Archives for category: Frontcrawl

Well done to everyone for your efforts last week during the longer sessions.  And special kudos to Alex, Simon and Edda who did a the full 3 hours (I hope I didn’t miss anyone else that did the full monty)!  This week is back to normal with our 7-8 and 8-9:15am sessions and we will be doing some aerobic paced 150s as the main set.

For technique this week we will be working on stroke rate after several weeks of focusing on the high-elbow underwater pull with a pause.  This is especially important when swimming in open water where a slightly higher stroke rate, and straighter-arm recovery, is often more effective (and efficient) to help overcome the additional resistance in the shoulders from the wetsuit.  So this week there will be a chance to practice it in the pool with some head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery drills.  Try and do these drills to increase the stroke rate above the water (and not worrying about how pretty or careful your hand-entry is) but keeping that good high-elbow underwater pull we have been working on over the last few weeks.

See you tomorrow,

Rob

Well done for all your efforts last week on the USRPT 50s.  It was good to see some good times from those pushing the pace and also some great consistency from those swimming at a more comfortable pace in preparation for racing on Sunday.

This week we will keep pushing the pace with some fast 100s.  I’d like you to aim to swim them at double your USRPT 50 pace plus 3-5 seconds.  So, if you were swimming each 50 last week in 50 seconds, I’d like you to aim for 1:43-1:45 for each 100 this week.  There will be a reasonable amount of rest plus a few Brucey Bonus rests to ensure you can keep the pace high.  To help keep the pace going throughout the 100 please focus on the second half of each 100 and think about the “Hinge” (2) of your 1-2-3 on each stroke to ensure you are maintaining your strong catch.

See you Saturday,

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts over the last two weeks.  You have completed two of probably our most intense sessions, on some very tight turnarounds, with the Ratchet Set and Post-Easter Swim.  We are going to take it a bit easier this week to give you a chance to think about the high-elbow catch.  Simon shared with me a video of a great underwater shot of one of the world’s leading 1,500m swimmers demonstrating this and you can see it here.

To help practice this we will be doing some more of the drills Chloe Sutton demonstrated that I posted a few weeks ago with special emphasis on counting 1 – reach, 2 – hinge, 3 – push with each stroke.  If you need a reminder please see my previous post on this.

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

When I grew up no-one talked about using your core but now it is widely accepted to be a really important part of your strength and conditioning for many sports, and especially in triathlon.  I will be honest that I’ve struggled to find a good way of working on your core for front crawl but one of Chloe Sutton’s recent videos, shown below, is one of the best I have come across and I would strongly recommend watching it here:

I have been trying to improve engaging my core in my own swimming recently and I must admit that although it has felt like quite a subtle effect I do think it has made me more efficient and less reliant on arm and shoulder muscles for the power at the back-end of my stroke.  And I have been swimming pretty quickly recently, off very little swimming training, so although it is difficult to pin it exclusively on improvements in my core I am happy enough to recommend giving it a try and seeing if it could work for some of you, too.  So this week we will be doing three of the drills that Chloe talks about in her video:

  • Stabilized single-arm front crawl, which we have done before and is single-arm with the stationary arm on a kick-board
  • Unco, which Chloe calls One Arm with Rotation, and
  • Power Rotation with Kickboard, where you swim using a kick-board between your legs instead of a pull buoy

In all of these drills I think it is best to focus on engaging your core and using it to rotate your hips in the back half of your stroke once you have got into the high-elbow catch.  And as I always say with drills, the most important thing is taking the focus on your core from the drill set into the main set, which will this week see the return of the ratchet set.  The ratchet set always looks scary when you look at the final set of turnaround times but that is the whole idea.  It is a challenge.  And as part of a challenge I would expect many of you not to make the final set of turnaround time and so be swimming continuously.  Don’t panic – keep calm and relax in the first half, engage your core, and see how far you can get through the set before it turns into a continuous swim

See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts at the time trials last week.  This week we will go back to some steadier-paced swimming, with time to focus again on your technique, together with some pursuit swims to add a bit of speed and racing tactics at the end.

We will start with some aerobic-paced 150s this week, half of them pull with paddles, and I’d like you to use this to focus on the high-elbow catch that we worked on a few weeks ago.  Please watch Chloe Sutton’s excellent video on this if you need a reminder.  Then we will be doing a short technique subset to focus on increasing your stroke rate, with some golf stroke, where I’d like you to focus on quick breathing as we again have been practising recently.  And to finish off we will do some pursuit swims for a bit of fun and fast-pace practise.  Try and mix it up a bit this week and try some different tactics.  Remember, you don’t have to wait until the “live” 50 to go fast if you want to get away from the swimmer behind, so long as you’re not being held up by the swimmer in front!

