Archives for posts with tag: Rebecca Adlington

Great work again last week on the Early Vertical Forearm.  It was terrific to see the improvements many of you are making with this and to hear that many of you are feeling the difference, too.  We have one more week of doing drills to practise this before we do our first time trials of the Winter next week.  We will be doing similar drills to previous weeks but this time swum as 50s rather than 25s before we get into the main set.  In the main set we will also be doing some EVF drills to remind you to keep that beautiful EVF throughout the set.

For those of you that have taken advantage of the underwater video recording over the past couple of weeks you will have a pretty good idea of how much of an EVF you are currently achieving.  You can see a fantastic example of EVF in the short clip of Rebecca Adlington below:

Now we are all unlikely to reach the level of EVF that Rebecca did but even small improvements are likely to make a positive difference so please do try your best at this.  And we will have the video camera again this week so if you do want to try and see what you look like underwater please ask Chrissie or myself.

See you Saturday,


I will be away for the next two Saturdays so I have left sessions in the Tri Club box.  Chrissie and Simon will be coaching when they can but it is unlikely to be for all four sessions so if you are the first one on pool side please put out the sessions for everyone.

We are starting to do some more faster-paced swims as we build up towards the start of the season.  More faster-paced swims also means there will be more slower paced swims, too, especially when doing progressive sets.  Even if the slower-paced swims do not include drills please do use them to focus on technique and whatever aspect you think needs the most work.  To help you think about your technique please watch the excellent video by Bill Furniss below:

Bill Furniss is currently the Head Coach of UK Swimming and was also Rebecca Adlington’s coach so he knows a thing or two about front crawl!  The video is  really for coaching the basics of front crawl to age group swimmers but I think everyone with an interest in swimming fast, distance front crawl will find it very useful.  So this is your homework for while I am away!  It is nearly 40 minutes long, and not professionally filmed, but well worth watching so please do watch as much as you can.

See you in a couple of weeks,


Well done to all those that swam the time trials this morning, there were some good performances.  You can see the draft results here.  I usually make the odd transcription error, even though I try not to, so please email me if you think I have got something wrong and I will check to see if I can spot a mistake. So what can you learn from this?

  • I suggest you look at your splits to see how well you paced the 400.  Should you have paced it differently?
  • Your critical swim speed is an estimate of the pace you should be able to sustain for longer races like 1500m and is estimated based on the difference between your 100m and 400m times.  The estimate in the results should be a good pace to swim at in training to improve your endurance.
  • Checking your strokes per minute and distance per stroke measures are a useful indicator of whether increasing stroke rate or distance per stroke are likely to help you increase your speed most effectively.  You can check these measures against the averages for your lane, and other lanes, in the table below the main results.
  • As another reference for stroke rates, Rebecca Adlington used to swim at about 75 strokes per minute and 1.3m/stroke when racing 400m.  Sun Yang, the current 1500m world record holder, averages 55 strokes/min and 1.9m/stroke when racing 1500m.

Have a good weekend and I hope to see many of you not smelling of chlorine and wearing a lot more clothes than usual at the club awards evening tonight! Rob

Now that the triathlon season is over for most of us I will be changing the Saturday morning swimming sessions over to Winter training.  That means more slower, aerobic paced swimming than we have been doing plus some more time to focus on technique before Christmas.  This year I plan to include more sets that include different strokes to front crawl as I think this can be really beneficial to most people’s swimming.  Doing different strokes usually makes you a better all-round swimmer by helping you get a better feel for the water and doing more variety can also be good fun!

So what do you want to achieve with your swimming over the Winter?  I think the time between now and Christmas is the ideal time to improve your technique.  It takes time to make changes that stick as old habits die hard and you often will go slower initially as you make adjustments that feel strange.  The increased amount of slower paced swimming and technique work we will be doing will give you time to think about any necessary changes and get them bedded in before you try and use them to start swimming faster in the New Year.

So what changes do you want to make to your stroke, if any?  Faster swimmers usually do fewer strokes per length as their streamlining and feel for the water is better than for slower swimmers.  Lane 1 swimmers on Saturday typically do 16-22 strokes per length but Alex, who leads the lane, can put us all to shame by doing 9-10 strokes per length!  You can reduce your stroke count in many different ways – improved body position (especially keeping your head down), stronger catch, not dropping your elbows underwater, etc. – and you can always ask me, or the other coaches, what they think would be best for you.  Watching good swimmers also helps and Youtube is a great source of good examples (Google any of the greats, such as Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe or Rebecca Adlington).  However, I believe that there is no single, perfect technique that works for everyone – it is a case of finding the technique that is most effective for you and often this involves some trial and error.

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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