Aqua Notes - The Race Club

The Race Club is Hiring Swim Coaches for Islamorada and Coronado Locations

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JOB DESCRIPTION:

The Race Club, with locations in the amazing tropical paradise of Islamorada in the Florida Keys and in Coronado, a beautiful island in San Diego, is hiring for staff coaching positions ranging from 3 month internships to Senior Staff and Site Directors for experienced, professional coaches and everything in between. Currently we are looking to hire lead coaches based in San Diego, CA and Islamorada, FL.

The Race Club’s Primary Focus is on Swimming Technique and the Technical aspects of swimming. This non-traditional coaching position emphasizes teaching and the science of swimming where the coaching staff is expected to have or develop technical expertise and be on the cutting edge in the sport. This is a great opportunity to launch your coaching career to the next level by learning from world-renowned coaches and world-class athletes while applying proven fundamental progressions to a diverse population of swimmers.

Our Coaches must have a passion for swimming, curiosity and a likable personality with the ability to communicate positively and effectively with others. Swimming experience and success as a coach counts, however, all experience levels of coaches will be considered. Applicants should have talents, skills, experience and/or education outside the sport that effectively demonstrate intellect and capacity to learn. Specific skills in computer science, social media, technology, graphic arts, marketing and business administration are particularly valuable.

Benefits. Every day on the pool deck as a Race Club Coach is a step into the lab to learn at the highest level in the sport, develop and practice your coaching skills, both technical and interactive. Off of the deck, you will have the ability to contribute to building the preeminent swimming organization in the world. Opportunities for significant additional income, international exposure, and growth in a dynamic leader in the sport will be available for the best members of our staff. We are also a leader in swimming social media and online delivery of services, making a coaching position with the Race Club one of the most technologically innovative opportunities for coaches in the sport.

Join the Family. If you, or someone you know, is interested in this unique opportunity of coaching/teaching positions, please contact us. Email your resume to info@theraceclub.com.

HOW TO APPLY

If you, or someone you know, is interested in this unique opportunity of coaching/teaching positions, please contact us. Email your resume to info@theraceclub.com.


California Memorial Day Swim Camp May 26-29, 2017

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this Memorial Day Swim 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 4 strokes, starts and turns and the 5 disciplines of swimming. Triathletes will focus on everything freestyle technique to become a faster triathlete swimmer. We encourage everyone to attend all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions over the 4 days.

Friday, May 26th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Friday, May 26th 10am-11am enhanced session
Saturday, May 27th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, May 27th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, May 28th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, May 28th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, May 28th 11am-12noon Velocity Meter testing
Monday, May 29th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Monday, May 29th 10am-11am enhanced session
Monday, May 29th 11am-12noon Filming for Video Analysis

Camp sessions are $150 and enhanced sessions are $100. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions on or before April 25th, you get a $300 discount. The regular price of the whole camp is $1600. If you sign up early, it is $1300.  The Velocity Meter option is $1000. The Video Analysis option is $600. The pool is located at Brian Bent Memorial Aquatic Center, 818 Sixth Street, Coronado, CA 92118. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


Summer Swim Camp in Florida June 16-19, 2017

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The Race Club Florida Summer Swim Camp is unlike anything out there! 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, your Race Club family. 

We encourage everyone to attend all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions over the 4 days. Enhanced sessions are just a continuation of camp. We try to cover all 5 strokes, starts, turns and all 5 disciplines of the Race Club during the 20 hours in 4 days. Jammed packed so you can improve in just a short time!

Friday, June 16th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Friday, June 16th 10am-11am enhanced session
Saturday, June 16th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, June 16th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, June 17th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, June 17th 10am-11am enhanced session
Monday, June 18th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Monday, June 18th 10am-11am enhanced session

Camp sessions are $150 and enhanced sessions are $100. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions on or before May 15th, you get a $300 discount. Full price is $1600. If you sign up early, you get the whole camp for $1300.  The pool is located at Founders Park Pool, 87000 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


Easter Swim Camp April 14-17, 2017

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The Race Club Florida Easter Swim Camp is unlike anything out there! 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, your Race Club family. 

We encourage everyone to attend all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions over the 4 days. Enhanced sessions are just a continuation of camp. We try to cover all 5 strokes, starts, turns and all 5 disciplines of the Race Club during the 20 hours in 4 days. Jammed packed so you can improve in just a short time!

