Saturday, February 2, 2013

Swim Video Analysis

I was traveling in the UK in the past 2 weeks and could not continue posting. However, on the weekend between the 2 weeks I returned home to Germany to join a 5-hour swim clinic I had signed up for. The clinic included classroom and practical swim lessons as well as video analysis of the participants' swim technique, which was the part I was most interested in.
So, what was the outcome?
I learned that my swim technique is not too bad (thanks to my friend Laszlo from Hungary). This was good news and bad news at the same time; bad news because it meant that the possibilities of correction and improvement were not easy. Nevertheless, my video analysis revealed 3 opportunity areas I need to focus on:
1) Breathing. After inhaling and turning my head into the water again, I don't start exhaling in the water soon enough. So, the next time I turn my head out of the water, I'm still finishing to exhale and waste some of the time I have available for inhaling.
2) The arm movement in the water can be split into 2 phases, pull and push. The pull starts by pointing the fingers down to the bottom of the pool and pulling the hand back. At this time, the elbow must be raised and kept high such that the lower arm is moving the water back as long as possible instead of pushing it down. Pushing the water down only results in raising the upper body and lowering the legs, hence exposing a bigger surface of the body to high water resistance. To practice raising the elbow, I need to close my hands to fists, such that the impact of the lower arm is emphasized as it is the only part that is moving the water back while the hand is closed. Another exercise is to swim with one arm for a pool length focusing on its movement alone and changing to the other arm on the return length.
3) As I mentioned, the second part of the arm movement is the push, which starts approximately when the hand is passing the breast and continues until the hand has reached as far as possible along the thigh. During this whole time, the hand should be kept perpendicular to the direction of the push. The mistake I do is that I finish the push and start returning my arm to the front too early. One exercise I could do to change this is to become aware of the reach of my hand by consciously letting my thumb touch my thigh at the end of the push.
The clinic was good and I advise everyone to join such clinic once and having a video analysis done, but don't expect to become a better swimmer immediately. Among the 3 sports in Triathlon, swimming is the one in which technique is most important and requires focus and continuous repetition until a feel for the water and efficiency are obtained.

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