Aqua Notes - The Race Club

Breakout: Freestyle Flip Turns

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Originally published on SwimSwam.com

The breakout is the final part of the freestyle flip-turn and it is also where mistakes are commonly made. A bad breakout can easily transform a good turn into a….not-so-good one. There are several important elements to performing a great freestyle breakout.

DOLPHIN KICK TRANSITION TO FLUTTER KICK

First, after the completion of the final dolphin kick, there must be an immediate transition to flutter kick. Any delay in this change over will cause the body speed to slow quickly, as the legs are the only source of propulsion, since leaving the wall.

PULLING MOTION INITIATED FROM THE STREAMLINE POSITION

Second, the pulling motion of the hand should be initiated from the streamlined position. There is a common tendency of swimmers to separate their hands and arms in front long before the first pull is started, increasing frontal drag.

PULLING MOTION IS STRAIGHT BACK, UNDER THE EDGE OF THE BODY

Third, the pulling motion of the hand should be straight back, under the edge of the body, not out to the side, then back. Avoiding the out sweep of the hand and arm will also help reduce frontal drag.

LEADING ARM STAYS STRAIGHT IN THE STREAMLINE

Fourth, the leading arm needs to be kept straight, in a streamline. Most swimmers will relax the front arm, while the other is initiating the pull. Even a small bend in the elbow of the leading arm will increase frontal drag significantly. I often tell swimmers to push the lead arm forward at the breakout, while the other pulls backward, as if they were finishing the race and reaching for the wall.

KEEP THE CHIN DOWN ON THE CHEST THROUGHOUT THE BREAKOUT

Finally, keep the chin down on the chest throughout the breakout. It is so tempting to want to look up to see where the surface is, but don’t do it. Lifting the head up has a horrible impact on increasing frontal drag. Trust that you pushed off the wall straight enough that when you take your first recovery stroke, you will find air up there.

BREATHING

With regard to breathing, if the race is 100 meters or less, it is preferable not to breathe on the first stroke or more. For 200 meters and up, that becomes impractical, as the need for oxygen outweighs the potential time gain of holding the breath on the first stroke.

In summary, don’t treat your turns lightly, as I did as a swimmer. Treat them with respect and as an opportunity, rather than an inconvenience. Work all four parts of the freestyle turn diligently and constantly strive to make your dolphin kick faster and stronger. If you work your turns hard in practice, you will soon find that you are leaving your competition behind, rather than the other way around. That alone is worth the effort.

Watch Freestyle Flip Turn: The Pushoff and Breakout

Read More: http://theraceclub.com/aqua-notes/how-to-freestyle-flip-turn-part-iv-the-breakout/

Whether you’re a Masters Swimmer, triathlete or age group swimmer, come train with The Race Club in Islamorada, FL or Pacific Palisades, CA. Click here to signup.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.


4 Creative Kick Sets to Build Leg Strength

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Originally published on SwimSwam.com

Leg strength and good ankle plantar flexibility are required to develop a strong flutter kick, but more is needed. Fitness of the leg muscles used in the kicking motion must also be developed to an extraordinary level. If a swimmer is determined to use the kick for strong propulsion, the way that most great swimmers do, then a six-beat kick is necessary and the legs need to be relatively fitter than the arms. Consider the following.

If a swimmer’s freestyle pulling stroke rate is 100 per minute (50 right arm pulls and 50 left arm pulls) then the kicking stroke rate with a six-beat kick is 600 per minute (300 down kicks and 300 up kicks). Further, unlike the arms that have a brief recovery period between each pulling motion, the legs never really get to recovery during the race. They work in one direction then in the other, relentlessly, in order to create meaningful propulsion. It requires a lot of conditioning in order to sustain that kind of effort for very long.

Think about it. What is the first part of the body that usually gives out during a race? The legs. Once the legs go, the rest is not pretty. Yet in spite of this, most coaches devote a small percentage of their workout time to developing a stronger kick. Too many coaches allow social kicking on sets, where swimmers will talk to each other while kicking along at a modest speed. That is not what is required to get the legs in shape for racing.

There are many creative kick sets to help get the legs fitter. One does not need to rely solely on traditional kick sets. First, I prefer kicking with a snorkel and Finis alignment board, rather than a traditional kick board. It creates a preferable body position, similar to the one has while swimming, and it eliminates social kicking. Here are a few of my favorite kicking sets that are tough, but will make the development of the legs more fun.

