The first length is worse than the second: in the second length I was trying to be a bit more 'aggressive' with the water! I'm a triathlete with my swim leg of my events always well below par compared to my abilities on the bike and run. I have only really been swimming properly for a year but spent plenty of time in the water growing up and would swim breast-stroke for fairly long distances in the ocean very comfortably but never freestyle until I started doing triathlons. I now have a mile time around 30mins and on a good day my 100m is about 1min50secs. I'm 5'7" and around 130lbs. I actually like swimming a lot more now and think I am improving very slowly by working on my catch - I happen to enjoy open water swimming more than the pool. I try to swim 3 times a week mostly at my local masters.
Can you recommend the best drills/practices and things to work on to get the most out of my swim sessions and the most improvement?
Thanks - this is a really helpful resource.
Quite simply you have huge potential in your stroke..if you work on just a few areas. The great points about your stroke are that you have a really nice body position and you rotate extremely well. Because you are a bambino you are quite precise with your hand placement etc at the front end of your stroke ...the disadvantage of this careful placement is that you are slowing your stroke rate down, your stroke just needs a bit more oomph without being overly aggressive. This is causing you to hold your stroke too long which will reduce the efficiency/ impact of your catch and pull through phase. Essentially you need to develop a better feel at the front end of the stroke by catching sooner (not staying so long) and you need to take your stroke rate up higher.
The essential drills for you would be to do the "front scull drill" with your hands downs at 15-20cm depth for half a length and then going into full front crawl focussing on hand depth again. This will get your hand placement correct first and foremost because most people go way too high...which will affectively slow you down as this creates resistance to forward momentum.
The progression from this would be too do "doggie paddle drill" under water to get you catching sooner so that you dont stay extended and too long in full extension.....think turnover ...stretch forwards and then keep turning the hands over nice and rhythmically....there are no pauses when you fully extend. Same again half a length drill then into full stroke and try and let the arms flow by decreasing your extension time...i.e extended but dont hold too long.
I calculated you at 50 spm, your stroke would have much rhythym and timing if you started using a wetronome and set it to 55 initially but i think quite quickly you will find more of a sweet spot and better stroke efficiency roundabout 60 and maybe higher. I can assure you you will feel like the "shackles" have been released!
I have just watched Pauls new swim DVD "Catch Master class" which is quite simply stunning, it clearly demonstrates all these drills i have recommended so would be a fantastic investment for you and your swimming. Please trust me when i say that he didnt pay me a penny to say that
Very best of luck with your swimming, please feel free to drop me a message anytime.Julian
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