Tempo Trainer Rate Card

At the USMS SwimFest this past weekend in San Diego, many coaches were asking for the Tempo Trainer Rate Card. This reference card is helpful in providing swimmers and coaches instant stroke rate guidelines for every event.

Click Here to download the PDF copy of the card.

To read Chart 1, find the distance and event you are training for in the first column. The second column will show the suggested stroke rate range for that event; and the third column will show the corresponding Tempo Trainer setting. Note that the suggested range was found by studying elite swimmers during world-class competitions, but it should still give you a good guideline to start from.

Chart 2 is a basic conversion chart from stroke rate (cycles/minute) to the corresponding Tempo Trainer setting in either seconds/cycle or seconds/stroke. Note that for Freestyle and Backstroke, one cycle would equate to two arm strokes.

These charts were made available by Ernie Maglischo. For additional information, pick up a copy of his book, “Swimming Fast”.


“One job of the coach is to help athletes find the optimum combination of stroke rate and stroke length that will allow them to swim at some desired speed with the least energy expenditure. Nevertheless, the range of difference is small enough to allow us to make generalizations concerning the best rates for each event.”

- Ernie Maglischo & Spot
Author of “Swimming Fast”


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