Friday, April 14th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Friday, April 14th 10am-11am enhanced session
Saturday, April 15th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, April 15th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, April 16th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, April 16th 10am-11am enhanced session
Monday, April 17th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Monday, April 17th 10am-11am enhanced session

Camp sessions are $150 and enhanced sessions are $100. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions on or before March 13th, you get a $300 discount. Full price is $1600. If you sign up early, you get the whole camp for $1300.  The pool is located at Founders Park Pool, 87000 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


Florida Spring Break Swim Camp March 24-27, 2017

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The Race Club Florida Spring Break Swim Camp is unlike anything out there! 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. 

We encourage everyone to attend all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions over the 4 days.

Friday, March 24th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Friday, March 24th 10am-11am enhanced session
Saturday, March 25th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, March 25th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, March 26th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, March 26th 10am-11am enhanced session
Monday, March 27th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Monday, March 27th 10am-11am enhanced session

Camp sessions are $150 and enhanced sessions are $100. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions on or before February 23rd, you get a $300 discount. Full price is $1600. If you sign up early, you get the whole camp for $1300.  The pool is located at Founders Park Pool, 87000 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada, FL. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


Unique Swimming Methods at The Race Club

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Keep Your Elbows Pointing Forward

Teaching swimming technique is very interesting. Every client we have at The Race Club is different. Some learn easily. Some don’t. For those that struggle more with adapting to changes in technique or stroke mechanics, we find that our success often depends on taking a different approach or by using a different description or drill. A concept that is easily grasped by one swimmer may be completely incomprehensible to another. Our methodology in swim camps and private sessions gets down to the bottom of what each swimmer needs. Teaching the correct pulling motion in freestyle is a good example of this challenge.

For every event, other than the 50-meter sprint, the pulling motion of elite freestylers is strikingly similar. We often refer to that correct motion as the high elbow pull. Some call it early vertical forearm. I have written extensively about why it works, but that does not make it any easier to learn. There is really nothing very natural or intuitive about this motion. Some would consider it downright awkward. It requires flexibility. It diminishes propulsion to some extent. Yet it may be the single most important change a swimmer can make in improving freestyle technique.

Of all of the freestyle pulling motions we see with our Race Club clients, I categorize them into four different techniques; the out sweep, the in sweep, the deep pull and the high elbow pull. Excluding the 50 sprinters, I would say that upwards of 95% of our clients manage to find one of the three wrong pulling techniques. Very few learn the correct high elbow pull without some help.

Through years of teaching, we have developed three of our favorite drills for teaching this high elbow pulling motion. Yet, even after spending a great deal of time and effort using these drills on this one important technique, many still don’t get it right. So we are always searching for new ways to teach an old subject.

Recently, I was working with one of our clients who struggled to pull correctly, so I decided to give her some advice that I had never given before.

“Once your arm enters the water,” I started, “initiate the pull with the hand and the forearm, but keep your elbow pointing forward, toward the end of the pool for as long as you can…in the direction you are swimming.”

Presto, she got it. It made perfect sense. Suddenly, her upper arms, the cause of most of the frontal drag during the pull, were less in harm’s way. They weren’t sticking out so far. She felt like she was slipping through the water. Not surprisingly, she was swimming faster.

So now, when swimmers are challenged by the high elbow pull in freestyle or the correct pull in backstroke, I simply tell them to keep their elbows pointed toward the end of the pool for as long as they can. For many, it really helps them with both freestyle and backstroke pulling technique.

Sometimes, old dogs like me can learn new tricks.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

 


March 17-20, 2017 California Swim Camp

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this California Swim 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 4 strokes, starts and turns and the 5 disciplines of swimming. Triathletes will focus on everything freestyle technique to become a faster triathlete swimmer. We encourage everyone to attend all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions over the 4 days.

Friday, March 17th 7am-9am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Friday, March 17th 9am-10am enhanced session
Saturday, March 18th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, March 18th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, March 19th 8am-10am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, March 19th 10am-11am enhanced session
Sunday, March 19th 11am-12noon Velocity Meter testing
Monday, March 20th 7am-9am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, March 20th 9am-10am enhanced session
Monday, March 20th 10am-11am Filming for Video Analysis

Camp sessions are $150 and enhanced sessions are $100. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions and 4 enhanced sessions on or before February 16th, you get a $300 discount. The price would be $1300, instead of $1600. The Velocity Meter option is $1000. The Video Analysis option is $600. The pool is located at Brian Bent Memorial Aquatic Center, 818 Sixth Street, Coronado, CA 92118. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.

