SWIM SCHOOL - WEEK 1

In week 1 we are going to cover some fundamental skills required for  faster more efficient swimming 

Introduction

Phases of the stroke with a diagram and or video of the stroke. 

Part 1 - Breathing

You might think breathing is as natural as ........  breathing. However, as soon as we get in the water it seems that it's not necessarily the case.  One of the most common errors is breath-holding.  Much like cycling or running or any exercise we want to have a regular inhalation and exhalation, with no significant pause at either end of the breath. 

Holding your breath can cause a few issues for your stroke:-

  1. Lungs full of air are very buoyant, and this may cause your legs to sink and increase your drag
  2. Holding your breath causes a build-up of CO2 which inhibits O2 transfer, and therefore leaves you breathless much sooner than the effort applied should.
  3. If you are holding your breath, then when you turn your head to breathe you have to exhale and inhale very quickly, resulting in a negative impact upon your timing, which is likely to have an impact upon your catch and therefore propulsion. 

Forget for a moment the act of turning your head to breathe and just focus on the in and out action of breathing. 

Drill 1  - 1-2-3 Breath

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Drill 2 - Depth Charge

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Part 2 - Kick

Have you ever heard that triathletes shouldn't kick when swimming, to save their legs for the bike? In our opinion, this is not strictly true.  It may be that you don't kick very hard, or even at all, but one thing you must do for an efficient stroke is to have control of your legs.  

Why use this term? 

Some people will kick, take their kick away and lose rhythm and timing or their kick is good enough that they don't waste energy from using it.  However, not everyone does. So the aim of practising your kick is not necessary to use it for propulsion. 

Learning to kick and be in control of your legs may enable you to use them less.  Key reasons for learning to kick effectively include:

  1. Improved body position, therefore reduced drag
  2. Improved stroke timing
  3. Potential to provide propulsion

What makes for effective leg control?

  • Pointed toes, so that, as your foot comes down in the water it presses water backwards and doesn't create drag. 
  • Your lower core muscles are activated which rotates your pelvis into the correct position to...
    • Activate your glutes - squeeze your bum cheeks.
  • With the above in place, then the leg action should move your feet approximately 20-40cm apart at the widest. 
  • Move your legs by squeezing your glutes and using your hip flexors
  • On the upsweep of the legs, you should have a little flexion at the top (bend your knee a little). 
  • On the down-sweep your knee your leg will straighten and become extended. 
  • Your ankles should be on a plane that means they are never more than a few cm apart. 

Common errors with kicking include an action that mimics kicking a football, using the quads and a great deal of knee flexion.  If you were to kick a ball with a correct swimming kick action, it would not go very far!

Drill 3 - Ballet

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Drill 4 - Wall Kick

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Drill 5 - Torpedo

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