Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending a three-day Swim Camp with five #StartlineCoaching athletes in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swim camp, hosted by my long time coach, mentor, and friend Coach Earl Walton of #TailwindEndurance was an incredible experience.
Apart from the joys of swimming outside in February, each of us came away with substantial improvement in swim form and speed that we can focus on as the training season progresses. Nothing beats being totally immersed in a single sport for an entire weekend. So much progress can be made. A number of the athletes came away with 10+ secs/100 improvements in their swim time trial pace, which is huge.
Two major takeaways from the Tailwind swim camp that I would like to share as you work on your swimming:
- Body Position – Nothing affects swim performance more than poor alignment and body position. As your lead hand enters the water, ensure that it follows the line of your shoulder, through to your hip and feet. Stretch out fully, maintaining that line as you rotate your body during the stroke. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Be sure you can see your hand as it stretches forward. Your body follows your hands so be sure you know where they are.
- Open your armpit to maximize the length of your stroke. Be patient and extend as your body rotates.
- Let your hips drive the rotation, and stretch. Extend your stroke as your hip rotates. The rotation is about your hips, not your arms. Let the hips lead.
- Capturing momentum – ‘Capturing momentum’ is about enabling your body to streamline while it has momentum, capturing that momentum, and applying it the next stroke before you lose the momentum by over gliding. It is much harder to build momentum than maintain it. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Stretch past the point of entry with your hand, armpit, and hips.
- Allow the bubbles to scrub off your fingertips before beginning the catch phase of your stroke. This will maximize the use of your streamline.
- Commence the catch only when the recovering hand has passed your head and is in line with the elbow of the lead hand. This enables proper catch & rotation timing.
- Anchor your hand and forearm in the water, and then drive yourself past the anchor, using your hips. Think of trying to gather a pile of marbles. You want to apply sufficient pressure to gather the marbles (aka the water) toward you, but not so much that the marbles slip away.
- Let hip rotation create the power – not the strength of your shoulders and arms
Hope you find these insights helpful!