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Training by competitive swimmers typically consists of repeated bouts of shorter or longer intervals in a short-course or long-course pool. Intervals span a con­tinuum from longer slower intervals (50-1600 m for developing aerobic or endurance fitness) to shorter faster intervals (15-200 m for developing anaerobic or race pace qualities). The basic prescription of in­terval training can be simplified to four primary vari­ables: (i) the number of intervals or repeat efforts, (ii) the length/distance of the interval (15 m to con­tinuous swimming), (iii) the intensity (i.e., pace or velocity) of the interval, and (iv) the rest period be­tween intervals (variously formulated as the cycle time or rest period).

Preseason training commences from the low base of fitness maintained during the off-season. Swimmers typically start the preseason phase with a single ses­sion per day and gradually increase the number of ses­sions over the first few weeks. A graded increase sees the frequency of training increasing from one session per day, to three sessions over 2 days, and eventually to the traditional two sessions per day format followed by the majority of high-level swimmers.

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