Make Your Strokes Count

Swimming efficiency always leads to speed. Without it, you can aim to get fit and thereby improve your swimming, but as soon as you lose that fitness you’ll be back to square one. And that’s a frustration familiar to many of you reading this right now..

Lasting effective technique relies on learning to drop your stroke counts and to keep them consistently low. And will this mean you speed up? It sure does. But not only that, your speed will stay at a reasonable level even if you lose your fitness during times when you stop training.

So why do lower strokes produce faster swimmers?

Stroke counts demand you effectively combine the only two topics relevant to swimming… producing effective Force AND eliminating Drag.

Drag elimination is all about shapes and there are many factors that can affect whether or not you can slide your body through the water but the most important is simple focus. Most people just do not concentrate hard enough on feeling what their body is doing to the water as you try to slip through it. The goal must be to reach and slide and float. Even with a weak pull you can still slide nicely through the water and achieve good times with low stroke counts just by focusing on the water when you’re moving through it.

And then you have to add power by finding a solid pressure behind your palm and then ensuring that most of it is directed behind you instead of downwards, sideways or upwards.

Getting the mix of this correct time and time again will only be achieved if you chop your swimming into sets of low distance reps with rests rather than swimming long non-stop distances. For example doing 2000m as 40x50m on an interval that gives you 20secs rest after each 50m should allow you to start with a good pushoff, glide during every stroke of every length, keep your body forward, produce firm backwards etc each and every length so that the better technique starts to embed with fitness and strength. When a better technique like this starts to embed and becomes easier to concentrate on, only then you can then begin to increase your rep distances and still maintain form.

A good swimmer gets fit and can produces good times. But a great swimmers is fanatical about their stroke so when they get fit, the results are spectacular.

You shouldn’t always choose the easy path…

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