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February 2019

Swimming frustrated?

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Had a client get a little upset during his lesson as we revisited an earlier part of the FC swim stroke. ‘But we did the catch a few months ago.’ Don’t be frustrated by the seemingly endless circle of swim drills! It might well seem they are never ending but that is how it should be. Your drills will not end. They are the tools you use to restore your swim to best form. You don’t stop cleaning your bike after the first really good wash you give it? or you should really continue to wash it! sorry if that was a bad example 🙂
In more detail here is an article we prepared for our friends at TRI247 If we can get away from the idea that swim technique breaking down if a bad thing it might help you stay positive about getting back to the pool. Think of it as a reward for training hard. You get tired, the technique starts to fail. The next time you work hard it should ‘fail’ later into the set or at a faster pace. The important thing is that you restore it to its best potential with some technique work and not let it fester too long. I demo’d a paddle balance drill on a recent swim camp at CLS and noticed my legs were kicking out too big. I was sure my nice narrow streamlined kick was hidden behind my trunk. But no, due to some hard work of late, a lack of drills and filming/coaching my tech had not been restored.
Here is a link to some Olympians working their Extension drill Why would Olympians do drills?
They are polishing and restoring their full stroke technique post heavy training blocks.
A nice slow weekly drills session will keep your HR in the lower zones which your tri coach might well be asking you to do. At the least you should be adding drills into your warmups/subsets or swim down.
We never leave drills behind, just modify how many and how often and utilise with a different focus. Initially they will break the stroke into its component parts so there is not an overwhelming amount to focus on. Ideal for those new to the FC technique. Then they might be used to restrict a bad habit or encourage good habits to add some subtle improvements. Eventually as shown by the Auburn Olympians they can repair a broken technique after a period of heavy training.
These images were from a recent swim camp and all were accomplished swimmers needing a little polish after some hard work over winter. Since most of the FC stroke happens behind you it is easy to see how things can go unnoticed.
This is my favourite block of work to swim down with post a heavy training block to help restore the full stroke.
100m FC with fins, paddles and snorkel. Use the swim aids to help body position, to anchor the hands and keep the head still.
100 FC with fins and snorkel. Think about the hand shape, pulling with the forearm & not just the hand
100FC with snorkel. Feel the big toes lightly brushing and a tiny movement at the hip to keep the kick small
100 FC no swim aids, finish with your best possible technique ahead of exiting the pool.