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.
8 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.