November 2008 Swim Training Chat with Coach Kevin Koskella

author : Tri Swim Coach
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Discussion on how to properly kick, sculling, the 3/4 catch-up drill, hand entry mechanics and the utility of using fins, buoys, paddles and kick board. PLUS the top pool mistake.

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[Tri Swim Coach] What brings you to swim chat tonight?
 

[Writebrained] Tips on keeping relaxed in the water? My ankles and hands seem to tense up. Any suggestions?


[Tri Swim Coach]  Hmm...why do you think your ankles and hands are tensing?


[Writebrained] Coach recently watched me underwater and told me. Still struggling with it though....


[Tri Swim Coach]  Are your feet kind of dragging through the water, or do you have your toes pointed?
 

[Writebrained] Should I have them pointed or working like "flippers"? Confused.

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes! Exactly. A lot of triathletes (runners) have inflexible ankles and it slows them down in the water. So ideally you want to not bend your knees much and point your toes when you kick.

[Writebrained] When the catch starts with my left hand, where's my right hand?  12 o'clock and 6 o'clock?
 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Right hand should be slicing into the water and going forward.  More like 12 and 3. Try the "3/4 Catch-up" drill. It's like the catch-up (touching your hands out in front of you with each stroke), only you only go 3/4 of the way with your other arm. Does that make sense?


[Writebrained] Okay. Now the entry point for hand entering, after recovery phase. 1/2 way to max extension - more or less?


[Tri Swim Coach]  Probably going to be a little more than 1/2 way to max extension. Some people may enter their hands in the water by their goggle line. Which for me is too soon. But you can target that and adjust as you feel comfortable .


[Writebrained]
High elbow. I'm aware of this...but how high beneath the surface? During the pull phase?  During the pull....how far beneath the surface of the water should my elbow be?


[Tri Swim Coach]  Well I don't know exactly, but realize you are rotating as you pull, so your elbow should not be too far below the water surface.
 

[Writebrained] Explain sculling? Should I be doing this (whatever it is)?
 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Sculling is a drill where you put your hands out in front of you and make a figure 8 with each hand.  I don't actually use it as a drill. 
 

[Writebrained] What's the utility then?


[Tri Swim Coach]  It can help you get the catch a little better, but I've never been big on that drill.

[Writebrained] Zoomers? Buoy? Paddles? Kick Boards? - should I be using any of these on a regular basis?


[Tri Swim Coach]  Good questions!

Zoomers: Absolutely, particularly for doing drills/kicking.  Get the Zoomers Z2's.   www.swimyourbest.com and use discount code 'aggies' for 20% off .
Buoy: No. It gives you an artificial feeling of being on top of the water and acts like a crutch for most people.
Paddles: Most I don't like, but there are some good ones. The Finis Freestyler is excellent (you can get that at swb too). They will help you to get the glide in freestyle and not mess up your shoulders.
Kick Boards: I don't like these on a regular basis and I rarely use them myself. However, I think they are a nice break on occasion, especially if you are training with friends. I would really limit kick boards as again they are like cheating and you are better off practicing the side kicking without a board instead.


[Writebrained] Speed depends on ____percent strength and ____ percent technique in your opinion?

[Tri Swim Coach]  Wow good one! Well, you could be the strongest person on earth and if you have poor technique it will do you no good. So, I wouldn't apply a percentage, but rather priorities: working on your technique will pay much greater dividends then working on your strength. Having said that, I recommend weight training for swimming for the intermediates and advanced swimmers out there.


[Writebrained] ....So, you like swim golf? Yes?
 

[Tri Swim Coach]  I LOVE the swim golf. I think it's the best set ever invented.

[Writebrained] What other drills would you recommend doing on a regular basis?

[Tri Swim Coach]  Drills: all the ones in my DVD and book.  Actually, you can find a lot of them on the BT site.

[Tri Swim Coach]  www.triswimcoach.com
 

[Writebrained] Top mistakes you see triathletes making during the swim phase of a race?
 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Not swimming their own race and instead starting in with the pack that's trying to race to the first buoy. I never understand why anyone wants to go all out to get to that first buoy! There's nothing good about doing that. As a beginner/intermediate swimmer, you'll get beat up. And the "winner" is often going to pay the price towards the end of the swim and fade big time.
 

[Writebrained] Okay...Top mistakes you see us make in training? At the local pool?

[Tri Swim Coach]  Pool, well that would be not being focused, just swimming lap after lap and expecting to improve.

[Writebrained] Again, thanks. Look forward to applying these tips in the pool. Really work'n on my swim this winter.
 

[Tri Swim Coach]  Cool, great idea. My signup form isn't up right now on my site but if you want to stay in touch my newsletter is at www.triswimcoach.com/newsletters.php

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date: December 4, 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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