Critical Swim Speed Time Trials - Thurs 8th May 2014

  • Brighton College Brighton College Brighton

This Session is usually a 90 minute swim focusing on technique and endurance.  However, tonight it will primarily be a CSS testing session.  Depending on timings we will also do some normal session work after the CSS has been completed for those that want to continue swimming.

Knowing your Critical Swim Speed (Threshold speed) will enable you to train more efficiently and allow the club coaches to organise the lanes more effectively and create more challenging sets.  Knowing your CSS at this time in the season will also enable you (and the coaches) to monitor your progress as we intend to repeat these tests every 8 weeks or so.

Regardless of how good a swimmer you are (or whether you end up doing breaststroke for a few lengths) getting a handle on you CSS will improve your training and allow you to set some goals.

At the end of the session the coaches will take the data away and enter it on a spreadsheet to provide you with a CSS time for swimming 100's, 200's and 400's in yards and meters.  They will also provide an average strokes per minute count.  Of course all this data will only be as accurate as your partner for the evening can annotate it!

In very simple terms, your 'Threshold' is the point at which you start to build up lactate in your muscles that ultimately slows you down.  Training at your Threshold pace or just below (in all three tri disciplines) is considered a 'quality' session.  As you get fitter, your Threshold will rise and you will be able to go faster for longer.  A good training programme will include some technique work, some endurance work and some quality threshold work.  More can be found on the Swim Smooth site here.

Running a CSS session requires teamwork (in pairs) and some good concentration and co-ordination.  Please come prepared with;

  • Timing watch (and your glasses if you need them!).  Your usual sports watch will do provided you know how to use the stopwatch on it.
  • A sweatshirt or hoody to keep warm on the side of the pool as you'll be in and out of the water.
  • Some water

The coaches will provide timing forms, pencils and boards to lean on.

In short, the CSS session comprises of a 200yrd (8) warmup, a 400yrd (16) time trail, a rest whilst you swap with your partner and time them for their 400 and then a 200yrd (8) warmup again followed by a 200yrd (8) time trail.  We will have 2 swimmers per lane with each swimmer staying on their own side of the lane.  Those not swimming or timing in the first round can be poolside cheering on the club members in the pool.

There is a £5 charge for this session unless you have paid for a block in advance - see Swim Fees for more details. 

The session is held at Brighton College Swimming Pool.  Enter via the main gate off Eastern Road and ask the porters for directions to the pool.  Bike parking is available down the steps next to the pool.  Please do not park your bike on the steps or against the emergency exits.