Aqua Notes

TRC Way of Communication: Swim Talker

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Communication is always a key to successful teaching, particularly when the students are spending most of the time with their ears under water. At The Race Club, we have found the Swim Talker communication devices to be an invaluable tool for getting our messages across.

With our Swim Talkers, each swimmer places a small device over or near the ears, secured in the back and the sides by the goggle strap. The device doesn’t have to be placed directly on the ear, since it uses bone conduction, but it does help make it easier to hear the coach when it is closer to or on top of the ear. Comfort with the device on has never been an issue.

There are seven different communication channels on the Swim Talker, using Blue Tooth technology, and an unlimited number of swimmers can listen in on each channel. In other words, one coach can talk to all of the swimmers at once, or up to seven coaches can speak to up to seven different groups of swimmers in the pool at any time. In our camps, we often give an introductory talk explaining some important fundamental for the stroke or technique we are teaching, where the entire group can listen in. Then, we break up into individual smaller groups where our coaches can communicate directly with the swimmers in their group by changing the channel. We find the multichannel communications to be extremely valuable for our teaching in this manner. The transmitter microphone for each coach has a hands free head set, so the hands can be used for stop watch or commands while speaking. 

With the technical teaching that we offer at The Race Club, correcting our swimmers in real time is extremely important. The moment our coaches detect an error in technique, they will correct it at that moment, rather than waiting until the swimmer returns to the wall. In this manner, we find that we can gain more improvements in technique than we could before. Further, whenever we comment on a swimmer’s poor technique, which is often, all of the swimmers on that channel will hear the message. While they may not be making the same mistake, it does reinforce the correct technique for all of them.

If there is a downside to the Swim Talkers, it would be that a few extra minutes are required at the beginning of practice to place them on the swimmers. If the group is large, that can cut into the practice time. They also don’t hold a charge very long and have to be charged at the end of each practice, which is a nuisance. Being an underwater electronic device means that durability is also an issue, so we send back units often for replacements.

Overall, even given these negatives, I would still rank the Swim Talker as one of the most important advancements in our ability to teach and recommend their use widely. Occasionally, when I forget to bring them to the pool, I am painfully reminded of their value by trying to remember the five things I spotted wrong to tell a swimmer when he or she gets back to the wall. Usually, I cannot remember all five of them and even if I did, the swimmer wouldn’t remember them either. Correcting the swimmer in real time at the moment the mistake is made is clearly the best way to teach. It is safe to say that I don’t like coaching today without Swim Talkers!

Yours in Swimming,

Gary Sr.


How to Improve Your Backstroke Pull

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One of the most common mistakes I see in backstroke is with the pulling motion. Most backstrokers pull with an arm that is relatively straight, as if the arm were an oar pulling through the water. Some drop the straightened arm deeper into the water, almost as if they are scooping the hand through the water rather than pulling. Neither pulling motion, with a straightened arm nor a deeper scooping motion, will create a lot of propulsion in backstroke. An oar will work to move a boat forward because most of the oar is above water during the stroke and the boat causes less drag than a swimmer. The blade of the oar is considerably larger than the hand to create propulsion. The person in the boat has many biomechanical advantages in pulling that large blade through the water over a swimmer pulling his hand on his back.

The reason that most backstrokers pull with a relatively straight arm has nothing to do with biomechanics. The swimmer is trying to avoid the mishap of breaking the surface of the water with the hand during the propulsion phase of the pull, which would weaken the pull. The problem of the straight arm is actually a complication of another problem; failing to rotate the body sufficiently.

We’ve discussed the importance of quick body rotation in freestyle and backstroke as a coupling motion. The coupling energy works to increase the propulsion of the pulling arm. When a backstroker rotates his body more, he also puts the shoulder into a more favorable position for a stronger pull. With more rotation, the shoulder joint moves into a more flexed or positive angle; a position of greater strength. Increases in coupling energy and strength are two good reasons why a backstroker should rotate the body quickly from one side to the other. Yet, even with those potential benefits, most swimmers do not rotate far or fast enough because that requires more work. As a result, to resolve the problem of catching air with the pulling hand, the swimmer simply chooses to straighten the arm, rather than rotate the body more.

The straight arm not only weakens the pull, it also increases frontal drag, similar to the way a deeper pulling motion in freestyle increases frontal drag. While a fast stroke rate may be the single most important technique to improve backstroke, a quick and sufficient rotation of the body is also critical to attain more propulsion. Enough rotation will enable the swimmer to pull correctly with enough bend in the elbow, yet still keep the hand under water.

At The Race Club, we like to teach the concept in backstroke of pushing the water backward, rather than pulling the water backward. This concept requires that the swimmer rotates to about 45 degrees at the entry of the pulling hand into the water. Once the little finger enters the water directly above the shoulder, the swimmer needs to continue pointing the elbow toward the opposite end of the pool, bending the elbow as the hand pushes backward closer to the body. The maximum bend of the elbow ranges from 100 to 130 degrees, but once the pulling motion begins, the arm never approaches being straight (180 degrees), until the pull is completed. Pulling with this technique will reduce the frontal drag caused from the upper arm, which is responsible for most of the frontal drag during the pulling motion.

