Sunday, March 14, 2010

Under The Swim Stroke Microscope.

If you ever find yourself the opportunity  in which to have a swim coach look at your stroke and and I'm talking HIGH ON THE FOOD CHAIN kind  who is insightful, knowledgeable and thorough, get yourself to the pool where he or she coaches and  get that freestyle stroke (you think is so sexy and fast.. 'cause it  probably ain't) shredded and analyzed.

I have never considered my freestyle stroke as anything special. I can swim 1:20's but working much harder than I probably have to if  I just took the time to correct some of the many flaws my stroke contains.
I've tried to address them in the past but only  halfheartedly.   Having your stroke analyzed above and below the water through video combined with constructive feedback that is easy to understand is the basic element for correction.

I had the opportunity  to swim in Sudbury, MA with The West Side Swim Club on Saturday. I normally swim in Boston, at MIT with masters  during the week. The coach of West Side is  Nate McBride. Nate takes swimming serious and if you ever decide you want to join WS, don't show up without serious commitment conveniently tucked in your pocket or you'll be weeded out like pachysandra in a tulip garden.

Nate invited me to swim and I couldn't pass it up. So up at 4:50 am on Saturday I was to not be late
for the 6:20 deck time. Saturday was distance day and WAIT  TIL YOU SEE THE SET.  I did NOT
finish the main set.  I physically could not do it. I felt like a loser getting out of the pool while the other girls
completed it. We even got a food and drink break. Nate was very understanding (on the outside) while probably thinking.. "girl..HTFU, this is SWIMMING!" Didn't you Nate?... I think he gave me a hall pass for a  partially cracked healing femur.
Ok, so before I show you the actual workout and my distance for the day, ( it's impressive) I can't forget to mention Coach Nate sitting on the bottom of the pool wedged up against the wall with a heavy weight on his lap to keep him there as i flip turned above him while he video taped me.  THANK YOU NATE!!!

I am ever grateful for the day's attention and valuable tools to tweak a very (non sexy eh..not so fast either)
freestyle and flip turn.

Saturday's workout  ( I only did 6200 of this and got out after the first set of 5x 4-200's)Only??
 I'm not supposed to do 6200 until my 62nd birthday I thought!!

3 x 150 – 1:50 – 3/5, 4/6, 5/7 BP by 150
1 x 350 – pull – 300 free/50 br – 4:45
Main set:
4 x 200 – #1 on 3:45 always changes  /#2 #3 #4  desend on 3:00
  1/6 – #1 – pull,   #2-#4 descend
  2/7 – #1 – drill choice,  #2-#4 descend
  3/8 – #1 – IM, #2-#4 descend
  4/9 – #1 – choice, #2-#4 descend
  5/10 – #1 – MAX EFFORT, #2-#4 descend
10,400 Yards (2h45m)  How crazy is this???

I'll share some of my feedback and a video
I have nine videos and I'll torture you with just one!  Here

"Your kick is killing you...that big old gap down there is almost like scissors cutting cardboard...every time you create that big of a gap you create a side-flow that you then have to kick against...legs should be tight and rapid...the smaller the gap the better.
Streamline off the wall is good although you are missing one little component...namely dolphin kicks or even flutter kicks for that matter. If you added in even one dolphin kick and a few flutter kicks you would easily get four more feet." 
"Recovery is not so bad although you do not really finish your stroke at the hips with a flourish. You sort of just finish at the top hip and then pull your hand out. You should really finish pulling that water all the way to the bottom hip.
Your kick needs work...stat.  

You are dropping both of your elbows pretty badly. Your extension is really good and strong but you are not taking advantage of it. You need to extend, keep that elbow high, jack up that early vertical forearm and then pull yourself forward. Dropped elbow leads to half-catch and 2x stroke rate. You definitely need to take advantage of being long. Your rotation is excellent by the way...very balanced. Head position is nice and neutral as well." 

Happy swimming!


kerrie said...

um, are you f'ing nuts? lol.
i didn't know you could swim that much without your arms falling off!! are they still there?
you don't have to worry at all about running if you are swimming like that!

Michelle Simmons said...

That sounds like something we used to do in high school during Hell Week. ;) Glad you got your stroke analyzed and now know about your kick!

GoBigGreen said...

E-cool advice. But like Kerrie said you dong need a torn labrum or cuff issues to boot woman. That's insane yardage!

jessithompson said...

WOW! More impressive than the yardage is all the feedback. Our masters coach tapes us about once a month and talks over the video. Then we go on-line to view it. It has helped me a lot. My only recommendation is to keep getting feedback. Sometimes we can overcorrect (with the very best of intentions) and then create a new set of problems. Regular feedback is key.

Marit C-L said...

Oh. My. God.

Wow... I thought it wouldbetough when you said hardcore... but I never imagined anything like this!! Holy cow!!!!

On the other that you're super efficient in the water, doing workouts like this shouldn't be "as bad". Right...? Oh wait - you're still swimming OVER SIX MILES. I rescind my last statement....

Is it awful to admit that running 6 miles is tough? Can't imagine swimming those suckers... GREAT JOB!!!!!

goSonja said...

Grr, very gnarley! Thanks for posting your videos too, and the feedback you got from them, it helps all of us.

Jennifer Harrison said...

YES! This post is right up my alley! We do video taping here w/ my swim team all the time...I video people here a lot. Great feedback. Swimming is that one sport where you really can not feel what you do wrong, ya know?

KICKING! Ah, triathlete's biggest issue...that is mine too!

10k meters. Phew...I mean who does that in one set and then rides and runs that day too? LOL

Glad you got some great feedback!

Mer! said...

I couldn't even read the bulk of the workout..made me nervous...I am RUNNING from YOU if you try to make me do this next year!!! I will hide and you will never find me!!!

LOL at the feedback..sounds like what my swim coach used to tell us when we were leave feeling like you suck at swimming in ALL aspects even if you CAN swim 1:20's!!!

It's so overwhelming sometimes, like you want to fix everything, but really it's so hard to focus on fixing it all at once!!

Good on you for pushing yourself!! Wow....between the orthotics posting and this swim critique no wonder you were craving Vera....