This week I would like to focus on some of the problems that occur in the swim for many of us. We all try so hard to swim and it seems the more energy we invest the slower we can become! Swiming is a fantastic technical sport and taking a few minutes to read the following and consider if you are making any of these errors could be time well spent.
The swim is one of those things that you may have a background in or not, but we can all do with a reminder of some of the bad habits we develop. Try to be relaxed in the water and make sure to get the technical work in the pool done before you even consider an “open water” swim. If your swimming is truly abominable. then consider getting lessons or advice from someone competent. Have you got some training buddies? Have you considered joining your local club? You should as this is a great way to get top class information from really experienced athletes and coaches.
Okay, here are this weeks tips followed by the training program for week 2, enjoy!
Fault 1: Head too high in the water
Classic problem, simple remedy…focus your eyes on the bottom of the pool no more than a few meters ahead and keep it there. Simple. Head should be in a neutral position as if you were standing up straight an looking out as per normal, except your now in a horizontal position. Also, when you roll to take a breath, you do not need to lift whole your head out of the water (both eyes out and mouth too) you just need to ROTATE enough to breathe.
Fault 2: Dropped elbow lost propulsion/shortened stroke
You need to keep your elbow above your hand throughout the stroke. You’re trying to swim, right? When you hand enters the water it should be a hand and forearm catch followed by the rotation and pull push stroke phase. This falls apart once tired. Exiting the water without following through on this means that your wasting about 50% of that stroke, so work on this…
Hand enters water, catches the water, heads down where you drive back and underneath with A HIGH ELBOW, imagine your reaching over a swiss ball, then make sure that you drive the stroke all the way to the back to get the most powerful aspect of the stroke finished. A simple way of drilling this is to do alternate 50m with 25m fist only followed by 25m of the “thumb drilll” You stroke but when the hand that strokes is on the way under and back, RUN YOUR THUMB DOWN THE SIDE OF YOUR BODY WITH YOUR FINGERS POINTING DOWNWARDS AND PUSH ALL THIS BACK TO YOUR LOWER HIP, like your supposed to be doing all along.
Fault 3: Swimming flat in the water
This means simply that you’re not rotating enough and are losing out on the propulsion action of that stroke, or you not doing it correctly and are “fishtailing” because of it. This also has a tie-in with Fault 2 because your not getting all the stroke your missing the power that the rotation can unleash…try to throw a ball with your knees together and see how far it goes, or alternatively, add a twist, and upper body rotation and you become like a coiled spring…Bam, off it goes, ya get me?…ok there are 2 ways to address this…
1. Ensure your BELLY BUTTON is pointed at the sidewall of the pool on each stroke OR
2. Take 3 strokes and roll then kick for 6 in this elongated side position, rotate 3 strokes kick 6 rinse repeat… for your drills etc.
Fault 4: Over-Reaching/Crossover on the stroke
This error is difficult to feel out yourself, but is terribly obvious to anyone on deck. This is down to over reaching on the stroke, sometimes only on one hand and not both and this screws up you body position and really just weakens the stoke and its pointless how “hard” you stoke after that as you’ve miss aligned your position all together and have wasted a lot of stroke.
Ok heres the fix…IMAGINE THERE IS AN INVISIBLE LINE THAT GOES THROUGH THE CENTER OF YOUR HEAD…DO NOT CROSS IT EVER…
If that does’nt make sense, imagine there is a line directly out from your shoulder, your hand, lets say left hand, enters the water directly in front of your left shoulder so really focus on extending only outwards from the adjoining shoulder…Simples!
Fault 5: Bent knee kicking
Swimming this way increases your frontal area=harder to swim requires more effort. Keep your legs straight, but loose and relaxed, knees together, ankles together, toes pointed. The kick comes from the hips and its important that you keep them toes pointed back at all times. Start drilling this into your heads folks as its the only way to remember it once your swimming and old habits slip back in.
The only really good fix for this is plenty of kick drill. So do a lot of it via kickboard.
Week 2: Adjustment…
- Monday Rest
- Tuesday 30min Z1 swim
- Wednesday 25min run Z1
- Thursday Rest
- Friday 30min swim Z1
- Saturday 45min bike Z1
- Sunday Rest