Training Squads

Our squad is largely made up of triathletes, ranging from complete novices to very experienced Kona qualifiers, racing mainly in half to full distance Ironman events.  We also have a few who also just swim masters / open water, along with a handful who just swim for fun.  The vast majority of our Squad members take part in long distance open water swimming events lasting anywhere from 500m – 15km.  As such, the training program we provide is very goal orientated and specific to performance based open water swimming; the main focus is open water freestyle mechanics.  We help novice swimmers who are just starting out and looking to race in their first open water event (recommended to begin with a Technique Course first), all the way up to elite World Champ qualifiers and Pros.  Masters swimmers and general fitness enthusiasts are most welcome to join in, as we can often tailor part of the workout to include the other 3 strokes for you. 

I’ve been training with The Swim Lab for around 7 years now, and really love the training sessions. They are a great mix of technique drills, intervals and endurance, and I always end the sessions somewhere between “pretty tired” and “totally exhausted”!! I continue to do PBs, which at 46 years old I’m chuffed about, and I’ve gone from being in the middle of the pack in the open water races to in and around the medals.
M.S. Open Water Marathon Swimmer

As the name implies, Training Squads are all about training to get ready to race.  These are set up to train and cover anywhere from 3k to 5k, depending on the time and type of session covered.  Feedback from the Coach is generally about pacing management, with only snippets of technique.  Most of our squad swimmers are in the sub 1:55 / 100m range with our fastest in sub 1:20 / 100m range.  If you are not up to the minimum standard, then we recommend you either begin with a Technique Course or form a small group for a few Semi Privates to gradually build up a good foundation in both fitness, skills and training know-how. We recognise some folks are simply unfit after a long absence from the pool and just need some time to build fitness back – if you are already well versed on swimming training, then squads will not be a problem. 

Minimum requirement* to attend Training Squads:

1.    Swim 400m freestyle non-stop
2.    8 x 100m free @ 2:10 interval (including rest)

 
 

 

We offer a mix of the following sessions each week:

Aerobic Recovery

  • Distance:  Up to 3k
  • Level:        All, but swimmers must be able to swim 400m continuous freestyle
                      * if you swim in the > 2:00 / 100m range, please consider our Improver session listed below

Each week begins with a recovery session to help ease you back after a weekend of training or racing (or both)!  Whilst technique heavy with plenty of drills, it still blends in a fair amount of aerobic work too to get you ready for the rest of the week.  To keep you focused primarily on your technique, there is little emphasis on times during this session, instead it's all about focusing on form.  

You can expect feedback during this session on how to perform the skills and drills correctly and a few quick tips on your stroke.  All equipment is required as there are a lot of changes in and out of gear.

Threshold Short Interval 

  • Distance:  Up to 3k
  • Level:        Minimum requirement is ability to swim 8 x 100m free @ 2:10 interval (including rest)

Reps are short (25m – 200m) working on easy speed and mechanics with minimal recovery.  Here we work on your stroke rate and muscular endurance and resiliency over a set distance.  Use of the Tempo Trainer in Stroke Rate mode will be mainly used.  This is a good session for Masters swimmers to join.

You can expect feedback during this session on how well you are maintaining form during the main set.  All equipment required (fins, snorkels, paddles, pull-buoys and Tempo Trainer).

Threshold Long Interval

  • Distance:  Up to 5k+ 
  • Level:        Must be able to swim at least 400m non-stop and complete 8 x 100m @ 2:10 interval (including rest)

This CSS based session is a gem for pacing management and awareness, which is ideal for the distances triathletes and open water swimmers tend to compete in.  Reps range from 50m - 400m with relatively short rest, as the efforts are meant to be sustainable for the duration of the set.  As such, this is one of the key sessions we offer each week.

This session is also very much a team effort as you will be grouped with 3-6 other swimmers of a very similar speed, working as a small pack within your lane.  This requires each swimmer to be accountable to each other, to step up and rotate lead, making for a very team-based environment with lots of camaraderie!  

You can expect feedback during this session on how well you are holding pace and motivation to keep pushing on when things are getting tough.  All equipment required (fins, snorkels, paddles, pull-buoys and Tempo Trainer).

CSS Training Explained - understand the basis behind these sessions.  Includes some examples of the improvements that our Swim Lab swimmers have accomplished in their average pace over the years.

