January 2009 Swim Training Chat with Coach Kevin Koskella

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0

Discussions on swimming post surgery, straight arm recovery, the top 3 errors in stroke technique, importance of kicking, swimming like a barge and swim golf for further improvement.

Sign-up for our chats with the coaches! 

 

[SweetK] Any advice for swimming for the first time post-ACL surgery?  I will be released to swim next week.

[Tri Swim Coach] Just take it slow. Good time to work on some drills! Can you wear fins?

[SweetK] I should be able to wear fins.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Good! I would get some Zoomers in that case (Z2's are the best). Do 100% of your workout as drills.  Start with the basics- kicking on your side and the shark fin drill.


[KathyG] My coach says try swimming with straight arms...I think I'm doing it but still my arms are bent. Another friend says watch me swim with straight arms and she does it perfectly. What I think I'm doing I'm not really doing....it is a body perception issue I think.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Definitely video would help. If you can view some videos of people swimming properly, it really helps.  But, your elbows should be bent on the pull and on the recovery. Focus on only one aspect of your stroke at a time.  Don't worry about getting it all at once- you won't. Most humans can think about at once is two things. When I teach I try to stick with one thing at a time.


[KathyG] When I think straight arms for recovery I actually have nice high elbows and much better than if I swim my normal way.

[Tri Swim Coach] Kathy- that may work for you. Janet Evans won a lot of gold medals and set world records in distance events with a straight arm recovery. However, Janet perfected her stroke from a young age. Which is why when we teach beginners now, we teach them the most efficient, easiest to learn way to swim.

[Daremo] What sort of drills (if any) do you recommend to work on the whole EVF principle that everyone is going for now? (EVF = early vertical forearm)

 

[Tri Swim Coach] The best way to start your pull is by slicing your hand in the water and shooting in forward as you rotate your hips. Lots of people drop their elbows as their hips rotate (or as they turn to breathe), thereby wasting lots of their pull.


[Daremo] I always extend way out and have a fairly good grasp of doing it with my left arm, but my right has issues.

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, practice kicking on your weaker side as much as you can.
 

[rkreuser] Ok, so a somewhat obscure question...I've got decent form, and am semi-fast for a triathlete. If you were to pick out the top three errors, or places to get faster, what would they be?

[Tri Swim Coach] Top 3 errors in stroke technique would be:
 

1) Head position- eyes looking up or head moving around. Eyes should be focused downward and no movement as hips rotate.  Chin neutral, not tucked.  Ideally you will want to look down as this allows your hips to get closer to the surface. Slightly forward is not the end of the world but lots of beginners need as much balance as possible.
 

 2) Dropping of the elbow before pulling. This is caused by a lack of balance in the water. Again practice kicking on your side and the shark fin drill.

3) Poor/improper kick. Usually characterized by lots of knee bending and lots of energy being used up. Work on vertical kicking, stretching ankles, and using Zoomers fins on drills to remedy this problem
 

[rkreuser] OK, here's where we get nutty. We're triathletes, sorta. Should we be kicking?  My tri swim is basically a long pull workout. I don't kick, almost, at all...it's a two beat for balance.

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes! Kicking is important. Very important. BUT, keep in mind it is 10% of your propulsion or less. Kicking is used more for balance and hip rotation. You do not need (or really want to have) a powerful kick for a triathlon swim.  A powerful kick will help you in the sprint events- 50, 100, 200, and even 500 but for a tri swim, you just need to have a kick. Lots of people have runners kick and their feet are like dragging ankles slowing them down.


[Daremo] I saw in your article that you mentioned that "kick boards are for kids" or something like that. Is that because it throws off your form?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Kickboards just give you the feeling of being balanced artificially. Plus, you are on your stomach while using a board- a no no for swimming freestyle.

[kellysimo] I only get in 1-2x week, how much should be focused on drills and how much on speed/distance? I usually only have time for 1600-1800 yds.

[Tri Swim Coach] That would depend on if you are a true beginner or if you have some experience with swimming.


[kellysimo] I have been doing tris for 5 years - not a fast swimmer though.

[Tri Swim Coach] Are you swimming flat in the water or rotating your hips?


[kellysimo] Coach said I should think of sailboats when I swim, apparently I think more of barges! Guess that would mean flat.


[Tri Swim Coach] Yeah, so I would do 90% of your workouts as drills and add in another day!
 

[kellysimo] What drills do you suggest and how much?


[Tri Swim Coach] Or better yet, take 2 weeks and do nothing but drills and incorporate hip rotation before going back to swimming.  Well you can get a lot by signing up for my free newsletter or read the articles on BT that I have written as well as my blog www.triswimcoachonline.com as far as drills.

[Triathlynne] I'm a pretty good swimmer, but I just can't seem to get any faster! Any tips? I've been stuck at the same time....grrrrr.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Try taking a step back and working on your stroke! Then try some Free Golf.  Essentially do a set of 50's, count your strokes and get your time on each one. Add those 2 numbers together to get your score for that round. For each 50, attempt to lower your score either by lowering stroke count, time, or both.

[lastcall2003] I do the swim golf drill, but then am not sure what to do with it - I think my main problem is in the catch up.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] The idea is to extend a little more, glide a little more, focus on hip rotation...anything pretty much but kicking harder (and pulling on the lane lines!).  Just observe your stroke as you get down to your lowest number.

 

[KathyG] Where should your hand enter the water in front of shoulder and how deep should your hand be under water at extension? I tend to have right hand enter too close to my shoulder


[Tri Swim Coach] The hand should enter a little in front of your goggle line. There isn't an exact on that one either, everyone will be a little different. Your arm should extend a few (maybe 5) inches below the surface, but again, doesn't have to be exact.  Your shoulder is probably a little too soon.

 

[KathyG] I try not by shoulder...what drills would help that?

 

[Tri Swim Coach] Drill- 3/4ths catchup is a good one for that.
 

Rating

Click on star to vote
5114 Total Views  |  14 Views last 30 days  |  4 Views last 7 days
date: January 27, 2009

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!

View all 100 articles