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Do Air Bubbles really make us faster Swimmers?

Do Air Bubbles really make us faster Swimmers?

I have to admit, when a Masters swimmer, Kris, who is also a marine researcher in the Florida Keys, stopped me one day during workout and asked me if the air bubbles under the swimmer’s bodies made them faster, I didn’t know the answer.

Main Set: Lung Capacity

Main Set: Lung Capacity

This week we released a video on the benefit of releasing air bubbles under your chest while swimming freestyle. This has shown to reduce drag in our velocity meter studies.

The Correct Pulling Motion for Sprint Freestyle

The Correct Pulling Motion for Sprint Freestyle
Although much attention has been directed to using a high elbow pulling motion in freestyle, at The Race Club, we do not believe that is the best pulling technique for the 50-meter sprint event.

Main Set: Pulling Motion

Main Set: Pulling Motion

With this week’s video release focusing on freestyle pulling motion, it’s only fitting to provide a main set our Race Clubbers can use to practice what they’ve learned.

Main Set: Freestyle Kicking Speed

Main Set: Freestyle Kicking Speed
This week our main set is designed to develop your freestyle kicking speed and endurance while also mixing in some anaerobic swimming.

Learning to Swim Backstroke: 5 Easy Steps

Learning to Swim Backstroke on the Pool Deck: 5 Easy Steps
In teaching swimming technique, I find more swimmers using poor technique in backstroke than in any other stroke.

Main Set: Mid Distance Freestyle

Main Set: Mid-Distance Freestyle

This main set is a special one for our mid-distance freestylers! It focuses on different aspects of the 200 freestyle and can also be modified to fit longer distances.

Celebrate Every Victory, No Matter How Small

Celebrate Every Victory, No Matter how Small

This week, my wife, Mary, and I will celebrate our 48th wedding anniversary. The week we were married in Cincinnati in 1973, her grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Main Set: High Octane Freestyle

Main Set: High Octane Freestyle

We saw another American record go down in the 50 meter freestyle Sunday night at the US Olympic Trials. Caeleb Dressel swam a 21.04 by combining a high octane vertical recovery and an extremely fast stroke rate. 

Why use a High Octane Freestyle Technique?

Read about how High Octane Freestyle can make swimmers faster and who should be implementing it, what events it should be used for, and how to do it really well.

Main Set: Butterfly

Main Set Butterfly

Watching the men’s and women’s 100 and 200 butterfly events at the Olympic Trials, I was impressed by how many of the elite butterfliers use either an ascending or vertical arm recovery and an aggressive hand entry in front.

Breathing Pattern in the 100 Butterfly

Breathing Pattern in the 100 Butterfly

On the first day of the Olympic Trials, one of the most incredible swims was 18-year old Torri Huske, who ripped off a 55.78 in the semi-finals. Torri went out fast on her first 50 meters but showed no signs of fading at the end with a strong finish to the wall.

More on Swimmer’s Shoulder

More on the Swimmer’s Shoulder from my father

My father was an Orthopedic surgeon who practiced in Long Beach, California from 1951 until his retirement in 1992 at the age of 76. He did not specialize in sports medicine,

Main Set: Breaststroke

Main Set: Breaststroke
Getting the right anatomical tools for doing fast breaststroke is very important. Internal rotation of the hip, pronation of the ankle and lumbar spine extension are the three important qualities needed for a strong breaststroke kick. Plus strength. Plus fitness. Some swimmers are born with the breaststroke kicking tools, and some are not. If you don’t have the necessary flexibility for breaststroke, it doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. You just need to know what to do to improve.

Remembering Rion Foster

Remembering Rion

This week I had the honor of coaching a talented, young 16-year-old swimmer from West Virginia, Madeline Foster. Maddie has great potential to develop into a superb swimmer someday. 

Thank you Coach Devin, Welcome Coach Thomas!

Thank you, Coach Devin! Welcome Coach Thomas!

I dreaded the day I would get the phone call, but I knew it would come. Race Club Head Coach Devin Murphy is a family man. His family lives in Ohio, where he grew up. His wife, Lynette, also an outstanding swimming coach, is from Ohio. In the Keys, Lynette was commuting 1.5 hours each way to get to her swimming team in South Florida. I knew that couldn’t last too long.

Main Set: Kicking

Kicking Main Set 

This week, we introduce you to a Race Club video that will show you how to increase your ankle flexibility and leg strength outside of the pool. Yet, to become a great kicker in dolphin, freestyle or backstroke kick, you need three things: Plantar ankle flexibility, Leg strength (knee extensors, hip extensors, hip flexors) and tremendous leg fitness. 

Where does the kick propulsion come from?

Where does the kick propulsion come from?

Last week we wrote about where the pulling propulsion is greatest, so it is only fitting that we discuss the kicking propulsion this week. Believe or not, there are still coaches out there who think that the kick generates no propulsion at all…

Where is the Propulsion greatest during the underwater Freestyle Pull?

Where is the Propulsion greatest during the underwater Freestyle Pull?

I have asked this question for years to some of the most successful coaches and swimmers I know. The answers I have heard are variable. The pulling arm begins to generate propulsion

Main Set of the Week: Active Recovery

Main Set of the Week: Active Recovery

The most effective way of training for nearly all competitive swimming races involves using a variety of training methods throughout a training week and throughout the training cycles.

Main Set: Alactic Training Set

Main Set of the Week: Alactic training set

This week we are going from one extreme of training, endurance for Open Water competition, to the other, Alactic training. Alactic training includes short bursts of maximum output exercise lasting 5-10 seconds, followed by short rest. 

Increasing Shoulder and Scapula Flexibility

Increasing Shoulder and Scapula Flexibility

Last week, we wrote about stretching the shoulders before workouts to help prevent shoulder injuries and pain, a controversial topic.

Why you should stretch before a workout

Why you should stretch your shoulders before a workout
Swimming is a low-impact sport, causing few severe traumatic injuries when compared to contact sports.

Race Club Main Set-Freestyle Flutter Kick

Race Club Main Set
In this week’s Race Club Main Set we introduce a set designed to help the freestyle flutter kick. Some of the common mistakes we see in the freestyle flutter kick

Getting the Freestyle Kick Right

Getting the Freestyle Kick right Acquiring the capability to kick freestyle fast requires that a swimmer develop three crucial abilities: Extraordinary ankle plantar flexion  Leg…

Prioritizing Backstroke Stroke Rate

In Backstroke, Stroke Rate is the Highest Priority

The fundamentals of good backstroke technique are not really much different than with good freestyle technique. Neither are the biomechanics of a good technique much different with the two strokes.

Backstroke Main Set

Backstroke Main Set

Of all of the problems we find in backstroke technique, stroke rate is at the top of the list. All backstroke is shoulder-driven, which means that stroke rates from the 200 down to the 50 should be fast, faster and fastest.