*There may be slight changes in the schedule only due to unforeseen circumstances. 


How to Maximize Propulsion with Coupling Motions

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While nearly all of the forces that create propulsion come from the hands and feet, there are certain other movements that we can do with our bodies that will increase the amount of propulsion coming from the pull and kick. We call those coupling motions.

I have written extensively in the past about the importance of coupling motions, but for those that missed reading them, let me explain. A coupling motion is a motion of some part of our body that by itself produces no propulsion, yet, when coupled with the propulsive forces, will make them stronger. Since we live in what is called an open system in nature, where the energy from one part of our moving body affects other parts of our body, using coupling motions are a powerful way to swim faster.

The coupling motions of swimming are very important; like putting a fuel additive into your gas tank. Any serious discussion of propulsion in swimming would be remiss without mentioning the coupling motions.

The following are important coupling motions in all four strokes and in the start and the propulsive forces they are coupling with.

  • Freestyle: Rotation of the body (including the head after the breath) and the recovery of the arms (pull and kick)
  • Backstroke: Rotation of the body and recovery of the arms (pull and kick)
  • Breaststroke: Elevation of the upper body (pull) and pressing down of the upper body and head (sometimes the arms, depending on the technique) (kick)
  • Butterfly: Recovery of the arms, snapping down of the head on the front breath (second down kick)
  • Start: Elevation of the head, motion of the arms, elevation of the back leg (feet or feet and arms, depending on the technique)

 

The keys to making the coupling motions effective are precise timing and more energy. The coupling motion is most effective when the maximum kinetic energy of the motion is timed precisely with the maximum propulsion. For example, if the coupling motion ends before the propulsive force begins, it has no effect at all. A good example is in breaststroke, perhaps the most timing-sensitive stroke of all, where if the body pressing forward reaches the water much before the feet begin to push backward, the benefit of all that work is lost. For that reason, the kicking cycle of breaststroke needs to be lightning fast to work well with the coupling motions of the upper body.

The kinetic energy of coupling motions in swimming can increase in the following ways: rotating faster, lengthening (straightening) the arms, pressing the body forward harder or snapping down the head faster. There is a price to pay, however, and it is called work.

It is much easier to swim without using these high-energy coupling motions. I call that technique survival stroke, which utilizes less energy to get through a workout. If you get accustomed to swimming with survival stroke technique that is the way you will likely swim in the competition. You may invest less energy in the race, but you probably won’t swim as fast and likely won’t win.

At the Race Club we take coupling motions very seriously. Coupling motions are one of the main reasons that swimmers that do not appear to be very strong can swim faster and with more power than bigger, stronger swimmers. We have designed many drills that will help you with the energy and timing of your coupling motions. Come to Islamorada or Coronado and let us show you them!

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

  


Five Ways to Kick Faster in the Pool

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Part IV: Five Great Training Tips

Practice makes perfect. You cannot develop a fast freestyle or dolphin kick without a lot of hard work. But the rewards are great. Here are five of my best tips for developing a stronger, faster kicking speed.

  1. Increase Plantar Flexibility of the ankle

This simply means that the ankles must be loose and the toes need to be able to point a long way down. Great plantar flexibility is a prerequisite (must have) for fast free and dolphin kicking, but it alone does not guarantee a fast kick.  The good news is that the ligaments in the ankle controlling this motion are fairly small and subject to quick change. Dryland exercises are the best way to improve this motion. We recommend sitting on the tops of the feet with the knees in the air for extended periods to stretch these ligaments. One can also do ankle pushups yoga style to stretch the ankle. I have also found by placing the feet under a low lying couch and straightening the legs while leaning back will put a great stretch on the ankle.

  1. Increase the strength of your kicking muscles

Some of this strengthening will take place in the pool but much needs to be done in the weight room. The quadriceps and hip flexors for the down kick can be strengthened by doing leg extensions from about 45 degrees knee flexion to horizontal. The hamstrings, lower back and gastrocnemius muscles used for the up kick can be strengthened by doing straight leg lifts in the prone position. We recommend 30 to 50 reps for each or to reach exhaustion repeated three times.

