February 2009 Swim Training Chat with Coach Kevin Koskella

author : Tri Swim Coach
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Discussions on pull buoys and paddles, the backstroke, speedwork and drills to avoid the windmill arms.

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[KathyG] Do have suggestion for flipper for someone with a high arch? My husband needs some. I have two pairs he tried them on but hurt...I want to order on line but he can't try them on obviously.

[Tri Swim Coach] Try Hydrofinz. They're softer than Zoomers.

[KathyG] Do you think doing pull buoy and paddles together is good?

[Tri Swim Coach] Nope. Lots of problems with buoys. They give you balance in the water without having to work on it! It is much better to practice drills for balance and skip the buoy. Paddles- lots of bad ones out there but a few good ones that can help your stroke. I like the Freestyler paddles from Finis.
 

[KathyG] My tri coach is big on doing sets to warm up and cool down with a buoy and band around my ankles. It has helped me learn to swim downhill more.

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes but you'd be better off using Zoomers fins to accomplish that feeling. That way you are practicing balance while swimming instead of simply giving yourself the feeling.

 

[QueenZipp] I have used a buoy on occasion, recovering from torn hip flexors so when they act up I skip the kicking...My stroke count when I just pull is 16. When I swim regularly it's 18-20. Why would that be less on a straight pull set?


[Tri Swim Coach] Your stroke count is less with a buoy because buoys make it easier to swim!  Buoys allow you to swim on the surface of the water without using lots of energy to keep up.

[QueenZipp] Keep them out of the pool then?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Yes- buoys are tradition in swimming but for beginner triathletes there is no place for them. Pulling also puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders.

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[Tri Swim Coach] I would like everyone to learn all the strokes, but at a minimum triathletes/ open water swimmers should pick up backstroke along with free.

 

[KathyG] How hard is it to learn backstroke?

[Tri Swim Coach] I could teach you in probably 3 lessons.  Hip rotation is very important and keeping your head still.
 

[KathyG] Why is it good to learn for triathletes?


[Tri Swim Coach] Well it teaches you a lot about rotating your hips and keeping your head from moving...as well as being a nice break from freestyle all the time.  When I teach backstroke (or kicking on your back) I do the penny drill- put a penny on your forehead and don't let it fall off as you swim down the pool.

[QueenZipp] Kevin, How long until speed really kicks in? I have worked on form for 2 years and have yet to get under 50 seconds even on a 50 yard swim.
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Couple things first, are you doing interval sets?   Also are you familiar with free golf?
 

[QueenZipp] Yes


[Tri Swim Coach] Ok, well both of those will help. Try a faster interval if you can.
 

[QueenZipp] That's the issue though. I can keep a long stroke but not with a fast stroke. If I try to go fast my arms go like windmills instead of the legs.

[Tri Swim Coach]  That's what's slowing you down. Ideally you want to keep your form as you increase speed. Try the Fist drill often. Count your strokes with your hands in fists and see if you can bring down your stroke count.

[QueenZipp] Fists: I can do 14 strokes per length.  Same with single arms.  Why can't I do it with a full swim?
 

[Tri Swim Coach] Sounds like the windmill arms take over. Another good drill for you would be the fingertip drag - Drag your finger tips through the water on recovery. You will need a bent elbow to do this properly.  Fingertip drag is perfect to avoid the windmill! Also those Freestyler paddles are good for that.

[bbarr66] Any tips on kicking?  I seem really slow.

[Tri Swim Coach] Try vertical kicking. Kick in place in a vertical position. Use your hips/upper quads and point your toes. Limit knee bending.  Do around 10-15 seconds at a time at first.  Also- wear Zoomers fins when doing drills, and stretch your ankles!

[QueenZipp] A lot of pools are shallow around here, no deep end for vertical kicking.


[Tri Swim Coach] I hate that....you may want to wait until open water season then! in the mean time, Zoomers will help (but only on drill/kicking sets).  Zoomers force your feet to point and force you to use the proper muscles to kick
 

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date: March 4, 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!

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