Here are 10 really easy ways to help increase your ability to swim fast in the pool and in the race.
1. Frequency over Duration
3. Join a squad
4. Feel the water
5. Palm facing backward
6. High Elbow
7. Body roll
8. Kick sets often
9. Decrease stroke rate
10. Enjoy swimming
Frequency over Duration
3 swims to maintain, 4 to improve.
Frequency is the amount of sessions we do in a week whilst Duration is the amount of time we spend at each session.
The most simple step to improve your swimming is to increase your number of swim sessions. The more often you do it, the more adaptation there is to that muscle movement. With that also comes an increased ability to learn proper technique as the body is able to complete the task efficiently without issues with fatigue (that creates negative technique the longer a session goes for)
Be consistent each week, do your swims at the same time and the same place, with the session goals being the same at each of those respective meetings. Which leads into the next tip….
Join a Squad
This is one of the best ways you can improve. Having people to meet will force you to swim at the same times each week. If you are serious about getting faster than picking a squad with a coach is extremely beneficial. If you are not improving here, something is very wrong.
Feel the water
Water is different to air obviously. You can actually feel water, and guess what…?! The better your understanding of the water and its fluid dynamics the better your ability to move in, through, and on top of it. Learn how to scull, learn how to manipulate your body through the liquid using small muscle movements. It will all help to improve your swimming.
Palm facing backwards
The most simple trick to improve your swimming from a technique point of view. By always keeping the palm of your hand facing backwards you are in doing so always going forwards.
We all know Newtons Laws. Well for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction… so face your palm backwards once you have made your catch and keep it facing backwards until it leaves the water.
That in turn leads into the next tip…
Keep your elbow high
Athletes get confused with this meaning. High elbow isn’t on the recovery when your arm is out of the liquid. High elbow is during your ‘pull’ phase whilst your arm is underneath your body. If your palm is facing backwards in the water it will force you to keep your elbow high during the pull phase and in turn help to promote body roll.
This is basically the step that gets you on the track to using your back muscles as the main muscle-groups whilst swimming freestyle. Your back muscles are large areas of muscles that can take an absolute pounding in comparison to your arm muscles. Body roll helps utilise these big muscle groups – obviously reducing fatigue.
By increasing body roll you are also increasing the size and structure of your paddle in the water (hands and forearms); whilst also making it easier to breath.
Kick sets often
I really do wonder why triathletes say that they shouldn’t need to kick. For me this is the most crucial part in preparing for the race. Kicking is what keeps your bum up in the water, putting you in a stable and hydrodynamic position. It also serves to increase the propulsion of the athlete significantly more than previous understanding.
A good kicker can easily put 10sec/100m on an equally talented freestyler just by increasing the effectiveness and rate of the kick.
But kick sets in training have two important features. 1) increase kick performance. 2) Serve as a great tool for active recovery
Decrease Stroke Rate
A very important step to becoming a great swimmer. The best freestylers in the world look like they are slow. Because they are so efficient under the water, they really don’t need to turn their arms over quickly to stay FAST.
Decreasing stroke rate promotes the decrease in dead-spots, the reason being because you have to maximise every single movement you make under water. People with a fast stroke rate are doing so because they are supplementing that for some kind of problem under the liquid.
It should be in your head that swimming is going to be a part of your lifestyle. Enjoy it for what it is, a great workout with little to no gravity loading. Have fun and your swimming will improve out of sight.