November 2007 Swim Training Chat

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0

Discussion on the 'pull', swim phases, emulating Michael Phelps, the glide, dragging feet, interval training, and going backwards when kicking.

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[Tri Swim Coach] Swimming is the topic, fire away any time when you have a question.

[ejc999] I think my biggest problem in swimming is in my pull. What are good drills for maintaining proper form in the pull phase?

[Tri Swim Coach] Are you sure it's your pull? What makes you say that? Often times the pull comes together when other problems are fixed.


[ejc999] That's just my guess. I've worked hard on my body position and rotation through the stroke but don't feel I get a lot out of the pool. I know that I have a tendency to not pull all the way through.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Make sure you are extending (out in front), and pulling all the way through (almost lock your elbows at the end, and push the water back towards your feet)

 

[ejc999] Thanks for the tip. At the bottom of the pull, should your hand be under you or off to the side of the body?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Off to the side near your hip.

 

[sue7013] Is it normal to go through phases with swimming? I go through a phase where I can do no wrong in the pool then I fall into a slump and my times are way off.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Sue- happens to me all the time. Totally normal. Just make sure you are mixing up your workouts a bit.


[sue7013] It's very odd. I'll go through a phase where I PB something every time I'm in the pool then it will fall off then be good again later. I do a distance day, a sprinting/drill day and a medium day.


[sue7013] OK, I was in a masters class and the instructor and she had read a article about Michael Phelps and he was emulating sea turtles with his stroke, pulling straight down the midline. Then my coach had me watch some videos of Thorpe and he pulls different.  Arm at 90 degrees.  I switched to the Phelps stroke. I don't' want to completely change my stroke again.


[Tri Swim Coach]  Well both of those guys swim sprint events so it may not even help to try to copy either of them! Not to say they wouldn't blaze through a one-mile swim just the same.  But they train for 100, 200 meter sprints when triathlons, even sprints, are endurance races. Your best bet is to develop a long stroke.

[sue7013] I'm a good swimmer for a triathlete but a bad swimmer for a swimmer.


[Tri Swim Coach] Count your strokes, use hip rotation and glide to bring down your stroke count and improve efficiency. As long as you have the energy to power through the bike and run you may be doing just fine!  On the other hand if you are dying when you get out of the water it's time to practice!

 

[ejc999] Can you explain more about the glide?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Extend your arm straight out in front with each stroke (drive your hand forward instead of down).

[betsy] If my feet are dragging on the bottom when I swim am I doing something wrong?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, you need to work on your balance. Start with just kicking on your side with fins on (Zoomers Z2's are best).  See the balance drill.  Keep you hand extended, belly button pointed towards the side wall. None of us are naturally balanced in the water so we must practice (unless there are any fish in here?)


[ADollar79] I can't bring myself to do drills....I feel SO silly in the water.

[Tri Swim Coach] Lose the pride and improve!

[ADollar79] I think my issue with drills is that I never know if I am doing them correctly to learn from them....I try to watch and learn....but then I just feel out of place in the water.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Good to hire a coach for a few sessions.

 

[foolproof] I'd just like to break 2min per 100.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Do you practice interval training?


[foolproof] We do something we call 'gauntlets' using pull buoys and kick boards.

[Tri Swim Coach] No, I don't like the use of boards & buoys!  They're like cheating- they allow you to swim at the surface and provide you with balance.  For an interval, I would start with a set like 5 x 100 on 2 minutes, 20 seconds.


[sue7013] I like the kick pull swim drill because it lets me separate things out and feel how they fit together again.

 

[Tri Swim Coach] As long as you are doing your kicking on your side (no board!) and no buoys on the pull (Freestyler paddles are great!) you're doing good!


[ejc999] I go backwards when I use a kick board. I do kick drills on my back. What other kick drills do you recommend, if any?

[Tri Swim Coach] You likely do not have ankle flexibility.  It's actually common to go backwards while kicking! I see that all the time. You need to: 1) Just stretch your ankles out, i.e. sit on your heels, 2) practice vertical kicking, 3) use short fins like Zoomers when doing drills. Those 3 three will dramatically help improve your kick. I watched one guy improve from backwards to a decent forwards kick in 2 weeks just by stretching!


[ejc999] Can you explain vertical kicking?


[ADollar79] Here is the BT article link to vertical kicking.

[Tri Swim Coach] Good night everyone! Stay in touch at www.triswimcoach.com

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date: January 2, 2008

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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