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6 Christmas Swim Workouts (Including Holiday Games)

Are you a swim coach or swimmer looking for a fun Christmas swim workout? Then keep reading!

We are sharing our top 6 festive swim workouts that can be easily tailored to age group swimmers, high school swim teams, masters swimmers, and even the gym swimmer this Christmas break!

Plus we share our Christmas-themed game ideas and tips for boosting morale this winter training. Because let’s face it, for many of us winter is cold and dark which can make it more difficult to show up to the pool.

Make your Christmas swim training fun and boost your practice attendance with our festive but challenging swim workouts. Plus grab our FREEBIE 6 CHRISTMAS SWIM WORKOUTS PDF

Disclaimer: This post was written and reviewed by Katie Schimmelpfenning, USA Swim Coach and Registered Dietitian. This is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as training advice. Consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

12 days of Christmas workout 

This is a fun workout that repeats like The Twelve Days of Christmas Carol! Below we share a a shorter variation of the workout keep reading for a longer, more challenging 12 sets of Christmas workout.

While I would love to take credit for coming up with these workouts, my old club swimming coaches gave me these 12 days of Christmas workouts. Since I have both swum and led these workouts I can confidently highly recommend both Christmas swim workouts!

For both sets swim like the song. Start with the first day then 2,1 and the next 3,2,1 and continue down repeating! We recommend adding a minimum of 200 warm up and cool down to either set. 

1st Day 1 x 100 @ 1:20/1:30

2nd Day 2 x 50 streamline kick @ :50/1:00 …then #1

3rd Day 4 x 25 drill @ :30/:40 then do #2…#1

4th Day 1×50 free @ :35/:40…#3…#2…#1

5th Day :30 seconds REST… #4… #3… #2… #1

6th Day 1 x 100 IM @ 1:30/1:40… #5,#4,#3,#2,#1

7th Day 4 x 25 Descend @:30/:35… #6,#5,#4,#3,#2,#1

8th Day 2×25 Fast @ :25/30… #7,#6,#5,#4,#3,#2,#1

9th Day 1×50 Breast @ :50/:55 …#8,#7,#6,#5,#4,#3,#2,#1

10th Day 1×50 Back @ :45/50…#9,#8,#7,#6,#5,#4,#3,#2,#1

11th Day 2 x 25 Fly @:35/40…. #10,#9,#8,#7,#6,#5,#4,#3,#2,#1

12th Day 1 x 50 all out on 1:00… #11,#10,#9,#8,#7,#6,#5,#4,#3,#2,#1

(total yardage 5800 yards if 200 warm up and cool down added 6200 yds)

More challenging 12 days of Christmas workout 

This next set requires a good chunk of pool time. If all 25’s are on a :30 interval this set will take 3 hours and 2 minutes.

On the first day of Christmas: 1×25 underwater

On the second day of Christmas: 2x 25 scull…then do #1

On the third day of Christmas: 3×25 IM’s… then do #2, #1

On the fourth day of Christmas: 4×25 fly…#3, #2, #1

On the fifth day of Christmas: 5×25 back…#4, #3, #2, #1

On the sixth day of Christmas: 6×25 breast…#5, #4, #3, #2, #1

On the seventh day of Christmas: 7×25 back…#6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

On the eighth day of Christmas: 8×25 streamline kick…#7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

On the ninth day of Christmas: 9×25 free des (1-3, 4-6, 6-9)…#8, #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

On the tenth day of Christmas: 10×25 free pull…#9, #8, #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

On the eleventh day of Christmas: 11×25 br by 25 4,3,2,1,0 x 2- last one choice be…#10, #9, #8, #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

On the twelfth day of Christmas: 12×25 IM order… #11, #10, #9, #8, #7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1

(total yardage 9100)

Christmas tree swim practice

The Christmas tree swim workout is a classic. This is a great workout for anyone, especially youth and masters swimmers. Feel free to adjust the yardage of the tree to meet your swimmer’s needs. 

