May 2007 Swimming CHAT

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0

Questions and answers on swim drills and improvement, kicking in a wetsuit, swimming backwards and ankle flexibility, hand entry, the pull, hip rotation and using paddles and pull buoys.

[Tri Swim Coach] What's on your mind this great evening?


[nathane] What would you suggest to get faster in the water?? Drills, lifting, etc??


[Tri Swim Coach] Stick with drills. Start with the basics. Balance drills are the best to start with.


[nathane] I had my first triathlon this weekend a sprint one and my 600 yard swim time was 10:01 and I normally have been around 9:30. Seeing guys swim it in 7:30 made me want to be faster.


[Tri Swim Coach] Most people try to muscle through the water and they get tired very quickly. You can definitely shave off time on your swim. Drills are just the beginning, but if you don't have the fundamentals, your whole race will suffer. If you skipped past some drills and started working directly on speed, you may take off let's say :30 on your swim time but you will be exhausted getting on the bike. The key is to find the right balance-energy conservation/speed balance.

[rkreuser] I just did St. Anthony's this weekend. 24:30 swim time. Not good, but most of it was my navigation. Now...I don't have a lot of yards under my belt, but did 30K in march.  It seems pretty tough to make that jump from 24 min to, say 21 minutes in an oly swim. Is it yards, technique, or something else?


[Tri Swim Coach] Bilateral breathing will help with that. So will practicing sighting in the pool. Also, don't be afraid to follow directly behind another swimmer. You'll have to go back to technique first. Make your practice full of drills.


[rkreuser] Yeah...I jousted with a dude for probably 750, then decided if we were going to continue to collide, that I'd rather finish the swim rested, so I grabbed his feet.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Drop the yards down a bit, work on technique, then bring yards back up.

[rkreuser] How do I know that technique, and not yards or my short arms, are the issue?


[Tri Swim Coach] It's almost always technique! Most people can put in the amount of yards necessary. And you don't need to be 6'4" with long arms to succeed!
 

[rkreuser] Mmmm....locally, I need to find someone that can look at my stroke. It feels long, and with pretty reasonable turnover, and balanced.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Your order of priority should be:

  1. Fix technique

  2. Up yardage

  3. Train with intervals

  4. Move intervals down to get faster!

[rkreuser] Allright, that's a plan. Thanks!!!


[chirunner134] I got to test swim a top of the line QR wetsuit and it took about 1:00 per 100 meter of my swim time. Would you guess their cheap model would help me out the same or would I be better off with the more expensive model?


[Tri Swim Coach] That sounds like an awesome suit! I'd stick with that one, as long as you're happy with it.

[chirunner134] Yeah, it's just $500. But it rocks and it fits even though I am 40 lbs larger than the suit should hold.

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, but it will motivate you to keep up with the workouts!


[chirunner134] How much should you kick while wearing a wetsuit?

[Tri Swim Coach] Kicking is primarily used to help you balance and rotate your hips. You really don't need to kick hard during a long swim, it's only going to be about 10% of your propulsion anyway.

[SweetK] Today I felt like I was swimming backward.

[Tri Swim Coach] Try working on stretching your ankles. Often times, people that do a lot of running have inflexible ankles, hence a "backward" feeling in the pool.

[SweetK] My ankles were definitely tight after my long run on Saturday.


[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, and use Zoomers fins for drills and kicking.


[rkreuser] Ok, Kevin, on the catch, is it better to have curved, cupped fingers, or straight, semi-spaced (like Phelps)?

[Tri Swim Coach] Keep 'em straight, slice into the water and forward.

[rkreuser] Now...the inevitable question about the pull. S-Sweep, or straight? And how close to the torso?

[Tri Swim Coach] Don't worry about the 'S' in the pull. It's more of a straight back pull, but your arm starts off straight, then your elbow bends.

[rkreuser] Allright. So depth is more or less anatomically determined, based on what will keep your forearm at full exposure to the water.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] That's a good way of putting it Rick!

[chirunner134] How much should your hip rotate in the water?


[Tri Swim Coach] Good question. Practice the kicking drills with your hips rotated all the way to a 90 degree angle. However, when you swim, you will not be rotating this far. Everyone will differ a little bit on this, so it is tough to say exactly, but somewhere between 50-70 degrees is about right.
 

[foolproof] TSC ...explain the reality of drills?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Drills will allow you to improve your technique, which should be your first order of business. In triathlon, we're looking for economy of stroke, as opposed to raw speed.


[jldicarlo] Ew...going back to no paddles after paddles always feels so wonky...like I lost a big dinner plate to pull me along. My hands are so small the paddles about triple the size of my hand!!!!

[Tri Swim Coach] Try the Freestyler paddles by Finis. They're better for your shoulders than most paddles and they will allow you to experience the glide in freestyle.

[chirunner134] When using the Freestyler do you swim like you would normally swim or would you use it in a more drill like fashion?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Normal, but you can also do the drills with the paddles on. It's really fun to wear the paddles for a long swim, then take them off and focus on gliding with each stroke.


[chirunner134] Would a 2.4 mile Time Trial swim be useful part of training or should you stick to more normal workout?

[Tri Swim Coach]
Definitely useful. In fact, I recommend a long swim the length of your race about 3 times during a 12 week training cycle.
 

[foolproof] I don' have paddles, but I do like my pull buoy...swimming = fun is an odd concept.

[Tri Swim Coach] My advice is lose the pull buoy! I know it may spoil your fun, but after a while you will be a master of balancing in the water, and you won't need it!

[foolproof ] WHAT???


[Tri Swim Coach] Tough love foolproof!.

[SweetK] Is it really important to master a flip turn while swimming long distances in a pool for OWS or is just turning at the wall OK?

[Tri Swim Coach] It is important to learn the flip turn, but not crucial. You will be able to get into more of a flow in a pool when you do flip turns. Without them, you are getting small "breaks" at every wall- nothing like the open water!


[SweetK] I do them about 50% of the time and end up getting a rush of water to the brain from my nose.  And then I get headaches...I try to blow the water out while I'm turning but it seems it never happens.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] You must blow the air out through your nose as you flip!  And get a good breath!


[Lucy] Am I the only one who seems faster with a pull buoy?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] You probably are faster with the buoy- it gives you the artificial flotation that keeps you on top of the water!

[chirunner134] If I am training in open water, would I be better off in or out of a wetsuit?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] You should get used to your wetsuit so I recommend swimming in it when training in open water.

 

[tnt2tri] TSC , what's a decent DPS for a 25 yard length?

[Tri Swim Coach] Stroke count is going to vary widely. The olympic guys like Ian Thorpe can do 25 yards in probably 9 strokes. But that's not what you need to shoot for! Figure out your "range" and just work on lowering that range.

[Tri Swim Coach]
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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