One of the sessions we had on the Mallorca trip the other week was some stroke analysis. It wasn’t done in great depth – with a group of 16 it’s hard to concentrate on any one individual for too long. However, it’s the most analysis my stroke has ever had, so I found it fascinating.
The first element was to film the stroke from three different angles: overhead; side-on underwater; head-on underwater. It’s the first time I’ve ever had the chance to see my stroke like this, so it was very illuminating. Here it is:
This is a film I took of the TV screen which was playing the film of my stroke, so the quality’s not great, but you get the idea. There were five main things that I thought / spotted as I watched this:
– Ooh look, that’s me swimming – as I said I’ve never seen myself swim before.
– My legs are going faster than I expected – however thinking about it I think that this was about it being earlier in the morning and chilly in the pool. I was just trying to wake and warm myself up.
– My right arm is close to crossing over – this had to be pointed out to me, I didn’t really spot it, but I don’t think this is a major issue, but certainly something I need to be aware of.
– My left hand goes down and then back up after entering the water – it looks really pronounced on the side-on view. I suspect that this is something that I do to try and elongate my stroke and extend the glide phase, but as you can see (although I was told too) it’s quite inefficient and I’m holding the water back rather than gliding through it.
– I just don’t rotate my right side at all – and this is something that I’m going to really work on.
But I think the main thing I took from watching this is – Ooh look, that’s me swimming! Deep insight there!
On Monday I got into the pool just after 7am for my regular Monday morning swim session, but to be honest it was hard work. I was still really tired from the previous week’s work and hadn’t managed to catch up fully on my sleep. It really made me realise just how important rest is in regards to all of this training.
I plan to do mini 1km sets at a threshold pace when I’m swimming these sessions. The plan is to keep to a 1:54 / 100m pace (1 minute and 54 seconds for every 100m swum). I managed the first two 1km sets, but setting off on the third I just didn’t have the energy.
I could have pushed through it, but part of the reason for being tired was because I was busy at work – and there was still plenty to do on Monday. So instead of keeping going and wiping myself out for the day, I called it a day.
By doing so it meant I had a few extra minutes to chat to someone who is a regular lane buddy. I see her and say hello, but even after all these weeks we’ve only just got onto first name terms – I’m usually too busy swimming and then rushing to work. But on Monday I had a few extra minutes and we chatted for a bit. Naturally the talk was about swimming and our stroke (I’m a bit choppy with my left arm apparently) and during that conversation she mentioned that there was a Masters session at my pool twice a week – I didn’t know that!
So last night I went down to my first ever Masters session – in fact it was my first ever swimming “lesson” of any kind. I don’t remember being taught to swim but I presume that my dad gave me the basics and I got on with it as a nipper, I certainly was never a member of a swimming club. So I was a little bit nervous at the start of the session.
In the end the session was a swimming club session for teenagers with one lane roped off for the old folk. It doesn’t sound like much, but as there were only three of us it was plenty. We started with a warm-up as the coach watched our stroke and then gave tips.
She actually said that my stroke was quite good – which was gratifying to hear – I just have to focus on reaching a bit further and rotating a bit more. Although I’ve never had any lessons I have watched swimmers and read a few tips and hints and tried to adopt the good habits into my swimming – it seems that some have sunk in. After the initial assessment we swam few drills (I’ve never used a pull buoy before, so that was interesting) and continued to receive hints and advice from the coach.
It wasn’t a particularly intense session, although the different drills helped me work on different aspects, but I really enjoyed it and got a lot from it. I’m going again tonight 🙂