Michael Phelps, a swimming legend who won six gold medals and three world records at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Terry Laughlin, a swimming expert and founder of Total Immersion (www.totalimmersion.net), and Olympic coach David Marsh are the best people to ask for assistance on these issues. They were tasked with making a simple, step-by-step manual to assist triathletes with their technique, and they certainly delivered.
This manual focuses on triathlon and acknowledges that triathletes, who come in a variety of sizes and skills, require a different kind of training and technique than competitive swimmers. For instance, Phelps, who stands 6’4″, has a 2 m wing span, which enables him to move through the water like a nitro-fueled speedboat in comparison to your penguin-like wing span. He can practice in the pool for 45 miles per week, which is fantastic for him but you still have two other sports to train for and a life to enjoy.
There are certain similarities, though, and all Swimjourney Singapore swimmers and triathletes should grasp Phelps’ fundamental in-pool tenet: “The longer and more streamlined you can make your body, the faster you’ll go.” That’s how easy it is.
The advise on the right is intended for triathletes of all skill levels. They’ll stop you from writhing around like you’re being attacked by piranhas if you’re a newbie. Or, if you consider yourself an experienced veteran, they’ll demonstrate how you can cut seconds off your time without shaving your legs.
Any swim stroke is OK if you’re preparing for your first triathlon, but here the emphasis is on freestyle because it works the most muscles, builds core strength, and burns the most calories. Freestyle also gives an excellent cardio exercise. Here is our seven-step strategy for sweeping everyone aside.
1. Swim long.
According to Laughlin, water is 1,000 times denser than air. Therefore, the single most crucial element is to get your body through the tiniest crack in the water. Imagine a center axis that extends from your head’s crown to the other end of the pool. With each stroke, rotate your body along this axis while extending your leading arm as far forward as you can. As you push through the water, keep your lower back and abs tight to maintain the propulsion from both your arms and legs.
2. Lower the anchor
It’s equivalent to jumping with just your feet to swim with just your hands. Instead, dig in like you’re using a shovel to gather sand, using your entire forearm and hand to retain the water while keeping your forearm at a right angle to your upper arm. Keep firm, wide, flat hands at all times. Your body is being pulled over your arm as opposed to being pushed through the water.
3. Vigorous rotation
Your leading arm should be in the water when you start each stroke, and your low side should be virtually pointed at the bottom of the pool. Your high side should be up, and the arm that just ended its stroke should be getting ready to enter the water again. According to Laughlin, “Power is triggered as you drive down the high side of your body.” “Rotating your hips and torso while thrusting your high-side arm forward and into the leading position. In the meantime, your low-side arm serves as the underwater pulling arm and accelerates you along with your spinning torso.
4. Maintain a downward gaze
Freestylers used to carry themselves with pride. The rest of the body was forced to drop as a result, transforming it into a high-drag plough. Phelps states, “I basically look straight down to the bottom of the pool. In addition to dragging, this cut keeps your torso up, which relieves stress on your neck and lower back.
5. Choose a glide route.
Less strokes are preferable in the water. You should aim for a long distance per stroke (DPS). A 25-meter pool can be readily crossed in seven strokes by skilled swimmers like Phelps (each hand entry counts as a stroke). Try to maintain momentum to keep yours under 20. With one arm leading the way and the other following behind, pull yourself over your anchor and keep moving forward. With your legs streamlined close to your axis, you’ll move farther and faster, according to Laughlin. “Start the following stroke when you start to slow down.”
6. Take a step back
According to Phelps, “If you’re a good kicker, you’re a terrific swimmer.” Changing your feet into fins is the trick. Again, leverage is key; keep your legs tight and scissor through the water while keeping your feet flexible. This will make them snap during the downstroke of each kick, giving it more oomph and assisting with the central axis twist. Buy a pair of fins (like the Speedo Swim Fins, £19.99) if your feet aren’t flexible enough.
7. Avoid expending breath.
It’s a terrific way to drown to gasp for breath every time your head comes close to the surface. Make each breath matter instead. Before taking a quick, full breath on the high side, forcefully exhale all of the air from your lungs, not just 90 percent of them. Swimmers who are just starting out should breathe after every stroke, but as their endurance increases, they should attempt breathing on alternate sides, or after three strokes. Your neck and shoulders won’t be as stressed as they would be if you consistently breathed on the same side.
A Racing Form can be Found
In training, you have perfect form, but when the triathlon starts, you lose that form. We’ve all experienced it: you start to flail your arms, and when you lift your head, all you see is a sea of fellow triathletes sprinting past you. According to Laughlin, the problem is retaining your efficiency at high intensities. “Swimming quickly at the outset of a triathlon might destroy your form,” he explains.