Race Club Main Set

Race Club Main Set

Adam Peaty has set a new standard for sprint breaststroke. While a teenager, he showed amazing speed for the 50 meter sprint, yet he did not develop the stamina for the 100 until later.

Why I like Drills

Why I like Drills Some coaches think that drills are a waste of time, but I am not one of them. I would go so…

How to Recover your arms in Freestyle

How to Recover your arms in Freestyle

In our Race Club video released this week, we teach a freestyle technique that is often overlooked or not appreciated for its importance: freestyle recovery.

Is Pull the right term for our arms in Swimming?

Is Pull the right term for our arms in Swimming? I was recently asked if using the term pull for the arm motion in Swimming…

Freestyle Technique Fixing the Out Sweep

Freestyle technique: Fixing the Out Sweep

Initiating the freestyle pulling motion with an out-sweeping motion is a common technique problem that we find with our swimmers at The Race Club.

Three Common Mistakes in Freestyle Technique

Three Common Mistakes in Freestyle Technique 

This week, we introduce a series of videos at The Race Club on how we teach a brand-new competitive swimmer to do freestyle correctly. Except this swimmer is 38. Mark is a natural athlete

Online Coaching: Does it add any value for swimmers?

Online Coaching: Does it add any value for swimmers? At The Race Club, Head Coach Devin Murphy and I have been coaching swimmers virtually (online) for over…

How to Finish your Breaststroke Pullout

How to Finish your Breaststroke Pullout

Whether you are an IMer or a breaststroker, you will need to develop a strong breaststroke pullout to win races. As we so often teach at The Race Club, to do that means the swimmer needs to maximize propulsion and minimize frontal drag. 

Head Position on the Backstroke Start

One of the most common problems we find with the backstroke starts among our Race Club swimmers is going too deep. While it is not…

Freestyle Technique: Avoid the Out Sweep

Freestyle Technique: Avoid the Out Sweep

How a swimmer initiates the freestyle pulling motion, setting up for the catch, is vitally important.

3 Techniques for a Clean Start Entry: The Hip Lift

Three Techniques for a Clean Start Entry: The Hip Lift

Of the ten techniques we teach at The Race Club for a great start, three are devoted to getting a clean entry. A clean entry simply means causing less splash.

5 Reasons to Subscribe to The Race Club

Five Reasons to Subscribe to The Race Club 

If you are like me, you think twice, no, three times, before subscribing to anything. Here are five good reasons why, after your third time considering, you should click the subscribe tab on your phone or keyboard and become a Race Club member. 

Main Set: Two Great Backstroke Sets

Two Great Backstroke Sets

In training swimmers at The Race Club, we feel some sets should focus on technique, while others should focus on conditioning using good technique. Here are two sets that include both.

Is Teaching Bilateral Breathing in Freestyle Necessary?

Is Teaching Bilateral Breathing in Freestyle Necessary?

Of the thousands of swimmers who have come to The Race Club, we have found that a very high percentage of them are being taught to breathe to both sides in freestyle, often referred to as bilateral breathing. Observing elite freestylers of both genders,

Improving your Hip Driven Freestyle Technique

In our new video release this week, we take a very commonly used and popular drill and apply it to a different swimming technique, hip-driven freestyle. Normally, we use this drill in teaching the importance of coupling in shoulder-driven freestyle, but this drill has many other good applications. 

Two Great Drills to Learn Hybrid Freestyle

Over the past two decades, the Hybrid or galloping (loping) technique of freestyle has become quite popular among elite swimmers. It is a particularly common swimming technique among elite males and for middle-distance events (100 and 200 freestyle).

Comprehensive Training with The Race Club

Comprehensive Training with The Race Club COVID has managed to disrupt the training of most swimmers around the world. Many of our Race Club swimmers have not…

Freestyle Arm Recovery: Vertical vs Horizontal

This week, in our newly released video on freestyle arm recovery, we take a close look at two commonly seen problems found in two very strong Masters swimmers, Cindie and Mike Boosin. The first problem is using a flatter, horizontal freestyle arm recovery, rather than a more vertical arm recovery.

Shoulder Driven Freestyle for Women

Shoulder Driven Freestyle for Women

Of the three freestyle techniques, shoulder-driven, hip-driven and hybrid, why is it that nearly all elite women use shoulder-driven freestyle technique for all of the freestyle events from 50 meters to 1500 meters?

Adam Peaty’s Secret: Fast Kicking Cycle

Adam Peaty’s Secret: Fast Kicking Cycle

In a recent SwimSwam article, Stefano Nurra does a nice job of analyzing the nuances of breaststrokers’ techniques, including Adam Peaty.

Partners In Crime

Partners in Crime

Bill Keating Jr was the first cousin of my wife, Mary. From the time we met, when I was in college at Indiana University, Bill and I stayed in touch with each other through our families and a shared passion for swimming.

When to use Hip Driven Freestyle Technique

When to use Hip-Driven Freestyle Technique
Everyone should learn to use a hip-driven freestyle technique. With his massive kick, Ian Thorpe used a beautiful hip-driven freestyle for his 200-meter freestyle events, yet it is a better technique for the 400-meter races or longer.

Losing the Franchise Part II

Losing the Franchise (a true story)

Part II

     A few weeks before the Big 10 Swimming Championships of 1971, Sports Illustrated sent one of its most famous photographers to Indiana University in Bloomington to shoot a group photo of four of the fastest swimmers in the world, Mark Spitz, John Kinsella, Mike Stamm and me.

Losing the Franchise Part I

Coach Doc Counsilman tapped his foot impatiently on the asphalt of the cul-de-sac outside of Royer Pool in Bloomington, Indiana. He was standing next to one of the two remaining I.U. station wagons with the motors running, looking up at the sky at the dark, swirling clouds above closing in.

Butterfly Technique-The Second Down Kick

The Second down kick Butterfly Technique
One of the most fascinating aspects of our sport is that when it comes to technique, swimming is not a one-size-fits-all sport.

Two New Metrics to Evaluate Breaststroke

Two new Metrics to evaluate Breaststroke

Adam Peaty and Lilly King have rewritten the rules on breaststroke technique. They both pull widely, elevate the shoulders extremely high, crash down hard with the upper body and head, which is timed exquisitely with the propulsion from their kicks.

Hybrid Freestyle Technique: Who should use it and when?

The Hybrid freestyle technique, also known as the loping or galloping freestyle, is a technique that has been used by some of the most recognized names in swimming; Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky and Jason Lezak, just to name a few. 

Hybrid Freestyle Main Set

Introducing Hybrid Freestyle

Before swimming our hybrid freestyle (video) set, you may want to do 10 x 50s @ 1:10 working on six kicks/ two strokes (video) to understand how hybrid freestyle works. 