1. TUG-0-WAR KICKING

CUT A ¾ INCH PVC PIPE INTO 18-INCH SEGMENTS. FIND TWO SWIMMERS THAT ARE APPROXIMATELY EQUAL WEIGHT AND KICKING STRENGTH. HAVE THE TWO SWIMMERS WEAR SNORKELS AND LINE UP AGAINST EACH OTHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POOL, ONE SWIMMER GRABBING THE PVC PIPE ON THE INSIDE AND THE OTHER ON THE OUTSIDE. KEEPING THE PIPE AT THE SURFACE AND THE ARMS STRAIGHT, INITIATE THE TUG-0-WAR AND SEE WHICH SWIMMER CAN KICK THE OTHER TO THE END OF THE POOL. SWIMMERS WILL KICK HARDER THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED IN THIS COMPETITION…AND GO FOR MINUTES.

2. VERTICAL KICKING

WITH OR WITHOUT FINS, HAVE THE SWIMMERS KICK VERTICALLY FOR 45 SECONDS, FOLLOWED BY 15 SECONDS REST. REPEAT FIVE TIMES. WITH FINS, I LIKE TO HAVE OUR RACE CLUB SWIMMERS HOLD THEIR ARMS IN THE STREAMLINE POSITION FOR ALL 45 SECONDS OF EACH SET. WITHOUT FINS, MOST SWIMMERS WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR ELBOWS AT THE SURFACE WITH THE FOREARMS AND HANDS POINTING UP. I ALSO LIKE TO USE VERTICAL KICKING BETWEEN SWIM SETS. FOR EXAMPLE, SWIM 20 X 25 SPRINTS WITH A 20 SECOND VERTICAL KICK BETWEEN EACH ONE ON 30 SECONDS.

3. WALL KICKS

SIMILAR TO THE VERTICAL KICKS, HAVE THE SWIMMERS KICK AGAINST THE WALL WITH A SNORKEL ALL OUT FOR 45 SECONDS, FOLLOWED BY 15 SECONDS REST. SEE WHICH CAN MAKE THE BIGGEST SPLASH AND HOLD IT FOR ALL 45 SECONDS. REPEAT 5 TIMES.

4. KICKING WITH WEIGHT

USE 5 TO 10 LB FREE WEIGHTS, HELD WITH BOTH HANDS TIGHTLY AGAINST THE CHEST. KICK WITH THE SNORKEL AND NO FINS FOR 20 X 25, AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. THE IDEA IS TO NOT SINK. REST THE LEGS OR SLOW DOWN AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS.

In summary, work hard on ankle flexibility, leg strength and leg fitness and see how much faster a swimmer you will become. It is the speed of the kick that most differentiates the greatest swimmers from the not-so-great ones.

http://theraceclub.com/videos/swim-kick/

Yours in Swimming,

Gary Sr.


Origins of Modern Swimming Goggles

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Blurred Vision

Prior to the late 1960’s almost no swimmer wore goggles in either practice or competition. Those that did use them wore the large, triangular shaped rubber goggles that we can often see in old photos of swimmers crossing the English Channel. The challenges with those big rubber goggles were that they made swimmers see double, so the swimmer would have to close one eye to avoid confusion. They were also bulky, often leaked and caused more drag for the swimmer.

Swimmers from that era will recall the painful tears being shed after goggle-less practices from the toxicity of chlorine to the corneas. For some of us, that was also a great excuse for not doing homework. Without using goggles, we also struggled to judge the turns correctly from the blurred vision.

In the summer of 1965, a swimmer in Anaheim, California at the Sammy Lee Swim School by the name of Peter Frawley (brother of NCAA 50 free champion from USC, Dan Frawley), saw a small add in the back of a skin diving magazine from the Melbourne Sports Depot in Australia selling small plastic goggles. They were being marketed to pearl divers.

Peter ordered a box of a dozen goggles for 40 cents apiece and when they arrived in Anaheim weeks later, he sold some of them to his team mates at Sammy Lee for 80 cents. I was one of first to purchase a pair.

Beta Testing

The goggles were very similar to the Swedish goggles that are still available today. They were made of hard plastic eye pieces that had rough edges from the mold that needed to be sanded or filed down for comfort. There was no rubberized material nor silicone around the edges to help with sealing or comfort. The lenses were made of thin glass, not plastic. The head straps were made of simple rubber bands that looped twice around the head and the eye pieces were connected by a green string channeled through a small piece of plastic tubing. Separation of the two eye pieces for the variable nose widths was achieved simply by guessing at the amount of string needed to tie them together.

