Archives for posts with tag: Different strokes

After the intensity of the swims over the last two weeks we’re going to mix it up a bit this week with a triathlon swimmer’s equivalent of cross-training – some different strokes!  There will still be plenty of front crawl – all at an aerobic pace so giving you more time to think about your technique – but with some medley swims thrown into the main set.

I do think swimming different strokes every once in a while is good for a number of reasons.  Firstly, it helps you become a more-rounded swimmer by helping develop water skills you don’t get from just swimming front crawl.  Also, different strokes really do work different muscles much better and Butterfly, especially, is a really good work-out for your core.  And swimming different strokes is fun, too, and gives you a break from the same-old strokes each week.

I know many of you do find Butterfly difficult so please just give it a try.  Butterfly is the hardest stroke for pretty much everyone and the secret to making it easier is to get the dolphin action by really diving under the water on each stroke and letting your hips rise.  One of the most effective ways of doing this is to throw your head down quickly after breathing as the momentum of your head will help with the diving down action.  If you are really struggling try just doing single-arm butterfly and getting the rhythm that way first.

Next week we have the pool for 3 hours as the juniors are away at Grafham so if you are around look forward to a longer session!

See you Saturday,


We have the pool for 3 hours again this Saturday so will again be splitting it into two 1.5 hour sessions, starting at 7am and 8:30am the same as last week.  The session will not be as challenging as the Christmas swim and we will be swimming less total distance.  However, there will be much more variety in the sets with some technique and different strokes thrown in alongside the aerobic front crawl main sets.

This session marks the end of our aerobic/technique block leading up to Christmas and next week we will start the pre-season training.  We will start to add in some more faster swims during the pre-season with time trials at the end of January and March.  Please remember to try and hold your technique as we add in the extra speed and use Doug’s TUF mnemonic, for Technique Under Fatigue, to help you remember to do this.

And finally, I can’t let 2016 end without mentioning probably the greatest swimmer any of us will ever see in our lifetime – Michael Phelps.  You can watch some good clips from his interviews over his career here:

See you Saturday!


I think an important thing to be aware of when trying to improve your swimming speed is that it is possible to do so with different swimming techniques – there is no one perfect technique that suits everyone.  The right swimming technique for you is the one that is most effective for you.  To illustrate this point you can look at the following two videos – of Rebecca Adlington and Janet Evans – and note the very different front crawl techniques.

Rebecca Adlington:

Janet Evans:

Most of you will be familiar with Rebecca Adlington and that she is the 800m long course world record holder with an incredible time of 8:14 (averaging less than 62s for each100m!).  Rebecca broke Janet Evans’ world record in Beijing, which at the time was the longest standing womens swimming world record.  You will notice from the video that they both have very different strokes, so how come they can both swim quickly?

I believe the reason such different strokes can be so effective is that they both have very effective strokes underwater even though their arms do very different things above the water.  This is why I try and ask you all to pay such attention to your underwater stroke – based on a strong catch – pressing all the way through with your hand.  I think it is easiest to achieve this by improving your “feel” for the water – using different drills to help you develop your “feel” – rather than trying too hard to emulate the “perfect” stroke.  Different strokes can be very effective – you just need to experiment a bit and find out what is going to improve the effectiveness of yours!

We will continue do a mixture of aerobic swims, technique and faster paced swims this week and I we will do some more time trials at the end of April to check how we are all progressing.  Don’t forget – some of the most important times to think about your technique are at the end of the main set when you get tired – holding good form will keep you swimming faster, for longer and at less effort.  See you Saturday!


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