Main Set- Shoulder Driven Freestyle

he Race Club Main Set- Shoulder Driven Freestyle is a technique that is used by swimmers of every level.  It is largely used by sprint and mid-distance freestylers, but can even be utilized by distance swimmers as well.

Freestyle Technique- 6 phases of the Pulling Cycle

The Six Phases of the Pulling Cycle The following article is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released book, entitled Fundamentals of Fast Swimming, by Gary Hall Sr and Devin Murphy.

3 Styles of Freestyle-Hybrid Technique

The Three Styles of Freestyle

Hybrid Technique

With hybrid freestyle technique, the stroke rates range from around 70 to nearly 100 strokes per minute, overlapping some with the other two techniques.

Shoulder Driven Freestyle Technique

Shoulder Driven Freestyle Technique

The stroke rate for shoulder-driven freestyle ranges from around 85 strokes per minute to nearly 150 strokes per minute.

3 Styles of Freestyle- Hip Driven Freestyle Technique

In 2007, Mike Bottom, then Head Coach of The Race Club and men’s sprint coach at Cal Berkeley, delivered a talk at the American Swim Coaches Association annual meeting on the Three Styles of Freestyle.

Common Mistakes from the Freestyle Hand Entry

The entry of the hand in freestyle is often overlooked as an important swimming technique, but it shouldn’t be. The technique of the hand entry causes significant problems for most swimmers.

Intro Set-Three Styles of Freestyle

Three Styles of Freestyle – Intro Set    For this installment of The Race Club Main Set I want to share a set that isn’t…

Three Home Exercises for Building a Strong Freestyle

Three great home exercises you can do to build a stronger freestyle

Main Set-Turn and Speed Work

Turn and Speed Work – Suicide Set   For this installment of The Race Club Main Set I want to share a set that focuses…

Three Home Exercises to Build a Better Butterfly

Butterfly is the most difficult swimming stroke to do well, requiring incredible amounts of strength in the legs, core and shoulders. It also demands great ankle and shoulder flexibility in order to develop speed.

Three Home Exercises to Build a Better Breaststroke

Three great home exercises you can do to build a better breaststroke
Breaststroke is the toughest stroke to teach and learn, partly because it requires a completely different set of tools in order to do well than the other three strokes. It is also a stroke that does not offer any real recovery time, as the arms and legs must be working at all times during the stroke cycle.

TRC- Three Home Exercises to Build a Better Backstroke

Three great home exercises you can do to build a better backstroke
After teaching backstroke technique for years, I have found that I am more successful teaching the proper pulling motion and body rotation with the swimmers on the deck than when they are in the water.

The Race Club Virtual Coaching

The Race Club Virtual Coaching While COVID-19 may be turning the world upside down, that doesn’t mean you need to sit around and wait for…

TRC Dryland- Building a Better Breaststroke

Building Better Breaststroke tools
Part 1: Testing for your breaststroke tools
When it comes to anatomy, there are two sets of tools in the sport of swimming; the free/fly/backstroke tools and the breaststroke tools.

Dryland Exercise – Pushup, Somersault, Reverse Somersault, Shoelace Jump

We are breaking down the individual exercises in our Dryland Workout video with Head Coach of Alabama Swimming, Coley Stickels.  Coley loves to incorporate motor skills with athletic movement in order to get the most efficient strength from his swimmers without bulking up too much or becoming less quick and unathletic.  With that said, his ‘movements’ are always challenging and knowing the basics is fundamental in order to do them safely and efficiently and they are suitable for most every level of Athlete. 

Dryland Exercise – The Burpee

University of Alabama Head Swimming Coach, Coley Stickels, also happens to be one of the most creative and renowned strength trainers for swimmers in the world.

TRC-Virtual Coaching

While COVID-19 may be turning the world upside down, that doesn’t mean you need to sit around and wait for this pandemic to end. You can take a proactive swimming approach from your very own home through virtual online coaching on our website.

TRC- Reducing Frontal Drag, Racing Caps

Reducing Frontal Drag Racing Caps To compete in swimming at your very best, every possible effort should be made to reduce frontal drag during your…

Turn Techniques Part I: When to start the Dolphin Kick

Turn Techniques  Part I: When to start Dolphin Kicking off each Wall Three Controversies There are three controversial topics regarding the dolphin kicks taken off…

Coronavirus Update Preventive Measures

With the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, coaches and swimmers are very concerned about the Coronavirus spread in Asia, and rightfully so. An upper respiratory infection caused by this virus can not only take a swimmer out of competition, but it can also be life-threatening.

TRC Butterfly Technique-Coupling Motions

Some fast elite butterfliers in the world use a very vertical arm recovery…Rikako Ikee, Emma McKeon, Laszlo Cseh, Chase Kalisz…just to name a few. In theory, the advantage of the more vertical arm recovery over a more traditional, horizontal recovery in butterfly is that gravity helps to pull the arms down with more kinetic energy, coupling with and strengthening the second down kick. The challenge with teaching this vertical recovery technique is that it depends on having extraordinary extension flexibility in the shoulders. Not every swimmer has that.

TRC-Reducing Frontal Drag Tech Suits

Reducing Frontal Drag Tech Suits  In 2008-2009, when the full-bodied polyurethane and neoprene swimming suits were allowed in competition, approximately 200 world records were broken.…

TRC-Improving Your Swimming Starts

IMPROVING YOUR SWIMMING STARTS Arm Positioning In swimming, we see two very different techniques of track starts used from the block; weight forward and weight…

Main Set-Gary Hall Sr

Main Set-Gary Hall Sr Today, there are all types of equipment and tools to help build power and strength in the water. One of our…

TRC- Swimming Efficiency

Swimming Efficiency What does it mean? Swimming efficiently is important and without it, we probably won’t win a race. Many coaches tend to equate swimming…

TRC-Strength Training for Swimmers

2 Strength Training Exercises that Swimmers should avoid Strength training in the sport of swimming is paradoxical. It is a must for swimmers to reach…

TRC Kicking Technique: Dolphin Kick Pop Quiz

Kicking Technique: Dolphin Kick Pop Quiz (correct answers are at the end) How well do you understand Dolphin Kick? Dolphin kick is now called the…

TRC Masters Clinic-Islamorada February 7th-10th, 2020

TRC MASTERS CLINIC Dear Masters Swimmers, From February 7-10, 2020, The Race Club will be hosting its first USMS Clinic in Islamorada, Florida Keys. We are truly excited about…

TRC MAIN SET: Backstroke

  TRC MAIN SET: BACKSTROKE TRC Main Set this week will focus on backstroke. One common technical issue in many swimmers doing backstroke is having…

Virtual Coaching is a Big Hit at The Race Club

At The Race Club, virtual coaching is a big hit. To become the fastest swimmer possible, you will need help — a lot of it.…

TRC Main Set for Individual Medley

  As a world record holder in the Individual Medley, I understand the importance of training specifically for the IM. TRC Main Set for Individual…

Improving Your Starts: Head Lift

  Improving Your Starts: Head Lift talks about whether a swimmer should lift the head when leaving the starting block or not.  This is a controversial…

Swimming Techniques for the Individual Medley

  It is important to learn the crossover transition to improve your technique in the individual medley.  Learning the Crossover Transition There are four Swimming…

6 New Swimming Myths Debunked

Gary Hall, Sr. is an American swimmer and coach, three-time Olympic medalist and former ten-time world record holder in butterfly, backstroke, individual medley, and freestyle. In 1976 Montreal Olympic games, his teammates from all sports elected him as U.S. flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony. It was the greatest honor of his athletic career.

