Kona Bound….

By September 4, 2017Uncategorized

Swim Boo Swim….

I have had the pleasure of working with Boo for over 2 years now and helped her 1900m Half IM swim time come down significantly in the first year. A key member of the Hillingdon Tri Club it has not been easy to take all points on board while volunteer coaching and working a demanding job involving a lot of travel. It has been a long journey since we first met but finally it all came together at IM Sweden recently and Boo is now heading to Kona. Boo has worked tremendously hard on improving the weakest part of her Triathlon and I could not be prouder of her and pleased for her success.

If anyone promises fast results in the pool, be sceptical. It takes time, patience and diligent practice and when Boo arrived for her Initial consultation it was clear there was a lot to be done which would result in much quicker times.

Initial Consultation Early 2015 – Points from the lesson

Need to remain narrow – Currently swimming low & wide, minimal rotation.Warm up with Torpedo <5m off each wall> to elevate the shoulders, to help narrow the stroke. This will also nicely warm up the legs and remind them that they drive rotation. Not for propulsion

Catch up to float to reduce the cross over which is causing a side to side swim action.

Sculling brought the focus to the elbows and helped the catch by working on a fingertip to elbow paddle it also helps keep the water feeling more solid.

Use the central snorkel a lot now to help keep the head still

The hard bit is then convincing the swimmer that it is possible to improve if they put the time and practice in. It is years as a process for significant improvements depending on how far you wish to go. Not months especially when the aging process is against you <sorry Boo J .>

15 Sept 2015 – Club La Santa swim camp

Regular filming was allowing Boo to identify issues, feel when her stroke was good and how to adjust things when the stroke was not so good. Surfing the arms back up to the surface after entry was an issue and Boo could now run an internal diagnostic and check various stroke components and make the subtle adjustments.

You will see the Extension <superman> drill pop up in fitness sessions time and time again. A solid all round body position drill that helps many areas of the full stroke. If the hands are surfing up after entry this is a great drill to check their depth and know where they should lie – i.e. aim to enter and extend to parallel to the surface but quickly fade slightly down as if you were about to set an early catch position.

Avoid returning up to the surface in an attempt to pull more water, the exposed forearm will create drag and slow/fatigue you.

Add fins to extend the amount of drill swum and if not possible recall how it flows nicely into the full stroke. 

Hold the drill for 2-3 Breaths to one side then swim an odd number of strokes to take you back to the drill on the opposite side. This is a great way to perform the drill accurately if you cannot wear fins.

Early 2016 FITNESS WORK starting to develop.

As Boo’s technique started to hold together and improvements were being made we started to put the stroke under some pressure. Fitness blocks were added on camps and in lessons such as the following with the idea that swimming hard beyond 1900m in training would help race day be very comfortable, low stress and relaxed getting on the bike.

1x100FC with 30secs rest. 2x100FC with 20

3x100FC with 15, 4x100FC with 10

3x100FC with 5

4x100FC with 10, 3x100FC with 15, 2x 100FC with 20

1x 100FC with 30. The aim here was just to build the endurance for the 70.3 season.

13 MARCH 2016- 121 lesson.

Wake up the legs CHALLENGE – 200M LEGS -In an attempt to stop Boo dragging her legs along for the ride I challenged her to break 4mins for 200m FC with fins. We broke this up into

week 1 – 100m fast, rest 10 into 4x 25m rest 5

week2 – 4x50m, rest 10

week3- 2x 100m, rest 10

week4 200m for time.

These little time trials were added into usual tech sessions.

22 June 2016 – 121 lesson.

Race season. I love race season and get excited about tracking competitors progress on race day. Not being at a venue to assess conditions make it hard when you just have stats from the tracker. I might look at the pro results to get a feel for a fast or slow race, demanding conditions etc. when evaluating a slow or fast performance. 

‘Good luck this weekend, I am so happy you are now getting the success you deserve. A couple of things to think about….Just a couple of things!….

Think Narrow, add in some rotation, you have gone a little flat again which is causing snaking and low wide arms – avoid the cross over when rotation is reduced <low arms due to low shoulders – creating the inevitable low wide sweep>

Later Breath, watch the hand pass under the body and follow it into the breath with the turn of the head.

Xmas 2016

I have all the time in the world for swimmers who are dedicated and diligent.  

When someone asks me ‘do you think I can break x mins for y metres in the pool, in an Open Water race or in a Triathlon’ within reason I rarely say no. I can help provide the training and stroke improvements to get you there but you need to get to the pool, get your dryland shoulder strengthening done, stay healthy, rest well, eat well, slowly build volume and make sacrifices. By this I mean give stuff up to find time to do what you need to do.  Saying yes to you is the easy part but are you prepared to help answer your own question? So no Boo you did not drive me bonkers it has been easy guiding someone so determined.

31 March 2017


Another chance for filming, a chance to swim 1-2x per day in the pool and open water and really enhance that familiarity in the water. Once in a while a swim overload can be really useful to your progress. At this time, we were consolidating a great winters training and refining some technical aspects. Technique will suffer when you overload it with fitness but that is how you progress once your technique has been cured of a lot of the basic problems. You need to train it, hold on to it and polish it when it does fade as a result of a big fitness block. I love the concept of technical endurance for this aspect of swim training. One of my favorite sets we worked on was the following.

5x300m FC rest 30 – Tech Endurance Session1 normal FC when the lane rope is blue and white.

THEME- with the following ‘interruptions’ will shake up any standard 1500 swim.

1) Fists clenched FC when in the red zone, <5m into and off each wall>

2) Legs only in the red zone <arms folded on head as you push off, by your side as you finish a length>

3) No breather in the red (and you probably will be!)

4) Add fins but point them downwards in the red zone to feel surplus drag & work the arms harder.

5) Windscreen wiper scull off the wall. Pivot at the elbow, fingertips to the bottom of the pool, palms to push out to the pool walls then return to facing each other

As you can see a substantial amount of fitness but with lots of tech pointers interrupting a long steady swim where form no doubt would have suffered.

JULY 2017

Openwater – you need to swim in it, train in it and be ready to race in it. We know it is very different to pool swimming and confidence, the cold, navigating all make or break a good OW swim. From previous years Boo and I swam many Monday afternoons at Hyde Park checking her tech improvements in the pool were transferring across to OW. Everything was falling into place and Boo was starting the season with some early season events. There is nothing quite like some low key OW events and Triathlons to help practice and work hard with less stress of things going wrong in a key A race.

On the big day in Sweden Boo was familiar with the location having raced in 2012 and swum a 1:31. She was not massively quicker this time but conditions were different and exiting in 2012 she only beat 4 others in her AG out of the water. In 2017 only 5 were quicker this time as she swam 1:24 and headed onto the bike in great shape. See you in Kona Boo.


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