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Swim Set Text Format

With Natalog swimming software, you can type in practice sets or import them from a text file. In order for Natalog to recognize the sets, they must be written in a specific format. This page describes the format, which is designed to be readable and intuitive, and gives a number of examples.

1. Standard Sets

Generally, the basic set consists of the number of repetitions of a particular distance on a certain time interval, followed by additional instructions.

  4 x 100 on 2:30
  6 x 200 on 3:15 descend

Spaces are optional unless they are needed to distinguish adjacent parts of the set or are part of a keyword.

  6x200on cruise+0:15all out

1.1 Reps

The number of repeats must contain only digits. Reps of one are implied.

  400 stretch
  1000 on 15:00

The multiplication sign may be a lowercase x, an uppercase X, or the mathematical character ×.

  30 x 50 on 0:40
  2 X 1500 on 25:00
  12 × 75 on 1:15

1.2 Distance

The distance must contain only digits but is not required.

  30:00 swim hard

Distances do not have to be a multiple of the pool length.

  3 x 15 fly from the blocks

1.3 Time

The time is given in minutes, followed by a colon :, and then the two-digit seconds. The colon may be omitted when it is clear from the context that the number represents a time.

  5 x 150 on 310 back

There are three different time modes: interval, rest, and cruise interval. The interval mode means that each repeat starts after the specified time has elapsed. Use on or @ to indicate an interval set. The rest mode means that the swimmer should wait the specified amount of time after finishing the repeat before starting the next one. Use rest instead of on to denote a rest set. Last, the cruise interval mode means a pre-determined interval that applies to the swimmer or practice group. Use on cruise and a relative time to denote a cruise interval.

  4 x 100 on 2:30
  4 x 100 @ 2:30
  4 x 100 rest 0:10
  4 x 100 on cruise +0:10
  4 x 100 on cruise -0:02

2. Additional Instructions

Zero or more keywords are used to further describe a set and must come after the reps, distance, and time. The keywords denote the set's action, stroke, effort, energy level, breathing pattern, start type, and equipment usage. The keywords may appear in any order and are not separated by any punctuation.

  3 x 300 on 4:30 free fast
  3 x 300 on 4:30 fast free bilateral breathing

It is an error to specify multiple keywords within the same category.

  Incorrect: 3 x 300 on 4:30 free back
  Incorrect: 3 x 300 on 4:30 easy fast
  Incorrect: 4 x 100 kick w/ board no board

2.1 Actions

The following table shows the list of acceptable action keywords.

swim kick pull drill
diving boards dryland games meeting
relay starts relays rest snake
starts stretch cords turns vertical kicking
water polo weights    
  10:00 relay starts
  3 x 50 drill

Instead of using drill, you may use a specific drill from the following table.

catch-up corkscrew count strokes fingertip drag
fists golf head up left arm
max distance per stroke one arm one arm opposite leg one arm (other at side)
right arm sculling sighting underwater
underwater dolphin underwater recovery 2-count glide 2 kick 1 pull
2 pull 1 kick 3-2-1 glide 3 kick 1 pull 3 pull 1 kick
3 right 3 left      
  125 corkscrew
  3 x 50 one arm free

2.2 Strokes

The following table shows the list of acceptable stroke keywords.

back breast fly free
IM IM no free reverse IM IM order
IM order no free reverse IM order transition IM best stroke
choice no free stroke worst stroke
  6 x 100 IM order no free

2.3 Effort Levels

The following table shows the list of acceptable effort keywords.

all out build cool down cruise
descend easy fast for time
hard moderate negative split pace
race pace sprint stretch strong
warm up      
  5 x 100 on 6:00 choice all out

2.4 Breathing Patterns

The following table shows the list of acceptable breathing keywords.

bilateral breathing breathe on left breathe on right no breath
1 breath 2 breaths 3 breaths 4 breaths
5 breaths breathe every 1 breathe every 2 breathe every 3
breathe every 4 breathe every 5 breathe every 6 breathe every 7
breathe every 8 breathe every 9 breathe every 10 breathe every 11
  500 pull breathe every 5

2.5 Energy Levels

The following table shows the list of acceptable energy keywords.

[REC] [EN1] [EN2] [EN3]
[SP1] [SP2] [SP3]  
  800 stretch [REC]
  10 x 100 on 1:20 [EN1]

2.6 Start Types

The following table shows the list of acceptable start type keywords.

from the blocks from the deck from the flags from the middle
from the wall      
  12 x 25 on 0:30 from the middle

2.7 Equipment

The following table shows the list of acceptable equipment keywords.

board buoy fins paddles
bands snorkel    

Preface the equipment name with with or w/ to indicate that the equipment is required and no or w/o to indicate that it is prohibited. Append optional to the equipment name to indicate that the swimmer has a choice.