We highly recommend writing this setting on a whiteboard or using our printout to give to swimmers! The shape of the set is what makes it feel most festive. 

For this set start at the bottom and work down.

For all of the 100’s: alternate DPS free and IM build @1:30/1:40/1:50 or :10 rest

For all the 75’s: pull free (with pull buoy) Br: 3,5,7 or 5,7,9 by 25 @1:20/1:30 or :10 rest

For all the 50’s: choice stroke, non-free best average @ 1:00 or :10 rest

For all the 25’s: alternate fast breakout and fast finish @ :30/:40 or :10 rest 

 (Total yardage for this set is 3350 yards)

If you complete this set on a faster interval it can be modified to be an hour-long swim workout. Feel free to adjust to a comfortable interval.

Naughty or Nice Holiday Workout

This can be a really fun workout for age groups swimmers and high school swimmers

First, have the swimmers pick a number or use the dice roller app to decide their fate. Then, flip a coin to decide if the set will be naughty or nice. Assign the coin heads and tails naughty or nice before beginning the set.

You can simplify this set by pre-assigning each number a “naughty” or “nice” set beforehand and skip the coin toss. Or you can create two bags of naughty and nice sets that are drawn at random.

We prepared 6 “naughty” and “nice” swim sets for you below. Each set is 500 yards long. The naughty sets are more challenging, the nice sets are more playful and fun!

Feel free to adapt the set to your swimming group’s needs.


200 fr

8×50: drill, swim IM order 

Main set:

Naughty Sets

1. 20×25 odds: uw no breath (for younger swimmers modify), evens: backstroke 

2. 3×150 desc 1-3 worst stroke, 50 ez 

3. 2x 250 IMs swam as 50 fly-50bk-100br-50 fr

4. 5×100 freestyle best average 

5. 10×50 butterfly on a tight interval assigned by the coach 

6. 500 all out with fins 

Nice Sets

1. 5×100 social kick 

2. 4 rounds, IM order: 5×25: kick, scull, drill, perfect tech, build

3. 20×25 odds: from a dive fast breakout, evens: corkscrew bk or double arm bk drill

4. 10×50 Santa sleigh pull- partner up and hang on to your partner’s ankles while they pull, alternate roles each 50

5. 4×50 kickboard surfing (stand or sit on kickboard w scull), 4×50 balance cup or google on head while swimming backstroke, 2×50 free first 5 strokes with eyes closed 

6. 2. Catch-up Relay: split into two teams (make it as even as possible) and send one team to the opposite end. The race ends when one team catches the other! Option to give the winning team candy canes. 😉

7. OPTION TO ADD: Get out swim (if several swimmers hit a goal time practice finishes early!)

Cool down:

200 ez 

(if each set is complete as 500 yards and all naughty and nice workouts are swum this Christmas swim workout is ~6800 yards)

IM dreaming of a white Christmas 

This is a great workout to mix in more IM work during winter training. We recommend spicing up the fun factor by finishing up the practice with one of our fun Christmas swim practice games listed below!

This is a great workout for older club swimmers, high school swimmers, college swimmers, or gym swimmers looking to level up their IM. 


400 I00fr/100bk/100fr/100 rev IM

8×50 25 drill/25 swim rev IM order

4×100 IM kick, no board 


8×25 fly smooth @:40/50

1×200 IM build @ 4:00

100 free smooth @ 2:00

4×50 back negative split @ 1:00

1×200 IM build @ 4:00

100 free smooth @ 2:00

2×100 breast neg split @ 2:00

1×200 IM build @ 4:00

100 free smooth @ 2:00

1×200 neg split @ 3:00

1×200 IM build @ 4:00

100 free smooth @ 2:00

Option to add a fun holiday game here!