Endurance

  • Distance: Up to 5k
  • Level:       Must be able to swim at least 800m non-stop and complete 10 x 100m @ 2:00 interval (includes rest)

These sessions are mainly done at a gentler pace to our Threshold Long Interval session, but they are not for the faint hearted as the pace can seem relentless as the set progresses.  These are typically longer reps (200-1000m) which challenge both your endurance and mental toughness – much of what is needed in the madness of triathlon and open water races!  This is the stalwart session for the Clean / Cold Half, Ironman and 70.3 brigade given how good it is at preparing you for these events.  It is another one of our weekly sessions you should not miss if you are training for 70.3, Ironman or long distance OW events ranging from 1.5km up.

This session is also very much a team effort as you will be grouped with 3-6 other swimmers of a very similar speed, working as a small pack within your lane.  This requires each swimmer to be accountable to each other, to step up and rotate lead, making for a very team-based environment with lots of camaraderie!  

You can expect feedback during this session on how well you are holding pace and motivation to keep pushing on when things are getting tough, especially if you drop off the back of the pack.  Snorkels, paddles, pull-buoys and Tempo Trainer required.

Improvers

  • Distance:  Up to 3k
  • Level:        Beginners, able to repeat @ 2:00 - 2:20min pace for 6 x 100. Do enquire if you are just outside the range

This session is designed as a "pre-squad" session for those looking to bridge the gap between the Technique Course and our regular Squad sessions listed above.  It builds on all the skills introduced in the Course, and puts a bit more emphasis on aerobic development to aid in increasing stamina and endurance over longer distances (just at a gentler pace than anything listed above). 

Please note this is not a "recovery" session for those fast enough to train in our regular Squads!  

You can expect feedback during this session on how to perform the skills and drills correctly and a few quick tips on your stroke.  All equipment is required as there are a lot of changes in and out of gear.

Custom Swim Program

If you simply cannot make any of our sessions (either because timing doesn't work for you, or you live overseas) but would like a training program, we can offer a custom training plan for you.  These are best combined with our Swim Smooth Video Analysis Sessions so that we can at least tidy up and fix any faults with your stroke, discuss your concerns and then implement a plan once we have a much clearer picture of what we are working with.  

Dear Coaches, I just wanted to say a quick ‘Thank You’ for your dedication and talents as coaches. I did a CSS time trial this morning on my own, with a good improvement compared to October. 6:15 & 3:00 back then vs this morning’s 5:36 & 2:40 (May). It’s partly my focused hard work of course, but it could never have happened without your skilled and attentive coaching – so, Thank You !
P.M. Swimmer

This Week's Training Squad Schedule

 
 

Venue Locations & Maps


 

Kennedy Town Swimming Pool
堅尼地城游泳池

** Not currently being used for any sessions

2 Sai Cheung Street North
Kennedy Town
Hong Kong

  • Closest MTR is HKU Exit Exit C2 or Kennedy Town Exit B
  • We will use the outdoor 50m pool.
  • Meet by the turnstiles at 6:50am

 

South Island School
南島學校; 南風道

Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions, and Video Analysis sessions take place here

50 Nam Fung Road
Deep Water Bay
Hong Kong

  • Closest MTR is actually Ocean Park Station (much easier to get cabs), Exit C.  Walk out to bus-stop and hail a cab straight up the hill, and hop out right in front of the main school gates.
  • On arrival at SIS, walk past the car park (if you drive, the car park is only accessible via Deep Water Bay Drive) and turn left to head towards the main school entrance.
  • Walk up the stairs and the pool is directly to your left on the 1/F.  
  • Changing room is along the corridor, down the stairs under the pool.

 

Institute for Human Performance "IHP" 
何鴻燊體育中心下車

Monday & Friday morning sessions take place here
* Mon moving to SYS on Oct 23rd
* Fri moving to SYS on Nov 17th

University of Hong Kong Stanley Ho Sports Centre
10 Sha Wan Drive
Sandy Bay, Pokfulam
Hong Kong

  • Minibus to ABERDEEN: #58, 58A, 58M from Kennedy Town MTR Exit A
  • Minibus to CYBERPORT:  #10, #10S and #10P from Causeway Bay MTR Exit C
  • Minibus to WONG CHUK HANG: #59 from Kennedy Town MTR Exit A
  • Paid parking available 
  • Pls bring $5 coin to operate lockers

 

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool
中山紀念公園游泳池

Wednesday morning sessions take place here
Monday morning sessions move here on Oct 23rd

Friday morning sessions move here on Nov 17th

16 Eastern Street North
Sai Ying Pun
Hong Kong

  • Closest MTR is Sai Ying Pun Exit A2
  • If arriving at lunchtime, pool is technically shut so you will need to enter from road level by the car park.  
  • We normally meet by the turnstiles