How was your swim this last season? Feel you have room for improvement?
Now is the perfect time to work on technique and make adjustments if needed. Piling on the yards does not make you a faster or better swimmer. It does hurt your shoulders and puts the bad habits into the muscle memory.
Get a video of yourself swimming and take a look, you will be surprised at what you are or are not doing. This can be done on the pool deck on a bench or standing with stretch cords or use a swim bench like the Vasa Swim trainer or a Halo system. Get some video of yourself. If you have underwater video equipment it is best or video the dry land, you will be able to see your swim stroke and see where the inefficiencies are. It is one thing for someone to tell you where they see problems but quite the another when you see for yourself.
Once you have the correct technique for you to be the most hydrodynamic you can be, then it is time for distance base build. Long deliberate reach and roll of the body with an almost catch-up style freestyle stroke will gain you that desired speed while slowing your stroke turnover. You will be very surprised at the less energy exerted and the smooth flow your stroke now has. Less energy, lower heart rate, same if not just a bit faster for those 100s... now build up the endurance and distance in the workouts.
Drills I use every time I get in the water:
Fist close your hands and swim. Some people use a tennis ball or other item to grasp to keep their hands clenched. Turns off the nerves in the palms so you can feel the water pressure in the forearms and up above the elbows. This high elbow, high elbow in the pull not the recovery, stroke gives you more surface area of your arms for catching that water and moving you forward. Use the big muscles in your Lats (Latissimus dorsi) for the main part of the pull. Early Vertical Forearm as Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen states and explains in the video.
Catch up Getting long and reaching for the wall. One hand out in front while the other takes a stroke. Once the stroke hand has caught up to the outreached hand, switch and take a stroke with the other arm keeping the other stretched out and waiting. Breathe on one side for this drill! This is the only time I like to see single sided breathing. This Catching Up will get you to swim front quadrant. Take a look at the professional swimmers and how smooth they are. One arm is in recovery and ready to enter the water before the outreached hand begins its stroke.
One arm This is a tough one and takes a bit of practice. Keep one arm at your side while swimming with the other. Keep it long and glide! Breath only on the NON-STROKE side. This drill has you focus on the entire stroke of one arm as well as making you rotate! Think of an upright washing machine keeping the pivot point of your body at your spine. head down and in neutral position, just as if you were standing and walking (eyes at 90Deg from your spine), looking at the bottom of the pool. Use fins the first few times doing this drill to get the timing down.
Need a one-on-one to go over these items and get some underwater video? Contact me.