Swim tips #2

Lionel Padial is a Nelson swim coach. This is the second in a series of tips for sea swimmers.

Focus more on form, and less on effort!

When swimming we would all be wise to focus our efforts primarily on reducing drag in any way we can. When you consider the scary facts that water is 880 times thicker than air and that the average Olympic swimmer is approximately 10% efficient it would be a wise person who decides to do as the professionals do i.e. focus more on technique and then build their fitness around that technique.

In my experience 99.9% (all of us mere mortals) of swimmers understand that drag reduction is key and will endeavor to swim with an element of streamline but will tend to give their stroke form away as they work harder to go faster. The other 0.1% (the elite) either instinctively know or have learnt through hard experience that to swim fast they must give most of their attention to their stroke form and NEVER give it away in their quest for speed. They understand that in order to swim at their best they must control their effort keeping it in unison with their form.

Adam Walker has successfully swum seven of the most challenging swims on the planet. These are all long, tough endurance swims but as you will see from the following clip he is no slouch “Easy” Swim

Ok so you are thinking wow, how do I swim like that…well that might take a few years of dedication but here is a good tip from Olympic gold medal winner Geoff Hueghill –  “The big mistake people make is rushing, and not going through the process of a proper stroke”.

Top Tips:

Less effort, more form. Swim with at least 10% less effort and focus that 10% on swimming as well as you can and in the direction you want to go. The newer you are to swimming or the more frustrated you are with your swimming the more you need to back off so as to become aware of the faults. Swimming on the edge of your effort levels distracts you from the flaws in your stroke and the direction you are swimming in and likely makes them bigger! Whilst you might feel as though you are racing re-consider the drag equation and your navigation.

Swim tall / relaxed– Point the crown of your head in the direction you want to go, be tall through your body and let your shoulder blades slide down your back.

Drive yourself smoothly forwards on each stroke as accurately as you can from your body, aim to spear a hole in the water.

“The water is your friend…. you don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move”. 
Alexander Popov

Have fun out there!


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