We began wearing those goggles immediately in practices and never stopped. Other teammates at the Sammy Lee Swim School began to join us. The following summer of 1966, I began training with the famous coach, Don Gambril, at the Rosemead Aquatic Center. When I showed up with the goggles, Don and other swimmers there were also intrigued.

Eventually, Don purchased a pair and sent them to his friend, Ron Gilchrist, in Canada. Ron was working for Speedo at the time and had an entrepreneurial spirit. When Ron saw the goggles, he realized the potential and began manufacturing them and selling them under the Speedo brand. I believe that Speedo was the first company to manufacture and market the goggles to swimmers.

Mainstream

Later, in the early 70’s, a company called Malmsten AB in Sweden began producing the goggles of the same style, using plastic lenses instead of glass. They were of higher quality and so they popularized this style of goggles globally. The style ultimately became known as the Swedish Goggle. Many swimmers still prefer to use this style today. 

I am not certain who was the first swimmer to use swimming goggles in competition, but the first person I saw use them was David Wilkie, from Scotland, at the Division I NCAA men’s swimming championships in 1973, in the 200 breaststroke. David often wore them in competition and went on to use them in the finals of the 200 breaststroke at the Montreal Olympic Games of 1976 swimming for the UK. He was the only non-American to win a men’s swimming event in those Olympic Games.

If someone wore goggles in competition before David, I am not aware of who did. Perhaps the readers of SwimSwam will be able to help me out here.

I belong to a Swimmer’s Forum on line; some 125 international swimmers from back in the day, most of whom still swim pretty fast. Once, David McIntyre, our fearless leader, did a poll of these members as to what has been the single most profound change that has positively impacted our sport. Many of the members thought the use of swimming goggles was it. They might be right.

Either way, I am proud to have been one of the early adopters. With respect to use of competitive swimming goggles, you now know more about the rest of the story.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.


Freestyle Head Position

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Originally published on SwimSwam.com

Minimum Drag Vs. Maximum Power

While swimming freestyle, the positions of least frontal drag do not necessarily correlate with the positions of maximum propulsive power. Head position is just one example of this conflict. When the head is in alignment with the body and the spine is straighter, the least frontal drag is encountered. Yet, to maximize the power of the underwater pull, the lower back should be arched some, which results in an elevation of the head.

With some of our freestyle swimming motions, such as the underwater pull, we need to choose between more powerful force and lesser drag positions and often compromise between them. Not so with the head position.

The Key Moment

Because of the exponential relationship between frontal drag and speed, the most important time to have the lowest drag coefficient is when our body is moving the fastest within the cycle. That occurs precisely when one hand first enters the water. It is at that point that it is most critical to have the head down.

Two beneficial events happen when we tuck the head down at the hand entry. First, the bow wave goes over the top of our head, essentially putting the head underwater for a brief moment. There is less drag underwater than on the surface. Second, our body straightens out more, creating a better shape to surge forward.

The Surge

Elite freestylers, such as Phelps, Sun Yang or Katie Ledecky, create a noticeable surge in speed with the head down right after the breath, accompanied by a strong propulsive kick. It is easier to do this with the slower stroke rates of the hip-driven or hybrid freestyle, than with the faster stroke rate of the shoulder-driven freestyle. Yet it works with any freestyle technique.

Once the hand is under water, about one foot in front of the shoulder, initiating the propulsive phase of the pull (when the hand starts moving backward), the body must change its shape slightly in order to increase power. One cannot maximize the force of the underwater pulling motion without arching the lower back, which also causes a small lift of the head, similar to initiating a pull up from a bar.

The Best of Both Worlds

If one were to be able to see the movement of the spine as an elite freestyler propels down the pool, one would see a shift from a relatively straight spine to a slightly arched lower back with each stroke cycle, over and over again. This movement enables the swimmer to take advantage of both the power position and the least frontal drag position.

The real question is, if swimming with the head down is conducive to faster swimming, why is everyone swimming with the head up? The answer is defensive swimming. Within the environment of a crowded workout lane or a frenzied swim at the beginning of a triathlon, swimmers are watching out for themselves, looking forward, hoping to avoid an unnecessary collision. In a crowded pool, lead the lane or go 10 seconds behind, stay to the right and pray, but keep your head down. Once you are in a race, where you are given your own lane, or after finding your space in an open water swim, you have no excuse. Get the head down when the hand enters the water and enjoy the surge.

