VSC is a swim training website that allows swimmers and coaches to find, create, and share swim workouts. Our goal when we created the website in 2010 was to offer a way for swimmers to easily find personalized swim workouts online. We started with a handful of workouts, and created multiple versions with different intervals for swimmers of varying skill levels and speeds. This worked well, but was also time consuming and the intervals were too fast or slow for some swimmers. To help make VSC work for all swimmers, we modified all workouts to allow you to set a Base Pace, which we then calculate all intervals from.

Just set your base pace to your speed, and each workout will have intervals at to your pace!

With the latest updates to VSC, we've made it easier for you to set your 100 Freestyle Base Pace -- a metric we use to calculate your workout intervals. This base pace allows each VSC swimmer to easily customize any workout to their speed. For example, if your fastest 100 meter freestyle is 1:00, you can most likely do a set of repeat 100s free at 1:40 -- this would be your base pace.

After setting your base pace to 1:40, a workout that has a set of 4 x 100 Free will have intervals of 1:40 for each 100 free. If the set is for 4 x 200 Free, the interval will be 3:20; a 400 free would be on 6:40, etc. Changing your base pace will immediately change your workout intervals to reflect the new pace. You'll also notice that we make adjustments for different strokes, drill, and kick -- all based on your base pace.

Why are my intervals sometimes different than my base pace?

Good eye! This is on purpose and is based on a setting for that part of the workout. When building workouts, we allow you to make adjustments to the base pace for each set. We understand that sometimes you'll want the intervals to be faster (a challenging main set), or slower (a nice and easy warm up), so we've made it easy for you to make adjustments to a base pace for specific parts of a workout.

In the example from above, say the 4 x 100 free has a base pace adjustment of -5, your intervals will now be 1:35 instead of 1:40 for this set only. Another swimmer who has a base pace of 2:00 will see the interval 1:55. We are always working to improve interval calculations and welcome any questions or feedback! Please contact support with any comments or questions.\r\n

Suggested Base Pace:

Use the chart below to determine the right pace for your swimming ability:

*Choose a time based on the type of pool you'll be swimming in (SCY, SCM, LCM):


Current Fastest 100 Free Time Suggested Base Interval
00:45 01:10
00:50 01:20
00:55 01:30
01:00 01:40
01:10 01:50
01:20 02:00
01:30 02:20
01:45 02:40
02:00 03:00

In all of our workouts, we use some basic swimming terminology to dictate how each set should be swum. Below is a list of these terms with a detailed explanation to help you better understand the Virtual Swim Coach workouts.

Ascend (ing) - Swim each distance slower than the previous one. In example – 3 x 100 Free Ascending: Make each 100 slower than the previous one. If you swim the first in 1:10, the second should be around 1:15, and the final 100 should be around 1:20.

Best Stroke – Swim your best stroke other than Freestyle

Bi-lateral Breathing – This means to breathe to both sides when swimming Freestyle. This can be done by breathing every 3rd, 5th, 7th, or 9th stroke.

Build - Build your speed gradually throughout the recommended distance. In example – 100 Free – Build: Swim each 25 faster than the previous one.

Choice – Pick a stroke of your choice.

Crunches - Laying on your back, with your arms crossed across your chest and knees bent, do a situp motion but only 1/3 of the way to a full situp. For crunches to the left and/or right side, put your ankle from one leg on the knee of your other leg, then do a crunch that twists towards the leg that is up. If you have your left leg up, you’ll be twisting towards the left, trying to touch your right elbow to your left knee.

Descend(ing) - Swim each distance faster than the previous one. In example – 3 x 100 Free Descending: Make each 100 faster than the previous one. If you swim the first in 1:20, the second should be around 1:15, and the final 100 should be around 1:10.

Double Pullouts – When swimming breaststroke, push off the wall and do two consecutive pullouts underwater before surfacing and swimming full stroke.

Flutter Kick (dryland) – Lay on your back with your hands under your rear, point your toes and do a freestyle kick for the allotted time. Try to keep your legs straight and do smaller kicks rather than large ones.

HR (Heart Rate) - When you see “HR @ 150+” that means when you finish, your heart rate should be at 150 beats per minute or more. To do a quick heart rate calculation, count how many times your heart beats in 6 seconds then multiply by 10. (or 10 seconds and multiply by 6).

I.M. (Individual Medley) – Swim equal distances of each stroke in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle. In example: A 200 yard IM would mean you swim 50 yards of fly, 50 yards of backstroke, 50 yards of breaststroke, and 50 yards of freestyle.

Isometrics – Core exercises where you hold a certain position for an extended period of time. Like this.

Negative Split - Swim the second half of the distance faster than the first half. In example – 400 Free – Negative split: If you swim the first 200 yards in 3:00, swim the second 200 yards faster than 3:00.

Odd / Even - Swim odd numbered swims a certain way and even numbered swims a different way. In example – 6 x 100 – Odd-Free / Even-Backstroke – #1,3,5 Swim Freestyle and #2,4,6 swim backstroke.

Pace - If a set says “Hold 500 Pace,” that means to swim whatever distance is recommended at the speed you would race a 500 free.

Percent (50%, 70%, 80% etc.) – This percent dictates the effort you should swim with compared to your maximum effort. If the workout says swim at 80%, you should be swimming at 80% of your race speed, pretty fast but not 100% effort.

Repeat - Used to dictate how many times a set should be performed. In the example below, the warm-up set should be repeated 3 times. So you would do 3 x 100 as shown, three times around.

Rest Interval – Rest taken after each swim. In example – 3 x 100 on :30 – Take 30 seconds rest after each 100.

Reverse I.M. Order - Swim the recommended distance with the strokes in reverse order of a regular I.M. (Free, Breast, Back, Fly).

Rounds - In some workouts with repeating sets, the swims that make up the set may vary from ’round’ to round (each time you repeat the set is a round). In example: If you are in a set that repeats 3 times and part of that set is 3 x 100 – Round #1 – Free / Round #2 – I.M. / Round #3 – Backstroke, that means during the first time through swim Free, second time through swim I.M., and final time through swim Backstroke.

Timed Interval - Timed interval for each swim. In example – 3 x 100 on 1:40 – Swim (1) 100 every 1:40.

Worst Stroke – Swim your worst stroke other than Freestyle.