Swim Clinic

WHAT ARE TRIATHLON SWIM CLINICS

Swim clinics are singe day courses that work on developing enhanced technical proficiency in specific areas of an athletes stroke.

There are several courses throughout the year with a particular focus, in line with our curriculum on the SWIM SCHOOLS and our approach in general to improving swimming technique for triathletes.

These are broken down into the principal areas of stroke mechanics. The courses are run in a specific order so that swimmers wishing to attend all clinics can do so from the beginning of the process. For instance, it is not productive to be working on your catch if your body position is poor and you are flat in the water.

One of the key things we believe in is reducing drag before working on propulsion. By developing the first stages, a swimmer is in a better position to be able to work on their propulsion.

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COURSE CONTENT

Each of the three courses have different content but work to the same schedule on the day.

One of the fundamentals of each course is attention to each individual with a variety of instruction methods and feedback mechanisms employed through the day.

Some people are visual learns, they need to see what needs to be done. Other need to be physically shown how to move and then they can process this and apply it.

Here you can see some of the instruction on a Swim School and some of the ways we can feedback to you during the day.

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Course 1 - Body Position and Breathing + -

Two of the most fundamental areas to improving your swimming efficiency are learning to control your breathing, and maintaining a high, flat body position.

On this course, we focus on teaching you the key skills and techniques you need to regulate your breathing effectively and stay high and flat in the water.

Why is breathing regulation relevant?

There are a few reasons why your breathing is the first place we start

  • Holding your breath leads to a build-up of CO2, which reduces your oxygen-carrying capacity, and will leave you short of breath in no time.
  • It also creates additional buoyancy in your chest, which will help to sink your feet.
  • The act of breathing is also essential as over-rotating to breath causes all sort of stroke mechanics problems.

Why is body position important?

Water is very dense, much more so than air.  In an ideal stroke, you want to be causing as little drag as possible, as you will require a lot of energy to overcome it.

You can’t change the size of your chest or width of your shoulders, and these will punch a hole in the water.  Everything behind that, your hips, legs, and feet need to be going through the hole in the water you have made with your chest, to have the lowest drag. If your feet drag and your hips drop, you will be creating a lot of drag that requires a lot of extra energy to overcome.

 

Course 2 - Rotation and Alignment + -

If you are in proper control of your breathing and you able to hold a good body position, you are ready to work on your rotation and alignment.

What does rotation mean?

An often overlooked or misunderstood area of a good stroke is the importance that rotation and control of your rotation plays. Rotation is essential for a few reasons:

  • It streamlines you a little more and helps to reduce drag
  • When your lead arm is extended, the correct amount of rotation will help to put your arm in a position to be able to use the full range of muscles, including your pecs, lats, deltoids, and your traps.  Whereas if you are a little flatter in the water, then you tend to overload the delts, only use your lats a little and use triceps/biceps too much.
  • It allows for a longer reach without unnecessary gliding

A lot of the practices for rotation require good core control and engagement, and this helps to balance your stroke better and keep body position higher.

What is Alignment?

Alignment refers to the position of your arms throughout the stroke. We begin with the alignment as the hand enters the water (are you crossing over, too wide etc.) We then we look at how your arm tracks under the water; do you press out to the side, sweep underneath etc. Ideally, you will press a line that keeps your hand slightly to the outside of the midline. You should be exiting near your hip.

The recovery phase, as the hand exits the water and moves back to the front of the stroke is also critical, and considered here.

While we look at your alignment, we are not concerned with your catch per se. It is about learning the proprioception of where your arm should be at any moment.

Course 3 - Timing and Propulsion. + -

In our final pool course, we look at linking some of the other elements together and focussing upon maximising your propulsion.

To make the most of this course, you need to have worked on and be competent in the other areas first. The reason we structure the programme the way we do is that developing an effective catch with poor rotation and a weak body position means, that:

1. We would need to correct them, then as your body position has changed your catch will be in a different place, and we have to do that all over again
2. developing a great catch with poor body position would be like having a poor position on the bike and continuing to try and get more and more power to overcome the aero drag.

Improve the position, reduce the drag, become more efficient, develop more power = go a lot faster.

What is Timing?
With alignment, we looked at where your arm is along the length of your body. With Alignment, we look at how your arms work together, and how your kick (or lack of) should be connected.

With Timing, we are looking to ensure that your arms are in sync and working together to generate propulsion, will minimal wasted energy.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

By focussing on specific areas of the stroke, we can spend a lot of time working on the limitations of those areas, improving techniques and making it more permanent.

