Recycling an old debate: Short fast strokes vs. Long gliding Part 2/2

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continued from Part 1

So what do you do? Always use long, gliding strokes, and forget about having a fast turnover?

Since the open water, and especially the ocean, presents many new challenges to your stroke, I would not recommend going with a policy of “always” using long strokes in freestyle. Sometimes waves or competition can put you in a position where shortening your stroke will give you an advantage.

The point is to, for the most part, practice lengthening your strokes- do sets of free golf, work with the Freestyler hand paddles, and occasionally count your strokes per length. But do not be married to the idea that you must use long strokes at all times!

I recommend copying what the middle of the pack (MOP) swimmers are doing in general, rather than the leaders. This sounds like odd advice from a coach who is paid to get people to swim faster! But the problem is that many of the triathletes who are in the lead pack in the swim came from a swimming background- and this often means they did short, sprint or middle distance races in the pool, and can get away with a very fast turnover in the open water.

For the beginners, or intermediates, the goal should not be to win the swim, but to finish strong for the rest of the race. Therefore, practice long, and adjust where needed in the race.