The most effective drill for teaching this backstroke pulling motion is the one-arm drill with fins, keeping the opposite hand at the side. As the little finger of the pulling arm enters the water, the opposite shoulder should elevate and touch the swimmer’s chin, assuring that enough body rotation is taking place. Once the hand is in the water, the swimmer can concentrate on keeping the pulling elbow pointing forward. The result is a sensation of pushing rather than pulling the water as the hand moves backward.

We now have three compelling reasons to pull with this technique in backstroke.

More power from a more positive angle of the shoulder
More power from the coupling energy of the quick body rotation
Less frontal drag from the upper arm’s forward position with a bent elbow

For a faster backstroke, get on your side and push the hand backward through the water, rather than pulling it through. You won’t be disappointed.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.


November 10-13, 2017 Veteran’s Day November Swim Camp

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this November 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, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 over the 4 days.

Friday, November 10th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Saturday, November 11th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, November 12th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, November 12th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, November 13th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, November 13th 11am-12noon Filming for Video Analysis option

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and afternoon camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions on or before October 9th, 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.

 

October 6-9, 2017 Columbus Day October Swim Camp

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this October 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, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 over the 4 days.

Friday, October 6th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Saturday, October 7th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, October 8th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, October 8th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, October 9th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, October 9th 11am-12noon Filming for Video Analysis option

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and afternoon camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions on or before September 5th, you get a $200 discount. The regular price of the whole camp is $1600. If you sign up early, it is $1400.  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.


December 26-31, 2017 New Years Swim Camp

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The Race Club Florida New Years 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. 

Swimmers will focus on all 4 strokes, starts and turns, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 12 camp sessions over the 6 days.

Tuesday, December 26th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Wednesday, December 27th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Thursday, December 28th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Thursday, December 28th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Friday, December 29th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Friday, December 29th 11am-12noon filming for Video Analysis option
Saturday, December 30th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, December 31st 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and Afternoon Camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 12 camp sessions on or before November 25th, you get a $200 discount. Full price is $2400. If you sign up early for all sessions, you get the whole camp for $2200.   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.


December 18-21, 2017 Holiday Swim Camp

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The Race Club Florida Holiday 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. 

Swimmers will focus on all 4 strokes, starts and turns, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 over the 4 days.

Monday, December 18th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Tuesday, December 19th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Wednesday, December 20th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Wednesday, December 20th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Thursday, December 21st 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Thursday, December 21st 11am-12noon filming for Video Analysis option

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and Afternoon Camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions on or before November 17th, you get a $200 discount. Full price is $1600. If you sign up early for all sessions, you get the whole camp for $1400.   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.


November 21-25, 2017 Thanksgiving Swim Camp

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The Race Club Florida Thanksgiving 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. 

Swimmers will focus on all 4 strokes, starts and turns, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 9 camp sessions over the 5 days.

Tuesday, November 21st 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Wednesday, November 22nd 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Wednesday, November 22nd 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Thursday, November 23rd 8am-11am camp session at Founders Park Beach for Race Club Olympics
Friday, November 24th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Friday, November 24th 11am-12noon testing for Video Analysis option
Saturday, November 25th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and Afternoon Camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all camp sessions on or before October 21st, you get a $200 discount. Full price is $1850. If you sign up early for all sessions, you get the whole camp for $1650.   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.


September 1-4, 2017 Labor Day Swim Camp

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The Race Club Florida Labor Day 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. 

Swimmers will focus on all 4 strokes, starts and turns, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 over the 4 days.

Friday, September 1st 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, September 2nd 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, September 3rd 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, September 3rd 11am-12noon testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, September 4th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, September 4th 11am-12noon filming for Video Analysis option

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and Afternoon Camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions on or before August 1st, you get a $200 discount. Full price is $1600. If you sign up early for all sessions, you get the whole camp for $1400.   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.


August 4-7, 2017 Islamorada Swim Camp

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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. 

Swimmers will focus on all 4 strokes, starts and turns, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 over the 4 days.

Friday, August 4th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, August 5th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, August 6th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, August 6th 11am-12noon testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, August 7th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Monday, August 7th 11am-12noon filming for Video Analysis option

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and Afternoon Camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions on or before July 3rd, you get a $200 discount. Full price is $1600. If you sign up early for all sessions, you get the whole camp for $1400.   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.


August 18-21, 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, 4 different types of dryland, the science of swimming 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 over the 4 days.

Friday, August 18th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, August 19th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, August 20th 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, August 20th 11am-12noon Velocity Meter testing option
Monday, August 21st 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Monday, August 21st 11am-12noon Filming for Video Analysis option

Morning Camp sessions are $250 and afternoon camp sessions are $150. If you sign up for all 8 camp sessions on or before July 17th, you get a $200 discount. The regular price of the whole camp is $1600. If you sign up early, it is $1400.  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.


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