Watch Freestyle Head Position Swimisode.

Yours in Swimming,

Gary Sr.


The Ever Evolving Vision of The Race Club

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*Originally posted on Swim Swam

The Ever Evolving Vision of The Race Club

By Jeff Grace

After winning silver in both the 50 and 100 freestyle and gold in the 4 x 100 freestyle and medley relays at the 1996 Olympics Gary Hall Jr. wanted to create a new and unique training environment for elite swimmers. This was the impetus for what would eventually become The Race Club.

Hall Jr. invited many of the best post-graduate swimmers in the world to train together in Tavernier, Florida. The “World Team” was primarily comprised of sprinters and was coached by Mike Bottom. From 1996 to 2008 under Bottom’s leadership the team won 23 Olympic medals and had 53 swimmers qualify for the Olympic Games. Some of those athletes included:

 

The Race Club was founded in 2003 and continued on with vision of the “World Team” creating an environment that would enable elite swimmers to reach the Olympic podium. A goal which was achieved.

In 2008 Bottom accepted the Head Coaching job at the University of Michigan and The Race Club changed directions. Instead of focusing on  developing Olympic medalists they began to share the knowledge they gained in their first 12 years of existence with the swimming world.

“We elected to take the vast knowledge and experience of having prepared 53 swimmers to reach four successive Olympic Games and share that with other swimmers,” explains Gary Hall Sr. President and Technical Director of The Race Club.

Hall Sr., who swam at three Olympic Games (1968, 1972 and 1976) winning multiple medals, hopes that the knowledge The Race Club shares helps the many talented coaches and swimmers in the United States reach their potential.

“The goal of The Race Club has always been to focus on the technique side of swimming, while also sharing information that we have gained on the five important disciplines of fast swimming; swim training, dryland, mental training, nutrition and recovery.”

Having access to some unique technology has given them greater insight into the technical demands of the sport. That technology includes the velocity meter, drag/propulsion meter and the pressure meter.

“Each of these technologies is synchronized to a video of the individual swimmer,” explains Hall Sr. “The Velocity Meter measures velocity, acceleration and deceleration. The Drag/Propulsion meter measures propulsive forces as well as active and passive drag forces. The Pressure meter measures palm pressure and orientation of the hand during the pulling motion.”

“Each of these technologies allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the nuances and skills that make swimmers faster.”

For The Race Club the next step is to continue to expand their reach. This spring they will be launching a subscription service, “(It) will allow swimmers, coaches and parents all around the world to become members of The Race Club and benefit from our technical instruction at a very low cost. Members will receive weekly new video releases and articles relating to swimming technique or the five important disciplines.”


A Closer Look at Zane Grothe’s Freestyle

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Last month at the Winter Nationals, Zane Grothe broke two American records in the 500 and 1650 freestyle: 4:07.2 and 14:18.2. Not a bad weekend! As I watched the video of his swims several times, there were three things about his freestyle technique that he does exceptionally well and that really stand out to me.

  1. Zane buries the head under water after the breath.

I understand Zane majored in Aeronautical Engineering, which by definition makes him smart. At some point in his classes they must have taught him that submarines go much faster under water than on the surface. Zane has figured out that eliminating surface drag in his freestyle at the surge point is a good thing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has a low drag coefficient body shape to go along with getting underwater.

  1. Zane throws the hands hard to the water at the end of the freestyle recovery.

He does this not only with the right arm, coming off of the breath stroke to his right, but also with the non-breath sided left arm. Accelerating his hand hard to the water adds important kinetic energy to the strong pulling arm and kick behind, increasing his propulsion; what we at The Race Club call coupling energy. The fast hand to the water recovery also forces the body to rotate quickly at this pivotal point in the pulling motion, another important coupling motion.

  1. Zane sustains a strong 6 beat kick

The kicking speed is the baseline speed of a swimmer and Zane has a pretty high baseline speed. Those that can sustain the steady propulsive six beat kick are swimming in a river down stream. Those that cannot, are swimming in a lake. I’d rather be in the river going downstream.

It is not that Zane is the only swimmer using these three important techniques. It is just that he did them better than the other swimmers on that particular weekend. In fact, he regularly executes them all really well and as a result, swims exceptionally fast.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.


