Archives for the month of: November, 2013

During this week’s session I would like everyone to focus on swimming efficiently.  To help with this we will all be doing a set of 50s golf stroke.  Golf stroke, as most of you will remember, is when you count your strokes for 50 and add it to the time it takes you to swim each 50.  So if you take 45 strokes per 50 and 45 seconds per 50 then your golf stroke is 90.  The thing I really like about golf stroke is that your golf stroke is a pretty good measure of your stroke efficiency and you can use it to test out how changes to your stroke affect your efficiency.  The first 50 we will do in the session will be for you to swim a normal steady-pace 50 to remind you of your usual “golf stroke”.  Then we will do some different drills for you to test the effect of the different drills on your golf stroke.

One of the drills we will be doing is quick catch.  I know many of you find it hard to “get it” with this one but it is one of my favourites as I think it can really help you focus on a strong catch with your hand.  This helps you reduce the likelihood of slipping water by dropping your elbows and reduces the tendency to over-reach for the catch and cause snaking with your hips.  If you do this correctly you should feel a surge of power as you lock onto the water at the start of the stroke.  If you don’t feel this, try slowing down the catch and feel for it more with a slight sculling motion.  It is more important to get a strong catch than a quick catch – but many people achieve this by thinking about getting a “quick” catch.  For those of you that need a reminder of this drill please watch again the Dave Scott video I have sent round before:

The main set this week will be quite a long set of 100s with a fairly short rest.  I will also aim to disrupt your rhythm a bit by throwing in a few IMs for fun.  When doing this set, and any long main set we do, please do try and aim to relax as much as possible by swimming efficiently.  Often it can feel stressful when you are trying to “make the turn-round” and you then tense up, swim less efficiently and swim slower over the set.  Instead, try to keep as relaxed as possible and focus on keeping your stroke relaxed and efficient.  Don’t worry about not having much rest – if you are swimming efficiently and relaxed you won’t need it!

See you all Saturday,


It’s time to get back in the pool and blow away those cobwebs from the last few weeks.  This week we’ll be doing mainly aerobic front crawl  and for technique we will be focusing on front crawl head position and breathing.

The best head position on front crawl is looking straight down at the bottom on the pool – keeping your head really still – and one of the most common mistakes many triathletes make is to look forward and have their head too high.  The usual consequence of this is to push your hips and legs below the surface so you end up being not very streamlined and dragging your legs through the water.  A pull buoy or wetsuit will compensate for a high head position – so you can get away with it more when swimming in a wetsuit – but you need to be able to swim streamlined with a good head position whenever you don’t have a pull buoy or wetsuit to help you!  If you need to look forward, try and do it by keeping your head as flat as possible, and if you need to look up at the end of each length please just glance up quickly and get your head back down.

The fastest you will ever swim is with your head completely still and face down in the water.  Unfortunately, unless you are doing a 25 sprint, you are likely to need to breathe at some stage and the most important thing is for your breathing to disrupt your stroke as little as possible.  To do this, turn your head as little as possible and breathe in the bow wave formed near your shoulder.  It will feel like you are looking either at your shoulder or slightly behind you.  See the following video for a good demonstration:

We will be doing some closed-eye drills on Saturday to help practice your breathing – trying to breathe on both sides.  You will close your eye to the side that you are breathing to and the aim is to make sure your open eye then never breaks the surface of the water.  In the video above the swimmer doesn’t quite accomplish this – but does get pretty close.  Your aim will be to achieve this on Saturday – it can be done.

And one more thing…  Please, please, please start in a streamlined position every time you turn and push off the wall with your head down and your arms squeezing your ears together, as shown in the video below:

If you start in this position then you are at least starting each length with your head in the correct position so you just have to maintain it for the remainder of each length!

See you Saturday!


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