Find your limit
Following a five-minute warm-up, complete the 500-meter test. Start at a pace you can maintain for more than 500 meters, but progressively increase it so that your final 100 meters require 90% of your energy. In the first and last 100 meters, tally your strokes per length (SPL).
Gain more threshold
Swim 100 meters in succession for 20 to 30 minutes, pausing for a quarter of that time to rest. So, after swimming 100 meters in four minutes, take a minute to relax before starting the following set. In the final 100 meters of your test, swim as quickly as you can while maintaining an SPL count that is one or two strokes below your count.
Use these straightforward swimming routines from Olympic coach David Marsh to avoid mistakes. You’ll quickly advance from a tadpole to a torpedo.
Getting a good breath
Automatically, you lift your neck to breathe, which causes your body to get out of balance.
The Solution: Visualize your spine as a fixed axis that is floating in water. Roll your shoulders forward with each reach while keeping your head lowered. Turn your head to the side and extend your arm as you take a quick breath.
Three freestyle strokes without breathing, followed by a torso rotation that causes you to land on your back. Move into freestyle after three backstrokes. Roll on different sides. 50 meters should be run ten times with a 10-second break in between.
using your core to kick
Instinct: Knee-kicking throws your balance off and wears out your quadriceps muscles, which is bad news before the bike.
The Solution: Kick with your hips. You move forward more effectively with small, rhythmic flutters than with big, thrashing kicks that disengage your hips and thighs. Consider your legs as extensions of your core while only slightly bending each knee.
Fin Sprints is the drill.
Push off the wall on your back while holding your arms over your head while wearing foot fins. Perform 10 sets of 50 meters each, with a 30-second recovery period in between.
As a matter of instinct, you use a paddle rather than forearms to move through the water.
The Solution: As you advance into the water, anchor your hand, wrist, and forearm. Avoid letting your elbow sink inward as this will just reduce the strength of the anchor and your pulling ability.
A CLOSED-FIST SETS drill
You must anchor your forearms when swimming lengths with closed fists. Perform a set of 4 x 50m fist-only strokes, pausing for 10 seconds between each 50m. Do a series of six 50-meter runs with open hands, pausing for 10 seconds after each 50-meter run.
Improve your workout
Instinct: You swim for your workout in long sets at a moderate pace, much like you would if you were running.
The Fix: Professional triathletes work on designing sets that start slowly and end with sprints. They improve fitness and provide fatigue-resistant strokes. Runner-up is the one whose technique fails first.
The Exercise: STROKES COUNT
Match the first, easy length’s number of strokes with the last, sprint length’s number. Perform a set of 5 x 100m at around 4-minute intervals. First 25 meters: long and simple. The second is to swim with 50% effort. For the third: 75%. 90% of the total length was used.
Swimming is frequently the activity that causes people the most anxiety, whether they are triathlete beginners or seasoned competitors. Most of us have grown up riding bikes and running, but it’s possible that our swimming growth halted in school. Even if you’re an experienced swimmer, there are experts who can analyze your swimming technique and strengthen your weak points if you dread going for a swim. Additionally, as one triathlete recently learned, there is always space for growth.
Consider yourself to be a decent swimmer?
I did the same thing before going to the East End of London swimming instructors SWIMFORTRI. Even though it had been 25 years since my last school swimming class, I was still swift enough to pass the elderly people in the pool’s slow lane and keep up with the fast pace of life. I had even attempted the occasional 5000-meter swim-a-thon, so I wasn’t unprepared for what would happen when I entered an endless pool, which is to swimming what a treadmill is to running.
My instructor Dawn Hunter switched on the current, pushed record on the DVD player, and moved behind a screen to avoid the splashes while four cameras were trained on my body to record each stroke—two below the water and two above it.
After I’d been swimming for a while, Hunter rewinded the DVD and explained where I was going wrong and correctly. She did compliment me on one or two elements of my stroke, but I was also doing at least ten fundamental mistakes, such as kicking with my knees like a scuba diver wearing fins and pushing my arms through the water with too much straightness.
There are only so many things a skilled expert can accomplish for you in an hour, but Hunter got me started on a number of workouts to enhance my kick, timing, and recovery portion of the stroke – albeit not all at once. Hunter was determined that working on one drill at a time ensured faster improvement than a whole overhaul of the stroke. Before the hour was up, I was swimming at the same rate but using fewer strokes because I was concentrating on kicking from the hip rather than the knee.