We have a theme for our fitness sessions this week as race season is getting closer. Especially for those who have booked the early season 70.3s in Mallorca etc. ‘An increase in volume of metres swum while still swimming with an effective distance per stroke will be challenging but ultimately help your speed.’
Think about the distance you travel with each stroke. But travel with speed, not gliding or decelerating
Stroke length <distance per stroke> NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH RATE. Good swimmers aim to travel with similar stroke length regardless of speed which is why we learn to swim effectively at slow speeds and then add speed. Our arms and body do not get shorter at higher speeds so we should not have to take more strokes just faster strokes. More here –stroke rate
Katie Ledecky is useful to help with this concept as she races the 200 through to the 1500m so we can easily find footage of her swims covering this wide range. She is an amazing athlete covering 38 to 39 strokes per 50m regardless of swimming at her 200 to 1500m pace. She has reduced her drag and swims with effective propulsion so that she travels forwards effectively the same distance with each stroke. This ability at longer and shorter events is unparalleled as she is the first to span so many events. The great Michael Phelps ‘only’ managed the 100-400m.
Stroke count – 39 per 50m for 1500
Stroke count – 39 per 50m for 200 last length
Some nice images here of how ‘narrow’ she swims – ‘narrow FC’ at 5:50 <on the movie,1:30 swimming time>
Yes you can still swim symmetrical while only breathing to one side. I breathe to one side in racing but try my best to bilaterally breathe in training to avoid a build up of bad habits.
Have a think about this during your fitness swims this week. If your stroke count is going up dramatically during a longer swim, try to think things through and work out why. Where is the inefficiency creeping in. If you are not travelling better then 1m/1 stroke – 25strokes in a 25m pool there is a lot of inefficiency creeping in that could be eliminated which would dramatically help your swim speed. Equally do not go too low with excess gliding and kicking. A score of 8 would indeed beat Katies score but you will surely have compromised on speed.