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Why You Should Do a Swim Stroke Analysis with Me

Why You Should Do a Swim Stroke Analysis

In this article I am going to give you some strong reasons why you should do a Swim Stroke Analysis with me. You will see that the benefits are tremendous and it make total sense to have someone look at you in the water and see where you can improve.

The swim is the only part of the triathlon where it is not about how fast you are in the water. It is about EFFICIENCY. The goal of the swim is to reduce drag and increase propulsion in the water, and this is done with good solid swim form. Swimming Economy is the amount of energy required to move the body a specific distance at a given velocity. Think about it this way- what is the fastest most efficient way to get from point A to point B? It is impacted by the propulsive and resistive forces applied during swimming and is influenced by experience, gender and age. The goal with the swim stroke analysis is to improve swimming economy.

Let’s talk about the forces at play during swimming.

Propulsion is the force that moves you forward. Propulsion is created with a strong pull, a high stroke rate, muscular endurance and power. Elite swimmers have a stroke rate of somewhere between 70-100 strokes per minute. Strength training to develop muscular endurance can help with swim propulsion.

Drag is the force that resists forward movement. There are 3 kinds of resistance or drag that affect movement in the water. 1. Frictional drag- this occurs when water passes over a rough surface such as a bathing suit, goggles, or hair. 2. Form drag is caused by the shape of the swimmer in the water- think streamlining in the water. The longer and straighter the vessel, the faster it moves in the water. 3. Wave drag- this happens when the swimmer creates waves by splashing or bouncing, keeping the head out of the water too often, or excessive choppy water and strong currents.

Swim form is directly related to the amount of propulsion and drag created during the swim stroke.

This is where I come in.

In the Swim Stroke Analysis form I document all of your important swimming related information such as comfort in the open water, previous swimming background, and training and racing history. I use my phone to video you completing a 100 yard endurance pace effort. I record the entire effort counting strokes for each length. I calculate your stroke rate by counting strokes for 15 seconds then multiplying by 4. I also can figure out your 100 yard pace using this test. This is very helpful when planning workouts for the athlete.

In analyzing your stroke, I look for issues that are causing unnecessary drag and ways you can increase propulsion in the water. I also look for any form mistakes that have potential to cause injury such as rotator cuff issues. I go through and look in detail at all 4 phases of the stroke to include Entry, Catch, Pull, and Recovery. For the Entry I check things like fingers being closed or open, amount of splash, position of elbow and wrist. One mistake I see often is the swimmers hand crossing the midline of the body just before the catch phase of the stroke. This is easily correctable with the 11 and 1 drill. I also look to see if the elbow is higher than the wrist during the Catch phase. For the Pull phase I look at arm position, fingers, the S-pull, and degree of hip rotation. For the Recovery I check to see if the elbow is leading and that it has a slight bend versus straight arm. I look to see if hips are near the surface or if your hips are sinking. Usually this is because you are not focusing on looking down during your stroke. I check to see if the toes are pointed or flexed during the kick and if your feet are slightly breaking the surface of the water. The width between feet should be no wider than the hips.

I then give you an overall rating based on what I have seen and the prescribe some strength training moves specific to the swim to help build muscular endurance and power. All of this is written up in a document in report form so that you can read through and understand where you can make improvements.

I will tell you that it is the best $99 investment because it tells so much about your swim stroke. The feedback I give you is priceless and doing this assessment will help you to swim more efficiently and therefore faster in the long term.

Interested in a Swim Stroke Analysis? Click HERE to sign up with me! If you live in the College Station area I can meet up with you at the local pool, otherwise let’s talk and I will tell you how to create the 100 yard swim video that I will need to analyze your stroke.

(Source: Ironman University)

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach


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