Good Swimming Is Relaxed Swimming
Swimming for endurance and pace the relaxed
Good swimming is relaxed
swimming. Relaxed swimming depends on practicing the best techniques and the
best body position. At this point you should be able to stretch out
in the water with your head down and your feet up without kicking hard and
without struggling. Tips for making this easier include kicking on your side
and floating on your torso.
Practice lying on your side
with the bottom arm extended in front palm down. Your top arm should be
along your side with the hand on your upper thigh. Kick smoothly across
the pool, keeping your head in a relaxed downward position. If your legs
are not near the surface of the water you should push downward along your
side especially along your upper torso.
Your lungs are filled with
air and by pushing down on your side you are using them as flotation
making your work easier. To breathe you just need to turn your head
slightly, without lifting at the forehead. Do this several times,
alternating arms in each direction.
Next work your arms into the
mix by kicking a few times and then taking an odd number of strokes. With
an odd number of strokes you will end up switching sides as you move
smoothly across the pool. If your legs still are sinking and you are
having to kick rapidly to keep them up, you should do the next exercise a
few times to get the feel of proper body position. Get a pull buoy and
hold it between your ankles. Thatís rightóbetween your ankles. With the
pull buoy between your ankles your feet will come up to the surface and
the rest of your body will be in the correct position as long as you donít
try to hold your head too high.
Now swim across the pool.
This will take practice at first to keep from losing the pull buoy but the
effort will pay off by making you more aware of correct position. Once you
have mastered that feeling, you should be able to do the preceding drills
You are now ready for some
more difficult drills. They are not more difficult because they make you
work harder physically, they are more difficult because of the concentration
they take to do.
First, swim several 25ís
using a two beat kick focusing on when you are using your downbeat. You
should be kicking down with the opposite foot from the arm pull. Thus when
your right arm is starting the propulsive phase of the arm stroke, the
left foot should be in the down stroke of your kick and vice-versa. This
will take some mental concentration on your part.
Next try the following
drill. This one takes at least four 25ís to master and will seem very
awkward at first. With the same two-beat kick, swim across the pool but
pause your recovering arm in the air right by your head. Hold your arm in
that position for a two count and then proceed with your stroke. Do this
on both sides as you swim across the pool. Both of these drills make you
focus on your hip rotation and make you put that rotation into the correct
spot in your stroke. Never forget that doing drills on a regular if not
daily basis will pay off in the long run. Too many swimmers think that all
they need to do for success is pound out the yardage, but working on
correct technique is more valuable than miles covered in the pool.
Nevertheless, you also need
to develop endurance and pacing which will be made easier
by working on correct technique. Now is the time to start working some
longer unbroken swims into your swim training. Maintaining good technique in
shorter distances is relatively easy but maintaining that smooth long body
profile in longer swims takes practice. As you get tired you will begin to
see your stroke fall apart which in turn will make your pacing suffer so you
need to work on both.
Every week you should begin
working some 500ís into your routine. Do three 500ís in a row on a tight
interval. By tight, I mean with thirty seconds or less rest between repeats.
Your arms and legs will get very tired and you will need to focus on your
good technique to finish the 500ís correctly. Then once a week at this point
in your training you should swim one 1000 and get a time for it. You will
increase this distance on a regular basis over the next few months until you
get to a 1500. As you practice the 1000, first try to maintain a consistent
speed. That is each 1000 should take approximately the same time for you to
swim. By the fourth week, you want to go faster. Keep in mind when you swim
these longer distances that you also want to maintain consistency within the
Donít go out fast and then
die at the end. You will need to be relaxed and consistent because you
need energy after the swim to do the biking and running portion of the
event. After these five weeks, add 100 to your distance and repeat the
pattern except this time do three weeks and then faster. Before you
know it you will be swimming a 1500 and you should be able to do so with
good, consistent pacing.
Here is a workout for this
Warm Up is always a relaxed 500 yards or meters.
4 x 100 drill
Work some of the drills above
or from other months into easy 100ís.
6 x 100 kick
#ís 3, 5, 6 are as hard as you
6 x 300 swim
Descend 1-3, descend 4-6. Keep
your interval at 15 seconds rest on cruise speed.
Cool down with a very easy 200, alternating freestyle with
backstroke to stretch out your arm muscles.
That is 3500 yards.
*Glossary of swim terms
Recovery portion of the
arm stroke is what happens between your arm leaving the water until it
Drill is an exercise to
work on a specific part of your stroke.
Descend means go from
slow and easy to fast and ďhardĒ. You should drop about five seconds in each
descend in this workout.
Two-beat kick is one
kick per one arm. This is typically the pace to kick during a longer race
except at the beginning and the end.