This week we look at your head position when you breathe in freestyle and how you change it to make it make your stroke more efficient and faster. We also give you a diving tip which will help you get off the blocks quicker. And we also look at exercises that you can do in training if you have injured your shoulder and have to resort to kick.

00:32 – One Goggle In/ One Goggle Out Of The Water
01:04 – How To Be More Efficient
01:17 – Breaststroke Breathing Tip
01:45 – The 500m Trick
02:19 – Swim Down = Feel Good!
02:44 – Use This To Dive Quicker
03:27 – What To Do When You’ve Injured Your Shoulder
03:53 – Drills From The Intro Lesson of Mastering Freestyle Are Good For This

Before I do private lessons with swimmers I have them to go through this program

Want more technique tips? Watch these videos

Breathing In Freestyle

Now one of the biggest things I see done in freestyle which slows swimmers down is when they breathe with their head too far out of the water. So rather than keeping one goggle in the water, one goggle out of the water when they breathe which is ideal they are breathing with both goggles out of the water and lifting their forehead too far out.

If you look at this video with Sam swimming here you will find that half of his head is in the water, half of it’s out and his body stays in alignment when he takes that breath. Now a lot of swimmers will breathe too far around so they lift their forehead and eyes too far out of the water and that will throw your hips out of position and it will slow down your speed.

Open water swimmer Sam Sheppard demonstrates correct breathing position

So if you want to swim with a faster head position to keep your speed going, then breathe a little bit more towards your shoulder so you keep your body in alignment when you take that breath.

Ever See This In Breaststroke?

I see the same thing happen with breaststroke is that swimmers will lift their head up too high when they take that breath and their head and torso won’t be in alignment when they come up out of the water. If you look at this video of Jeremy swimming you will see that his torso and his head is in alignment when he comes out to take that breath. So if you want to maintain your speed in your breaststroke, a good way to do that is to keep those two things aligned.

Good technique: Jeremy Saunders keeping his head and torso aligned.

The 500m Trick

A problem that we all have is motivation with training and getting to the pool when you don’t feel like training. A good solution for this I have found is to say to yourself that all you have to do once you get to the pool is 500m. You don’t have to finish off a whole session you have just got to do 500m.

What you might find when you get there is that your mind wants to complete the task, so you might get there and do 500m, but you will feel like that is not enough and you want to complete the whole session that you intended to do.

If you only do 500m and you want to call it quits that is fine as well, but more times than not you will probably find that you want to finish off the whole session.

Increasing Performance In Training

A good way to back up your training for the next session to make sure you are feeling good and you perform well for your next session is to have a good swim down, or a cool down as we like to call it.

I find that 400m or more is ideal and if you can add some short sharp sprints into that cool down, then that is a good way to flush out the lactic acid from your system that you have built up throughout the session.

So if you are doing 400m cool down then if you can do 4-6 15m sprints then you might find that helps get rid of the lactic acid from your system…so that you can perform better at the next session.

Use This To Have A Fast Start

If you look at elite swimmers when they start from the blocks you will find that their centre of gravity is just over the front of the block, so that when the starter says ‘go’, all they have to do is shift their weight forward and then they can go from the blocks.

They are not leaning back and they haven’t got their weight behind them because then they have to shift their weight forward which can take an extra .2, .3, half a second which is to long off the start.

Weight is forward on the blocks

So if you want to have a quick start and you have got the new blocks with the step at the back, then keep your weight just over the front of the block that way you don’t have to move your weight forward to much and it’s a good way to get out quickly off the start and give yourself a good chance at getting out there at the very start of the race.

When You Can’t Use Your Arms…

If you have injured your shoulder and you have to resort to doing kick in training then it can be frustrating but it is a good opportunity to work on some skills with your swimming. So I like to get a snorkel and practice butterfly kick with your arms by your side. You will find that is a very good way to work your core and it’s a good workout.

You can also do single arm freestyle and just work on your pull with your other arm. You can also do body rotation kicks, so you have got a snorkel, your head is down you have your arms by your side, you are kicking freestyle and rotating from side to side. That way you are practicing your rotation from using your hips and your core to rotate.

If you have to resort to kick and you can’t do pull in your swimming if you’re injured then just resort to the skills and the basics and just practice those things while you can. Another good thing to do is grab the stretch cords that you use out of the pool. The ones with the hand paddles and to practice your pull with those, so it is a good way to maintain your strength outside the pool if you can’t do it inside the pool, because you’re injured.

That’s it for swimming news this week, looking forward to seeing you next week.