  10 x 50 kick with board
  10 x 50 kick w/ board
  10 x 50 kick no board
  10 x 50 kick w/o board
  10 x 50 kick board optional

2.8 Custom Text

As coaches become more and more creative with their sets, we understand that it is not possible to capture all instructions with this format. Hence, we allow any set to contain custom text. Enclose any custom text in double quotes ".

  1:00 "one arm push-ups"
  10:00 meeting "to discuss uniforms"
  "Birthday Swim"

Custom text cannot contain newline characters. If it contains quotes, double the interior quotes.

  2 x 600 """Phelps"" set"

3. Goals

It is possible to specify the target time and heart rate that the swimmers should try to achieve. These goals may be written as a single value or as a range of values. When written as a range, three formats are acceptable: low-high, <high, and >low. (The target time and heart rate are not supported in the Natalog Workouts mobile app.)

3.1 Target Time

The target time is the time that it should take the swimmer to finish each repetition of the set. Use the word hold followed by either a time (in minutes and seconds) or a time range.

  10 x 100 on 1:30 hold 1:10
  3 x 200 on 3:00 fast hold <2:30
  6 x 50 on 1:00 hold 0:32-0:34 fly
  300 easy hold >5:00

As with most times, the colon is optional.

  6 x 400 on 6:00 hold 500-510

3.2 Target Heart Rate

The target heart rate is the desired number of heart beats per minute that a swimmer should have after completing a repetition of the set. Use the abbreviation HR followed by either a whole number or a range of whole numbers.

  10 x 100 on 1:30 HR 120
  4 x 25 all out HR >180
  500 cool down HR <90
  6 x 75 HR 125-150

4. Circuits

A circuit is a list of subsets combined into a single set. The list of subsets appears after the number of reps. Start the list with a left curly brace { or left parenthesis ( and separate each subset with a semi-colon ;. After the last subset, a right curly brace } or right parenthesis ) is optional unless there is additional information that applies to the entire circuit. A semi-colon is always optional after the last subset. Circuits do not contain a distance or time.

  10 x { 2 x 100 on 3:00; 50 easy
  8 x { 100 stroke; 100 free } IM order
  8 x ( 100 stroke; 100 free; ) reverse IM order

A circuit typically has two or more subsets, but it may contain zero or one.

  3 x {
  2 x { 600 build

As is the case with standard sets, a rep of one is optional.

  { 200 swim; 200 kick; 200 pull

A subset of a circuit may itself be a circuit.

  2 x { 4 x { 100 on 1:45; 50 on 0:30 }; 200 easy 

5. Breakdowns

More complicated sets are more often and easily stated by using breakdowns rather than listing out standard sets individually. Natalog recognizes three types of breakdowns: rep, distance, and time. Breakdowns come after the set's additional instructions and subsets, and they are separated with a vertical bar |. The vertical bar may be omitted when the next breakdown is clearly starting. The phrase as written may be used to indicate that the breakdown has no additional instructions.

5.1 Rep Breakdowns

A rep breakdown tells how to treat certain repeats of the set differently. For example, with a set of nine 100s, you may want to do the first three on one interval, the second three on another interval, and the last three on yet another interval.

  9 x 100 | 3 on 1:30 | 3 on 1:25 | 3 on 1:20
  8 x 500 on 8:00 | 1 hard | 1 easy
  20 x 50 on 1:00 2 sprint 3 drill

Use a number sign # to indicate specific reps.

  9 x 100 | #1,2,8,9 on 1:30 | #3 on 1:25 | #4-7 on 1:20
  18 x 50 on 0:45 | #1,4,... free | #2,5,... back | #3,6,... breast

Use Odds: as shorthand for #1,3,... and Evens: as shorthand for #2,4,...

  10 x 200 strong | Odds: swim | Evens: pull
  8 x 100 on 2:00 evens free odds IM

Unlike distance and time breakdowns, a rep breakdown may apply to a circuit.

  4 x { 100 on 1:30; 200 on 3:00; 300 on 4:30 } | #4 pull

5.2 Distance Breakdowns

A distance breakdown divides the total distance into parts.

  4 x 200 on 3:15 | 100 choice | 50 build free | 50 kick no board
  8 x 100 free | 75 as written | 25 no breath

To distinguish a rep breakdown from a distance breakdown, the following rule is used. If the breakdown number is less than the number of reps, it is assumed to be a rep breakdown; otherwise, it is a distance breakdown. The following set has 100s of the same stroke:

  100 x 100 on 1:40 | 25 free | 25 back | 50 free

5.3 Time Breakdowns

A time breakdown divides the total time into parts.

