You should have seen me exactly two years ago in the pool. I was taking my 2nd swim workshop and I swore I was getting slower. I actually WAS slower than 6 months prior! How the heck did that happen? I seriously (I am not joking here) could NOT swim 4 lengths of the pool without being completely oxygen deprived. I wasn't some beginner in the pool. I could swim 1 mile straight (not fast) 6 months prior!
So why had I gone backwards with my swimming?
I was improving.
Wait, what? Doesn't that kinda contradict itself? Well, sorta. But swimming itself is like the evil step child of triathlon. See with running and biking, you can just make your legs go faster and your body WILL go faster. Unfortunately with swimming, windmilling your arms faster can more than likely make you drop like a rock to the bottom of the pool.
That all boils down to efficiency, right? How can someone who is only taking 12 strokes per 25 yards be faster than someone who is taking 30 strokes per 25 yards? That 12 stroke person is more efficient than the 30 stroker.
So back to how I was improving but yet going slower. My form/technique was getting better, but my muscles were so used to swimming WRONG that it was a foreign dance for my muscles to be swimming the right way, hence why I would tire out faster.
Eventually it all balanced out and my body got used to the more correct technique and in the long term, I swim a LOT faster than I used to. Faster as in I used to swim @ a 2:00/100 pace, and am currently hovering @ a 1:30/100 pace.
Three things got me swimming faster:
2) Front Quadrant
3) Swimming Faster
I am going to go more in depth into each of the three in separate future posts. This is also a review for myself as I quickly forget the importance of #'s 1 and 2. But here is an overview.
1) Balance - This how your body is positioned in the water. From a side view, are you horizontal? Or are your legs dragging? How is your body rotation? Without good balance in the water, you can forget what your arms are doing and how fast you are going. You gotta be able to float!
2) Front Quadrant - What are your arms doing? How is this interacting with your balance and rotation? How is your catch? Pull? Follow Through? Recovery? Entry? Most of my propulsion comes from the Front Quadrant. Balance will keep you floating and reduce drag, but your Front Quadrant will make you move forward (I don't use kicking as propulsion. I like to save my legs).
3) Swimming Faster - You aren't going to swim faster without swimming faster. Unless there is something I am missing?
So I am going to do three separate posts including drills on the topics listed above. Stay posted!
*Disclaimer* - I am NOT a swim coach. This is merely me verbally vomiting out my successes in the pool and how I was able to lop a HUGE amount of time off of my swimming pace. Take this with a boulder sized piece of salt!