March 2007 Swimming CHAT

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0

Questions and answers on wetsuit swimming, cadence, interval time, paddle benefit, hand entry, runners kick drills, bilateral breathing and race breathing.

[Tri Swim Coach] Hello!
 

[chirunner134] Ok, I have a question for you. How important is it to swim in your wetsuit before a race?


[Tri Swim Coach] A must! You don't want any surprises on race day.


[chirunner134] Would just one time before be good or is it something you should do a few times?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Probably one time is enough, but it's good to get a few long swims in the open water before your race.


[Pappadj] What is a catch-up drill?


[Tri Swim Coach] Catch-up drill: it's where you swim freestyle and touch your hands out in front on each stroke. I prefer 3/4 catch-up, which is where you rotate your hips just before your hands touch (3/4ths of the way to touching hands


[PintoRacer] Is there an ideal cadence for swimming. Kind of like 90 RPM for running and biking?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Similar to cadence is counting strokes, which I recommend.  Figure out what your stroke count range is. Work on bringing down that range by rotating hips more, gliding further with each stroke, etc.  Be sure not to just kick harder to bring your stroke count down!


[rstocks3] When do you feel it's a good time for people to leave on intervals rather than 0:10 or 0:15 seconds rest?


[Tri Swim Coach] Good question- we usually go 5 or 10 seconds apart. The fewer people there are, the more time you can give in between.
 

[nasnme] Novice here. I just learned how to swim better over the last year or so. I do laps mostly and am just ramping up my training. Is it better to do drills at this point? Or keep on doing laps?


[Tri Swim Coach] Yes DRILLS! Do as much drills as you can stand at this point. You can ease off the drills and get to more swimming as your balance and overall technique improves

[ledhead1944] I have a question that I have been seeking some advice from my swim coach. I have been swimming since the fall with a coach. I was a total beginner at that point. My coach is preparing me for a sprint tri in August and she is trying to get me swimming faster at this point. I get shoulder fatigue in the middle of my sets of 500's after warm-ups and 2-3 sets of 100's and 50's. I initially thought is was my weight training routines but I think and my coaches think it is my endurance.  Any input?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] It's probably something with your stroke technique OR your weight routine.


[ledhead1944] We are working on my arm extension which I do notice a difference. Should I use paddles and if so, what type?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] I'd have to see your stroke to figure it out, but if your arm is crossing over on your pull, that could cause shoulder problems.

 

[ledhead1944] I do cross over at times mostly on my left side and I have switched my breathing to my right side only. 4:1 is what I do now.  I have read about the Finis Freestylers and supposedly they do help.


[Lucy] What's the benefit of paddles?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] I don't like most of them, because they don't help and actually CAUSE shoulder problems. BUT, I do like the Freestyler paddles by Finis- they do not cause shoulder problems and force you to glide longer, which everyone should be doing.

 

[rstocks3] Small paddles used without the wrist straps are easy on the shoulders and help a great deal with the catch and hand entry.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Great! if it works for you, keep doing it.

[Lucy] Ok question about hand entry, how far in front of your head is ideal?

[Tri Swim Coach] Lucy- ideally, you don't want to be directly in front of your head but instead a little to the left, or the right, depending on which arm is entering the water.

[Pappadj] I swam competitively as a in as a kid and in high school. What I have notice, people that swim triathlons seem over exaggerate the turn of their head when they take a breath. Why is that?

[Tri Swim Coach] Good observation! Most people lift their head out of the water and look straight up to breathe, when they should be rolling to the side to breathe. Think of breathing with your core instead of with your head!

 

[ledhead1944] What are some good drills to help with the "runners kick" which I do when I am tired?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Practice vertical kicking- flutter kick in place in a vertical position, keeping your head above the water. Try 15 seconds at a time at first. You should be using upper quads and hips and you should FEEL IT!

 

[ledhead1944] Ah-ah, I forgot about the basics. Thanks!!!