  10:00 kick | 0:30 sprint | 0:30 easy
  10:00 "warm-up" | 5:00 "stretching" | 5:00 swim

5.4 Mixing Breakdowns

It is possible to have a combination of rep, distance, and time breakdowns in the same set.

  4 x 200 | 2 on 3:00 free | 2 on 3:30 back | 150 moderate | 50 hard
  3 x 10:00 | 1:00 kick | 1:00 swim | 1 back | 1 breast | 1 free

6. Variations

Sometimes it is desirable to include variations within a swim set. For example, one lane may be faster than another, or one lane may be backstrokers while another lane is breaststrokers. Rather than write multiple similar workouts, it may be more convenient to write one workout with set variations, especially when the warm-up and cool-down sets are the same. Variations may also be used when the swimmer has a choice of distance or stroke.

To indicate a variation, separate values with a forward slash /. Spaces around the slash are optional. Most parts of a set can have variations, and there is no limit on the number of variations. The following set has three variations of the interval.

  10 x 100 on 1:20/1:25/1:30 descend

This set is equivalent to the combination of the three sets

  10 x 100 on 1:20 descend
  10 x 100 on 1:25 descend
  10 x 100 on 1:30 descend

Here are more examples of sets with variations.

  16 x 50 rest 0:10/0:15
  5 x 200 on cruise -0:01/+0:01
  12/16 x 75 rest 0:10 IM order
  300 kick fly / breast

Use the word unspecified to skip a variation.

  300 kick unspecified/no board

is the combination of

  300 kick
  300 kick no board

6.1 Circuits with Variations

A circuit can have variations, as in

  4/5 x { 200 sprint; 200 easy; 1:00 rest
  4 x { 6 x 75 on 1:20; 6 x 50 on 1:00 hard } free/IM order

Subsets of a circuit may also contain variations

  4 x { 400/500 hard; 50 easy; 200 free/fly

6.2 Breakdowns with Variations

Variations may appear in rep, distance, and time breakdowns as well.

  8 x 25 | #1-4 on 0:30/0:35 | #5-8 on 0:25/0:30
  4 x 300 on 5:00 | 100 back/free | 100 kick no board | 100 fly/free
  10:00 kick | 5:00 sprint/easy | 5:00 easy/sprint

6.3 Multiple Variations

More than one part of a set can have variations. In such a case, the second variation of each part goes together, the third variations go together, etc. For example,

  500/400 free/IM for time

is the combination of the two sets

  500 free for time
  400 IM for time

It is not interpreted combinatorially as

  500 free for time
  500 IM for time
  400 free for time
  400 IM for time

If there is a difference in the number of variations, the last variation is repeated. For example,

  5/6 x 500/400 on 7:00 free/IM/stroke

is a combination of

  5 x 500 on 7:00 free
  6 x 400 on 7:00 IM
  6 x 400 on 7:00 stroke

7. Abbreviations

To aid in the typing in of sets, Natalog recognizes certain abbreviations as the set is typed into the software. To use the auto-completion feature, at the start of a word, type an abbreviation from the following table and then hit the spacebar.

Abbreviation Expanded Text
1skp 1 x { 100 swim; 100 kick; 100 pull
1skps 1 x { 100 swim; 100 kick; 100 pull; 100 swim
100skp 1 x { 100 swim; 100 kick; 100 pull
100skps 1 x { 100 swim; 100 kick; 100 pull; 100 swim
2skp 1 x { 200 swim; 200 kick; 200 pull
2skps 1 x { 200 swim; 200 kick; 200 pull; 200 swim
200skp 1 x { 200 swim; 200 kick; 200 pull
200skps 1 x { 200 swim; 200 kick; 200 pull; 200 swim
3skp 1 x { 300 swim; 300 kick; 300 pull
3skps 1 x { 300 swim; 300 kick; 300 pull; 300 swim
300skp 1 x { 300 swim; 300 kick; 300 pull
300skps 1 x { 300 swim; 300 kick; 300 pull; 300 swim
ba back
br breast
br1 breathe every 1
br2 breathe every 2
br3 breathe every 3
br4 breathe every 4
br5 breathe every 5
br6 breathe every 6
br7 breathe every 7
br8 breathe every 8
br9 breathe every 9
br10 breathe every 10
br11 breathe every 11
bu build
ch choice
cd cool down
cr cruise
de descend
ez easy
fl fly
fr free
ftb from the blocks
ftd from the deck
ftf from the flags
ftm from the middle
ftw from the wall
ki kick
ns negative split
pu pull
re rest
sw swim
st stroke
wu warm up