Aqua Notes

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.


Starts & Turns Clinic in Coronado, CA April 28-29, 2018

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The Race Club starts and turns camp is unlike anything out there! In this Starts and Turns Clinic, 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, April 28th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, April 29th 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 Brian Bent Memorial Aquatic Center, 818 Sixth Street, Coronado, CA 92118. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


Veteran’s Day Swim Camp November 9-12, 2018

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this Veteran’s 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, 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 9th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Friday, November 9th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Saturday, November 10th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, November 10th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, November 11th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, November 11th 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 $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.


Columbus Day Swim Camp October 5-8, 2018 Coronado, CA

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this Columbus 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, 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. We will sell out at this camp! Sign up early!

Friday, October 5th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Friday, October 5th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Saturday, October 6th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, October 7th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, October 8th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, October 8th 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.


August 10-13, 2018 Race Club Swim Camp Coronado, CA

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this Summer Race Club 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. We will sell out at this camp! Sign up early!

Friday, August 10th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Saturday, August 11th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, August 12th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, August 12th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, August 13th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, August 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 July 10th, 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.


4th of July Swim Clinic Coronado, CA June 29-July 2, 2018

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The Race Club swim technique camp is unlike anything out there! In this 4th of July Swim Clinic, 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, June 29th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Saturday, June 30th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, July 1st 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, July 1st 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, July 2nd 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, July 2nd 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 May 29th, 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.


Memorial Day Swim Camp in Coronado, CA May 25-28, 2018

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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, 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, May 25th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Friday, May 25th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Saturday, May 26th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, May 27th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, March 28th 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, March 28th 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 April 25th, 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.


April 20-23, 2018 San Diego Swim Camp

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The Race Club Coronado, San Diego 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, April 20th 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Friday, April 20th 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Saturday, April 21st 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Sunday, April 22nd 8am-11am and 2pm-4pm camp sessions
Monday, April 23rd 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, April 23rd 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 March 20th, 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 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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The Race Club Coronado, Labor Day California 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 31st 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Saturday, September 1st 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, September 2nd 8am-11am and 3pm-5pm camp sessions
Sunday, September 2nd 11am-12noon Testing for Velocity Meter option
Monday, September 2nd 8am-11am and 1pm-3pm camp sessions
Monday, September 2nd 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 31st, 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 Brian Bent Memorial Aquatic Center, 818 Sixth Street, Coronado, CA 92118. Please fill out the registration form and submit online here.


What Octane is Your Freestyle Recovery?

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Recovery Grades

When you fill up your tank at the gas station, usually you are offered three grades of gasoline, regular (low octane 87), mid range (medium octane 91), and premium (high octane 93). The high-octane gas is more expensive, but it increases the energy and efficiency of the engine. It makes your car go faster.

Low and Medium Octane

In swimming, I like to describe the freestyle recovery as having three octane grades; low, medium and high. The lowest octane recovery means that the elbow is bent almost maximally, the length of the arm reduced by half, as it recovers from the release phase after the propulsion and moves to the front of the body for the next stroke cycle. This form of recovery requires the least amount of energy for a given stroke cycle rate, and not surprisingly, it is what we see in most distance freestyle swimmers.

When we get to shorter, middle-distanced races like the 100 and 200 meters, we often see the hand elevating from the water, with the elbow less bent on the recovery. This middle-octane form of recovery requires more work than the low-octane recovery, but produces more kinetic energy for the same stroke rate.

High Octane

Finally, in the sprint freestyle event, the 50 meter, we often see the hand elevated even further, or even a complete straight-armed recovery, the high-octane recovery. With the arm straightened, the radius of the arm has now doubled from the low-octane recovery stroke. If the stroke rate is the same as with the low-octane recovery, the kinetic energy in this motion is quadrupled. In fact, we often see the stroke rate in the 50 sprinter at around twice the rate of the distance swimmer, which means that the kinetic energy is quadrupled again. While doing both, the energy in the recovering arm of a straight-armed sprinter could be 16 times greater than the recovering arm of a slower, bent-armed distance swimmer. That requires a lot more work of the sprinter to create all of that energy. So why do it?

Coupling Motions

Once the stroke rate gets above 80 or so, the recovering arm becomes one of the two coupling motions of the freestyler. The other is the rotating body. The degree of coupling, augmenting the force of the underwater pulling arm, or the kick, is proportional to the energy in the coupling motion. In other words, the more energy in the recovering arm and/or the rotating body, the further down the pool we swim with each pull, so long as the two motions are connected.

Just like in the car, the faster we want to swim, the more octane we need in the recovering motion. Sprinters need high octane in order to win, while distance swimmers often like to use low to medium octane recoveries, saving their energy for the body rotation and the underwater pull and kick.

It makes no sense to use a high-octane recovery, requiring a lot of effort, if the stroke rate is around 60 or slower, a hip-driven freestyle. The reason is that the pulling arm is held out front during most of the recovering motion and by the time it starts its propulsion, the recovering arm is already in the water and lost its kinetic energy. In other words, there is no coupling going on with the pull with this slow of a stroke rate. The motions are not connected.

Because of the sheer mass of the upper body, the rotation of the body is the most important coupling motion we have in freestyle. Therefore, regardless of the level of octane used in the recovery motion, one should always use a fast body rotation with the pulling arm in propulsive phase.

Rotation is Key

In teaching these various forms of freestyle technique at The Race Club, we often imagine that there is a string going from the shoulders straight up to the sky. With each stroke, we try to get the swimmers to bring the elbow up to the string. In this way, regardless of whether the recovering motion is low, medium or high octane, with the elbow at the string, the body (or at least the shoulders) must be rotated fully. That means that the body must turn quickly to the other side in order for the other elbow to reach the string. The quickness of the body rotation creates a lot of coupling energy for the underwater pull. One can then add the recovering arm’s energy to the body rotation, low for distance, medium for mid distance or high for sprints, to optimize the technique for each race.

No one leaves The Race Club without having at least two freestyle techniques, because there is no one technique that works well for all distances. Some, like Race Club swimmer and Olympic champion Nathan Adrian, change their technique during the race. Nathan often goes from a mid-octane freestyle recovery to a high-octane, straight-armed recovery with a higher stroke rate to finish his 100-meter freestyle. Nathan wins a lot of races that way.

If you need to tune up your engine, come to The Race Club and let us help you determine what grade of arm recovery you need in your freestyle events.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.


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