Test Sets for Age Group Swimmers: How to find Threshold Pace

We have a growing problem at our club. We keep getting new swimmers!! It’s the best problem to have. We have gained new swimmers in almost every age group. The issue, which is shared by most club teams, is that we are given a specific time period, limiting our POOL SPACE. So how do you find the threshold pace of swimmers with a range of diverse ability? (Swimmers who can hold 1:04/100yds to swimmers who can hold 2:05/100 yds) What is the best way to test all abilities? 

Because of our diversity, a set interval would be hard to commute with our circumstances. A set interval is a great for collegiate athletes or groups of swimmers with the same ability. We can’t do that! We could do a 60 minute swim, but we are limited on staff, and counting correctly is unreliable. So what are other options? 

I’m experimenting with a set with exact rest. The test set I gave our two highest teams (swimmers from 1:04/100yds- 1:35/100yds) was 10x300s. Timed 3,000 with +30 seconds after each 300. It gives each swimmer the same amount of rest (4 minutes 30 seconds) which allows each swimmer to pace the set according to their own ability-a training technique that can be hard to do on a set interval. 

Resullts: The swimmers did great!! They stayed focused throughout the set and the set was done correctly. The threshold pace was accurate. I found that the pace correlates well with what they can usually hold throughout tough sets. 

Questions: Is this the most effective way to test age group swimmers? With the diversity, can you test swimmers on a fixed interval?

September Test Set:

10x300s @ +30 = 13 & over

10x200s @ +30= 12 & under

 

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