The most important skill a swimmer can develop is body awareness in the water.
Swimming is not natural for humans. When we dive into a pool we lose all sense of coordination and balance. Moreover, we are asked “not to breath,” which goes against everything we have done since we came out of the womb. Consequently, swimming, except for a rare few of us, is not second nature and feels unnatural. The key to swimming well therefore is to make it natural, but how? Over the next three weeks I am going to be giving you my top tips on how to become a natural swimmer.
The first thing a swimmer can do to make the water feel natural is simple: just get in the water. The more time you spend in the water the more your body will adjust to it and, more importantly, the more you become aware of your body and what its doing in the water.
Proprioceptive awareness or “body awareness” is critical. You have to know where your hand enters; it crossing over or too deep a catch? What about your lower body? Is it fish tailing as you twist your hips? Are your toes kissing each other or do you scissor kick each stroke?
All these questions are important to ask and know as you swim. When you can not only answer them but also feel the answers then swimming is becoming more natural.
As a general rule, try to get into the water at least 4 times a week as you start out. Even if it is only for 1000 yards, it is better than nothing. Even floating on your stomach to get used to the feeling of not breathing helps. Approach swimming like you would a new language. If you practice everyday and eventually it will become ingrained. As you become more fluent (or “fluid” in this case) you can decrease your days to 3.
Warmup: 300 swim, 400 drills as (8×25 drill of choice, 25 swim), 6×25 fast
Main set: 4x (200 moderate, 20s rest; 2×75 fast, 15s rest), 100 easy swim
Cool down: 100