Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Here I am four months into masters swimming and every one of my strokes is in the process of being completely overhauled. In freestyle I’m working on a wider placement of my hands, a more direct pull, higher elbows under water, longer stroke, more body roll, tighter core, easier recovery, and head positioning. In breaststroke I’m working on better coordination between kick and stroke, a more efficient pull and recovery, seeing some “going downhill” undulation, improving my kick preparation regarding drag, a more symmetrical kick, and increased flexibility in both core and hip. In backstroke I’m working on keeping my head position steady, better balance in the water, shallower catch, more roll in my shoulders, tighter core, more efficient hand entry, a smoother transition from one arm to the other, and especially, a faster stroke rate. In butterfly, after three solid months of stroke work, I’m still working on a wider pull, more relaxed recovery, stronger second kick, better body undulation, and increased kick and stroke coordination. And I haven’t even mentioned my kicking tempo and efficiency; haven’t practiced block starts or backstroke starts more than a handful of times; and don’t get me started on my turns, which range from poor in my open breast and fly turns, to worse in my crawl flip turn, and then only pitiful can be used to describe my back rollover turn. And on top of all this affecting every stroke there are my aerobic capacity, endurance, and strength issues – all major weaknesses right now.
I raise this because even my limited racing experience this season has shown when I become tired my technique falls apart rather quickly, and in a little more than one month my last ‘tune-up’ swim meet comes along. After that my opportunities for swimming ‘make-ups’ for blown races and racing the events I want to this season become ever more restricted. So I have a lot of meterage to put in to both try to better assimilate my coaching plus make my new techniques natural enough I can stick with them when I start tiring. It’s going to be interesting for sure.