One of the key reasons that a good swimmer has such a low stroke count per length is that there are fewer technical inefficiencies chipping away at their ability to pull themselves through water effectively. The negatives that affect swimmers of lesser ability might include some or all of the following:
• Poor Leg Kick mechanics • Lack of balanced rotation • Poor Timing • Low body position • Short arm pull, early exit and early reentry of the hand back into the… Continue
The following drills will not only help develop your kick, but improve your rotation and body position as well. They can easily be incorporated into your warm-up and warm-down and will yield good results if done consistently. Discipline yourself this season to make these and the other drills highlighted in an earlier post part of your regular swim programme.
Sports scientists in Western Australia have been pioneering the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the science of understanding fluid flow, to enhance the performance of Australian Olympic Swimming Team members.
They have been using CFD to model stroke performance. WAIS sports biomechanists have found that is more efficient to change a swimmer’s technique to reduce drag forces rather than solely increase the force applied by the swimmer. Clearly the more informed a swim coach… Continue
Having good technique is the key to developing a more efficient swim stroke and drills are the key to good technique. You need to do drills regularly to see significant improvement in technique and the best way to ensure that you do them consistently is to build them into your warm-up or warm-down programme. If you train with a club, you will also experience many coaches incorporating drills into specific main set sessions.
Here are 5 swimming drills to help you unlock your full… Continue
Many triathletes find swimming in open water a nerve racking experience involving poor visibility, waves, currents, cooler temperatures and the hustle of mass starts. As a result, it’s not uncommon for athletes to experience anxiety or panic. Open water does take some getting used to but here are three tips to ensure your transition from pool to open water is a smooth one.
Want to get quicker over 1,500 metres? Try introducing this 1,500 metre timed session into your training programme. Adjust the target times depending upon what total time you are aiming to complete a 1,500 metre swim. I've provided examples based on completing 1,500 metres in 22.5mins or 20mins.
Warm up - 400m including some catch-up.
Main set - 5 x 300m as below. Holding times for each set of 300m.…
Wearing a wetsuit is known to increase your swim performance due mainly to improved buoyancy and given the option, most triathlon competitors would always chose to “suit up” rather than braving the elements in a bathing costume only! Whilst it may not be common in the UK, several races around the globe take place in water which is warm enough for wetsuit use to be banned or optional. In order for you to make an informed decision regarding wetsuit swimming, this article examines the effects of… Continue
How do you see Olympic triathlon? Do you see an endurance event lasting 2-3 hours in duration, or do you see a 1,500m swim, a 40k bike and a 10k run? Due to the nature of triathlon, it’s easy to view it as three separate disciplines, when in fact, it is one continuous event.
Does it sound feasible that your swim can affect subsequent cycling performance? After all, swimming does primarily use your arms. Delextrat et al (2005)* set out to determine if and by how much a 1,500m swim… Continue
A swim concept that will help further develop a great feel for the water is sculling. I like to think that swim drills either restrict bad habits or encourage good habits. Sculling encourages movements of the hand that help improve the feel for the water and the ability to hold onto the water.
Pathway of the hands
Swim coaches will lecture about how the hand movements under the water are always from slow at the front of the stroke to fast at the back of the stroke. This… Continue
One of our groups swam a T30 test set recently. This is where the athletes swim as far as they can in 30 mins. After the session I had some enquiries along the lines of, 'why haven't I improved?' and 'how do I get faster?' My response was are you sure you aren't faster?
'Well I am still in lane 1 and have not moved up.' This was an interesting observation that got me thinking.
The athlete is still in lane 1, and they were still swimming with the same swimmers, but as a coach I… Continue
Sculling is a hand movement a swimmer can practice to help improve their feel for the water. Swimmers for years have spoken about acquiring and losing the feel for the water. When it is has been lost due to a period of illness/exams/holiday keeping the swimmer away from the pool, sculling drills are emphasised to help relearn the feel for the water.
Sculling movements help improve the feel for the water and the ability to hold onto the water. An… Continue
I believe the role of a coach is to create the right conditions for learning to happen and find ways to motivate the athletes. Most athletes are highly motivated and therefore the task is to maintain that motivation and to generate excitement and enthusiasm.
No matter what age group and level, the coach is there to ensure a positive learning environment and to support, teach and provide the best opportunities for each individual to develop their sporting… Continue
Cramping calves while swim training is an issue that affects most triathletes at some point. As a swim coach working with swimmers and triathletes I hear of this issue a lot but invariably it is always triathletes rather than swimmers suffering. Open water swims in cooler temperatures can bring this problem on quicker.
Usually it is the calves tensing up but sometimes it might be the arch of your foot. It might even reach your toes. Usually the problem arises towards the end of a… Continue
You may have had coaches that make you count strokes throughout the workout, either by mixing it into drill sets, the main set, or at the end of workout. Some coaches recommend making a habit of always keeping track of your stroke count. As a coach of distance swimmers and triathletes, I believe stroke counting is a necessary part of most swimming workouts.
If you stick with it and do it on a consistent basis, stroke counting in swimming is an excellent way to increase your DPS… Continue
There is some debate going on in the triathlon world about whether it is important to have a long stroke in freestyle, and if so, how can this be developed? Being long means extending your arm and gliding with each arm stroke. It also means getting more out of your stroke while saving energy (ideal for triathletes).
Don't get me wrong, you can achieve a lot with a shorter stroke- in fact you could go very fast this way. However, for most people, especially the beginner crowd, this… Continue
Most sports come with injuries to accompany them. Although swimming is, by most standards, not a sport associated with high risk of injury, it does have it’s own problems. By far the biggest source of sidelining swimming injuries is the shoulder.
I was a competitive swimmer for 14 years, sometimes doing double workouts and 15,000 meters per day. I swam mostly freestyle and backstroke. I never had a shoulder problem until my college years. I had been training with pull buoy and… Continue
Can you point your toes and straighten out your feet? When you kick on your back, do you tend to go very slow, stay in one place, or even go backwards? Do you have a tough time with swimming drills because your kick is not propelling you forward fast enough? Do you wear fins in workouts just to "keep up"? Did you start out as a runner and pick up swimming later to become a Triathlete?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you may have Runner's Kick! Have no fear, there are… Continue
As technical as the sport of swimming can be, it is tough to narrow down the answer to the often-asked question, “what should I concentrate on?” So, I came up with a “top ten” list of steps to improving your swim for a triathlon. These aren’t necessarily in any order, but should go a long way in helping you achieve your goals, whether you are a beginner or trying to go pro.
Slice your hand into the water right about at your goggle line, and drive it forward.… Continue
One of the most common wonders of the swimming world is; should you use alternate-side, or bilateral breathing?
Throughout my swimming career, I had always breathed to my right side only until a year ago. Why? Because breathing on my left side felt awkward and uncomfortable! This is the reason why most swimmers will breathe only on one side. Last year I had an experience that made me change my ways. I was getting a massage and my therapist noted that my left lat muscles (back) were… Continue
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