Archives for the month of: May, 2015

Seeing Joe Friel’s article in 220 Triathlon magazine this week reminded me of one of the easiest ways to improve your swim – staying nice and flat in the water.  I know some of you like to use special floaty shorts, a pull buoy or wetsuit to help with this but these are not always possible in races – like the pool swim at Newmarket last weekend – so the best way is to practise getting it right without any artificial aids during pool training.

Many of us could improve our body position, across all the lanes.  Joe Friel has some good tips in his article and my suggestion to add to his comments are as follows:

1. Head position is the most important thing to get right.  It should be in a neutral position so you should be looking straight down at the bottom of the pool.  Most of us can do this when we start swimming and the time it goes wrong is when breathing.  The most common thing I see is people lifting and twisting their head at the same time when they breathe.  Instead, practice sneaky breathing where you only turn your neck sideways and breathe into your shoulder.  Try and make it look like your mouth is not above the surface of the water by using the bow-wave you get near your shoulder.  If you swim too close to the person in front you will find this difficult as you will be spending too much time trying to look forward and watch their feet, so leave a gap!

2.  Legs are the next priority in my view.  Whilst we want to conserve energy and not kick too hard in the swim most people I see on Saturdays kick too little so that either it affects their body position, hence their legs sink, or it reduces their streamlining by being too lazy and wide.  For most of us a good steady kick will yield more benefits from improved streamlining and body position than will be lost by increased tiredness from the legs.

This week the main set will consist of increasing pace 300, 200 and 100m swims.  Try and think about perfect body position using your head and legs on these swims and especially kicking faster as you pick up the pace.

See you Saturday!


The main set this week is inspired by Alex.  For those of you that don’t know him he is the guy who is 2 feet taller than the rest of us, leads Lane 1 and generally makes us all look so slow and inefficient when he swims 11 or 12 strokes per length making it all look so easy.  I also understand he has a great capacity for alcoholic beverages after swimming competitions but that’s another story and we probably don’t want to take too much inspiration from that!  Anyway, he has suggested a fun sounding swim set called the “ratchet” where we do different distances off a reducing rest to see how long we can make the turnaround times.  You’ll be pleased to know I’ve watered down his original suggestion of a 5km version of this set into a 1500m main set for us all to try this week.

The set consists of a number of different distances swum repeatedly off a 5s reducing turnaround and it should make a good speed endurance set.  When setting tight turnarounds it is difficult to get the turnarounds right for everyone in the pool with the wide range of different abilities and fitness levels within each lane.  However, I have tried to set it so that you can make most of the turnarounds in the set, if you pace it correctly, but some of you will end up missing some of the tighter turnarounds towards the end of the set and will be swimming continuously.  That’s clearly not bad preparation for the 1500m anyway but if you get the pacing right it should be an achievable set for most of you.

If you enjoy the set on Saturday then thank Alex and if not you can always blame me for getting the turnarounds wrong!  Like last week we will be finishing the 8am session at 9am to allow the Juniors to do their remaining swimming trials for the start of the season.

See you Saturday!


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