Also, I’ve been contacted by TYR, the swimsuit manufacturer, with some free samples of a really interesting new spray-based Lycra swim suit they’ve developed that was used with great success in the Rio Olympics.  It is FINA approved and helped swimmers achieve some of the incredible times many of you will have watched.  Drop me an email if you want to try it out this week for some extra speed in the pursuit swims and I will bring some samples along.  You can find more details about on this website.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We will be doing time trials again this week as we follow the usual schedule through the Winter of doing it every 2 months.  I know some of you love time trials and others hate them but I do genuinely believe everyone can learn and benefit from them.  You can use the learning suggestions I talked about last time (Time Trials – What do you want to learn?) or focus instead on an aspect of technique we’ve been working on and see what difference that makes to your times, splits, stroke rates or just how it feels.

It has been great to hear how much some of you have found the breathing drills we did last week.  I know some of you are still finding it hard, though, to keep one goggle in the water and don’t yet have confidence that it is possible to keep a goggle in the water and still breathe effectively.  So please watch another of Chloe Sutton’s videos below if you want to see why it is possible if you keep your head in the correct position.

So if you are unsure about whether or not to do the time trials this week why not come along and focus on the breathing instead as an experiment and see what effect it has?

See you Saturday,

Rob

Well done for your efforts last week on the new “stabilized single-arm” drill and “catch-up with a pause” drill we did from the Chloe Sutton video to work on the high-elbow catch.  We will be doing them again this week during the warm-up to give you some more chance to practice the high-elbow catch before we start the main set.

The main set this week will be a set of speed endurance 100s where you should be swimming fast on a short recovery but with breaks after every few 100s to recover before the next block.  During this set I would like everyone to think about breathing quickly and correctly, keeping one goggle in the water, as I think a short and quick breath really helps with both good technique and, most importantly, having a good quick stroke rate.  You can watch another great video from Chloe here to see how to breath really well and quickly.

Please watch especially closely how quickly Chloe breathes 1:24 into the video and try and emulate that speed of breathing when you swim on Saturday.

See you then,

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts last week in the prime number set.  It was a tough set, especially for lanes 2 and 3, so well done for sticking with it.  Also, well done for coping with the change of lanes.  It can be a little disorienting to have to cope with a different size of lane and turn the opposite way round but it is good practice to mix it up as well as allowing Doug and myself to have a different look at your stroke.

For those of you that follow 220 Triathlon on Twitter you may have seen their tweet this week about Dave Scott’s top tips for improving your triathlon swimming.  It is not a new article, and I have written about it before, but I still like it and I think it is always good to be reminded every once in a while about the basics.  I especially like the comments about keeping your hand entry a little bit wider and the visualisation of the eyeball in your elbow to help you remember to keep your elbows high underwater.  The high cadence drills of head-up frontcrawl and straight-arm recovery are good for practising exactly these and we will be doing them again this week.

The main set this week will be some steady-paced 150s with some 200 pursuit swims to inject some speed at the end of the session.  Please do use the opportunity on the steadier-paced swims to think about that nice high elbow (try Dave Scott’s eyeball visualisation) and also trying to keep that going when you increase your stroke rate on the faster swims.

See you Saturday,

Rob

The main theme for this month is all going to be about stroke rate as we build towards the next set of time trials at the end of the month (see my previous post about stroke rate).  So the aim is keeping that beautiful high-elbow pull we’ve been working on before Christmas and increasing the stroke rate to something closer to race pace.

For those of you at Tim’s session this Thursday morning we did some excellent work on this with the fast first 8 strokes of each 50 in the first set.  On Saturday we will be doing some more work on this with some head-up frontcrawl, straight-arm recovery and golf stroke.  Key things I’d like you to think about on each of these are:

  • Do short-fast strokes when doing head-up front crawl and kick your legs strongly to help keep them afloat.  A slow, long stroke is really hard with your head up.
  • On straight-arm recovery let your hands splash into the water quickly, as they will want to do if you’ve kept them straight and high during the recovery, before you do your usual high-elbow underwater pull.
  • For golf stroke remember to add your time to your stroke count for each 50 to determine your golf stroke.  Try to reduce your golf stroke by increasing your stroke rate to swim faster while keeping your stroke count pretty similar.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Now the triathlon season is over for most of us it is a great opportunity to think about improving your stroke as we start Winter training.  Although most of us can improve on many different aspects of our stroke the one improvement that most of us will gain the most benefit from is improving the underwater pull.  And the key to doing that is getting the high-elbow catch, or early-vertical forearm as many people call it.  If you want to see a great example you can watch some of this slow motion video of Ian Thorpe.

So how do we all do swim with a high-elbow better?  This week we will be doing some side-line kicking to help practice the body position for keeping a high elbow even when swimming on your side, so please focus on:

  • Keeping your head looking down and slightly forward when not breathing and checking that your hand is below your elbow.
  • Keeping your palm facing downwards towards the bottom of the pool and when you pull
    • Start the pull slowly and not putting any pressure on the water until your forearm is vertical in the water with your hand pointing down to the bottom of the pool
    • Press the water straight backwards once you start applying the pressure and trying to keep pushing straight to the end of your stroke

And please, please, please take your time when doing drills.  Take extra rest if you need it.  The most important thing is doing the drills well and feeling as relaxed as possible.  Since most drills we do are best done while breathing as little as possible you will need to be rested and relaxed before you start each of the drills.

See you Saturday,

Rob

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