Swim for Tri: Session Two

FRONT CRAWL DRILLS

After session one with Swim for Tri last week, I’d headed to Highbury pool over the weekend brimming with confidence, the desire to perfect my bilateral technique, and expecting instant improvement. But things didn’t quite go to plan: breathing to the left felt awkward again; oxygen debt was quick to occur; the comfort I’d felt towards the end of the last session had evaporated; and the bustle of the busy public pool was irritating. Okay this last problem was very lame and felt so as my infuriation subsided! What had gone wrong? What was I doing differently? What had happened to the calm, easy, smooth ’19-strokes-per-length’ technique? How could I get that back again?

Drills. In my hasty exuberance I’d forgotten what had helped me improve in the first place. So for Session Two – this time with former GB swimmer Maxine – after conducting her own analysis of my technique, drills drills and more drills were the order of the day. Using fins to keep technique tight, balanced and effective, she got me to focus on four key drills:

1/ Back Torpedo: Leg-kicking and upper body rotation drill. On your back, hands by your side and head perfectly still. Use fins and kick from the hips. Rotate the shoulders from side to side. Maximum rotation is shoulder to chin.

2/ Front Torpedo: 2-leg-kicking and upper body rotation drill. On your front with your hands by your side and head perfectly still. Use fins and kick from the hips. Rotate the shoulders from side to side (maximum rotation is shoulder to chin). Go as far as you can without breath then finish the rest of the length full stroke really focusing on upper body rotation.

3/ Basic Extension: This drill promotes good body rotation and head alignment. Body should be rotated from shoulders on side, one arm extended from shoulder, reaching in front of body. Very little space should be present between the cheek and extended arm. Straight alignment from tips of fingers to toes with the arm parallel to the surface of the water. The other arm rests against the side of your body by your leg. This shoulder should be rotated enough so that the shoulder is out of the water. Take approximately 6 kicks (breathe regularly) then turn to breath to the side. Return the head to the neutral position, looking slightly diagonally forwards with your eyes with the head still. The rotation and head movements are independent from each other.

4/ Extension Switch Drill: This drill promotes good body rotation and head alignment. Body should be rotated from shoulders on side, one arm extended from shoulder, reaching in front of body. Very little space should be present between the cheek and extended arm. Straight alignment from tips of fingers to toes with the arm parallel to the surface of the water. The other arm rests against the side of your body by your leg. This shoulder should be rotated enough so that the shoulder is out of the water. Take approximately 6 kicks (breathe regularly) then turn to breath to the side. Return the head to the neutral position, looking slightly diagonally forwards with your eyes with the head still. The rotation and head movements are independent from each other. Take 6 more kicks and keeping the head still perform one fullstroke to rotate and extend the opposite side. Repeat, kick, breathe, kick, switch. This drill can also be performed with 3 strokes between each rotation.

One-arm extension version can also be incorporated into the drill set:

 

 

To finish – removing the fins – I did several lengths using drill 4, at first just getting used to the strange feeling of an unaided leg kick, then focusing on full extension and a long stroke. The key being to spend as little time as possible in a horizontal position, thus minimising drag. I was delighted to hear Maxine tell me my stroke count on those final few lengths was now down to 17 – yes SEVENTEEN! Well chuffed, to use a phrase my childhood.

So drills, drills, drills it is then.

Click here for Session One notes.

1 Comment

  1. Stop messing about in the pool Mills and get on yer bike!


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