Training Essentials & Programme Design for Swimming


Build confidence in working with swimmers by using exercise physiology, periodisation, monitoring and injury prevention to improve your coaching.

Target audience

This course is for the Intermediate to elite swimmer, health professional, parent and student who wants to learn how to design training programmes to maximise performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Previous experience and knowledge is not required. 

Key target groups

  1. Intermediate/elite/masters swimmers who are looking for scientifically designed training programmes to optimise performance and decrease the risk of injury.
  2. Triathletes that want to improve their swimming performance.
  3.  Swimming coaches who want to understand exercise physiology & training principles and methods behind programme design.
  4. Fitness professionals who wants to do land training and rehab with swimmers.
  5. Students who want to learn about exercise physiology & the training principles of swim coaching and monitoring.
  6. Advanced and elite athletes who want to understand the science behind their training.
  7. Parents who want to improve their knowledge related to the physiology and best practice regarding swimming training and monitoring.
Course content



Asset File Duration
Important principles when writing a training program Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 17 min
Module 1 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Exercise physiology, biomechanics and movement requirements for swimming Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 17 min
How to measure stroke count and distance per stroke Video 3 min
Physiology, biomechanical and movement requirements of swimming Word document -
Module 2 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Growth and development and the Female swimmer (Part 1) Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 18 min
Growth and development and the Female swimmer (Part 2) Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 15 min
Interview: Focus on Specialisation and the female swimmer Video 13 min
Growth and development Word document -
Example of an automated height prediction Excel document -
Module 3 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
A review of key issues related swimming injuries, training load and monitoring Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 15 min
Screencast - 16 week layout with focus on training load calculation Video 5 min
Screencast - High level monitoring case study Video 4 min
16 week training load layout Excel document -
Monitoring spreadsheet example Excel document -
Module 4 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Resistance training in swimming Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 10 min
Common swimming specific dry land exercises without equipment Video 4 min
Module 5 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Programme design and periodization Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 9 min
SSA Age group Time standards LONG COURSE PDF document -
SSA Age group Time standards SHORT COURSE PDF document -
SSA Yth & Snr Time standards LONG COURSE PDF document -
SSA Yth & Snr Time standards SHORT COURSE PDF document -
Swim and gym periodisation planning template Excel document -
Module 6 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Performance testing pool and land based Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 12 min
Pool assessment Video 5 min
Swimming assessment Video 10 min
Pre screen, consultation form and informed consent Word document -
Performance testing manual PDF document -
Evaluation of mobility and stability (EMS) manual PDF document -
Land based and pool based testing sheets Excel document -
Automated skinfold report Excel document -
Module 7 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Swimming drills backstroke Video 1 min
Swimming drills breaststroke Video 1 min
Swimming drills butterfly Video 1 min
Swimming drills freestyle Video 3 min
Swimming drills sculls Video 1 min
Screencast - Swimming programme Video 8 min
Example swim and gym plans Excel document -
Module 8 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -
Asset File Duration
Overtraining, burnout and age group swimming Animated PowerPoint MP4 Video 16 min
Module 9 - Assessment Moodle Quiz -

What will I learn
  1. To understand the physiology and bio-mechanics of swimming.
  2. Learn the scientific principles behind writing training programmes & how to apply this knowledge in formulating your own.
  3. How to rate the maturation status of a swimmer and to understand the implications for performance .
  4. What the best resistance training exercises for swimmers are,  as well as recommended set and repetitions.
  5. Understand how to avoid over-training through correct training prescription and high level monitoring.
  6. How to effectively use different swim drills to ensure the appropriate stroke dynamics.
  7. How to use performance assessment templates to evaluate athletes as well as medical screening forms based on the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.
  8. How to effectively use programme and periodisation templates.

Each module will have four multiple choice questions. Students will have unlimited attempts to answer these questions. A certificate of completion will be issued once all of the assessments have been completed.

Course description

This course is for the recreational to elite swimmer, health professional, parent  or student who wants to learn about swimming physiology,bio-mechanics and programming.

We begin in module 1 and 2 by teaching you the key training principles and an overview of the determinants of endurance swimming performance. In addition, we discuss what effects these physiological and bio-mechanical variables in order to provide insight into how training can be structured to best improve endurance performance.

In module 3 we look at how growth and development effects the performance of a swimmer. These varying  maturation rates can be measured and their impact needs to be clearly understood.

In the 4th module we provide a framework on how to monitor swimmers to prevent injuries and over-training. This includes a monitoring template for users to download

In module 5 we look at the importance of dry land training in injury prevention and performance. We include a video of the key swimming specific exercises one should use.

In module 6 we focus on teaching you how to effectively periodise training in order to allow for successful programme design. This includes a planning template. 

In the 7th module we review how to assess swim performance, while providing screening and report examples and explanations 

In Module 8 we cover sample swim and gym programmes. In addition we provide a video which reviews key swim drills 

Lastly in module 9, we look at how to avoid over-training and burnout in age group swimmers.

Previous experience working in the fitness/sporting environment is not required.

About the instructors

Lezandre Wolmarans

Lezandre is a senior consultant at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa and head of the swimming division. She is  registered biokineticist who did her honours degree at the University of stellenbosch. Lezandre has represented South Africa in Swimming, Biathle, Xterra and Netball. 

After several years as a practising biokineticist who focused on a number of endurance sports, Lezandre in 2016 decided to focus exclusively  on swimming. Lezandre still competes internationally as a masters swimmer. She is especially passionate about helping young swimmers reach their swimming goals while teaching them life skills.

Rebecca Johansson

Rebecca is an endurance consultant at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.  She holds a Master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin, and is currently a PhD student in exercise science at the University of Cape Town.  She specialises in programme design for runners, swimmers, and triathletes and monitoring training load in athletes.  

Rebecca was a national level swimmer in the USA, and was world ranked in the 1500m freestyle.  She began coaching in 2008 after retiring  from swimming, and began competing in triathlon and running.  She has a passion for teaching and getting people involved in sport as it provides people with a community, healthy lifestyle, and realistic goals that provide life-long benefits. 


Videos in MP4 format
Animated PowerPoint Videos in MP4 format
Course content in book format
Additional resources
Certificate of completion
Accessible on mobile devices

Last modified: Sunday, 8 July 2018, 9:21 PM