How to Pace Your Race

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Exercising Restraint

Knowing how to pace a race appropriately is one of the most difficult aspects of competitive swimming. It goes against our very nature, particularly when we are excited and fresh at the start of each race, to hold back. Yet holding back, keeping our emotions under control, is precisely what we need to do in order to prevail.

To some degree, every officially sanctioned race in the sport of swimming requires pacing. Even the 50-meter swims, which are not true sprints, require self-control and discipline in order to be done well. Most of those 50’s are won or lost in the last 10 meters.

So how does a swimmer learn to pace correctly? Practice. One needs to train in a similar way that one wants to compete. Swimmers that tend to get slower through a set will tend to do the same in a race. Swimmers that learn to hold their pace on sets, or even descend them, tend to pace much more effectively.

The Right Tempo

There are many training modalities and tools that can help teach pacing. One of the most effective is called the Tempo Trainer, by Finis. I consider it to be the most valuable tool in your swim bag. Like a metronome for music, one sets the beep of the trainer to the desired frequency and places the device under the cap behind the ear or on the goggle strap where it can be heard easily. The Tempo Trainer has three modes, one for stroke rate, another for cycle time and a third for pacing interval. All three modes help with pacing, either by enabling the swimmer to keep the stroke rate constant, or letting him/her know if he/she is ahead or behind the desired pace.

One of my favorite training sets for pacing is negative-split sets, that is swimming the second half faster than the first half. In order to do this effectively, swimmers have to learn to control their efforts going out and learn how to step up the effort at the midway point. Another effective training set is descending intervals. For example, swimming 20 x 100 starting out at a 1:30 interval and decreasing the send-off interval by one second each time. By the 20th 100, the interval will be down to 1:10.  By trying to hold the same time on descending intervals, the effort must increase with each 100, similar to pacing a race effectively.

Good pacing not only requires training effectively, but also demands excellent fitness. One cannot pace a 1500 effectively if one is not in shape to sustain the pace, whatever it might be. One needs to train properly for the distance one is racing.

Fueling Up

Finally, one cannot overlook the importance of breathing in proper pacing. Oxygen is not over-rated. We produce about 15 times more ATP, the gasoline for our muscles, with oxygen as opposed to without it. Plus we produce less lactate, a molecule that causes our muscles to function less effectively.

In the butterfly, for example, in any event over a fifty, most of the elite male swimmers of the world are turning to breathing every stroke in order to finish faster. In the men’s 1500, Sun Yang breathes 3 successive breaths in a row into and out of every turn, plus often at least once or twice in the middle of the pool. One cannot sustain the pace well nor finish fast without providing enough oxygen to the body.

At The Race Club, we will help you learn how to use your Tempo Trainer effectively and correctly and help you with your breathing patterns. Both are vital to learn good pacing. We will help you learn the important art of race pacing.

Yours in Swimming,

Gary Sr.


Finesse Your Freestyle

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Finesse Sport

Swimming fast is a skill that demands great strength and stamina. Yet swimming is neither baseball nor boxing. One cannot hit the water like a ball crushed over the center field wall or knock it out in the first round. One cannot simply power through the water. To swim fast, one also needs great timing and swimming finesse.

What does finesse mean with respect to swimming fast? In water, where frontal drag forces are so compelling, swimming finesse means learning to swim with the lowest possible drag forces. It means pulling with an arm motion that may seem totally inept or awkward, yet works better. Finesse means timing the powerful, but rarely appreciated coupling motions of body rotation and arm recovery to augment the pulling and kicking forces.

Finesse means using a surge kick, a strong down kick that occurs shortly after the opposite hand entry, in order to increase the body’s speed when its drag coefficient is low, another timing issue. It also means dipping the head slightly underwater after the breath, at the same crucial time of maximum body speed. Finesse means avoiding the temptation to dig your arm deep into the water and muscle yourself across the pool. In swimming, finesse means using your brain, not your brawn.

Thresholds

The nuances of swimming fast are not easy to learn. Some require extraordinary flexibility, such as in the ankles and shoulders, in order to implement. All require great strength in the legs, core and upper back in order to sustain well. Yet, if we do not learn to finesse our freestyle, we will all succumb to the drag forces, much sooner than we would like.

While swimming is not very forgiving with respect to technique, there is some margin for error. It’s just not much. I call the permissible angle or bend of a swimmer’s body or limb motion the ‘threshold’ for frontal drag force. Bend your knee 55 degrees for a kick and you may be ok. Bend it 60 degrees or more and you come to a screeching halt. Drop your elbow on the pull by more than a few inches and the frontal drag forces go up a lot. Bending the knee more or dropping the elbow more results in more powerful propulsion.

