Pictured are some of Beeches Masters dipping their toes
|Practise accelerating up to speed quickly and efficiently from a treading water position.
A pull buoy is optional – don’t kick at all if you use one to keep the focus on the arm stroke.
– Organise yourself into drafting groups, using both arrow head and in-line drafting formations. Swap round the lead swimmer regularly and get as close as you can to the other swimmers without disrupting their stroke. When swimming to the side of another swimmer, experiment with matching your stroke rate to theirs to avoid clashing arms.
|Don’t get too close to the swimmer in front when in-line
drafting or you will disrupt their stroke (and yours)!
– When drafting, get comfortable being close to other swimmers, yes the turbulence will disrupt your stroke rhythm and this can feel off putting at first but don’t be tempted to seek out clear water. The benefits of being in this draft zone are huge (saving you up to 38% of your energy expenditure ) and by becoming accustomed to it you will be able to swim much faster than you otherwise would. Experiment with a slightly shorter punchier stroke style to be more efficient in the disturbed water and turbulence.
– Include short races over 50, 100 and 200m where you are drafting and the lead person is trying to drop the guys behind. The lead swimmer can make this tactical by swimming at a steady pace at first and then surprising those behind by surging unexpectedly to try and develop a gap. If you’re following the lead swimmer stay aware and responsive just as you should be in a real race situation.
– When swimming in drafting groups, include the turn at the end of the lane in your swim (if you’ve got use of multiple lanes duck under the lane rope into the next lane to make it harder). This creates a bit of chaos and forces you to improvise and quickly find the draft zone again – think quickly and don’t hesitate or you will lose the draft!
|Turning under the lane rope in close proximity to other
swimmers is sure to create some race-simulating chaos!
– Whilst swimming alone in the lane, close your eyes except when lifting your head to sight forwards. This gives you useful practise of getting a little disorientated and it really highlights how straight you can swim (or can’t swim!) without following the line on the bottom of the pool. Find out more about good sighting technique here.
That’s just a short list to give you some ideas but get creative and use the environment and resources available to you to create your own sessions. Coach Nicky Proctor from York Triathlon Club just wrote in and told us about a session she ran with her squad where she divided everyone into teams and they raced to collect coloured balls (taken from the kiddies ball pit) and then dove for shells and sinkers from the pool bottom, all competitively for points. Her swimmers got mini-eggs and chocolate bunnies for prizes (as it was Good Friday). Great idea Nicky!
A Little Sprint Training
As you know, at Swim Smooth we’re fans of threshold (e.g. CSS) training for the majority of your distance swimming fitness sessions but open water skills sessions are the perfect opportunity to include some sprint work in your training too. The head to head nature of these sessions is perfect for sprint training and combining two sessions into one like this is very time efficient.
c/o Swim Smooth