Source: John Landreth, long-time head swim coach at Shady Side Academy.
This is for testing concepts. All data can evaporate easily, especially after pushing the submit button. Keep a paper-back-up.
Input the results of one (1) to twelve (12) swimmers. To accommodate more than 12 swimmers, use another instance of the form, perhaps on a different mobile device.
All swimmers within the the form swim with the same interval for the 50s. The interval range for the 50s is between 30-seconds and 60-seconds. Use the slider to set the send-off interval for the 50s. To accommodate swimmers doing the 50-repeats on a different interval, use another instance of the form. Or, use the notes section to record any special circumstances.
All participants do the opening 25-sprint from a dive and with a foot touch on a 30-second interval. Record the 25-sprint time. Following the first 25, is a quantity of 50s. The 50-repeats range from two to six repetitions. Decide upon the number of 50s: 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Fewer 50s might be more appropriate for the sprinters or for a less stressful day.
The total time, a sum of all the swims, (25 + 50s), is calculated and displayed as each entry is made into the web form. After the final 50 time is entered, the AVERAGE time for all the 50s is calculated and displayed. The time for the 25-sprint is not used in this calculation. (Results display the sum of all the swimmer's 50s divided by the number of 50s prescribed in the set's set-up.)
The average for the 50s shows on page four of the form but does not come in the printout email. Only 0.00 was included.
Another purpose for deploying test sets is to insure that the top training groups are composed of swimmers who can do the work, make the send-offs, swim fast enough and long enough to fit into the group.
Many teams have different practice groups. These groups have all sorts of names, depending upon the club. Senior elite. National team. Gold. Then the other groups could be the silver, bronze, age groups. Whatever the name, that's not so important. There are stages and developmental focus points that each group of swimmers and coaches work upon for their improvements.
Obviously, the novice groups can't do certain things that the age group kids can do nor the senior swimmers.
This stratification process that splits the kids into groups can be a point of contention among swimmers, guardians, coaches and offer a layer of stress. One way to put to rest some of the doubt and make more objective judgments as to who should be included in what group is to make "test sets" a factor.
How many programs out there have requirements of attendance vs meeting a set standard. For example, the standard offered was 5 x 400s on 6:00. None at all? A mixture of both?
Another area of interest of JT's is the 7 x 200m step test. See other posting.
One issue about setting a standard for group advancement is the fact that teams improve as well as individuals. An entire cadre of swimmers might not be able to make the standard in September, but 20 or more might make the standard in April. And, some of the swimmers might graduate or not be with the team for the following year, but there might not be enough room to absorb all those who made the standard for advancement in the next group.
So, standards need some flexibility too. Then, they're not as objective as one might hope and assume.
Put lots of care and forward thinking into the standards. Change is possible, and generally a guarantee.
Share your experiences in the comments. This page can be updated as new insights are gathered.
Cycling has a large suite of tests too. Watch this ex-professional cyclist, 10-years after his retirement, cope with the test and hear of his results in an effort to regain his former self and fitness.
Would be great to have a chapter about tests that are done in other sports and what can be learned from them. Perhaps some of their wisdom and science can fit into the understanding for swimming test sets as well.
Many swimmers should be able to transition to the triathlon and aqua-bike races as young adults, after their competitive swimming careers have ended. Giving the exposure to the cycling world would help keep more into sports throughout their lives, perhaps.
The messages are clear. Get ready to race!!!! Not with one exclamation point, but four.
Coaches and swimmers have been doing test sets for decades. The memories and results and style of operations can be simple, clear, direct and functional. Results can be transcribed, later, to a spreadsheet or database. The results can be preserved in a simple cell phone photo too, of course, as posted here.
The image was touched up by the webmaster to conceal names.
One missing element -- what stroke the swimmers within the set. Some might have been doing free, while others were doing back, breast, fly or even 100 IMs. That data is absent. The coach and swimmers would remember that within the season.
Chalkboards work too. Messy. Still gives a focus and higher level of seriousness to the activity if it gets written down and recorded. Different test set, different team, and different way to remove the kids' names, by not spelling them all out at the outset.
Test set was three 100-yard kicks for time. One was without fins. Another was with the swimmer's own fins. A third was with a different type of fin, the PDF fins (round, short, okay for breastroke). The swimmers could kick any stroke and used a kickboard.
This simple test set was also valuable as it asked the younger swimmers to remember their times upon their arrival to the wall. The times were then shouted to the coach with the chalk and written on the board in the proper place.
The swimmers were randomized before the test set so the order of the three different types of kick equipment were variables. So, only one-third of the group did the first kick without any fins, etc.
pending further development
Objective performance measures are independent of the observer. That means the
measurement is done using something other than the person observing.
This independent measure can include: a stop-watch, measuring tape or record of goals. The objectivity of the performance measure is increased through measures such as: time, checklists, or established criteria.
In contrast, subjective performance measures are dependent on the observer and based on opinions, feelings, and general impressions. Subjective measures rely more on the
observer than independent measures.
Sports such as dance and gymnastics are more subjective than objective in their measures.
Our test sets have many dimensions and being smarter, with more knowledge and of better judgement in and around the water can lead to smarter individuals and communities.
Taking care of oneself begins with better awareness of self as well as other facts and understandings of the world.
All are invited to take the online, water safety tests that accompany the four levels of certification with SKWIM.us. Experience the four different quizzes, each with 25 questions. Progress from Level 1 to Level 4, gaining access to the next level after successfully passing the prior quiz.
Another aquatic quiz experience resides within the online course at Play.CLOH.org called, Get Your Feet Wet -- Swimming.
All are invited to use the following form and submit your questions so that a custom test can be made for your students and community.