100’s on 2:01

This is one of my favorite drop out test sets and it does require some mental engagement. It’s one that I did growing up (and cannot claim authorship– thank you, Jeff LeBeau!) and always found challenging, but when I was done I was left inspired by those who made it further than me and by myself because I had set a goal and achieved it. There was a relatively immediate gratification from putting in work and reaping the success unlike a lot of training. There is a lot of room for creativity, but ultimately the success (or failure) of the set is up to the swimmer. 

The Guidelines:

  • There is no limit to how many 100’s a swimmer will do. They continue until failure. Generally swimmers will do around 20-30×100’s, but this depends on the “start” time (more on this later).
  • The swimmer must always make it in by “the top”. If going 5-10 seconds apart, the next swimmer in the lane’s “top” will be the 10, etc. (Ex. Swimmer #2 is going 10 back, they must always make it in by the 10. Swimmer #3 is going 10 behind them so they must always make it in by the 20, etc.)
  • If a swimmer touches the wall before or on their “top”, they have made it and must continue. If they touch the wall at :01-:02, they must sprint the next one to attempt to get back on it. If they touch the wall at :03+, they are out.
  • The goal should be that their last and fastest 100 made is 5-7 seconds slower than their best 100 time. Of course this is not always the case, but on average this is where kids end up dropping out.

With those in mind…The Set:

  • Pick a start interval. My top level age group swimmers start at 1:20 and I graduate it from there. B-interval starts at 1:30, C-interval on 1:40, etc. This interval is based on “the top”. So if your swimmers’ first interval is 1:30, they will begin the set on :30 (and have to make it in by the top).
  • Because the interval is 2:01, the next 100 they will leave on the :31 and make it in by the top. On number three, they will leave on the :32 (and still have to make it in by the top). This continues until the swimmer is “out” when they miss it by more than 3 seconds.


  • Have a set the swimmers do until everyone is out. When there are about 4-5 swimmers left in the set, I sometimes have everyone get out and cheer for those left still in the set. The “out” set I have found to be the simplest and easiest to monitor is having them kick the 100’s on 2:01, but instead of being in by the top, they have to be in by the time everyone leaves (so their true interval is 2:01). Based on the swimmer’s ability, I’ll have them put on fins, but if 2:00 is a moderate interval, no fins.
  • Keep track of how many 100’s they’ve done as a group. It’s easy to get lost for everyone, so it’s best to have a master tally.
  • For test set purposes, keep track of the fastest 100 each swimmer has made (ex. Susie made 1:02 then she attempted 1:01 and missed by 3 seconds. What I would record as her last 100 would be 1:02) then remind them of these before we begin so they can have a goal time in mind.
  • The set can be done as freestyle, stroke, or IM– it’s up to you!
  • If swimmers start off too slow, they run the risk of “getting stuck” and not being able to change gears and therefore dropping out too soon. If swimmers start off too fast, they run the risk of expending their energy and dropping out too soon. To combat this, it’s important that a swimmer approach this in a smart way– strong, moderate and setting up good habits at first then build from there. I remind swimmers when they get within 10 seconds of their top, it may be time to change gears.
  • I’ve found it’s easier to explain this set with an analog clock and if we don’t have an analog clock, I’ll draw one on a whiteboard so they can visualize “the top”.

This is truly a fantastic set for getting swimmers to encourage and push themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of. The first time through this set may be a little chaotic and confusing, but the next time will be far smoother and exciting! 

Any questions? Alright, let’s go…

Let me know how your swimmers’ 100’s on 2:01 goes!