Swim Tips


 Check out the following message from Swim Coach Chris Bowker:

Triathletes in the making-

I hope that you all enjoyed the swim clinic on Wednesday evening. I am sorry that I did not get to work with all of you. Many of you did very well with the drills and basic concepts. I wanted to give some tools to work with until out next meeting. Included in the email are basic fundamental of swimming, the drills and concepts we went over, and some DOs and DON'Ts of swimming.

When swimming and practicing drills here are some basics to remember. 
1. You always want to keep a long straight body. 
2. try to keep more than 50% of your head in the water at all times. Yes even when you breath. You head is very buoyant in the water and very heavy out of the water. 
3. Try to keep you shoulders hips and ankles close to the surface.

Just as a refresher, here is a list of drills that the coaching staff went over. They are sorted by concept (breathing, stroke patter/rhythm and putting it all together.

Breathing Drills- Simply put this is the most important thing. Making sure that you can breath in a relaxed manner and are able to get a full breath each time.
Kick roll- Kicking with you hands by your side face down in the water. When you need a breath roll to your back trying to use mostly your core body and kick to help you roll. Don't forget to blow out your nose as you roll, and wait until you get to the surface before you breath. 
Kick on side- you will be kicking on your side with the arm closest to the bottom of the pool extended out and the other arm tucked in by your side. You will want to practice looking down (place your nose in your arm pit) and then rolling your eyes sideways to eventually look at the ceiling to get your breath. 
Single arm- This drill can be done with a board to help you practice breathing. Make sure that you breath as you finish your stroke.
Stroke Pattern & Rhythm Drills. - The basic of the stroke are catch, squeeze and roll, then finish through the hips. 
Catch- this is the creation of a paddle using your hand and forearm. The goal is to have your hand and forearm as close to perpendicular to the pool bottom as possible. This all need to happen while trying to keep you elbow out in front of you. 
Squeeze and roll- This phase of the stroke you will start to roll from on hip to the other. It is important to connect the pull to the roll, like you would connect your hips to swimming a bat or golf club. This will give you great force and fluidity in the water. As you roll your hand will squeeze the water under your body but not past your center line. 
Finish- you body should be mostly on its side at this point. You hand will pass by your navel and then past the lower hip. This is the last phase of the stroke. 
Single arm-- Do this without a kick board. Keep one hand still and in front of you at all time. The stroke will start with you reaching the hand you are going to use below and past the stationary hand. You will then catch with your body still dipped to that side. Then as your hand starts to move back and in towards your rib cage you will need to roll powerfully to the other side. 
Catch-up- Start with both hands out in front. Take one stroke at a time allowing your hands to CATCH UP to one another out in front. So you should only be moving one hand at a time. Work on how far? and how fast? you can go off each single stroke.

Putting it all together-

3-2-3 - For this drill you will start with three strokes. You will then pause at the end of the third stroke and take two breaths. You should breath thenn turn your face back down in the water. Exhale underwater and then take another breath. At the conclusion of the second breath start back over with 3 more strokes. This will help you work breathing on both sides. You can also do the drill by taking 4 strokes and then 2 breaths. This will allow you to work on your one 'good side'.

Slow perfect swimming- just as it sounds.

The DOs and DON'Ts of swimming
 Relax, Relax, Relax. If you are stressed, panicking, or tense you will sink, not breath well, and generally suffer through the swim. Realize you can stand up, you are in a pool and it is fairly impossible for you to drown. If you have trouble with relaxing your mind, heart rate or muscles, spend some time just going underwater and holding your breath. You can close your eyes, and when you come up for air stay relaxed even if your lungs burn. 
DON'T- Don't try to swim really fast by turning over faster. Swimming slow and at a pace that you can comfortably breath. This will build strength and endurance. It is great if you can muscle through a 25 really fast. But unfortunately you have to do 12 of them. Swimming slow and composed for any distance should be your goal for now. DONT- Don't ever look forward unless you are close to the wall. Looking forward sinks your body and makes it harder to swim. 
DO- Just swim perfect 25's. If you are new to swimming and get tired just go back to swimming perfect 25's for the rest of your workout. 
DO- Keep it simple. There are a thousand things you can work on. Pick 1 or 2 to focus on for a whole practice or workout.
DON'T- Don't ever be afraid. Everyone has to learn how to swim at some point. Getting water up you nose, choking on water happens to me all the time and I have been swimming for over 20 years. I know that I will recover, I will breath normally again and that burning sensation in my nose will eventually go away.
DO- Have fun. Look at the swim as a challenge. It is the obstacle in the way of your goal. It is just a hill (or mountain depending on who you are). You get over both of them the same. One step at a time. You and I have to swim a 300 exactly the same: One stroke at a time.

I am so pumped right now. I know that in 8 weeks you all will be swimming just fine. I can not wait to see all of you at the swim start for 36North. I could go on and on about swimming. If you have any questions please let me know.

Coach Chris
Masters and Triathlon Swimming


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