Now that the triathlon season is over for most of us I will be changing the Saturday morning swimming sessions over to Winter training.  That means more slower, aerobic paced swimming than we have been doing plus some more time to focus on technique before Christmas.  This year I plan to include more sets that include different strokes to front crawl as I think this can be really beneficial to most people’s swimming.  Doing different strokes usually makes you a better all-round swimmer by helping you get a better feel for the water and doing more variety can also be good fun!

So what do you want to achieve with your swimming over the Winter?  I think the time between now and Christmas is the ideal time to improve your technique.  It takes time to make changes that stick as old habits die hard and you often will go slower initially as you make adjustments that feel strange.  The increased amount of slower paced swimming and technique work we will be doing will give you time to think about any necessary changes and get them bedded in before you try and use them to start swimming faster in the New Year.

So what changes do you want to make to your stroke, if any?  Faster swimmers usually do fewer strokes per length as their streamlining and feel for the water is better than for slower swimmers.  Lane 1 swimmers on Saturday typically do 16-22 strokes per length but Alex, who leads the lane, can put us all to shame by doing 9-10 strokes per length!  You can reduce your stroke count in many different ways – improved body position (especially keeping your head down), stronger catch, not dropping your elbows underwater, etc. – and you can always ask me, or the other coaches, what they think would be best for you.  Watching good swimmers also helps and Youtube is a great source of good examples (Google any of the greats, such as Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe or Rebecca Adlington).  However, I believe that there is no single, perfect technique that works for everyone – it is a case of finding the technique that is most effective for you and often this involves some trial and error.