This week I have focused on my swim working with Eric Neilsen, a local swim coach who knows his stuff!
It is never too late to fine tune your stroke so leading into the race I have been wanting to make sure I have some good habits. Eric helped adjust my stroke in the water by filming me with his Ipad and he noticed a few things that we needed to address:
I'm a monoswimmer. This means that I'm turning over my hands at one speed, basically my pull stroke through the water lacks acceleration. By using drills such as swimming with just "knuckles" and "butterfly" stroke I was able to feel the difference of accelerating through the water.
My left fingers are too spread out. I don't really know why I splay my fingers just on the left but I was making my "paddle" have too many holes! I surmise that this is because my left arm is weaker and it made it easier to pull through on the left side having less resistance.
My elbows drop in the water and I use my rotator cuff too often instead of utilizing the lats (latissimus dorsi- strong back muscle). A cue that really helped me maintain a proper bent elbow in the water was imagining a hexagon if you put both hands down in front of you in the water. There should be space between your hands that make an imaginary line to complete the hexagon and the elbows should be bent enough to make the shape. In order to avoid focus on breathing and you can just watch your arms in the water, Eric recommended using a snorkel to focus on making the hexagon, keep the elbow high and pull your body over your hands with your lats.
I also worked with Eric on the VASA Swim Ergometer. This machine gives you quite the workout! We were able to work on form, viewing the hexagon, increasing acceleration and increasing lat strength.
This morning we worked together in the pool and I was able to feel quite the difference and was taking time off my swim for sure. I'm excited to put it to use in just a few weeks!