The Race Club Main Set of the Month for Lane 1

Coach had a successful swimming career as a two-time captain and four-time All-Conference Honoree. Devin also served as the swim team’s representative for the Student…

Ten Swimming Myths Debunked and Revisited

Ten Swimming Myths Debunked and Revisited

The Race Club College Placement Camps

THE RACE CLUB COLLEGE PLACEMENT CAMP The task of selecting the best possible college for a high school swimmer can be daunting. Working your way…

The Coupling Motions of the Start: The Arm Swing

Although there are some variations of the following techniques, we see primarily four different arm motions from swimmers as they leave the block prior to getting into a streamlined position for the entry. Since the amount of kinetic energy ….

A Great Pearl for Faster Freestyle Flip Turns

At The Race Club we pride ourselves in teaching all of our members to have fast turns in all strokes. They are just too important to not do well. There are two very different ways to view turns…..

Five Ways to Improve your Taper

In swimming, taper is often considered a mysterious force that leads to fast swimming. Read here to better understand what is happening to your body and why taper allows you to swim so fast.

Three Unique Techniques in Sun Yang’s 1500 m Freestyle

When a swimmer does things in a unique way and breaks records in the process, investigation can be helpful. In this week’s AquaNote, we look at Sun Yang’s freestyle. Specifically, we dig into three unique parts of his stroke and execution and examine what we might be able to take away from these interesting techniques.

Sprint Swim Training: Power

Learn how to focus a training program to develop swim power in this week’s article. New Race Club coach Brent Noble explains what swim power is, how to test for it, and how increase swimming speed through training by building power.

How to Determine your Ideal Stroke Rate

At The Race Club, we consider stroke rate to be an incredibly important area to develop and fine tune in training to swim faster. In this week’s AquaNote, Coach Gary discusses what exactly it is, how to train with it, and what stroke rates we should be targeting.

The 1976 Summer Olympic Games of Montreal – Part 3

The final part in Gary Hall Sr’s incredible story of the 1976 United States Men’s swimming team….

Main Set of the Month: June 2019

This Main Set of the Month is brought to you by Troy Marcikic our new coach based out of Coronado!

The Summer Olympic Games of 1976 – Part 2

Gary Hall Sr. continues to share what made the 1976 Men’s Olympic Team one of the greatest…

The Summer Olympic Games of 1976 – Part 1

The 1976 Olympic Games of Montreal, Canada, produced two of the most fascinating stories in the history of Olympic swimmers. It was perhaps the gutsiest…

The Most Transformative Swim Drill

I call the six-kick, one-stroke drill transformative. It turns non-swimmers into swimmers. It helps transform good swimmers into very good swimmers. I hope that you enjoy our webisode and will use this drill to improve your freestyle and backstroke technique.

Mental Toughness: The Mike Burton Story

In our talks on mental training, we often share an inspirational story of one of the many swimmers that we believe are a 10 on the killer instinct scale. One of my favorite stories is of Mike Burton. Many of you have never heard of him, but you should know about him. He was as mentally tough as Michael Phelps, but with a lot less talent.

Main Set of the Month: May 2019

When Olympian Jeremy Linn was visiting in the Florida Keys, I once asked him how his kick got so strong, and he said by doing eggbeater/swim combinations. So here is a Jeremy Linn type set that may not look too challenging, but it is. It works the legs very hard. While it is a great one for breaststroke, it also works for any other stroke.

Vertical Arm Recovery in Butterfly

As coaches, we sometimes find young swimmers that demonstrate this extraordinary and remarkable shoulder flexibility that would enable them to use this butterfly technique. The question is should we be teaching the high vertical arm recovery in fly to them? I think we should.

Goosebumps Moments in Sports

I have had many goosebumps moments in my life. Three of the most notable were watching my son, Gary Jr, win an Olympic gold medal in the 50 meter freestyle twice. The other was carrying the Olympic flag in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games of Montreal Canada in 1976. That was an indescribable feeling of honor and the highest one I have ever received.

Main Set of the Month: April 2019

This is set that was introduced to me by Coley Stickels, Assistant Head Coach at Indiana University. The set is based upon a German study on cyclists, not swimmers, but might be appropriate for swimming. The exercise consisted of 6 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 24 seconds of rest. Interestingly, this is one of the few sets I’ve seen that may help both the anaerobic system and aerobic system; the former by conversion of slow twitch to fast twitch fibers and the latter by the sheer number of swims and the duration of the set. I include the reference below for those that want to learn more.

What Octane Rating do you have on your Freestyle Recovery?

At The Race Club we use the analogy of Octane ratings in gasoline to describe the different arm recovery motions in freestyle. Octane is a low molecular weight hydrocarbon that is an additive to gasoline, and which helps the engine run more efficiently, particularly at high compression. Metaphorically, the words High Octane have become synonymous with powerful or dynamic in the English language.

What is your Baseline Freestyle Speed?

At The Race Club, we look at the freestyle kicking speed as the baseline speed for your freestyle. In other words, your all-out kicking speed for 50 yards is your baseline freestyle speed for 50 yards, before you add in your pulling and coupling motions. It is true that the shorter the race, the greater the contribution the kick makes to the overall freestyle speed. Therefore, the more important the kick becomes. However, the kick is meaningful for most fast swimmers, no matter what the distance and particularly when you want to put your freestyle into high gear at the finish.

Understanding the 4 Basic Sciences of Fast Swimming

Swimming fast is primarily the result of the effective application of four broad basic sciences, Physics, Physiology, Kinesiology and (lumped together) Neural, Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences. All four of these basic sciences interact and, to some degree, overlap and are extremely important in helping an athlete swim fast.

Physiology for Swimmers, Coaches and Parents – Part III Muscle Composition

The paradox of building too much muscle mass is that it can begin to affect our shape (morphology), making us bigger, which increases frontal drag forces.  In most sports, getting bigger and stronger will make us better. In swimming, that is not always the case.

