Recycling an Old Debate: Short Fast Strokes vs. Long Gliding Part 1/2

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New developments in freestyle swimming stroke technique come about every few years or so. With new technology we are starting to figure out the most minute details of someone’s stroke that could be holding them back.

For someone like Michael Phelps who is swimming a lot of 200 meter sprint races, some of these small details can mean as much as a whole second or more in a 200, which, for those who watched the last Olympics, could mean the difference between the gold medal and no medal at all!

In competitive pool swimming, the devil is in the details. Especially at the Olympic level. Everyone at that level as more or less perfected their stroke, and nobody can afford to make mistakes or leave anything on the table.

As someone who is training for a triathlon, and did not come from a swimming background, things are a little different.

Is it going to be super important to shave off .5 seconds on your swim by turning your hand 1/4 inch on your pull? Or, should your focus be on basic stroke technique to allow you to expend less energy and get the same (or likely faster) result out of the water?

The other day I heard a pretty top level former Olympic swimmer say to forget about long strokes, short and fast is what everyone needs to do! Surprisingly, he does not understand triathlon swimming, and what non-swimmer triathletes need to focus on to maximize their efficiency and lower their times!

Continued in Part 2