Using a combination of:

  • Swimming technical aids,
  • Drills
  • Verbal feedback
  • Video feedback

We work to optimise your stroke to provide maximum speed for less effort, whatever distance you are racing over.

We use two sessions during the day, slowly progressing throughout the day, continually re-enforcing the lessons. By specific elements of the stroke on in each clinic, we can make real longer-term progress in those areas.

As well as learning what to do, the coaches are also encouraging you to understand why you need to do it. This process helps to promote a strong learning effect and results in you retaining more of the information and technique.

In between the sessions, we have some classroom time, and there is a video review session as well, so you can see what you are doing. This review session is in a group setting so the whole group can learn from each other.

Here are a few of Mark’s thoughts on the process of improving swimming technique

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who Are Swim Schools For? + -

Our SWIM CLINICS are for any competent swimmer who wishes to improve their swimming. You do need to be able to swim, and there is a lot of time in the water, but how fast you swim is not really relevant.

We use a range of techniques to measure and analyse all aspects of the swim stroke and body position which contribute to better swimming. Video analysis is also used as a fantastic live tool to help you improve FAST!

Swimmers are grouped in lanes with similar abilities so the coaching can be tailored and the swimmer can gain the very most from the school.

As long as you can swim and are willing to work hard and improve then our swim school is for you!

What Do Swim Clinic cover? + -

Our syllabus covers a wide range of both theory and practice. The end goal is to get you swimming faster but most importantly – more efficiently.

A large part of swimming is about being efficient in the water. Throughout the course, we cover the key elements of front crawl stroke, starting with developing a strong platform for your stroke. As the week’s progress, we build upon this platform by introducing new drills to work on the next level of technique.

So in practice, we start with working on body position. This is affected by your kick, core activation, head position and breathing, so we work on each of these elements to allow you to hold an efficient body position – the platform for you to move your stroke on.

Do I need to attend all of the clinics? + -

NO

Not unless you need to start at the beginning, or you need to work on all areas of your stroke.

For instance, we have people on our swim clinics or 1:1 sessions that have identified their weaknesses and it may be that they only need to attend Clinic 3.

If in doubt please contact us on the form at the bottom of the page.

What Feedback Can I Expect? + -

We use a variety of forms of feedback during the session and to summarise your session as well. This includes

  • Under and overwater video analysis
  • Verbal and demonstrative input during the session
  • A report for each participant that highlights the critical areas for you to work on in the short term
  • Video demonstrations and comments on how to perform the drills and what to look for when implementing them.

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What Will I Need? + -

Below are some links to popular equipment we use regularly. Other options are available in most cases, and more info on how we use these ‘toys’ can be found on the blogs and individual pages.

ESSENTIAL

Finis Fins – Short, stiff fins to provide some extra propulsion, essential for many drills.  However, not too big, so they don’t change the dynamics of the kick.

Finis Axis Pull Buoy – This is a unique take on the pull and one of the key ‘toys’ we use.  It isolates the legs more by fixing around the ankles and encourages core activation.

DESIRABLE

Finis Agility Paddles – Unique paddles with no straps, this encourages improved feel for the water and reduced dropping of the wrist in the catch

Finis Freestyler Paddles – Usually used as training paddles these also help with alignment under the water and provide feedback on ‘S’ in the pull phase

Finis Snorkel – Useful for exercises when rotating to breath is distracting.

Finis Tempo Trainer – This device is useful for working on arm turnover rates, and in training sessions for timing your efforts.

A drink and a snack are also advisable.

What does a typical day look like? + -

Days can vary a little depending upon which session it is but this is a typical example:

10:30 am – arrive and introductions

11:00 – Mobility Assessment – so we can see if there are any limiting factors straight away.

11:30 – 1pm – Swim Session 1

1 – 1:45 pm  – Lunch

1:45 – 2:30pm – Mobility Session

2:30 – 5 pm – Swim Session 2 – This session is usually broken with a bit of time looking at video feedback and discussion on technique on poolside.

Where Does Swim School Take Place? + -

Most of our Swim School sessions take place at King Edward VII Science and Sports College, Coalville but may also take place at Loughborough University Swimming Pool or other open water locations as appropriate. Please check on the location when choosing which of our Swim Schools is most suitable for you.

 

COST

There are several ways in which you can access the course.

If you have a specific area you wish to develop, you can book onto a single course, that addresses that.

You can also book on to all three courses, and go through the whole curriculum; this offers the best value for money as you get a 20% discount for booking all three together.

You could do the first course as a taster then book on the following two and take advantage of the 10% discount if you book two clinics together.

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1 Clinics £100
2 Clinics £180
3 Clinics £240

You can choose your options at the checkout, make sure you highlight the correct day/clinic.

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