Swim Assessment

Assessment Protocol

Note:  The Swim CSS Test will not have the ability to Send to Garmin or have the workout file available to download.

Warm Up

Swim at least a 200 starting slow and gradually building pace to your threshold pace for the final 50. Make sure you're warmed up, but don't exhaust yourself. Rest for about two minutes. If you don't know your threshold pace, guesstimate but don't overdo it.


CSS Test 400/200 - Main Set 

  1. Swim a 400 time-trial effort from a push (not dive).
  2. Recover for 10 to 15 minutes with easy swimming and rest.
  3. Swim a 200 time-trial effort from a push. 

Be sure to count your laps correctly.  Your 400 time should not be faster than twice your 200 time.


Execution Notes

Your goal in the time-trial effort is to hold a pace that you can sustain for the entire distance without blowing up early or having something left to kick at the end.
If your time trial is part of a workout, swim the balance of your allotted workout time at your slow pace with excellent form. Otherwise, cool down with a slow 200.
Be sure to record your times for the 400/200.
It doesn't matter whether you use meters or yards (as long as you know which). The TriDot training pace/zone calculator accommodates both. It's best to be consistent with which one you do to more accurately measure improvement.

Course Formats

The format of the pool you're swimming in makes a difference in your swim assessments.  TriDot will adjust for your format each time you enter your assessments.  Your SwimDot is calculated using your LCM-equivalent time for each assessment.
SCY = Short Course Yards (25 yards per lap)
SCM = Short Course Meters (25 meters per lap)
LCM = Long Course Meters (50 meters per lap)

Using the Results

After you've completed this assessment, submit your results to determine your new SwimDot and associated training zones. 
An athlete's 400 pace is typically 106% of their 200 pace.  Differences in these relative paces give insight into the impact of poor form taking its toll over a longer distance and/or relative fitness ability (power v stamina).  This insight influences your swim drills and training emphasis. 

CSS Pace - Threshold Pace

Your training intensities are automatically generated by TriDot.  But in case you're interested, your threshold pace is calculated from your CSS Test using the following equation:
(400 swim time - 200 swim time) / 2
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