Apologies this has taken so long to put up, but I was waiting to find out to see if I could have the video of me in the pool. Unfortunately as there are kids in the pool Child Protection Regulations have stopped me from being to upload it.
Anyway, the results. Well I am not as bad a swimmer as I thought! After a warm up and some drills I was given a few pointers to work on and soon I was gliding nicely through the pool. It turns out my catch is actually pretty good, despite what I originally thought and I have a good body position in the water. The similarities between rowing and swimming are amazingly close, and how I didn’t notice it before is beyond me!
The two things I worked on were rolling my body properly and getting full extension of my arms so I had a longer stroke, and to stop my arms from crossing (as ever!). The full extension was easy enough to get, but months of subconscious crossing proved more difficult. The video analysis showed that when I am swimming normally I don’t cross my arms any more and have a nice straight pull. The problem occurs when I take a breath when my limbs go AWOL. My opposite arm follow my body rotation and crosses over the centre line and my legs have a nice quirky flick out the side. To be fair, the leg flick wasn’t actually too bad, but I need to concentrate on the arm. It also explains why I end up veering off course when Open Water swimming as I only breathe on one side. This gives me two things to work on. I need to concentrate on my arm to stop it crossing over, and I also need to work on my bilateral breathing for training, which should just even everything out. It is getting better, I just get tired a lot quicker, so have to save it for easier work and persist.
So I have a few drills to work on, and technique pointers to concentrate on, which should improve my swimming gradually but I need a way to measure it. We did a lot of work on pacing, and experimenting with stroke rate and I ended up swimming with a lower stroke rate, which proved more efficient. We had a bit of a play with stroke golf (where you add time to stroke count, to work out how efficient you are) and found almost flat out with good technique, I am only one number down when I swim at my lower natural rate pushing hard. If I can if I can find a local squad this should improve my speed and I will also invest in some pool tools to speed myself up.
My 100m TT was 1:24 with good technique so I am going to work towards sub 1:20 and do lots of short distance sets (like 20 x 100m on 2:00 mins) to keep my technique. Once I am below 1:20 I can work towards a sub 3-min 200m, and then once I can comfortably do this I can work towards a sub 4:30 300m in a few months and then a sub 6 min 400m. Once I can do this well enough I can increase the distance swam at once, making sure the technique is kept. For a 1:05 hour IM swim I am going to need to be swimming 1:42/100m pace which I can do fine at the moment, I just cant hold it. Once I have picked my speed up I can increase distances working towards my target pace. Obviously the wetsuit will help a lot, but if I can swim a 1:05:00 in the pool then it will be very happy.
So work to do, but a big thanks to Streamlined Swimming and Elliot for an excellent session, highly recommended!