Monthly Archives

November 2018

Swim Drill of the week – NOV 19th

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

If you follow us on Social Media you might have already spotted this great drill. I am going to share something Technical & of use each Monday that you can hopefully incorporate into your training.

Drill of the week- Single Arm Enhanced!  If you are on our fitness classes we will add this into the subset to build rotation and keep the stroke narrow. Often with the single arm drill the catch <pulling arm> sets a nice position and the kick& hips bring the upper shoulder through to the chin but not always does the submerged shoulder then reappear above the surface as the rotation completes.

If the trail shoulder does not resurface you can see here how you will struggle to breathe to left side. The opportunity to breathe is blocked. By elevating the trail arm it will remind you to finish your rotation and keep the kick and hips involved.

 It is also a great drill to use between blocks of the mainsheet as we use it to polish and restore our best full stroke ahead of the next block of harder work. Keep practicing the Advanced Single Arm so your foundation is strong for the original drill. If this drill is weak then this natural progression will struggle


I would always try this drill with fins. It is a tough one! Take a breath when the arms have stopped moving, perhaps take a single arm then the shark fin then breathe.  You can always take 2 breaths to help remain composed. The purpose of the shark fin is to help you breathe by popping the trail shoulder back up above the surface. It is an insurance policy to ensure your body position remains strong and never flattens.


Single Arm with a Sharkfin. A great progression from the advanced single arm. Add the shark fin to ensure you finish your rotation. The trail arm can also elevate straight to 12oclock if you straight arm recover. The key issue I see with this drill is people not finishing their rotation. If the ’trail’ shoulder is left flat you will struggle to breathe.


By elevating the trail arm it is a nice reminder to finish your rotation and allow the opportunity to breathe to the side easier.Try it in the early stages with a central snorkel to get a feel for it but progress to trying without. The body rotation can remain flat  with the snorkel and you will struggle to know how well you are rotating.

Think of this new combination as a cross between –

Single Arm

Clock drill

Enjoy and please practice this one ! Drop me a line with any questions –

Guest Blog – Charlie’s swim progress.

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Charlie’s SwimProgress – from 2017 onwards.

Charlie swam with us back in 2017 and swam well, making great progress to swim a 1:15 at IM Switzerland, her first attempt at Ironman. I recall a keen swimmer willing to train hard with more than a few technical issues to iron out, but her enthusiasm for training was infectious and I could see this would take her far. Her basic pace was around 2mins per 100m in the 50m pool we use at London Fields and she went onto to race well to record just under this pace with a wetsuit.

After a break Charlie has been back swimming with us since the Spring, 2018, and I wanted to share all that has happened recently as she has demonstrated some remarkable progress that might well see her break 60mins at IM in 2019. Of late she has had no problems hitting low 1:40 per 100m with not much rest. Her most recent blocks of recorded swims suggest a cruise wetsuit swim speed of 1:35. At this pace a sub 3.8km IM swim is possible if the course is true and fair.


Leading and Following– swimming between the steadier lane 1 at our London Fields session and the faster lane 2 has been a useful but simple training stimulus. Lead the slower lane1, work harder pulling the other swimmers. Slot in at the back of lane 2 and work harder getting a feel for faster repeat times and faster intervals. Sometimes it works and she was there with the group, other times it was a bit fast and we added fins. Undeterred, Charlie would bounce back with a smile and attack the set regardless.


Fitnessadding a 90min session and aiming towards 4km has been a great aim. With a 60min session we are limited in that you cannot reduce the warmup ahead of peak performance. Drills need time to be swum well. A 90min session allows a good warmup, time for technical aspects to be worked on and then still have 50mins + available for a solid mainset which could be 2500m or more.

Technical Aspects-These are a few of the issues we have slowly been working on in 2018. Head position– was very high causing issues to streamline, to breathing and lowering the legs as the body swam uphill.

Kick– the kick has started to contribute and not just tag along for the ride.

Arms, crossing over slightly on entry while performing a very short stroke due to the lack of rotation as the legs did not help drive the hips in turn helping rotation.  Rotation was limited so surface recovery was low & wide with the arms having the potential to cross over when fatigued. As the kick has improved, the upper body rotation now delivers a smoother higher arm recovery which can travel forwards aiding momentum.

Bottom line is you cannot beat regular training and adding a regular 90min fitness session with tech pointers has really helped. In her own words….

“Jumping into an outdoor pool at 06.45 whilst the mornings are getting darker and the temperature is most certainly dropping does sound mad and I would be lying if sometimes the thought of the freezing cold mad dash from the changing room to the pool and back again make it hard to leave my bed, but my Tuesday SFT sessions have become a very important part of my week. 


 Since my IM last year I had retained basic swimming fitness, occasionally going to the pool with friends, but I knew my technique had got rusty.  I started back with the gang in the Spring, settling into the steady lane prepared to work.  Week after week, working on various drills and taking on board little tweaks here and there, my confidence grew and strangely I started to enjoy the sprint sets and the challenges given.  I could feel I was getting faster which was then confirmed when I was asked to join the faster lane.  Working with STF and having them be able to pin point the weaker elements of my stroke has helped no end. 

The faster lane includes a strong group of swimmers but SFT has bought together a wonderful community of like minded people who are extremely supportive of one another and they continue to help push and encourage me to keep plugging away and sometimes even put them through their paces. The sessions are tough and tying up my hair post swim is usually difficult but my Tuesday mornings are invaluable to my swimming progression and secretly I absolutely love it!”






A few thoughts on swimming progress.

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
My current thoughts on Swimming given that for many we are a few weeks into the harder winter training,  post race season. Even if you aren’t you should still find them relevant and helpful. I get to watch a lot of swimming during the week of all levels. Elite, Disability, Adults learning to swim, learning how to swim faster. Common mistakes crop up time and time again at all levels. Wherever you are in your swim career I think mulling these over might help your training this week.
1           Don’t mistake swimming getting easier for getting slower. Great swimming at a reasonable pace once you have eliminated a lot of drag should feel easier.
2           Don’t pull the hand under the body, try to pull the body past the hand. Not easy as logic says push or pull harder to go faster in most cases (dryland.) Water not being solid behaves differently.
3            You can take 2,3 even 4 breaths between drill movements to help stay relaxed, no one ever said the relationship was 1 brth then a hurried 1 drill movement. Accurate drills swum need focus and concentration. Turn off your watch, you don’t need the stress you might add of ‘only swimming a few hundred metres.’
4          Symmetry is key to interrupt a dominant one sided movement and restore balance. That does not mean to say bilateral breathing is the only option. Most likely you will race breathing every 2nd but it is of use to choose which side that is rather than your stroke dictate your only option.
5         Short bursts of a few drill movements midpool work well as you prepare and anticipate for the drill rather then push off into a drill on auto pilot with less focus.
6         A good legkick will not tire your legs for the bike and run as a good legkick is more about the hips and glutes. Granted these are also key for bike and run but reduce the negative (drag) elements to your kick and it will stop tiring you.
7           If the stroke suddenly feels wobbly, mechanical or clumsy these are not necessarily bad things. They are the stroke changing and trying to convince you to stop as the body wants to go back to its old lazy, easier habits.
        Take a moment between lengths of technical swimming as you attempt to improve a movement. Close your eyes, focus and replay the correct movement.
9          White water, bubbles and turbulence are for the back of the stroke (legkick) not the front when the hands enter
10         Slow swimming (really slow) with very large paddles can help shape the hand and arm pathways under the body the final 10% towards perfection as long as they are 90% correct initially. Don’t use otherwise.