Improving your Swimming Race Starts off the Blocks

The Three Techniques of a Clean Entry for Swimming Race Starts: When a swimmer’s hands first strike the water on the swimming start, the speed of the swimmer will never reach anywhere near that level again in the race. Whether a swimmer simply falls off the block or has a huge vertical leaping ability, like Caeleb Dressel or Brad Tandy, the vertical speed at hand entry will be similarly near 13-14 mph, thanks to gravity. Both swimmers will also reach the water at exactly the same time. The difference is that Caeleb and Brad will reach the water over 4 meters from the wall.

Butterfly Stroke: Why I like Rikako Ikee’s Butterfly Technique

Rikako Ikee has already proven to be one of the fastest women butterfly swimming competitors in the world. Watching Rikako  swimming butterfly, you will see that she has very high recovering arms on both sides; a very vertical arm recovery compared to most. Her hands are well above her elbows on her recovery. Lazlo Cseh of Hungary has a similar recovery among the men’s butterfly swimming.
The advantage of a more vertical recovery in swimming butterfly is that the gravitational force assists in the arms coming down to the water more forcefully when compared to a more common horizontal recovery. The higher kinetic energy of the arms at entry couples with the second down kick and enables the swimmer to surge forward faster after this second butterfly kick.

Main Set of the Month: February 2019

This is set that was introduced to me by Coley Stickels, Assistant Head Coach at Indiana University. The set is based upon a German study on cyclists, not swimmers, but might be appropriate for swimming. The exercise consisted of 6 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 24 seconds of rest. Interestingly, this is one of the few sets I’ve seen that may help both the anaerobic system and aerobic system; the former by conversion of slow twitch to fast twitch fibers and the latter by the sheer number of swims and the duration of the set. I include the reference below for those that want to learn more.

Gold Member List – Winter/Spring Season (Jan-April)

Congratulations to our Race Club Family for achieving their goal times! We always stress the importance of goal setting, but its even more incredible to make those goals. It takes a lot of practice and hard work, so good job and keep up the good work!

Peak Performance Sports Psychology Mental Toughness: Are you Anchoring to Improve your Swimming Performances?

At The Race Club camps, our fifth and final point of peak performance mental toughness training is called anchoring. Anchoring is sports psychology that the swimmer does or says or thinks either standing behind or on the starting block, just seconds before the start of an important race.

Swimming Fast: Is it your Mission?

Goal setting is a vital part of the process of success. After all, you cannot get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. For the most successful swimmers, those that compete in the Olympic Games or World Championships, there is more to their success than just goal setting. They are each on a mission.

Freestyle Swimming Strokes: The Magic of 90

Freestyle swimming strokes for freestyle and backstroke involve the number 90.I believe that everything in the world involves mathematics. The way objects are structured, animate or inanimate, down to their atomic configurations, and the ability and way in which they move, specifically in the stroke rate of swimming, all involve mathematics.

Flip Turn Swimming: How to do Faster Flip Turns in Freestyle Swimming

There are four parts to freestyle flip turn swimming; the approach, the tumble, the underwater and the breakout. Mistakes in all four parts of flip turn swimming are commonly made by most swimmers. Here are three of my favorite pearls for the approach to the wall that will help you improve your flip turns in freestyle swimming.

Energy Systems and How to Breathe to Swim Faster

To reduce frontal drag while swimming faster and to maximize the efficient use of our energy systems, it is vital that we learn proper swimming breathing techniques, particularly the breathing techniques of a faster freestyle and butterfly.

Helping Fast Swimmers Get Faster

Typically, it is not so challenging to help a slow swimmer swim faster, as they are making lots of mistakes in swimming technique. Many of those mistakes are visible from the deck. The question is can we use this technology to help our fastest swimmers get faster? They are certainly making fewer mistakes in their swimming technique and most of those may not be visible or discernible from the deck. Here is a good example.

How We Create Energy to Swim Faster

When we step on the blocks for a fast swimming race, we are about to increase the energy demands to a very different and high level and, if we expect to swim fast, our bodies need to be capable of producing it.

Swimming Butterfly Technique Video for a Faster Swim

Our latest butterfly swimming technique video sheds some new light on this difficult stroke. While swimming proper breaststroke may be the toughest swim technique to learn or teach, from an energy expenditure standpoint, swimming butterfly is the toughest stroke to perform. Butterfly is a difficult swim stroke technique to do well. It is even a more challenging one to keep doing well throughout a race. Butterfly is an exhausting stroke.

How to Swim Faster Using New Technology

What is exciting is that we now have new technology that enables us to really study and understand some of the details that help make swimmers fast. The Pressure Meter is a good example.

The New Breaststroke

Having a fast stroke rate in breaststroke does not necessarily equate to having speed. It is pretty easy to spin your wheels in breaststroke and waste a lot of energy without having much to show for that effort in terms of speed. Breaststroke is the most timing-sensitive of all four strokes.

The Proof of Coupling Motions

Coupling motions are extremely important in swimming all four strokes and on the start to enhance power. Recently we invested in some technology at The Race Club that enables us to measure propulsion (pressure) on the hands during the pulling motion. The technology also measures the speed and degree of body rotation (angular velocity) with each stroke.

The Swimming Spin Turn for Butterfly and Breaststroke

This technique enables the swimmer to shorten his or her diameter slightly by tucking the knees under the chest more than with the vertical turns of the past. The result is an incredibly quick turn-around.

Ten Ways to Make Swimming a Bigger and Better Sport

A recap of the original 10 suggestions and provide an assessment of where we are today, some 22 years later, with new suggestions on how we might make swimming a bigger and better sport.

How to Kick Start Your Race

Of the ten points we teach at The Race Club for a better start, the kick up of the back leg is perhaps the most powerful and under-utilized technique out there. Depending on the age and size of the swimmer, the leg weighs anywhere from 20-40 pounds and can form a lot of kinetic energy with the right effort.

Pulling Correctly in Backstroke

One of the most common mistakes in technique that we see in all strokes is in the pulling motion of backstroke. Part of the reason for this technical error is that to pull correctly, a swimmer needs to rotate the body significantly from one side to the other. That involves more work. To avoid that extra work, swimmers often choose to minimize the amount of body rotation. To avoid breaking the surface of the water with the hand moving backward, which reduces power, swimmers find an easier solution. Keep the arm straight on the pull.

