Ryan Lochte: The Hardest Set I've Ever Done

Ryan Lochte: “One of the Hardest Sets I’ve Ever Done”

Ryan Lochte’s work ethic in the pool is second to none. Here is what he described as one of the hardest sets he has ever done.

The fastest swimmers in the world are fascinating to watch.

The unrelenting power and skill that the best of the best display is particularly impressive, with swimmers like Ryan Lochte who manage to make even fellow international level swimmers appear pedestrian by comparison.

And for those of us who marvel at the way top swimmers perform when they race, we are equally awed and intrigued by the feats they perform in swim training.

Fast Swimmers Crush Their Swim Practices

Great swimmers don’t just swim fast and perform well in competition, but they also do serious work when it comes to practice.

And Ryan Lochte, who possesses a range and versatility sculpted from thousands and thousands of miles of training, is no exception.

Ryan Lochte: One of the Hardest Sets I've Ever Done

Before Lochte moved to North Carolina to swim at SwimMAC under coach David Marsh he trained under Gregg Troy at the University of Florida, where weeks of 70,000m in the pool were not uncommon.

A protocol of high yardage medley training has helped Lochte build the insane conditioning that allows him to race multiple events at high level meets, not the least of which is the punishing 400m individual medley, a race he also holds the world record in.

During the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, Lochte’s work at Florida was its zenith.

In an afternoon workout in March a couple of months before US Olympic Trials, Lochte did the following swim workout, which he would later characterize as “brutal”, which is saying something given Lochte’s capacity for work.

Ryan Lochte IM Set

Here is the workout:

4 rounds through—

  • 2×100 butterfly from a dive all-out @1:30
  • 2×50 backstroke, 1 all-out, 1 cruise @:50
  • 100 freestyle @1:20
  • 400 IM all-out @5


  • The workout was done in long course meters.
  • Just the set was 3,200 meters.
  • Lochte’s times on the 400 individual medleys were as follows: 4:29, 4:29, 4:28, and 4:27.
  • If you weren’t hungry before this set, you will most certainly will be afterward.

More Swim Workouts:

How to Power Up Your 200IM with the “Quarters” Set. Got a fever to level up your 200m individual medley? Brandon Converse of EGRA has just the prescription with his “Quarters” set.

Butterfly Sets: How to Dominate Your Next 100m Butterfly. Michael Phelps used these two sets to help develop the dominating back-half of his world-record and Olympic gold-medal winning 100m butterfly.

Cam McEvoy: The Hardest Sets I’ve Ever Done. Australian freestyler Cam McEvoy’s most challenging sets will help you lay an unbeatable aerobic foundation.

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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.

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