Reply To: Critical Swim Speed (CSS)

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Mat O’Halloran

Hey Simon – thanks for your question. While CSS is a new approach, it’s very similar to what “bike guru’s” would consider to be your FTP or what runners call your “sweet spot”.

At Trisutto, we work towards a more individual approach. We aim to take less bad strokes and more good strokes. The velocity, is not so important, especially in the early stages of adaptation or depending on the time of year.

We also use a lot of swim toys, which help a lot with stroke correction, body position, and specific strength work. So paddles, pulls, fins and bands, will throw the CSS numbers, all out of whack. It seems like it’s best for just swimming “bare”.

Some athletes, depending on their background, have good speed, but lack endurance. Then others, lack speed, but can keep going all day. Then some, take longer strokes, while others take shorter strokes.

This would be, different programs and targets, regardless of their 200m or 400m time trial speed. Then for former swimmers, it would be another different program.

While it’s great to have a quantifiable metric to target in training, it’s not the end-all-and-be-all of endurance training.

If training was as simple as training as much as possible at a certain pace, there would be a lot more consistent and fast athletes out there 😉

The CSS seems like an easy method to coach with. Calculate, prescribe and train away. Of which, can be a hit or miss. But an individual approach, is more work for the coach and requires more experience in swimming, but will often yield more consistent results.

All the best in your swimming 🙂