Swimming sometimes gets a bad rep in the world of endurance sports. Adventure racers call themselves triathletes that can’t swim. Many triathletes call the sport survive-bike-run. But does it have to be this way?
Of course not.
Swimming can be (if you’re asking me, it surely is) a really fun sport. part of that is because of its complex nature.
One thing that is really beneficial when swimming is hiring a coach that can look at your swim technique and give feedback on your efficiency doing it. Sadly, swim coaches don’t grow on trees (or in lily ponds), and having limited time due to work and family life, it can be hard to book a session.
So, what can you do by yourself?
How to do a swim analysis
The first step is to film yourself swimming. Ideally, you do it together with a friend. We have two reasons for that,
1. Your friend can follow you with the camera, filming you from the side.
2. It is more fun to do things together.
If you do it yourself, don’t worry. Just see to it that you get enough material from a static film of you swimming.
The making of
So, filming doesn’t have to be Oscar quality. smartphones goes a long way! The angles you need are:
- From the front, with you swimming towards the camera.
- From the side, with you swimming past the camera.
- If possible: Film underwater, swimming towards the camera.
Now you have lots of great material. But what to do with it? What is it that you are looking for?
Most times, swimming is not a one solution fixes all type of thing. You often have to work on many aspects of your swimming. But focusing on many different things at the same time will do you no good. So we will break down the analysis into smaller pieces. And then you can work on them one by one. So print this list, and use it to analyze. Then read our blogs for swimming training tips.
8 steps to improve your swimming
- Bilateral or unilateral – Are you breathing to one side or both?
- Breathing in / breathing out – Do your breaths have a continuous flow? You should never hold your breath, think of it as jogging.
- Movement – Breathe in while you have one arm stretched out in front of you. The in-breath should be done when your recovering arm is in line with your eyes.
- Eyes above the surface – Focus on having just one of your eyes above the surface.
- Where are your eyes fixed? – Do you look forward or do you look straight down while swimming?
- Line in the water – Where the head goes, the body follows. Keep a straight and neutral neck.
- Horizontal – Are you horizontal in the water, or are your legs sinking?
- Hips and kick – Do your kick initiate at the hip? Or, do you kick at the knee joint?
- Head, hip, and heel – The three “H’s” should be in line with each other.
- How many degrees – How many degrees do you rotate while swimming?
- What initiates the rotation – What part of your body initiates the rotation?
- What part of the body rotates – Do you rotate as a solid piece, or is there a difference between bodyparts?
- The horizontal distance between feet – How far apart horizontally does your feet go?
- The vertical distance between feet – How far apart vertically do your feet go?
- Effect/power – The kick Usually stands for 5-10% of your propulsion forward. Is it “cost-effective” to have a strong kick?
- Rythm – Do you flutter-kick, is it a two-kick? What’s the rhythm?
Stroke – Underwater
- Where you put your hand into the water – Do you enter the water close to your head, or stretched out?
- Catch – Where does your catch start, in your fingertips, wrist or further up your arm?
- Pull – What does your arm movement look like during the pull? do you use your forearm as well as your hand?
- Effect – Do you lose momentum anywhere along your stroke?
Stroke – Recovery
- Relaxed or tense – Are you relaxed or stiff during your recovery?
- Hands position – Is your hand relaxed, and where is it relative to your body?
- Elbow – What leads your recovery? Your elbow should pass your shoulder before your hand.
- Speed – The recovery is the only part of your stroke not generating any propulsion, therefore it should be swift.
All at once
And finally, put it all together!?
Lots to think about? Let us help you!
Or, take help from our swim coaches, who have many years of experience in both coaching and being active in racing. They have all the swim training tips and tricks that can benefit you greatly!