Have you ever been to an expensive restaurant and made to feel like a celebrity? It’s because of ‘one percenters’. The little things that make a big difference. They pull your chair out for you, they call you ‘Sir’, the meals are presented well…it doesn’t take much extra effort but the impact it has is huge.
Swimming has also has it’s ‘one percenters’. Small things that you can do in training to make yourself that little bit quicker than your competition. Let’s take a look.
- There’s only two ways to swim faster – You can either increase your stroke rate (the number of strokes you take per minute) or you can travel further for each stroke you take (also known as distance per stroke). Don’t complicate things. They are the only two ways to swim faster.
- Head position determines body position – Your body will follow where you head goes. If you’re hips are sinking, it’s likely your head is too high. Use the angle of your head to control where your body sits in the water. Throwing your head side-to-side will cause you to ‘snake’ in the water. Keep your head still!
- Kick within your body shape – Your kick is used for two things. Propulsion and body balance. Kicking your legs outside the shape and alignment of your body creates drag. Keep your kick small and tight.
- Push off on your side (in training) – When you push off the wall in training it’s faster to leave on your side than to push off on your front. Hold onto the wall with one hand and then push off at an angle. You can save up to half a second with this.
- Finish on your side – When you throw yourself into a finish, you can get there quicker by rotating to your side. It lengthens your reach by 10-15cm.
- No breathing the last 5 meters – When you’re finishing in training or in a race, you should never breath the last 5 meters. Taking a breath will slow you down up to half a second!
Doing these small things can add up to seconds over a hundred meters. These are some of the easier things to do that will decrease your times…just like learning the correct swimming technique can drop your times dramatically.