TI Swimming with Coach Shinji 12-12-09

Another great session with Coach Shinji this last Saturday. It was a rainy, cold day but us swimmers don’t care; we’re wet anyways. It’s not so nice for coaches who have to stand in the rain though.
Everytime I work with him, I always get a few more tidbits of insight from him. Some notes:
1. Practice varying the entry point from very wide to very narrow. Find the place which is most comfortable and also generates the most speed. Open water swimming tends to have a wider entry point than in the pool. Narrow entry points allow for longer hand motion under the water as the hand shoots forward, generating more momentum.
2. Wetsuits don’t allow as much roll so you have to learn how to generate motion on a wider track.
3. Push down on the instep when snapping the kick.
4. If I increase tempo too fast, then I could spin, which is when my arms are just cycling but I stop after each stroke and there is no glide. I must learn how to increase the tempo but do not spin.
5. If my SPL jumps at a certain tempo then this is the point at which something is wrong or something has changed.
6. At each tempo, I should count stroke and look at how it changes as tempo changes.
During this session, Shinji and I started at 1.2 seconds tempo, and did 25y lengths counting strokes, with each length decreasing the tempo by .1 seconds. I did this all the way up to 2.0 seconds tempo, and my SPL ranged from 15 in the beginning to 12 at the end. Then I increased the tempo by .1 seconds for each 25y length, all the way down to 1.2 seconds. I discovered that at around 1.3 seconds, my SPL jumped to 15 and realized that at this point, I needed to concentrate on what had changed, and how to maintain SPL.
7. Slower tempo requires more relaxation and good balance. There is more gliding, so you need to glide with balance and not rock.
8. Eventually I need to get to .8-.9 seconds tempo, which is sprinting and used when you’re trying to break out of a pack of swimmers during a race.
9. I need to turn the elbow slightly inward which will prepare my hand for the catch. This is also done my turning the thumb in and down. If my elbow is turned the other way, then I will waste a bit of time getting my arm in position for the catch, which can deter me from achieving a higher tempo.
10. When skating, I need to end my hand on top of my thigh, or else my body will more easily over rotate.
11. When I swim, I am throwing water backward with my right hand and not my left. Need to examine this further. I should not be throwing water back.