Kicking In Swimming Technique – Issue #45

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Kicking in Swimming Technique Newsletter

Dear Friend,

I hope your summer is going well! Last weekend, I participated in a 1 mile ocean swim in San Clemente, California. Although the water was warm enough (around 68 degrees), it was definitely a rough water swim! It caught me by surprise, as from the beach it did not look bad at all. While I was swimming, I thought of some ideas that should make a rough water swim a little easier to deal with:

  1. Dive under the waves going out, not over them. Unless they are small waves, below your waist, pushing off the bottom and diving through the wave will prevent you from getting pushed backwards.
  2. Take the outside. The small amount of time you will save trying to swim inside with the pack before getting to the first buoy is not worth it. Taking the outside path will save you from getting punched, swallowing water, having your feet grabbed, etc. Some of this will happen at the crowded start anyway, but you can cut down on it by not going with the pack.
  3. Wide turns around the buoys. While everyone else is trying to come as close to the buoy as possible around a turn, take the road less traveled and go wide. Again, it’s not going to save you enough time to cut inside, and you will have more open water in the outside.
  4. Breathe only to one side to avoid swallowing water. If you can see the waves coming towards you on one side, breathe to the other side until you can get around the next buoy. I learned this the hard way and ended up with a few pints of salt water in my belly!
  5. Avoid too much sighting. It’s tempting to continually lift your head up in rough conditions. However, you are still better off keeping your stroke long and your head down. Ideally you will find someone to follow, and you won’t have to lift your head up as much (unless they steer you in the wrong direction!)
  6. Before the race starts, pick out an obvious marker on the shore that you can swim towards on the finish. I usually do this, but somehow didn’t think of it on Saturday. It was not fun when I came out of the water about 40 yards to the left of the finish line and had to run that length! (running is not my strength). Of course we’d probably all like to have calm water that doesn’t give us these challenges. However, if you come prepared, you can use rough water conditions to your advantage!

Tip of the Month

Stretch those ankles! Great swimmers all have very flexible ankles. Great runners often do not!
Especially if you are from a running background, in order to have a kick that works, you will need to do ankle stretches, daily if possible. One way of going this is to sit on your heels for extended periods of time. It may be tough at first but it will pay off!

Sprint Triathlon Training program!

Due to popular demand, I created a training plan for a Sprint Triathlon. Sprints are general considered “introductory” races to the sport of triathlon and the swim typically consists of about 400-800 yards or 1/4-1/2 mile, cycling is about 13 miles and the run is about 5K.

Click here to get more information on Sprint Triathlon Training.