It seems unreal – but it’s true, when you practice swimming slower, your faster swimming will get faster. “Why is this so?” I hear you ask. Well a number of reasons, too many for just one post, so we’ll start with the core, yes the dreaded core – you’ve heard it before I’m sure.
First of all in freestyle swimming we want to swim smarter not harder. This is especially important for any endurance swimmers. If your race is longer than 400m then you’re an endurance swimmer. That is most ocean swimmers, triathletes and longer distant pool swimmers.
Two things will help you increase your swimming speed in the water, decrease your drag and improve your propulsion. Slowing your swimming down will cause most people to sink. Once you’ve slowed down we can then work on the sink. You can learn to improve your position in the water at a slow speed through different drills. When you start to swim faster you’ll definitely notice a huge improvement.
Developing your core is key to improving your body position in the water. Many coaches say, “use your core”. I’ve heard many athletes say back to the coach, “how????” Engaging the core is challenging but essential for all athletes, not just swimmers. Here’s a couple of suggestions on ways to think about the core whilst you’re swimming:
Imagine you have a belt bracing your tummy and that your belly button is being drawn towards your spine. Before you actually get in the water or take off from the end of the pool engage your core whilst keeping both feet on the ground. Feel the strength around your middle as you push off the wall. Try to hold this position whilst you’re swimming.
I find many people fatigue quickly when they do this, so you need to keep the practice up so that it becomes automatic. I taught many swimmers these techniques and vividly remember their cries of exhaustion after the first couple of lessons, however they persisted and they made significant improvements.
Sydney Swimmer Stroke Correction sessions are held Monday and Wednesday evenings at Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre with the wonderful Sarah Koen (Superfish Coaching) and Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Head Coach Paul Myatt. We believe that practising is the key to successful swimming, so at till the end of February 2015, every time you purchase a Video Stroke Correction session, we’ll include a complimentary squad session to complement your swim training regime.