Friday, 19 October 2012

Man's best friend

Despite yesterday's fears of man flu I managed to soldier down to Thursday's swimming training. During October these sessions have had a very strong focus on kicking. Our coaches are very genial fellows so I don't mean that they give us a good kicking if we don't perform as expected. No it means that we spend a lot of time in fins kicking our way up and down the pool. Without giving away the clandestine training secrets of EGTC (if you want to know more then you need to come down to the Olympus pool in East Grinstead at 7pm on a Thursday evening or 7am on a Saturday morning) this mainly involves swimming on one side for several kicks, taking a few arm strokes, then kicking on the other side.

    

In terms of getting the kicking motion right, the idea is to make your legs as long as possible by pointing the toes and kicking from the hips. One of our female coaches describes this as imagining your legs as flowing ribbons. One of our male coaches described this as imagining you're kicking a small, randy dog off your leg...

 My kicking ability is perhaps the weakest part of my swim so I have found these sessions very helpful. Not only has my kick been getting progressively stronger but my overall stroke is getting a lot smoother, meaning I am starting to glide through the water rather than trying to smash my way through it.

A major part of this transition is that I'm now finding it a lot more natural to breathe bilaterally (breathing on alternative sides) when I'm swimming normal front crawl. There's still a lot of work for me to do but it demonstrates the benefit of spending at least one session a week on technique rather than just trying to swim faster or longer than you did during your last trip to the pool.

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