Wetronomes Are Back In Stock (Finally)

We're sorry, we know it's been a while but finally we have Wetronomes in stock again! This funky little tool is in such high demand the manufacturers have been struggling to make enough of them. We've secured a stock of 200 - be quick before they sell out!

www.swimsmooth.com/wetronome

What do they do? Simple really, in Stroke-Rate Mode the Wetronome beeps a regular stroke timing to you at any desired stroke rate (e.g. 60 strokes - or beeps - per minute). Pop it under your swim cap or goggle strap and simply time your hand entry to the beep. In this way you can slow your stroke slightly to work on lengthening out or increase your stroke rate slightly to work on removing deadspots and pauses.

In the new Lap-Interval Mode, the Wetronome sets a lap pace for you. If you want to swim at 1:40 per 100m, you program in 25 seconds per beep. Then simply pace your swim so the Wetronome beeps as you reach each 25m point, giving you perfect pacing. This works in any length of pool, be it yards or meters.

Why is pacing important? Most amateur swimmers and triathletes have very poor pacing. By improving your pacing skills you'll swim faster and your training will be of a higher quality. Great pacing skills are a little known secret of elite swimmers - 'pacing' isn't a very sexy word but don't let that fool you.

The Wetronome lets you take control of your swimming. