Swim Clinic by Rene Durrant @ 28 Mar 2017
Like most people who get into triathlon, I didn’t come from a swimming background. Any swimming ability (or lack thereof) has been self-taught. I remember looking in magazines and watching YouTube clips a few years ago, which was enough to get me doing a few laps, and then a few months later a few more laps. However, I have never really become any faster. I joined squad for a few months, but while my overall distance increased I seemed to have one speed in the pool or open water – slower than most!
I had seen some swim stroke correction courses around – they were expensive. but I thought that I was probably even too crap for one of these. So, when I saw that the club was running a stroke correction clinic, I jumped at the opportunity. Not really, I just walked in with some anxiety as I was sure I was about to be identified as the worst swimmer to ever exist and maybe I should just stick to duathlons.
Arriving at the pool the ten or so of us jumped in – almost a lane each - and swam a few laps to warm up. After this it was to the pool deck where Talia (aka Katie Ledecky) checked our flexibility, noting most of us had a lot of room to improve – which was OK as we were then given a couple of stretches that we could do that would increase our range of motion.
Then it was into the pool to have our swimming filmed. I had watched plenty of underwater videos of pros swimming, so it was exciting to have the same opportunity to get some footage and analysis of our stroke. We were told to swim two laps of the 25m pool at race pace – so without too much stage fright I swam up and back, somewhat oblivious to any filming – just trying to swim in my finest fit-for-public stroke. Once we had all had a chance to be filmed it was time to face the coach and get our analysis.
The footage taken included four views – side on under the water, side on just above the water, directly above and then front on (swimming towards the camera). Watching the footage was really insightful. To be honest, I didn’t look as bad as I thought, but chatting through different parts of my swim – catch, pull, exit, recovery and kick I was provided with specific areas to work on. For me the main area was my pull – it was plain as day and the video did not lie. Knowing the areas I needed to work on was a godsend!
After our individual analysis sessions, it was back into the pool to do some drills across some of the key areas that we needed improvement in. While I felt like a disabled and drowning sea-lion doing some of these drills – if they were what was going to improve my swim, I was going to continue doing them.
It’s been about 4 weeks since we did the session, and I have focussed on incorporating the drills and the advice I was given. Even in this short time I have noticed some key improvements in my swimming – I am now swimming about 10 secs faster per 100m which is very encouraging. I would urge anyone looking to improve their swim to do the course - I’m sure that even some very competent swimmers would take something away from the session. It was also fun to do this clinic with the club, amongst your peers, rather than a group of strangers. As well, after chatting with someone who did one of the Effortless Swimming clinics recently, it seems the Nunawading Clinic is basically the same but about one quarter price. So, next time you see the clinic up on Facebook, don’t delay and register as I am sure they will fill up quickly.