Over Rotation

Tim says the cross over of my arms in the hand entry phase of my stroke  is due to over rotation when breathing.

Things to consider:

Breathe to the side,  not looking up at sky! Turn head to the side and look across water surface – one eye in the water and the other out of the water.

Keep hips flatter . Use this drill to practice



Enter handers at shoulder or aim to enter as wide as possible.

To  correct position of hands on entry alternate water polo heads up front crawl with regular front crawl. See water polo heads up below



Stroke Analysis and Correction

Had a 1 to 1 training session with Tim at St Georges pool today.

We looked at improving my catch and pull.

Tim seems to think the EVF drills I’ve been doing have really improved my pull since our last session. I have a better feel of the water, bending at the elbow,   pulling in down the centre   and ending at the back.

Its still not perfect, but better. He keeps saying “better”. Sometimes he says “Awful”. Thats usually when I’ve reverted back to my old style of swimming :/

Today however we looked at trying to correct the cross over of my hands on entry.

Basically, in order for me to enter at the correct point and not cross over the midline, I need to aim at entering really wide.

When i do this my hand enters at the correct position in front of me, not wide  and not across my body line.

I also need to focus on keeping my head still.

Heres a video clip of my swimming at the end of the session.


“The main objective of swimming the English Channel is not to have a pretty stroke, but to get across!” Tim Denyer

This is just as well, because i do not have a pretty stroke. As a friend pointed out, I’m a splosher.

If I can adopt a more efficient stroke however, for at least part of the swim, then it will contribute to a faster and more enjoyable swim.

The keyword there is *joy*



I had a 1:1 training session with Tim yesterday. 

He says if there is one word I should think about in order to maintain good form during my swim it’s *STREAMLINE*

“Keep it streamline” That’s what he said. 

OK Tim! 

And here are some links he gave me to study which will help me get a better catch and pull:

Check out the drill below and also remember the double arm drill with thumbs touching.

EVF drill (slightly different to how we did it today):


Secret Tip: How to Pull Underwater Drills

This general clip is also pretty good to break down the EVF concept further:

Check out the links below of great Olympic swimmers and focus on their EVF.

Sun Yang – multi angle:

Ian Thorpe – side:

Michael Phelps – multi angle:






My stroke has improved immensely since I returned to sculling.

It has given me so much control and I can really feel the water. I mean I can pull it like rope , even my kick and streamlining has improved and though I didn’t time myself I felt as though I was travelling much faster with less effort. Great


Strapless (paddles) sculling

More sculling


I swam just under 3 hours yesterday and 3.5 hours today . In the last 5 days I’ve swum about 25-30km.

I notice my form goes in and out of whack quite a lot over the course of a long swim.
I think I might be swimming too much.

I need to do more drills using on high elbow, hand entry and pull to improve power and efficiency and avoid injury.

The advantage of doing this regularly after warm up is that it stays in ones short term memory; which means its easier to recall and perform during the main set.

As a corrective measure.

Probably best to concentrate on stroke and speed for next few days at least. Otherwise I risk injury and developing bad technique.

Relax. Streamline, 6 beat kick.  No splashing!

Do catch up drill to improve catch and pull.

Do not let elbows drop below water level.

Keep body close to surface



Alexander Popov – Kayak Principle

Relaxation at Top Speed
This short documentary looks at Olympic gold medallist, Alexander Popov’s front crawl swimming technique, and the way he balances propulsion and  resistance to minimise drag and create fluid relaxed motion at top speed.

Gennadi Touretski, Popov’s coach: “The kayak principle is based on the theory of using two arms simultaneously to provide continuous propulsion.”

“Drills that encourage the Kayak principle include freestyle head up, with a dolphin kick.”

“Relaxation is the key for excellence, because if your skill is automatic you will be relaxed. Relaxation decreases the energy cost of locomotion.

“Performance is the only real measure of effective swimming and Speed through the water is a combination of rhythm, range and relaxation”

“Gennadi believes that the future of sprint swimming is in creating ways to take advantage of muscle elasticity and to redevelop the swimming stroke to enable the swimming body to move as a single unit, not as a number of independently moving parts.

In short technical efficiency becomes more important than increasing propulsive forces.”



studio work

  Mostly drills today

butterfly kick 300m

front crawl kick 300m

backstroke kick 300m

sculling on front 300M

doggie paddle 100m

sculling on back feet first 50m

single arm crawl 300m

single arm fly 400m

fly break stroke drill 300m

Backstroke front crawl 300m

some other stuff (stopped counting)

not particularly taxing on heart and lungs.

technique is improving though. Sculling definitely helps and the 333 mix of butterfly, Brest stroke and crawl.

the best set for cardio

100m alternating front crawl full stroke and backstroke kick.

*tomorrow to swim 1000m alternating backstroke kick and front crawl full.  No resting


The thing about all this writing is that it follows hours of swimming, which often involves thinking about nothing but swimming, in particular technique, breathing; trying to maintain good form over a long distance.

I’m not sure if it makes for particularly interesting reading however.

Often after swimming I feel quite drained and the first thing I think about on leaving the water is hydration and nutrition.

The trick is to have quality nutrition to hand: bananas, nuts, water and then to eat a hearty meal, lots of protein!

“stay away from chocolates and cake” i keep telling myself as i lunge at the nearest sugar fix