Teaching and Learning Fundamentals: Begin with Streamline

What is important is that good technique be learned early in a swimmer’s career. Every coach should be teaching young swimmers basic fundamentals of good…

How to Position Yourself for a Better Swim Start

Caeleb Dressel, Brad Tandy, and perhaps Ben Proud of the UK have arguably the best starts in the world today. Curiously, they each set themselves up differently on the block to position themselves for the take your mark command. Once that happens, they each take a very similar weight back position for the beep; what I call the cocked position. The backs are rounded and the heads are down. One difference is in what they do with their arms.

Technology in Swimming Part II

While technology is extremely important to the advancement and progress of swimming, we need to be very careful about how we use this new information.…

Two New Ways to Improve your Swimming Dolphin Kick

Kelsi has four points of acceleration; two at the beginnings of the up and down kicks, and two more as her feet pass through the body’s vortex or slipstream….

Which Comes First, the Smile or the Fast Swim?

At The Race Club camps, we spend quite a bit of time on mental training. Arguably, mental training is the most under-utilized type of training in swimming…

Technology in Swimming

It is an exciting time in the sport of swimming with respect to technology advancement. Many new companies providing hardware and software have emerged to help…

Physics for Swimmers, Coaches, and Parents – Inertia

In order for a swimmer to go from the rest state (taking your mark on the starting block or getting ready to push off the wall) to the moving state (gliding or swimming down the pool), external forces must be applied. Whether that force comes from our legs (feet) pushing us off the starting block or wall or…

Swimming Freestyle Head Position: Tilted Forward vs Down?

Which way is right? The controversy over this subject has been ongoing for a long time. In elite competition we see both heads tilted forward and heads down in freestyle…yet they both can’t be right.

To be a Great Coach, be Inquisitive

Historically, some of the greatest coaches in the sport of swimming were also the most inquisitive. They never stopped questioning. Understanding that they were far from having all of the answers to get swimmers faster, they constantly challenged the hierarchy, the establishment. Often they…

Proper Head Position in Backstroke

The head position in backstroke should change throughout the stroke cycle. There are two reasons most swimmers are more comfortable swimming backstroke with their heads…

Three Great Tips for a Faster Butterfly

Butterfly is a challenging stroke. It is the most difficult swimming technique to perform and sustain over any moderate distance. The reason is that it…

Two Great Pearls for a Faster Backstroke

The fundamentals of backstroke are the same as for freestyle. However, the priority of those fundamentals differ for backstroke and there are certain nuances of…

Our 3 Favorite Drills for High Elbow Pull

In every event over the 50 meter sprint, virtually every elite distance freestyler in the world is pulling with the elbows held very close to…

More on the Dolphin Kick

I continue to learn more about this fascinating motion in the water and what makes it work well….or not so well for swimmers. Like all…

Physics for Swimmers, Coaches and Parents – Propulsion

The propulsion forces of a swimmer are derived purely from the kick and the pull. In addition, the propulsion from the kick and pull can be influenced by other motions of our body that produce no propulsion at all. These are called coupling motions.

Physics for swimmers, coaches and parents – Frontal drag

Most sports take place in air, where drag forces apply but are not nearly as detrimental to performance as they are in swimming. With the…

The 5 Mentally Toughest American Elite Swimmers in History

This is a tough list to compose. There are probably 50 or more good candidates for the top 5 spots, but this is my list.…

Correcting your Body Position in Freestyle

At The Race Club, our approach to teaching better swimming technique is based largely on physics. Since water is rather unforgiving when it comes to…

New Subscription Service Launches May 1st

Beginning May 1, The Race Club will be offering swimmers, coaches, parents and triathletes a new subscription service with four options to choose from. The…

Physics for Swimmers, Coaches and Parents

Introduction While there are many laws in physics that have some influence on the speed of a swimmer, the most significant are those pertaining to…

4 Creative Kick Sets to Build Leg Strength

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…

Origins of Modern Swimming Goggles

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,…

The Ever Evolving Vision of The Race Club

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…

A Closer Look at Zane Grothe’s Freestyle

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!…

Improve Your Track Start in Swimming

The Track Start Nearly all swimmers today use a track start with one foot forward and the other back on the starting block. With the…

How to Breathe While Swimming: Air Lubrication System

Quick and Shallow First, I want to dispel one myth about breathing during intense exercise. In no sport does an athlete ever take a complete…

High Elbow Pull in Freestyle

TRC Methodology Teaching swimming technique is very interesting. Every client we have at The Race Club is different. Some learn easily. Some don’t. For those…

Dryland Training at Indiana University

Remembering Marge Recently I paid a visit to my alma mater, Indiana University, to celebrate the life of the Grand Dame of swimming, Marge Counsilman.…

For Butterfly and Breaststroke: Use Your Head

Swimming Streamline At The Race Club we have always preached to our campers to try to swim smarter. Not that there is any way to…

Is Butterfly Swimming a Short-Axis Stroke?

An Unclear Fit A short-axis stroke is defined as a stroke where there is desirable rotation of the body along the short axis through the…

Keep Your Head Still in Backstroke

Stevie Wonder Head Many years ago, I was coaching a ten year old swimmer that had a bad habit of turning her head to one…

How to Get Your Breaststroke Clicking Again pt. 1

A Unique Stroke Breaststroke can come and go like the wind. It is frustrating for both swimmers and coaches to have a swimmer’s breaststroke clicking…

The Final Frontier pt 3: Coupling Motions

Importance of Coupling Motions One of the reasons that I believe that the up kick on butterfly and freestyle kick (or down kick in backstroke)…

Online Coaching… a new dimension to swim training

Advanced Communication Technology Coaching a swimmer online, as opposed to being on deck, is a relatively new form of coaching, made possible by today’s advanced…

Avoid the ‘Modern Toilet Seat’ Syndrome in Swimming Freestyle & Backstroke

Club Members Only Upgrade to The Race Club Membership – 2, Monthly, The Race Club Membership – 2, Annual, The Race Club Membership – 1,……………………………………………

Improving Your Start from the Block – Fast Swimming Starts

Part II Coupling Motions: The Head With either type of track start, there are three important coupling motions that will augment the forces of the…

Oxygen! How Often Should I Breathe in Swimming?

The Art of Breathing in Swimming Part III In part II of this series, we discussed where and how to breathe in freestyle and butterfly,…

How to Inhale and Exhale While Swimming Fast

The Art of Breathing Part II - How to Inhale & Exhale While Swimming Fast First, I want to dispel one myth about breathing during…

How Oxygen Affects Our Bodies in a Swim Race

The Art of Breathing Part I - Swim Race Breathing while swimming seems like a natural thing to do. After all, we do it all…

Finesse Your Freestyle

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 the Heck Am I Doing Here?

Gary Hall Jr won Olympic silver medals at the 96 Olympics; he then took time off, and returned to win the gold at the 2000 Olympics.
When things inevitably get tough in life and in sport, the greatest threat often arises insidiously from within our minds in the form of the question: “What the heck am I doing here?”

