20 Minute Sprint Set

A Fun, Yet Crushing 20 Minute Set for Drop Dead Sprinters

A shout-out to Sean Baker, head coach of Oakville Aquatics for sending this set on over. Coach Baker has placed numerous athletes on international teams over the years and was awarded Canadian Club Coach of the Year in 2012.

This set has got it all for sprinters.

And it’s one of my favorite all time pool workouts for sprinters.

You get to start out the set going full blast, petal to the metal with speed and reckless abandon. By the end of the set your body is screaming for oxygen, your kick tempo slowing, and your technique falling apart like an apple crumble—just like it does at the end of a race.

In total the goal is to unleash 16 high quality reps with full speed breakouts at pretty darn close to race pace speed.

Once you get to rep 9-10 you’ll find that all that early speed is catching up to you. You’ll be racing to catch your breath, all the while knowing that final round is waiting for you.

And those last 4?

Well, you know that feeling well—the full-blown collapse of form. Where your arms begin to T-Rex, and your lungs are blasting air in and out so fast you wonder how you’ll ever be able to complete the next rep.

The set is below, along with a warm-up of my own choosing. In total the swimming workout took just under an hour.

While I loved the set, and it was exhausting enough that the lifeguard came and checked on me when I heaved myself across the pool deck at the end of it, I did heavy legs in the gym prior to the workout. Something I wouldn’t recommend as my quads and the bottom of my right foot began to cramp up on the last round.

Regardless, it was good times.

Here we go!


800 mix swim/kick

300 w. snorkel swim/scull by 25

10 x 25 swim, best stroke (build each 25 to about 90% speed) @:35

The Main Set

16×25 – All blast, best stroke.

  • 4 – @2:00
  • 4 – @1:30
  • 4 – @1:00
  • 4 – @:30

Total:             20min set


300 easy w. snorkel with perfect technique

A Fun Yet Crushing 20 Minute Sprint Set

Further Reading

The Other Auburn Sprint Set (Or How I Spent 2 Hours Driving the Local Lap Swimmers Nuts). If you like tough sprint sets, this is your Mt. Everest. 2,500 yards or meters of all out swimming that will take you about 2.5 hours to complete. Not for amateurs or the feint of heart. Have a lot of food and downtime on standby for afterward.

10 Minutes a Day to a Faster Underwater Dolphin Kick. Probably the simplest and quickest set for improving your underwater dolphin kick, a.k.a. the Fifth Stroke, a.k.a. the Phelpsonian Torpedo Kick, a.k.a. up to 60% of your short course races are underwater so it’s important to work ‘em.

Supercharge Your Kick- 4 Sets for Kicking Power and Speed. Coach Baker submitted this collection of sets as well. The sets are designed for big time power in the water, and includes results of one of his charges, Canadian National Team member Evan White.

Get Daily Tips on How to Swim Faster

Subscribe to the YourSwimLog.com newsletter and get tips and advice on how to swim faster every weekday morning, straight to your inbox. 

Join 33,000+ swimmers, coaches, and swim parents learning what it takes to swim like a boss.

Unsubscribe anytime. Email will never be shared or sold.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

Related Articles