I found it really interesting to watch people doing the 50m flat out sprints we did as part of the main set last week – especially how little most people changed their pace despite the obvious increase in effort that was put in.  I think doing some fast-paced swims like this are really useful for a variety of different reasons.  Firstly, they are great high-intensity swims that increase your fatigue levels for the rest of the sets when working on your speed endurance.  Secondly, I think they are a good way of increasing the range of speeds you can swim at – so making “normal” race pace feel more comfortable.  Finally, many top triathletes seem to get a lot of benefit from them and I have heard both Will Clarke and Mario Mola talk specifically about the value they have gained from doing fast swims as part of their swimming training.

We will be doing some more sprints this week to give you chance to work on top-end speed and I will be making it easier by just doing 25s after the usual aerobic and progressively paced swims.  When sprinting 25s please remember three key things:

  1. Keep your head down and breathe as little as possible (you should not really need to breath at all on a 25m sprint but I will accept once if really necessary!)
  2. Kick your legs REALLY fast! This sets the tempo for your arms even though they don’t provide much propulsion.  Only one person in the pool last week was kicking at anywhere near the speed required for fast swimming.
  3. Keep a really strong catch – don’t try and rush the underwater pull – just squeeze the water a bit harder.

For a great example of sprint freestyle watch Ben Proud win the gold for England in the 50m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in the following video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/commonwealth-games/28553648

You can see Ben, and all the others, doing a really good job of the 3 points I have mentioned above.  The underwater shots are the best and really show a strong catch and the speed of their legs.

See you Saturday!