3 Ways to Evaluate a Swimmer for Breaststroke Kick

Flexibility is a huge part of a swimmer’s ability. In freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, there are two joints that require extraordinary flexibility in order to excel, the shoulders (particularly extension) and plantar flexion of the ankle.

How to Effectively Do a Slingshot Start

There are two options for the track start using the back footplate, weight forward or weight backward (slingshot). Before the introduction of the footplate, on the elite men’s side, there was an equal mix of both techniques being used, with neither having a clear advantage over the other. On the elite women’s side, most women used the weight forward technique.

Brian MacKenzie and Erin Cafaro MacKenzie join The Race Club team of Expert Technical Coaches

Announcing strength training, nutrition and recovery consultants to expand the Race Club’s unparalleled swimming resource for optimal performance.
The extended Race Club family welcomes Brian MacKenzie and Erin Cafaro MacKenzie to their staff of consultants. Brian MacKenzie is a world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. He authored the book “Power Speed Endurance: A Skill Based Approach to Endurance Training”
and co-authored “UnBreakable Runner”. MacKenzie created CrossFit Endurance, which specializes in movement mechanics and programming.

What Grade is Your Freestyle Recovery?

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.

Create a Thing of Beauty with Your Backstroke Start

A great backstroke start is a thing of beauty. I liken it to a dolphin leaping out of the water and piercing the water through a hula-hoop, or David Boudia, scoring a perfect 10 off of the 10-meter tower. You see no splash and hear no splash.

What Can We Learn from Emperor Penguins and Sun Yang?

I do know this. Swimmers, like Sun Yang, end up teaching us more than we think we know. It is up to us to observe, to think, to question and most importantly, to learn. Chris might be right. The Emperor Penguins and Sun Yang may be on to something.

What’s So Important about Dolphin Kick?

Dolphin kick, which is now used in all four strokes, is often referred to as the ‘fifth stroke’. It is so important to faster swimming that Olympic coach Eddie Reese dedicates sets in each practice to improving the dolphin kick. It is no wonder that Texas had 6 out of 8 finalists in the men’s 100 yard fly at the NCAA Division 1 Championships this year. If you aren’t devoting a lot of effort to building a stronger dolphin kick, then you should rethink your training.

The Art of Swim Parenting

Being a swim parent is not easy. If it were, we would likely have 2 million registered USA Swimming members, rather than half a million. Swim parents have to be unselfish, dedicated, loving, committed and invested to help their children succeed in the sport. In this day and age, how many parents will sit on a hot bleacher or in a chlorine filled natatorium or behind a starting block, timing all weekend, for the pleasure of watching their child swim for a few minutes? Or how many children today would rather be sitting around for the same duration in the same environment waiting to race when they could be in their air-conditioned home in front of their large screen television playing Minecraft or Game of War?

10 Swim Camps in 2016

We are excited to announce that we will increase the number of swim camps for next year, 2016. More options for you in this Olympic year will hopefully allow you to become a faster swimmer by coming to train with us. As always, you can choose which sessions you want to attend during any of our scheduled camp dates. We have a morning and an afternoon session every scheduled camp day.

Two Distinct Breaststroke Techniques and Three Key Timing Tips

Breaststroke is the most inefficient and slowest of the four strokes. It is also the key to a successful IM. It is also the one stroke that seems to come and go like the wind, and is perhaps the most challenging to master. How can a swimmer do so well at breaststroke one season, only to find that he or she is struggling to approach the same times the next season? It is all about timing.

Why One Arm Backstroke Drill Matters

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.

Triathlon Swim Camp with Gary Sr. and Andy Potts

-Los Angeles, CA   The Race Club is proud to announce our first triathlon swim camp specifically for Triathletes and open water swimmers. This camp is be conducted in Pacific Palisades, CA July 30th through August 2nd, 2015. Coach and Race Club Director Gary Hall Sr., will be leading the camp in coaching. Professional triathlete, Andy Potts will be leading the camp on Saturday, August 1st, sharing his wisdom and expertise with the exclusive group of triathletes who sign up for camp. This camp will be unlike any other Race Club camp. We encourage all athletes to attend all 6 sessions since we need to cover so much about triathlon swimming during that time.

Happy Feet Part II… The Sequel

All of that plantar flexibility of the ankle you have worked so hard to develop to become a fast kicker, aside from avoiding some seriously sprained ankles while inadvertently stepping in a hole, probably does no good deed for you on land. In fact, the excessive pronation (flat feet) of the foot that is commonly found among swimmers, may ultimately lead to some serious foot issues. I should know, because I have them.

Head Position in Freestyle… Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

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.

How to Maximize the Fifth Stroke

Recently, I have spent a great deal of time using the Race Club Velocity Meter technology to analyze the dolphin kick. After all, the dolphin kick has become so important in all of the swimming strokes that it is now considered The Fifth Stroke. The Velocity Meter allows one to study the velocity and acceleration/deceleration of the swimmer’s body throughout the kicking cycles.

How to Maximize Swimming Starts With the Back Footplate

Getting off to a good start is one of the most important parts of the swimming race. The shorter the race, the more important the start becomes. Last spring at The Race Club, we had the opportunity to learn from one of the best starters in history, Roland Schoeman.

Is Butterfly Swimming a Short Axis Stroke?

A short-axis stroke is defined as a stroke where there is desirable rotation of the body along the short axis through the middle of the hip, as opposed to the long axis, along the length of the body. Breaststroke is a short-axis stroke because the swimmer should extend the lower lumbar spine (arch the back) and elevate the shoulders as much as possible to augment the force of the kick. Breaststroke does not rotate the body on the short axis, but it does bend the body on the short axis. It can do that because the body’s speed in breaststroke, before the kick, goes to nearly zero.   Freestyle and backstroke are both long-axis strokes as there is clearly body rotation around the axis in the line of motion down the pool with each. What about butterfly? Where does it fit in?

Coupling Motions Boost Distance Per Stroke

Have you ever noticed that leaner men or women often swim faster than bigger, stronger men or women? Reducing frontal drag is certainly one of the reasons why a leaner body may have the potential to swim faster, but there is another reason, called coupling motions.

Why Head Position in Backstroke Matters, Plus 2 Drills for Head Position

The fundamentals of backstroke are the same as for freestyle. Although the biomechanics change some when one rotates from the freestyle to the backstroke position, all of the basic laws and forces governing technique remain the same. In other words, we want to reduce frontal drag as much as possible, increase propulsive power as much as possible and try to comply with the law of inertia.

10 Ways to Improve Health and Swimming Performance

Nutrition is so important for swimmer’s health and performances, I consider it to be one of the five essential disciplines needed to reach maximum potential in swimming. The other four are swim training, strength training, mental training and recovery.