  1. Practice lots of kicking

Think about it. If you average a stroke rate of 100 in the 100 freestyle, with a six beat kick, your leg stroke rate is 600 kicks per minute. Considering that you get no recovery time with your legs, that is a lot of demand you are putting on them. It is no wonder that the legs are usually the first part of your body to give out during the race. The legs need to be very fit.

At The Race Club, we recommend that you try to do some hard kicking sets in each practice and that at least once per week, dedicate the entire practice session to kicking. Be creative with kick sets but do lots of kicking.

  1. Kick with alignment board and snorkel

While you may be able to kick faster with a conventional kick board by using the board to buoy your body up, you will never swim a race with your body in that same position. We think that by using the small Finis alignment board with your favorite monosnorkel, keeping the head down and in alignment with your body, you will simulate a more natural swimming position for your kick sets. It will also help you improve your streamline.

  1. Use an elastic band below the knee to develop a tighter kick

Over bending the knee is a common problem in freestyle and dolphin kicking. Under bending the knee is not. An elastic band placed below the knee will help keep the knee from over bending in freestyle kick. It may also slow the kicking speed, but it will make the swimmer become more aware of the need to depend on ankle flexibility to increase kicking speed, rather than on knee bend.

In summary, do not underestimate the power of the kick to help you with your swimming speed. To develop a strong kick requires a sustained program incorporating drills, tough kicking sets and dryland exercises. If you need assistance, let us help you set up the kicking program. Stay the course and you will see great improvement in both kicking and swimming speed.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Read Part I: Increase the Speed of Your Freestyle and Dolphin Kick 

Read Part II: Kick Faster in Freestyle and Dolphin Kick

Read Part III: Two Things a Fast Kicker Does


Two Things a Fast Kicker Does

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How to Increase the Speed of Your Freestyle and Dolphin Kick

Part III: Two Important Nuances of a Great Kicker

I want to bring your attention to two common, but not widely recognized, problems of the kicking motion that adversely affect kicking speed. Neither is related to propulsion, but both are related to frontal drag.  

  • Slow transition time from down kick to up kick
  • Drawing the legs forward on the up kick too aggressively

 

In freestyle, after the down kick, a swimmer will often relax the foot before initiating the next up kick. By relaxing the foot, it will hang down toward the bottom and cause as much as a 40% increase in frontal drag. In swimming, within hundredths of a second, a swimmer can change from quick acceleration to dramatic deceleration because of an adverse body position, like the hanging foot. A fast kicker transitions from their down kick to up kick quickly, avoiding the hanging foot. 

Most of the propulsion that occurs from the foot in either the down or up kick occurs very early in the motion. After the initial snap of the foot backward on the down kick, most of the propulsion is over. The motion of the foot from that point is downward and then forward, providing lift, but little or no propulsion. Similarly, the propulsion that occurs during the up kick occurs at the beginning of the motion, as the foot first enters the stream of the vortex.

During the up kick, a fast kicker should bend the knee to around 60 degrees or less to limit frontal drag. If the swimmer draws the foot up and forward too aggressively during this motion, he causes more frontal drag resulting in more deceleration. Therefore, the motion of the foot needs to be very fast at the beginning of the up kick, with short transition time between down and up kick, but not too fast on the up kick once the propulsive phase is over.

Think of your kick in the same way that I operate my boat in the Florida Keys when trying to get it up on a plane. I pop the throttle all the way down, then back off the throttle as the boat comes up. While kicking, pop the throttle at the beginning of the down and up kick, but then back off the throttle after the initial snap down or up. If you keep the throttle down too long, in either direction, you actually decelerate faster.

Sound complicated? Well, it is and that is why we don’t see that many really fast kickers. To do so requires great plantar flexibility, great strength of core and legs, fitness and the knowledge and experience of when and how to move the feet and legs.

A fast kick is the way to a fast swim…so that is why at The Race Club, we focus on developing a lot on kicking speed and propulsion, like in this video. 

Yours in Swimming,

Gary Sr.

Read Part I: Getting the Motion Right

Read Part II: The Importance of the Up Kick

Read Part IV: Five Ways to Kick Faster in the Pool


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