[chirunner134] How often should you sight when doing an OWS (open water swim)?

[Tri Swim Coach] I think that depends on how comfortable you are and what part of the race you are in. The general rule of thumb is every 6-8 strokes but many can get away with FAR fewer. Practice sighting in a pool with objects on deck. Peak your eyes up then rotate to breathe.


[ledhead1944] I have been told that to practice swimming a drill called "Tarzan" (swimming with your head above the water looking straight ahead) helps in triathlons when the water is choppy and it helps you to see where you are going. Any input?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Sounds like good sighting practice to me!

[chirunner134] Would dropping 70 lbs help out with my swim times alot or does weight not matter so much?

[Tri Swim Coach] It could help! Not sure of your specific case, but just being more fit can't hurt your swim!


[1st Timer in NY] Not sure if covered but how important is Bilateral Breathing?


[Tri Swim Coach] I always encourage swimmers to work towards bilateral (breathing every 3 strokes) breathing. It will help balance your stroke and comes in handy in the open water. However, don't force it! Learn good technique breathing every 2 at first and slowly work bilateral breathing in as you go.


[PintoRacer] Many peeps say to axe the bi-lateral breathing during races... Your opinion?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Actually, I mostly do this (don't breathe bilaterally during my open water races). For me, I KNOW I can get a good breath on my right side. My left side is weaker and more questionable. I DO use bilateral breathing during a race a little to navigate, but I'm much more concerned with getting air when I need it.  So I say do what works for you. Although it's good to know how to breathe on your weaker side for races definitely!


[PintoRacer] Thanks, Seems the way of it for me too. I breathe better on the right and can sustain a higher pace. I practice left, right and bilateral.


[1st Timer in NY] In a race is it better to bust out first few hundred then maintain pace to get ahead of slower swimmers...or start with same pace you plan on maintaining and have to pass slower swimmers? (after Pinto's question).

[Tri Swim Coach] I would recommend NOT busting out ahead in the first 100! I've done this, and it makes the rest of the race much less fun! I would instead start to the outside of the pack, get some cleaner water, and swim your own race as much as possible.

 

[rstocks3] In an aerobic race I always liked the idea of getting as much oxygen as I can. By breathing every 3 strokes aren't you cutting back your oxygen supply?

[Tri Swim Coach] Not really, because you can get into a good breathing rhythm breathing every 3 strokes without cutting back O2 supply.

[chirunner134] Is it better to come out of the water second and draft after the lead guy even if it means holding back a little on your swimming speed?


[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, since most of the race is the bike/run, you won't help yourself much coming out of the water a few seconds faster- you're better off saving it!

[1st Timer in NY] My 1st tri swim is a snaked pool swim (400m)..is there a different strategy in pool swim versus OWS?


[Tri Swim Coach] You will be hitting more walls so learn the flip turn if you haven't already! Pace will be similar but you will be a little faster because of the wall push-offs.


[1st Timer in NY] **Gulp** Did he say Flip turns?? With people coming at me...???

[1st Timer in NY] How much faster is a flip turn vs. touching and turning around and pushing?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] About 1/2-1 second per turn.

[jmsazboy] Is "Total Immersion" worth $500 bucks? Not a real question I guess...


[Tri Swim Coach] Actually, that depends on what level you are. If you are a pure newbie, yes, I would say TI is worth it. But if you have swum a bit and done a few races, you may want to just get some books and videos and sign up for masters.


[Tri Swim Coach]  I always recommend my Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming, but nothing replaces live coaching! Ok, I've gotta run....thanks for coming everyone! Good luck and keep in touch at www.triswimcoach.com!

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date: June 27, 2007

Tri Swim Coach

I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.

For a 20% DISCOUNT on Zoomers Z2 fins and Freestyler paddles, go to www.finisinc.com and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!

avatarTri Swim Coach

I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.

For a 20% DISCOUNT on Zoomers Z2 fins and Freestyler paddles, go to www.finisinc.com and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!

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