Charlie’s SwimProgress – from 2017 onwards.
Charlie swam with us back in 2017 and swam well, making great progress to swim a 1:15 at IM Switzerland, her first attempt at Ironman. I recall a keen swimmer willing to train hard with more than a few technical issues to iron out, but her enthusiasm for training was infectious and I could see this would take her far. Her basic pace was around 2mins per 100m in the 50m pool we use at London Fields and she went onto to race well to record just under this pace with a wetsuit.
After a break Charlie has been back swimming with us since the Spring, 2018, and I wanted to share all that has happened recently as she has demonstrated some remarkable progress that might well see her break 60mins at IM in 2019. Of late she has had no problems hitting low 1:40 per 100m with not much rest. Her most recent blocks of recorded swims suggest a cruise wetsuit swim speed of 1:35. At this pace a sub 3.8km IM swim is possible if the course is true and fair.
Leading and Following– swimming between the steadier lane 1 at our London Fields session and the faster lane 2 has been a useful but simple training stimulus. Lead the slower lane1, work harder pulling the other swimmers. Slot in at the back of lane 2 and work harder getting a feel for faster repeat times and faster intervals. Sometimes it works and she was there with the group, other times it was a bit fast and we added fins. Undeterred, Charlie would bounce back with a smile and attack the set regardless.
Fitness– adding a 90min session and aiming towards 4km has been a great aim. With a 60min session we are limited in that you cannot reduce the warmup ahead of peak performance. Drills need time to be swum well. A 90min session allows a good warmup, time for technical aspects to be worked on and then still have 50mins + available for a solid mainset which could be 2500m or more.
Technical Aspects-These are a few of the issues we have slowly been working on in 2018. Head position– was very high causing issues to streamline, to breathing and lowering the legs as the body swam uphill.
Kick– the kick has started to contribute and not just tag along for the ride.
Arms, crossing over slightly on entry while performing a very short stroke due to the lack of rotation as the legs did not help drive the hips in turn helping rotation. Rotation was limited so surface recovery was low & wide with the arms having the potential to cross over when fatigued. As the kick has improved, the upper body rotation now delivers a smoother higher arm recovery which can travel forwards aiding momentum.
Bottom line is you cannot beat regular training and adding a regular 90min fitness session with tech pointers has really helped. In her own words….
“Jumping into an outdoor pool at 06.45 whilst the mornings are getting darker and the temperature is most certainly dropping does sound mad and I would be lying if sometimes the thought of the freezing cold mad dash from the changing room to the pool and back again make it hard to leave my bed, but my Tuesday SFT sessions have become a very important part of my week.
Since my IM last year I had retained basic swimming fitness, occasionally going to the pool with friends, but I knew my technique had got rusty. I started back with the gang in the Spring, settling into the steady lane prepared to work. Week after week, working on various drills and taking on board little tweaks here and there, my confidence grew and strangely I started to enjoy the sprint sets and the challenges given. I could feel I was getting faster which was then confirmed when I was asked to join the faster lane. Working with STF and having them be able to pin point the weaker elements of my stroke has helped no end.
The faster lane includes a strong group of swimmers but SFT has bought together a wonderful community of like minded people who are extremely supportive of one another and they continue to help push and encourage me to keep plugging away and sometimes even put them through their paces. The sessions are tough and tying up my hair post swim is usually difficult but my Tuesday mornings are invaluable to my swimming progression and secretly I absolutely love it!”