4×100 fr ez

(4000 yard workout)

The big bad Grinch swim set 

When in doubt, nothing like the big bad 100×100’s set to instill confidence in swimmers and show them they indeed CAN complete a 10,000-yard swim set. This can be a fun way to boost endurance and mental resilience on Christmas Eve!

The 100×100’s is a great set for older club swimmers, high school swimmers, and masters swimmers. We do not recommend this high level of yardage to swimmers <15 due to the increased risk of injury from overtraining with improper technique. 

Here is an idea for running the most wonderful swim of the year: the 100×100’s swim set! This also makes for a great Happy New Year workout idea. Feel free to adapt it for you or your swimmer’s needs. 


10×100 choice @ 2:00-2::30


10×100 free descend 

2@ 1:50

2@ 1:45

2@ 1:40

2@ 1:35

2@ 1:30

10×100 IM @1:45-2:00

Odd: rev IM smooth

Even: IM build

Focus on turns with a fast kick

10×100 best stroke @1:45-2:00

Focus: middle 50 FAST

10×100 worst stroke, non-free @1:45-2:00

Odd: free- stroke by 25, focus on finish 

Even: perfect underwater and fast breakouts 

10×100 drop descend

2@ 1:40

2@ 1:30

2@ 1:20

2@ 1:10

2@ 1:00

3 rounds 

4×100 @ 1:45, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30

3×100 @ 1:30, 1:20, 1:10

2×100 @ 1:20 (for both)

1×100 @ 1:10

Cool down 

10×100 @ 2:00 ez or br every 3,5,7,9 by 25

(10,000-yard practice)

You can also serve up this set as 100×100’s straight through holding the fastest interval possible or a simple 1:30 interval. On a 1:30 interval, this is a 2-and-a-half-hour long swim set. Adjust as needed! 

Swim practice game ideas for Christmas

  • Santas and Grinches: a play on sharks and minnows, but grinches instead of sharks! 
  • Jingle bell relays: several renditions to this- you can tell the swimmer they have to get the jingle bell across the pool without touching it, or swim with the jingle bell in hand as drag but get it on deck without using their hands. This is a great relay for young club swimmers!
  • Jingle bell dive: have the swimmers dive for jingle bells at the bottom of the pool. 
  • Sleigh launches: working on who can dive the furthest! If you have a pool noodle available it can be great to keep out far to help swimmers try to dive over the noodle. 
  • Santa hat/elf shoe relays: You can use Santa hats and socks as elf shoes that swimmers have to exchange with their partners before they can go.
  • Santa sleigh pull: if you have an even number of pairs, have swimmers pair up and alternate pattern pulling by hanging on to ankles. 

Tips to make the holiday practice more fun 

  • Play music, check out this Family Christmas Party mix on Spotify
  • Swim coaches, pull out your ugly Christmas sweaters and Santa hats for the pool deck
  • Let your swimmers pick their lane for practice 
  • End practice with a festive game
  • Fill plastic water bottles with glow sticks and fill them with water. Then let the water bottles sink to the bottom of the pool to add “Christmas lights” to your practice
  • Take a time-lapse of the workout 
  • Create a holiday goal tree at the beginning of Christmas training, and have each swimmer hang a paper ornament with SMART goals for winter training on it.
  • Bring a festive and tasty treat to the pool such as mini candy canes! 

Happy Holidays!

Some coaches choose to challenge their swimmers extra when they know they are off from school for 2-3 weeks for winter break. Some swim coaches choose not to. 

Whatever your coaching style or personal training preference may be, feel free to adapt these Christmas workouts to meet your holiday training needs!

Most importantly, make the holiday season and winter break fun! Winter training can be a blast. A happy swimmer is a fast swimmer. Don’t forget to grab our 6 Christmas Swim Workouts printout here! Merry Christmas. 🙂

Let us know your thoughts on our Christmas workouts in the comments below. For more inspiration check out our Swim Workout Generator, HIIT Swim Workouts, and other training tips on the blog.

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