Vinyasa Yoga for Swimmers – Shoulders

At The Race Club, we believe that Yoga is one of the best forms of dry land training for swimmers. In 2008, all of our Race Club swimmers training for Beijing incorporated two Vinyasa Yoga sessions per week in which movement is synchronized with breath. The swimmers liked Yoga and felt that they benefitted from these sessions. In 2008, Rebecca Soni abandoned her traditional strength training and stretching routine in favor of doing Yoga. As a result, she felt stronger in breaststroke and swam faster.

Dolphin Kick Breaststroke with Rebecca Soni

We asked Olympic Gold Medalist, Rebecca Soni what she thought of using dolphin kick breaststroke drill in practice. She shares how she got through some tough workouts and how important it is to feel the water. Reb explains some of the qualities that make strong swimmers in racing and in life.

Develop Explosive Power and Flexibility – Dryland Training

There are three different facets of dryland training, all of which are important; strength training, stretching and fitness. I am not aware of any elite swimmer that does not incorporate a dry land program into his or her training. It is that important. The following reflects some of our philosophy at The Race Club regarding dry land training for freestylers.

4 Creative Kicking Sets to Pump Up Leg Strength

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.

The Launch of the Race Club Swimisodes

This week The Race Club is launching a new video series, called ‘Swimisodes’, that will be featured on our website, Youtube Channel ( and Swim Swam. We will release a new Swimisode weekly on Tuesdays. We are really excited to bring you these Swimisodes starring an incredible cast of athletes. Olympians Rebecca Soni, Roland Schoeman, world champion Junya Koga, and world-class swimmers, Zach Hayden and Lexie Kelley were incredibly gracious and willing participants that shared their strokes and techniques for all four strokes, starts, transitions and dry land training during filming and now we are honored to bring you their talents online.

Dolphin Kick The Fifth Stroke

The development of a fast dolphin kick depends on several important nuances. Although the propulsive force is generated by the top of the feet during the down kick, the power to do so originates from the combination of a large undulation of the hip, a strong core, hip flexors and quadriceps muscles. The force is delivered with the right amount of knee bend and finally, and most important, extreme plantar flexibility of the ankle. It is the latter ability that creates the larger surface area to be pushed backward in the water.

Ramp Up Your Freestyle Kick The Race Club Way – Swim Training

The propulsive power that one derives from the freestyle kick depends on pushing a large surface area backward in the water quickly. The backward movement of the kick occurs in the down kick and depends on the strong muscles of the quadriceps and the hip flexors to drive the foot back with speed, along with the core muscles. The fastest kickers in the world have developed these specific muscles into very powerful ones in order to achieve this goal.

Freestyle Kicking Power Requires Plantar Flexibility

Having great plantar flexibility of the ankle is a prerequisite for developing a stronger, faster flutter kick. Having the plantar flexibility alone does not insure one of having a fast flutter kick, as that also requires strength, fitness and the proper mechanical motion of the legs. However, without having the flexibility of the ankle, one has no chance of kicking very fast.

Why Strong Freestyle Kicks Really Matter

For the down kick, the quadriceps, hip flexors and core muscles have to be incredibly strong in order to create a quick snap of the foot backwards. Since the kicking motion occurs over and over again at a very high rate, the leg muscles also need to be incredibly fit. With a freestyle stroke rate of 100 (fifty right arms, fifty left arms per minute), a six beat kick produces a kicking stroke rate of 600 kicks per minute. To sustain that for very long, the legs had better be fit.

How to Build Stronger Freestyle Kick Mechanics

To build a better freestyle kick, one must first understand where the propulsive power of the kick is derived and how to balance the two opposing forces of propulsion and frontal drag, in order to maximize the kicking speed.

Freestyle Flip Turn: Why the Breakout Matters

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.

Freestyle Flip Turn: Streamline Dolphin Kick, Dolphin Kick Technique, Number of Kicks

THE STREAMLINE – THE PHELPS METHOD What happens between the time the feet leave the wall and the breakout is the most controversial and variable…

Freestyle Flip Turn: Mastering the Approach

The important law of inertia comes into play at several key times during the flip turn and the approach to the wall is one of them. If a body in motion truly wants to stay in motion then the worst thing we can do is slow down while approaching the wall. Yet nearly every swimmer does.

Coaches, Swimmers and Parents: Protect Your Eyes

Once upon a time, before I became a swimming coach and instructor at The Race Club, I was an eye surgeon. In fact, I operated on about 50,000 eyes over 25 years, trying to help people see better. I lived in sun-drenched Arizona with over 300 annual days of sunshine

Why We Should Rotate Our Bodies in Freestyle and Backstroke

All of the elite swimmers of the world rotate their bodies along the long axis, the axis that their body is moving down the pool, while swimming freestyle and backstroke. They don’t just rotate a little bit. They rotate a lot. The question is, why?

All About Freestyle Drills and More

In the never-ending quest to get their swimmers fitter, coaches tend to use every minute of the practice to get more meters or yards into the workout. Rarely, do they ever stop and take a step back to really analyze what their swimmers are doing?

The Science of Coupling

We don’t get to isolate any of these energy systems, the arm recovery, the body rotation or the head snapping down. They are all connected to the body and therefore, the action of one ‘system’ influences the others. We call this coupling. Some coaches refer to it as the connection.

Gary Hall Sr. for Swim Swam

Gary Hall Sr. is now a regular contributor to Swim Swam .com. Here are his first few published articles discussing The Fundamental Laws of Swimming.…

The High Elbow Pull of the Freestyle Stroke

One of the most difficult swimming concepts to understand is why one should pull with the elbows near the surface, also referred to as “high-elbow pull” or the early vertical forearm position (EVF).

Gary Hall Sr. in the News

The Race Club and Gary Hall Sr. has recently been published in Men’s Health and in The Huffington Post. 

My Take on Freestyle Recovery: Straight vs Bent Arm Part II: Newtonian Mechanics

We have spoken a lot about the mechanics of the underwater pull with respect to compromising the positions of maximal propulsive forces and minimal frontal drag forces, in an effort to attain the highest possible body speed.

Where is the maximum propulsive force generated in the swimmer’s underwater pull?

As far as I know, no one has ever measured the exact propulsive forces of the pulling arm at the various underwater positions during the pull. Measuring the swimmer’s body speed, as is now readily obtainable with the velocity meter

The Energy Systems of the Swimmer

I often speak of the three fundamental laws that govern our swimming techniques, the forces that propel us, the forces that slow us down and the law of inertia. All are important, but because the motions involved in maximizing propulsion are different than the motions that minimize frontal drag forces

Summer Swimming Camp June 15-18, 2018 in Islamorada, FL

Summer Swimming Camp June 15-18, 2018 in Islamorada, FL