Swimming, what do I get from it?
Touch. It’s all about touch, physical contact; feeling
Today I was focusing on my breathing ,
Breathing out through my nose, slowly.
I find that long shallow breathing keeps my body close to the surface, which creates less resistance when moving forward.
The timing of the breath, exhaling to coincide with different phases of ones stroke, contributes to a fuller, steadier catch and more powerful connection with the water. I find this particularly noticeable when doing butterfly.
When exhaling I seem to have greater range of arm movement.
On single arm fly I’ve managed to do 50 metres in 12 strokes.
Full stroke varies between 13 strokes (easy) and 18 strokes (fast) .
I need to work on my kick.
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 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
Tim had a look at my stroke on Sunday. Apparently my left arm (or is it my right) swing out really wide on the recovery and I am over extending in the catch phase, wasting a lot of energy and placing unnecessary strain on my shoulder by pulling through with a straight arm.
The wide stroke, obviously contributes to drag, which I need to avoid. Narrowing my profile, making my body streamline, as if trying to thread it through the eye of a needle is the way to go. So I need to practise.
My main challenge at the moment is not over extending in the catch phase of the hand entry, but entering the water closer to my shoulder.
My stroke was much better about three years ago, but has deteriorated, possibly as a consequence of overtraining and fatigue. By over training I mean swimming excessively, often without adequate hydration, nutrition or rest. Also failing to stretch and do regular dry side exercises.
The advantage of using a high elbow catch is that it encourages better shoulder rotation, engagement of the lats and shallow pull. This keeps the body shallow, i.e. on the surface of the water as opposed to under the water and reduces drag.