As we get closer to the racing season we are starting to do some faster swimming during the Saturday sessions.  The key challenge for most of us is to try and maintain our technique as we swim faster as a good technique will help you swim faster for longer.  When you are trying to swim faster, try on concentrate and getting a good strong catch as you do at slower speeds – don’t rush it and slip water – and gain the extra speed by applying more pressure with your hand all the way through the underwater stroke.

A good way to check the efficiency of your stroke as you swim faster is to count your strokes.  You will typically do a stroke or two more per length when you pick up the pace but try to keep it as close to your best stroke count as you can, especially as you tire towards the end of a long set or long swim.

You can watch the following video for a great example of good technique at speed – from 2001 when Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe broke the 800m world record:

Notice how strong and long their strokes are at the pace they are swimming (under 60s per 100m).  Ian Thorpe is doing 29-30 strokes/50m length and Grant Hackett around 33 strokes/50m.  None of us are in their class (yet!) but what we can all take from watching this, I think, is an appreciation for how fast it is possible to swim over a long distance by maintaining excellent technique and keeping the pull very strong and long.  This is something we can all work on!