Archives for posts with tag: swim smooth

I hope you all enjoyed watching some of the fabulous performances at the Olympics.  One of the things I like best about the Olympics is that you get some fantastic footage of the swimming, both above and below the water.  Swim Smooth have done a great compilation of the some of the best performances in this hour long video by Paul Newsome with commentary on some key coaching points.  I particularly like Paul’s comments about

  • the importance of getting the right balance between stroke rate and stroke length (watch the video starting 10 mins in for the key bits on this), and
  • pace judgement and the swimming a negative split for the best overall time (1-5 mins of the video)

We will be doing some steady-paced aerobic swimming this week during the main set but why not use this long main set to play around with your stroke rate and see if a higher or lower stroke right might help you swim faster for less effort.  As Paul mentions in his video, and backed up by several studies, the counter-intuitive fact is that often a higher stroke rate can be more efficient, faster and less tiring so give it a go!

See you Saturday,




We will be continuing to focus on some faster swimming this week as we continue building up to the next set of time trials at the end of March.  However, while we work on faster paced swimming it is still really important to also keep working on your stroke.  One of the main areas many of us could improve is to get a higher-elbow catch by getting your hand lower during the entry into the water.  Please watch this short video from Swim Smooth with a comparison of a swimmer with this fault compared with the strokes of Michael Phelps and others.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas of what is really going on here and why it is important.  So if you think it is something you could improve at what can you do?  My advice is:

  1. Lift your head and look slightly forward once or twice per length to watch your hand entry and check that your hand is lower than your wrist and your wrist is lower than your elbow when it enters the water.
  2. Keep your hand moving all the time after it has entered the water.  Your hand and forearm need to catch up with the water that your body is moving past and you will only get significant propulsion when your forearms are vertical and your hand pointing to the bottom of the pool.  Notice how in the clip of Michael Phelps in the Swim Smooth video he has a lovely long stroke but his hands keep moving forwards and downwards after entering the water.
  3. Be patient with the catch.  Don’t waste energy by inefficiently pressing down on the water after the hand enters the water.  Be patient and wait until your forearm is vertical, and hand pointing downwards, before applying pressure on the water.

You will have plenty of chance to think about this during the session this week during the warm-up, technique subset and the steady-paced 50s of the main set so please do practice and show me how well you can do this!

See you Saturday,



%d bloggers like this: