Monday, December 04, 2006

Notes from Tri Swim Clinic

I think I am a swimmer now. McMaster University was where OAT (Ontario Associations of Triathletes) started. A number of triathletes from around the world come to here to train. They have some of the best facilities in Ontario.

It was organized by C3 (Canada Cross-Training Club). I like to thank Barrie Shepley (Olmypic Coach, founder of OAT and C3) for organizing a clinic like this. He ran the clinic by the clock, nice and efficient.

The first half of the day involve in the class. Olympic Coach Andrew Cole, his wife, Carla, an-ex olympic swimmer and his assistent coach, Tim, taught us the fundamental of swimming. Focus here is on using the core to power the swim instead of just arms alone.

In the pool, we did 5-6 drills. Each lasting 6 minutes. We were splitted into groups of 5. Each group is led by either a national swimmer/swim coach/national triathlete. They give instant feedback for every drill we do.

Then afterwards we did a number of workshops. These include:

- dryland exercise
- warm up
- watching national swimmers do the drill
- swimming on top of a mirror to see your own technique
- video tape and critique

I am glad I rebuild my swim endurance leading up to the clinic. I was able to do more drills and got more feedback by doing so. I use to be intimidate by swimming in groups or unsure whether my endurance can handle the drills. Yesterday, I was very comfy in the water. This leads to more focus on technique and skills. Maybe they use a better type of chlorine in the McMaster pool :).

Here are my notes. Enjoy...

- incorporate core to swimming
- recovery arms move WITH body, follow and roll through
- increase speed = stride lenght, not much w/ stroke rate (reminds me of running, build up the cadence than work on the stride)
- relaxation through recovery, lack of lateral movement (everything action is about moving straight)
- every action there is a reaction (if your arm move to the right, your body will compensate by moving to the left)

- catch, reach without locking the elbow (locking the arm will cause you to move right or left)
- hold 90 degrees through the whole pull
- a little sweep out, keep arm 90 degrees
- BUT to keep arm under centre of gravity, ROLL shoulder and upper body

- swim simultaneously motion with two arms (Kayak Principle) [I never thought of swimming like this]
- elbow go up, add power to core, rotate, move the other arm

- arms don't flick out on entry and no locking
- if hand flicks out, body goes the other way (every action there is a reaction)
- body (core) rigid to transfer speed

- rhythm, key to distance swimming
- how well can athlete hold technique to the end

- speed range, technique remain constant from slow to fast

- slow and fresh to learn new technique
- skills work at beginning of swim

- relaxation at top speed
- set body in position, centre of gravity , whole core together
- lift head, stretch through the core

- recovery, where most shoulder problem originates
- roll w/ anteriour shoulder
- body roll w/ recovery

- finger slightly apart when catch, relaxation
- feel and hold more water w/ fingers open than close

Areas I need to work on
- hip flexor, kick-relax ankle
- use yoga, pilates, lower ab exercise

- catch reach far, not go in water and come back up
- slow the catch, don't rush it

- left arm flickers a bit

- breathing not in sync with rotation

When swimming under a mirror
- hips not rotating evenly on both sides
- need to reach far fo the catch, tend to catch and push short

When doing kicking drill
- body arch back


12/12s = 12 kicks on one side with left hand out, 12 kicks on the other
- arms up, hold elbow, rotate w/ core

Crazy glue drill = stick one arm out, ear is attach ot that arm (like crazy glue)
- one hand stroke with the other arm
- BREATH with the stroke but ear does not leave the arm
- always have one goggle in water
Note: This is hard drill, the focus is to teach us how to rotate the head with the core and not twist the head to breathe.

Breathing drill, single hand drill and breathe with the altenrate side
- keep head inline w/ spine

25s w/ 1-2 breathe (7-8 strokes), work on rythmyn, no pause, relaxation


Jeremy said...

Excellent work, Cliff. You will have gills before you know it!

Darren said...

Sounds like a great clinic, Cliff. Good value with alot of instruction.
I remember once a coach telling me 'it's very hard to swim well slow.' If you can learn to swim well at a slow pace, swimming faster become MUCH easier. Keep at it, bro.

Anonymous said...

Those are some great swim tips, Cliff!

Thanks for taking the notes and then posting them for us.

Trisaratops said...

Looks like a great clinic with lots of good info!

Anonymous said...

Excellent Cliff!

Anonymous said...

Dude! With those kind of notes, you are DEFINITELY a swimmer!

Born To Endure said...

That seems like so much to remember..have fun!! I'm sure this will go a long way to help you.

Robin said...

WOW! Thanks for the notes, Cliff. The whole core thing is very interesting. I took a 6 week swim class and the coach also emphasized the core. That crazy glue drill is very interesting. Also interesting was your observation that building up your endurance allowed you to focus more on the drills. Interesting and motivating. Thanks, Cliff & GOOD LUCK ON YOUR SWIM. You will rock in July! I'll be there cheering you on! :-)

Mike said...

Cliff- some very cool stuff in that class. I took one swim clinic and hated the video that really me flailing thru my swim!?! ;-)

Keep it rolling!

Anonymous said...

This is going to be great, based on my latest post!

Anonymous said...

I just recently discovered your blog! Many coaches have reminded me that core is very key to swimming, especially non-swimmers like me. I'm trying to work on it daily during the off-season...

Bolder said...

the part about not locking your arm is thought provoking.

thanks for sharing!