For the first part of this year I have really been working on my swimming technique. I have been swim training for about 3 years now and before this season, have seen very little gains in my overall pace. Okay, I have improved my fitness, but I always seemed to have problems with getting faster, especially as most of my friends at Masters swim training are going considerably quicker than me.
This year, I thought that I would look into my swim stroke and get it analyzed from a third party point of view. For this, I turned to TTS and coach Ian Murray for a 4 week swim clinic. Essentially for me, this was a back to basics course with the important point that someone was going to be evaluating every step I take.
Their drills work on balance first then slowly develop to introduce efficient propulsion. Slowly is the important word here. I have always been impatient with my swim drills and never really understood what I was doing or aiming for, but as the weeks moved on, this all came together and I was already starting to feel much better through the water.
The video camera came out in the final session and filmed our progress. At this point, I was hoping to see a complete transformation in my stroke but I could still feel old habbits coming through and it was stressed to me that this was just a start and that I had a lot of practice to do before this became totally natural.
This was by no means a put off however. In the pool, my times were already coming down fast and with all of the pointers I was given in the classes and the issues highlighted when being fimed underwater, I have a lot more speed still to come.
I did my first Threshold swim test (T1000) today. This is a way of determining my 100m pace. I swam 1000m continuously in a 50m pool. The time for this was 00;15:18. To get my T100 pace I just need to divide this by 10, (being careful to convert to seconds first). The result is 1:31.8.
Last year, although I had never done a test like this before, I would have expected this T100 pace based on a T1000 swim to have been closer to 1:50.
With technique changes alone, I am guessing I have gained 20 seconds per 100 and I would also add that the pace felt really comfortable and sustainable. This was not the case last year.
My target for this year is to try to get down to 1:15 T100 pace.