The clock is a great tool for working on your pacing as well as monitoring your speed and endurance over time. Many adult swimmers are not familiar with using the pace clock when swimming laps. Salty Fit team are here to help.

You can start by monitoring how long it takes you to swim 100m. Push off the wall on the 60 and look up at the clock as soon as you get back to the wall. You should be able to easily work out your time and your coach will help you out. Take about 10 seconds rest and repeat a few times and work out your average pace. If your average time for an easy 100m is 1.50, you can do the swim set on 2 minute time repeats. This means you try to swim every 100m in 1.50 and push off on the 60 each time. If you start to tire up and swim 1.55 you still have to push off on the 60 in order to not ‘fall off’ your time repeat.

Now you know your base easy pace. You can increase your speed and work out your moderate and fast pace. Here is a simple interval training set to work on your pacing. The goal here is to swim the same time consistently and repeatedly at each time repeat even as you begin to tire, this is what will improve your fitness.

  • 5x100m easy time repeat eg 2.00
  • 5x100m moderate time repeat eg 1.55
  • 5×100 fast time repeat eg 1.50

As you increase your fitness you will find you are swimming faster and you will need to adjust the time repeat accordingly eg if you are now getting too much rest swimming on 2.00. You can bring it down to 1.50 and so forth.

Using the pace clock is easy to master when swimming 100m but can become more confusing when you start doing sets including 200m, 400m and 800m. A good way to monitor your times as you swim is to turn and look at the clock on your first breath to the side as you begin the next lap. The table below shows what you should be swimming for 200m and 400m and 800m depending on your 100m base pace.

Join us for some 400m and 800m distance sets coming up in Lap Time during September and master the clock. 💪⏰

100m pace   200m split   400m split   800m split 
2.15 4.30 9.00 18.00
2.00 4.00 8.00 16.00
1.45 3.30 7.00 14.00
1.30 3.00 6.00 12.00


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