No really. You should. Now, I guess I should clarify here, I am not trying to hire you to star in a DVD or anything. (Sorry!) I am saying that if you want to improve your swim, you should have someone record your swim. Then, watch it! If you are like most people, whether you have been a competitive swimmer for 20 years, or you are brand new to the sport, you will be surprised at what you see. In so many parts of life, we are told to do this or that, and we do the best we can. In the end, it is simply that it is easier to see the fish bowl from outside of it than from within. What I mean by this is that it is much easier to observe ourselves from a third party perspective. This is what video allows us to do.
To tell you how striking the results can be, I only need to go as far as myself. I was recorded about 6 months ago. It was the first time I had seen my stroke in about 15 years. Well, after I got over the shock, I started to address the fact that my head was too high, my hands were crossing the centerline on my pull-through, and I was dropping my elbow on my left arm. This coming after I’ve coached swimmer after swimmer to not do those specific things. However, it resulted in a much more knowledgeable workout for me. I have learned what I should feel like when I am performing each of those actions correctly, and I have seen an improvement in my own efficiency and speed.
Ideally, you would then have it analyzed by a qualified coach with the appropriate knowledge to work through it with you and discuss specific ways to improve your stroke for open water/triathlon swimming. Even if you don’t have someone locally available, there are a number of excellent options for uploading it to a website and having a coach provide feedback via email or marking up your video and replying with the new copy. If you are interested in a service like this, just drop me a line, and I can give you some guidance.
By the way, there are a number of excellent waterproof video cameras out there for very reasonable costs. The high def camera I use on a near daily basis cost less than $300, and it was not the cheapest option. So if you don’t have a friend with one, consider getting your own. I can assure you it is a fun gadget to have even when not being used to improve your triathlon swim.
David Wendkos lives in Annapolis, MD and has over 30 years of competitive swimming, coaching swimmers for the pool, open water, and triathlons. He can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/SwimMD or on the web at http://www.AquaticRhino.com