Unfortunately, getting to those positions causes so much frontal drag that the additional propulsive forces can’t overcome it. Don’t forget the law of inertia. Each time we slow down more, it takes a lot more force (and energy) to get us going again. The key to finessing your freestyle is to know what the thresholds are and to learn to swim within them.

Analysis

One of the best tools I have found for learning more precisely where these thresholds are is the velocity meter technology. With the velocity meter, we measure your body speed (and acceleration/deceleration) at all points through your swimming cycle and synchronize them with video. By doing so we can measure your peak and trough velocities for both right and left arm strokes Finesse Your Freestyle imagerepeatedly. You would be amazed at how very small deviations in technique lead to significant changes in speed in a very short period of time, tenths of seconds. With this technology we can identify exactly where the mistakes in swimming technique are being made and often repeated over and over again and how big a price is being paid for them in terms of loss of speed.

Swimming I.Q.

In my swimming career, which has spanned some 55 years and included 3 Olympic Games, most of my best swims were not the most exhausting. In fact, those feelings belonged to some of my worst swims. It wasn’t the exhilaration of setting a PR or even a World Record that made me feel as if the race was easier. I may have been physiologically or mentally more prepared on those great days, but I can also assure you that I swam with more finesse. I swam smarter races.

At The Race Club, we teach swimmers how to finesse the freestyle, how to swim smarter and faster. No matter what your age or experience level, you can still learn how to finesse your freestyle, to swim faster with less effort, and to feel really good after your race. Are you ready for that?

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

 


One Arm Backstroke Drill

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Two of the most important ways of getting a faster backstroke is by reducing frontal drag and by increasing propulsive power. The one arm backstroke drill accomplishes both tasks. Rarely do I ever find a drill that can teach a swimmer more than one fundamental at a time, but this drill does just that.

PROPULSIVE POWER

The propulsive power of the underwater pull is increased by the coupling motion of the rotating body and the mechanical strength of the shoulder in the rotated position (avoiding a negative angle). Frontal drag is reduced in backstroke by bending the elbow, rather than pulling with a straighter arm.

In my experience, swimmers like to take the easy route, rather than the harder path, even if the latter leads to a faster swim. Rotating the body quickly from one side to the other and sustaining that motion over and over again, either in the backstroke or freestyle, requires a lot of core strength and fitness. Instead, swimmers often opt for little rotation in backstroke, a much easier choice. In doing so, if they bend their arms properly in order to reduce frontal drag, they will likely encounter a big gulp of air with the hand midway through the pulling motion. The hand leaving the water in the propulsive part of the pull leads to a big loss of power.

To fix the problem, the swimmer’s solution is to pull with a straight arm, hoping to avoid the hand breaking the surface. That compounds the problem. Less power from little body rotation and more drag from the straight pulling arm are the result. It’s a bad combination.

ONE ARM BACKSTROKE DRILL

The one arm backstroke drill, as in the freestyle drill, enables the swimmer to really think about what is going on with the body and the pulling arm. By having the swimmer keep the non-pulling arm at the side, by emphasizing the body rotation, having the swimmer bring the upper shoulder to meet the chin, and by having the swimmer bend the elbow to 120-140 degrees under water, a coach can kill two birds with one stone. Create more propulsive power and reduce frontal drag. When a swimmer comes to train with us, we combine this drill with many others, depending on the swimmer, to allow them to reach their potential speed. Now, all the swimmer needs is lots of core dryland exercises to get the core ready to keep those motions going throughout the backstroke race. Oh yes, and lots of good backstroke training.

Watch One Arm Backstroke Drill Video

Yours in Swimming,

Gary Sr.


Starts and Turns Camp in Islamorada, FL July 7-8, 2018

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The Race Club starts and turns camp is unlike anything out there! In this Starts and Turns Camp, we try to cater to each individual swimmer. Just ask around and read our testimonials to hear what people say about their experience with us. 

Swimmers will focus on all starts and turns during this intensive weekend. We STRONGLY encourage you to attend a swim camp before you attend this clinic. We encourage everyone to attend all 4 sessions over 2 days.  

Saturday, July 7th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, July 8th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions

The price of the camp is $800. The Velocity Meter option is $1000. The Video Analysis option is $600. The pool is located at Founders Park Pool, 87000 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


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