Monday, March 8, 2010

I thought I knew how to swim...

So bachelor weekend went great. Other than Friday, which apparently is now "all meat, all the time day" in terms of my eating, it went exactly as planned. Rachelle's BU team won their league championship (she's on the far left of the pic in the red coat) and are heading to next weeks NCAA tournament. And I got a nice relaxing couple of days with some good workouts and some good work around the house.

The best part of the weekend was Saturday was the Wheelworks Multisport swim clinic. One of the members is a swim coach, and a group of newbies like myself and some team vets who wanted to work on technique got together to learn and practice.  For two hours, Pat took apart and rebuilt the idea of body position, stroke, recovery, etc. 

Normally, when I'm done swimming, I'm tired and my arms are sore, but the rest of my body has plenty of juice left. I learned Saturday that swimming should make use of your whole body, with an emphasis on pushing forward with your hips and using a tight core to rotate through the water. 

It was amazing how much easier it was to move through the water this way. Between rotating the upper body and driving with the hips, there was a lot less emphasis on the arms. Even little things like using the turn of the head to force the shoulders to swing the arms over reduced the amount of overall effort on the arms. Swimming this way allows your arms to recover during the top of the stroke and do most of their work during the pull. 

Of course the drawback to all this is that my core is my weakest part (as is evidenced by my recent picture). To say that I was sore from hips to shoulders after the class was evidence both of how good the class was, and how much work I have to do to be able to swim properly for a full 1.2 miles.

Breaking down technique, and using examples outside of swimming reminded me again of Karate Kid, especially with the way the hips and balance were used to describe how the freestyle stroke should be built. Plus, our teachers name was Pat... same as the actor who played Mr. Miyagi. 

Coincidence?... ok, maybe, but at least it means I get to post this picture:

Pat, is that you?


  1. Swim is 1/3 of the race but an important part. Remember no one who is first out of the water wins but the winner is in the top 10.

    To be a strong swimmer it takes a lot of pool time, work on the core, and work on technique as you found out, then transitioning to open water swims.

    Hang in there!

  2. Oldman -

    Thanks for the encouragement! I actually find myself to be significantly faster in open water, and found the conversion easy last year. being a bigger guy, I lose all sorts of momentum with stop and start in the pool. I try to push off very little because theres nothing to push off in the lake.

    As for the core, I'm learning quickly by how tired I am after each workout how much this works the middle, and it's really something I can definitely use!