My TI coach will be out of the country this next month, so I signed up for my next class for today so that I could practice some more things while he is gone.
Following my amazing feat of hitting 13 strokes for 25yards, I was actually able to hit 12.5 today! Well, the .5 was due to a Michael Phelps-ian half stroke near the wall before touching it; I was not sure if I could glide to the wall or not on my 12th stroke. Oh well - I'm still amazed that 12 strokes is within my reach now. Given that I started at 21, getting to 12ish shows me that I am not a failure at swimming, and that I just needed the right type of instruction to get there.
Some notes from today:
1. Last week's lesson, my coach told me not to throw water back on the tail end of each stroke. It takes a lot of energy and is not really needed. It was not until today's lesson that I felt that this was really true. Corrections in my form and using the two beat kick to generate power virtually eliminated the need for throwing water back and I could glide so much further on each stroke without such a tiring move.
2. Today it took me about 3.25 superman glides to get to the other side of the pool. Now 3 is my goal! See next entry on why.
3. I need to flatten my back more, which will make my body more smooth in the water. To do this, I rotate my hips slightly forward, which removes the arch in my back and flattens it out. Doing this on the superman glide made me glide forward a lot longer than with the natural arch that is in my back. I must research this more and also employ it in my regular swimming. This means a slight tightening in the stomach muscles to keep the hips rotated just enough forward while swimming.
4. On the zipper switch and over switch, I should think about the one shoulder shrug when bringing my arm up for the stroke. This movement is also tied to extending my shoulder blade forward. And while doing this, it drags my whole side, and thus my butt higher in the water! Cool no more butt dragging!
5. OK now that I am working on an overhead arm recovery with the zipper switch and overswitch drills, I should practice the overswitch by gradually dragging my wrist, my hand, and then my fingers through the water on the path to a recovery with my hand completely out of the water. All this with 90 degrees at the elbow.
6. With overswitch, I now have to pretend there is a target in which my hand will spear back into the water. My coach tells me that if I enter the water closer to my head, this is generally better for trying to decrease my stroke count. But for more speed, the target shoud be further out. He encourages me to play with different entry points to see their effects. But generally the target is about at the same level out as the other arm's elbow.
He also notes that advanced swimmers going fast will have an entry point further out and the catch happens almost immediately as the hand enters the water, and the catch is strongly engaged by the bending of the forearm and hand at the elbow very far forward of the head. Thus, the pull back is very strong and is very long as it travels through more water.
7. As the hand spears through the target, it should stop going down but instead bend more forward and shoot to the front, with the hip drive and two beat kick helping to make the move strong. This helps with propulsive force going forward.
8. For drilling, I should pause in the overswitch, and then do a small exaggerated hop into the target. This is to get my feel for entering and hitting the target correctly. I should also practice this with the tempo trainer with what is called half tempo training, where the first beep is the pause at the top, and then the second beep is when I spear into the water and extend forward.
9. Using the tempo trainer, my coach suggests:
Half tempo training:
Start at 1.15 seconds, and then try to lower by .2 to .70 seconds
First beep, elbow up. Second beep, spear.
Full stroke overswitch training:
Start at 1.6 seconds, lower by .2
Arm must get into position before beep!
Zipper switch training:
Tempo trainer workout:
Recommend 1.2 seconds and try to swim 30/60 min at the same tempo.
Notes: He notes that you *will* get tired. So you need to figure out what is causing a particular slowdown of tempo. It could be stroke length, it could be the kick snap is too big or too small. The idea is to move the arms at the same tempo and train that.
He also recommends separating tempo trainer days and reduce stroke count days, so for example, swim either 500 tempo trainer or maintain stroke count.
10. For stroke count training, he recommended trying this workout:
Swim a few 25y sets and find baseline stroke count. Then swim a few lengths of 25y and try to change the stroke count: 0, -1, -2, -1, 0, etc.
11. In watching my video during one drill, I had a severe up and down motion during a stroke. My coach tells me this is because my stroke is not straight back but slightly down also. This is bad! So I should concentrate on pull straight back as much as possible.
12. My first breathing lesson: the idea is that I take a quick breath and then I watch the hand come down into the water, spearing through the target. This will take some practice for sure.
Lots to practice this next month, and looking forward to my next lesson which is more about breathing while swimming.