It’s time for our mid-Winter time trials this week and I’d like you to think about swimming the fastest you can by keeping as relaxed as possible.

We will follow the same format as in November with a good warm-up, including some fast swimming, followed by a 400m and 100m time trial.  Again I am going to be asking those not swimming to take 100m split times as well as counting strokes so we can measure your pace judgement, stroke rate and distance per stroke.  It is hard to get stroke counts for each 100m (it’s a lot of counting) so instead I’d like those counting to count strokes for a particular length on each 100 of the 400.  We will multiply this by 4 to get a measure of distance per stroke and stroke rate.  It’s not as accurate as counting every stroke but an approximate stroke count will be good enough.

I know some of you find that you swim slower when doing a 400m time trial than when doing long sets of 100m reps with short intervals or even just doing a “steady” 400m in training.  However, there is no lack of effort from everyone who I see swim time trials so if you fall into this category then it means your extra effort is not being used efficiently and is either reducing your propulsion, increasing your drag or both.   For you, less is more and I recommend thinking about three things for the time trial:

1)      Try and enjoy the chance to have a lane pretty much to yourself and swimming fast without anyone in your way.  Your  time will look after itself if you try and relax and enjoy it rather than worrying about the outcome.

2)      Don’t press too hard or quickly at the catch.  As you feel the pressure on your hand at the start of each stroke the temptation is to put the power on quickly but unless your elbow is high, and your hand and forearm pointing downwards, most of your effort will be wasted pushing your body upwards rather than forwards.  This wastes effort and increases drag so instead be patient and wait until your forearm is vertical before putting the power on at the catch.

3)      Try and swim an even pace throughout.  Most of you will start quickly, with natural adrenaline, so use that get your arms moving at a good tempo but make sure you are relaxing into a sustainable pace before you finish the first 50m.  Then try and relax, keeping the stroke rate comfortable and your stroke long for the rest of the 400m.  Most people slow down in the 3rd 100 so really focus on maintaining a good form and stroke length then.  The last 100m will look after itself as you finish to the cheers of your adoring fans!

See you Saturday!