Archive for July, 2011
The best place to learn text book freestyle or crawl technique is in the pool. Open water swimming is much more than just simply following a line on the bottom which is why it is so exciting, whether you are just swimming for fitness or training for a triathlon or ironman the following tips may help you out in the open water.
The classic high elbow and relaxed forearm with a low hand position is the most efficient freestyle technique. In choppy open water it is often necessary to lift the forearm in order to avoid hitting waves. Ensure you keep your forearm as close to the body as possible throughout the recovery in this situation. Moving it too far away from the body will drastically reduce shoulder roll and your stroke length, this would result in far less efficient and effective swimming.
Sighting; It is important to sight often in open water swimming unless you are drafting and have confirmed the person you are following is heading in the right direction. When sighting I recommend lifting your head enough to confirm your direction, keep breathing to the side only. Lifting your head enough to breathe when sighting will lower your hips and break your rhythm, in short it slows you down.
If a swell is coming from one side breathe on the opposite side to avoid getting a mouthful of water.
If there is a large swell present accept that finding a satisfactory rhythm will be difficult. A reduction in stroke rate will help conserve energy. Try and feel or sense the dip between swells and if necessary use the stroke entry to slice into a wave and duck under it instead of swimming over the top.
Kicking; unless speed is required a relaxed two beat kick is far more efficient for endurance in the open water.
Keep your technique as close as possible to your pool swimming technique when swimming in open water. At the same time realise open water swimming is the time to use all your tricks, such as the ones I have mentioned above, to ensure efficient, comfortable and fast swimming.
I truly believe swimming is one of the best forms of exercise available. You get a terrific all round work out that places demands on the majority of muscles as well as your cardiovascular system. It provides conditioning and weight loss opportunities with a reduced risk of injury.
Having stated the above we need to recognise that swimming occurs in a low gravity environment. It is therefore a good idea to supplement your swimming with dryland conditioning. Dryland training can provide additional results including improved strength, flexibility and further cardiovascular improvement as well as strengthening muscles used in swimming. This last point can improve our overall swimming as well as help further reduce the risk of injury to major muscle groups used when swimming.
Let me introduce you to one of my favourite pieces of dryland swimming equipment; the resistance band. It is terrific because it is cheap, easily portable and so so versatile. With resistance bands you can complete resistance training, swimming specific workouts, cardio workouts, flexibility, stabilising exercises or a combination of any of these focuses. You can use resistance bands in your home, at the beach, park, pool or backyard. Do not under estimate the benefits dryland training can have on your swimming performance.
For more information on resistance band training, where to purchase, programs and progression contact me at email@example.com
Yesterday was my first time using the Aquasphere Kayenne goggles, talk about a terrific experience. You know when you want to buy a new pair of jeans how difficult it can be? You try on 100 pair but only 1 fits well and when you find that pair… brilliant! (Especially when you’re are a guy and don’t like shopping around) Well the Kayenne goggles were that 1 in 100 experience for me. I hate having to set up goggles to get them comfortable. One small easy adjustment to the Kayennes was all it took and they just felt so comfortable, the visibility was superb and they still provided a great streamline. I had a terrific open water swim on the Greek Islands today thanks to these goggles. They are still definitely an open water or triathlon goggle but I would recommend these to both a beginner and the more serious competitor. I will be using Kayenne in the open water this summer – get a pair and try them for yourselves! Happy swimming, Dan
I have had my Zoggs Predators for a couple of months so have had ample time to try them out; this last two weeks in the Greek Islands I have truly put them through their paces. They are what I would call a hybrid goggle, built for both good visibility as well as performance. In the pool I found them disastrous, the drag profile ensured that on most streamlined wall push offs the seal broke and they filled up. This never happens with a purpose built pool goggle but is not uncommon with the hybrids. They are certainly suited to open water swimming and triathlon, the tinted lens on my set protected me against the glare from the endless sun. They are comfortable and easily adjusted providing a good mixture of comfort and performance. I would rate this goggle as a good entry level for the new triathlete or open water swimmer.
I have had a few excellent open water swims now and have been able to properly test out my Aquasphere Vista Smoke Lens and Clear Lens goggles. This trip has required swimming and boat travel between the Greek islands; with all the traveling and all the sand on the beaches it is terrific to have the hard storage case to store my goggles in. The visibility is terrific, nothing would be more annoying than having damaged goggles, the hard storage case protects them well and stops the lens becoming scratched.
They are a big goggle, I would describe them as something like a mini diving mask. You need to be careful if wearing a swim cap as the cap can easily get caught under the top of the goggle, this will cause the goggle to leak – get a swim buddy to check the goggle fit before starting the swim. The Smoke Lens has been superb during the intense daylight, the Clear Lens works well at dawn and dusk. The goggles certainly create drag therefore I would not recommend them for serious swim racing, but in my example for swimming around the Greek islands where the water visibility is superb or for open water swimming where speed is not the main factor Aquasphere Vistas are a sound purchase. I suggest checking out Wiggle/Amazon or a similar online shopping website for a price comparison. Happy swimming, Dan