for muscle conditioning, endurance training, and balance.

SWIMMERS SNORKELS are designed to help swimmers concentrate on their head position and body alignment. A swimmers snorkel is not the same as a regular snorkel, they have a different angle to their body. If you are interested in purchasing a snorkel check with your Coach to ensure you purchase the right snorkel for swim team workouts.


Total yards you swim during a workout or set.



Filed under: Masters Swim Team


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