I recall pointing out a small technical point on a swimmer’s stroke during a warmup which I hoped if they could make the small modification would result in a faster swim. This was a good athlete who had been to Kona before and was hoping to go again. The session continued and after 35mins or so into our 90min Mile End fitness session we took a short break to prepare for the mainset. It is usual for swimmers to take a quick pee break, rest and chat or take a 50m easy swim. I noticed the swimmer who I had pointed out the tech issue to swim to the deep end and address the flaw with a simple exercise using the deep end wall. I was impressed. No chatting, resting or pee’ing for this athlete.
Last night another athlete just back from racing Kona attended our Kensington fitness session. So soon?! yes so soon. A short break after the race, the long travel trip broken up with a stay in the US but back in the water just a few days after landing in London. No one is asking for amazing performances, best times or huge volumes but staying out of the water for long periods is not healthy to your stroke or your feel for the water. Yes, there is such a thing and while ‘feel’ might sound a little mystical plain & simple the water can feel slipper or more solid depending on how familiar you get with it. One swim per week is 6 days of unlearning to swim. If you actually want to get faster you have to commit to 3 per week. Sorry! 1-2 per week is not enough, it might allow you to stay at your current levels but it is highly unlikely you will get quicker. Don’t undo all that good work from the previous 6 months by allowing yourself to resume after a lengthy break from a worse off position than where you finished the season. Build on it, year on year. There should be progression not a restoration of your usual ability from a deficit.
If you are a great Duathlete and have the potential to bike and run with your AG at Kona what do you do? start work on your swim with a two year plan as a good friend and fellow coach did. Of course you aren’t going to swim 30 mins quicker in a matter of weeks, but you might be surprised what can be achieved short term if a few glaring issues are corrected. Given enough time though it can happen. An extra 45min swim per week, 2km, 25 strokes per 25m which hopefully should come down for 2 years is a potential 5million strokes that can be put to good use. Finally, you might cure that bad kick, inability to breathe to the left, lift the head too high, dropped elbow, straight arm push down etc etc.
There are those who talk about going to Kona and those who actually will race it. Those who do the extra little things to practice, to improve, to commit and really achieve their dreams. I was pleased to learn that after getting up pretty early 2-3 mornings per week one of our Para swimmers has qualified to swim for England at the Cerebral Palsy championships in Barcelona next year. Leo lives in Putney and gets to the LAC, Stratford for 6:30am via the train system. Ok it isn’t Kona but we are excited about Barcelona.
Have you asked yourself where will you be swimming next year? what will you do to get there?