Monday, July 4, 2011

There Are Days In Life When You Say "Oh S**t!". Yesterday Was One Of Those Days.

I'm not sure I waited this long to video myself swimming because I was lazy or I was afraid of what I would see.  But yesterday, we were visiting Mary's parents and spent the afternoon at the pool.  I had my goggles (though the original intention was to use them for nothing more than playing with Ian) and I had my Iphone.  The stars where aligned, so I asked Mary to record me doing a couple lengths.  Here's one of the lengths:

video

When I first watched this, I was shocked.  But I was shocked for different reasons than I originally thought I would be.  Sure, my left arm is crossing the center line when I reach, my head is coming out of the water a little bit to much when I breath and a tighter core and more body-roll won't hurt.  But my biggest problem?  I am literally moving in slow motion.  My turnover rate is, I dunno, maybe 2/3rd's of what it should be?  And there is a dead-spot in my stroke when I breath - it makes the whole stroke look jerky.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I had no idea.  And remember this is a guy who sucks at swimming critiquing himself.  I can only imagine what some of you swimmers see.

Today is a pool workout anyway, so here's what I've come up with:
  • 500 yards warm-up
  • 200 yards paddles/pull buoy
  • 200 yards alternating one-arm
  • 10 x 50 yards on :20 rest
  • 10 x 50 yards on :15 rest
  • 100/200/300/200/100 yards on :20
  • 200 yards cool-down
This is  3000 yards, and the longest I've ever gone for in a single workout.  I'm going to get nice and warmed up (while focusing on staying fluid), do the 50 yard repeats really pushing the turnover and then try and hold the higher turnover rate through the pyramid.  We'll see what happens.

I'm leaving for the pool in 5 minutes.

18 comments:

Glenn Jones said...

Have you thought about joining a Master's Swim program? My daughter belongs to the Master's Program at UCI, where they have a triathlon group. Check out Goldenwest Swim Club. They work a lot on stroke efficiency.

Jason said...

I noticed immediately that your head was coming out of the water for that breathe.

My coach has taught me to pretend like I'm swimming over a barrel and that my breathe should look like I am taking a swig from a cigar. Half your mouth will still be in the water but you are puffing and staying in a downhill position.

My swims are a warm-up followed by 200-300 yards of drills including sculling, finger-tip drag, catch-up, one arm, kicks, fist, pull, paddle, P&P. They are not always done in one session but they are all done at least twice a week.

Try to keep filming yourself and see if you can focus on your areas that you are working on and if there is any improvement.

Jennifer said...

Ditto Glenn's comment... I thought I was doing ok on my stroke until I went to master's. The coach pointed out, "you're doing a funky waving thing with your arm" (along with 10 other things). With his immediate feedback on when I look good and when I'm doing something wrong, I have improved my stroke technique immensely!! Really hard to diagnose ourselves...

krystyna47 said...

Also, I know triathletes haaaaate kicking while swimming b/c they somehow think they are "saving their legs" while doing a 2-beat kick instead of a 6-beat kick, but it's actually the reverse. By not kicking often, you're letting your legs drop down, creating more drag, making your arms work even more than they should. Spend a couple hundred yards each session doing free but JUST focusing on a high kick (3 right leg kicks per arm rotation) and holy crap, you'll revolutionize your swim. You'll go faster expending FAR less energy. I hope that helps!!!

Barbie said...

Hey Patrick.

I know it's been a while since I jumped on and commented but thought this my time seeing as I love my swimming so much. Firstly i want to say - don't be so hard on yourself. I thinks it's great you now have a video of yourself swimming to see where you can improve. Ok, so here goes.

1. It appears that both arms cross the midline. I try to help this by doing nice high elbows and doing placement of hand out in front of shoulder. A kickboard should help you with this. place both hands on either side of kickboard about shoulder width apart and your hand should come directly back to that spot.
2. Your stroke count is fine. We swimmers don't want fast arms rather we want an effective stroke. It's what happens under the water that counts. Feeling the water and grabbing it effectively helps you move faster not fast ineffective arms.
3.Yes your head pops out of the water for a breath and you only breathe on one side. Body rotation is paramount.
4. We need to kick those legs. Triathletes are notorious non kickers. I love my kick - very important as it helps you move faster, assists in keeping your body up high in the water and if you keep those legs kicking we have blood going to them so that when it comes time to exit the water we don't get on the bike with oxygen deficient legs.

Masters swim classes are awesome. All of these things can be fixed Patrick. Hope this has helped.

XLMIC said...

Wow! This is so helpful! Now you have some really specific things to work on. The head up when you breathe is noticeable even to my lame-swimmer eye and super slo-mo is right. I actually thought it was slowed down for analysis until I saw the kid playing at normal speed right next to you :P You're really good at solving problems once you've uncovered what that actual problem is. You'll have the breathing and rate of turnover right where you want them in no time.

Mike said...

Great idea video taping yourself. I'm not an efficient swimmer myself and find I left my head out of the water more after I do an OWS tri.

P said...

Thank you for posting this! I have nothing helpful to add, but I'm enjoying the comments and suggestions.

Her Name Is Rio said...

Man, I think I should get someone to tape me swimming. I have no idea of how I look like out there. That was a brilliant idea.

Kovas said...

That's why I use a jetski.

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

I always have trouble getting the kicks to jive with the pulls. But you have to, at least in my case, because my feet and calves cramp (especially in cold water) if I don't kick.
Of course then you get the added benefit of keeping the legs up and not dragging.

Johann said...

Well I can't tell you a thing about swimming so I won't. I do believe this is a great way to improve. I'm always shocked when I see myself running. I've never tried to change anything deliberately though.

Emz said...

"should look like I am taking a swig from a cigar" --- ummmm who is Jason's coach Hugh Heff?

Happy swim morning!

Karen said...

What a great idea to have your wife video you! Who knew you would get all this input, right? Love Jason's cigar analogy but it is pretty accurate. You want to keep your head down even when you go to breathe, like you are looking at your shoulder, one eye will still be underwater. I don't know if seeing videos of it helps, here is a good one... http://www.theraceclub.net/videos/secret-tip-head-position-2of2/

Tri4Success said...

Good self-analysis and look at all the good comments you're getting! I have yet to film myself swimming. I shudder at the thought.

Laura said...

Geez...so much to remember/learn/practice...and I have thought about taking swimming up? Hmmm...

Chris K said...

I am very sure that you would beat me in a 100M race. So any comment would be superfluous. Did I use that word correctly.

I do know that IF I ever decided to be a triathlete the first thing I would do is buy a bike. The second would be take a few swim lessons.

BigMikeGA said...

Go to www.findingfreestyle.com. You can do their first lesson for free. The whole program takes 12 weks and you will find that your swim will iomprove a good deal. This is the cheapest, easiest way to work on your stroke.

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