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Home / Training / Swim / Sub-1hr session: Swim taper

Sub-1hr session: Swim taper

Get your engine revving with this taper workout for beginners that’s guaranteed to yield speed

Triathlete in swim taper training

Are you a beginner looking to improve your top-end swim speed on race day? This 60min beginner’s workout from Emma-Kate Lidbury is guaranteed to get your engine revving.

For this session you’ll need swimwear, a hat, goggles and a water bottle. You can do this workout up to three days out from your race. Higher-intensity swimming should have little to no residual impact on energy levels. Make sure you get plenty of rest either side of it and refuel well afterwards.

Swim taper workout


10mins as 16 x 25m f/c w/fins, 15ses rest between each 25m. 8 x 50m f/c, odds easy/fast, evens fast/easy.

Main session

6 x broken 100m, swum as: 25m, rest for 10secs, 50m, rest for 10 secs, 25m. Take 1min rest between reps.


200m easy swim.

Main benefits

Performance benefits

This workout yields speed that will reward you richly on race day. These broken 100m reps are a great way to do this. Don’t be afraid push the pace at/near your maximum. It may seem contrary to what you think a taper should involve, but it’s exactly what you need.

Mental benefits

Use this workout to prepare your mind for the swim on race day. Practise staying focused and calm under pressure; concentrate on technical pointers and keeping your stroke as efficient as possible, especially when fatigued.

Physiological benefits

One of the keys to a successful taper is to keep your body used to working at higher intensities during race week so that it’s not sluggish come race day. This set helps do exactly that – you’ll be working at or near your maximum, but not for so long that it depletes you.

The broken 100m repeats are a great way to ‘rev your engine’ just enough to remind your body of higher-intensity work while giving you plenty of rest to ensure the quality remains high.

Adapt for Ironman

Increase the number of reps in the prep sets slightly (e.g. 20 x 25m and 10 or 12 x 50m) and aim for 8 x broken 100m swims, but avoid swimming for much more than one hour.

(Main image: Jonny Gawler)

For lots more swim sessions head to our Training section

Profile image of Jamie Beach Jamie Beach Former digital editor


Jamie was 220 Triathlon's digital editor between 2013 and 2015.