Train Your Ability to Sustain High-End Speed with this Set from Olympic Coach David Marsh

David Marsh Swim Coach Blog Intro

David Marsh has put a metric ton of swimmers onto the Olympic teams, both American and internationally.

From 1990 to 2007, Marsh was the head coach at Auburn University, where he took the Tigers to the top of collegiate swimming. During his tenure, the Tigers won 12 NCAA titles, including Auburn University’s first NCAA title in any sport when the men won in 1997.

Perhaps most impressively, Marsh’s Tigers swept both the men’s and women’s NCAA titles four times, cementing Auburn University as one of the greatest collegiate programs in the nation.

Some of the athletes that Marsh worked with are among the best to ever lace up a racing suit:

  • Dual 50 and 100m freestyle world record holder Cesar Cielo.
  • The first man to break :19 in the 50-yard freestyle, Fred Bousquet.
  • World champion Bill Pilczuk.
  • Brett Hawke, who would win nine NCAA titles and later become Auburn head coach.

The Auburn program became legendary for producing top level sprinters under Marsh and his assistants, including Mike Bottom and Brett Hawke.

Speed and Lactate Fun with David Marsh

This swimming workout was pulled from The Swim Coaching Bible: Volume 2, one of my favorite books for swim coaches.

It is one of the speed and lactate sets that Marsh would do with his swimmers to build race speed.

The goal of the set is pretty simple: Start out with blinding speed, and progressively try to hold on to that speed for as long as possible.

Once you finish the meters of target speed, swim out easy to complete the 75.

Here it is:

David Marsh Swim Set

Now, this set isn’t a crazy amount of meters.

But that’s because this is high-end speed stuff. Full speed, white-knuckle, edge of control kind of fast.

There’s just enough active recovery in there to help keep lactate from getting out of control.

I have done versions of this set in the past, mixing in kick, which is a good way to ease into this kind of work if that kind of speed and intensity intimidates you.

Have goal times for each of those distances and make sure you are able to get accurate results.

More Stuff Like This:

This is How Fast Sarah Sjostrom Swim in Practice. You don’t become the fastest 100m butterflyer in history without doing some super fast swimming in practice. Here is a look at some of Sarah Sjostrom’s practices and training.

Butterfly Sets: How to Dominate Your Next 100m Butterfly. Two awesome sets for developing a monster back-half on your 100m fly (equally applicable to other strokes as well). The sets were developed by Bob Bowman for Mr. Butterfly himself, Michael Phelps.

Get Daily Tips on How to Swim Faster

Subscribe to the 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 He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

Related Articles

Individual Medley Swim Workouts
Swimming Workouts

6 Individual Medley Swim Workouts

Ready to take your individual medley to the next level? Here are some IM sets and workouts to help you build a bigger aerobic base, learn proper pacing, and improve the weak strokes in your IM.

Read More »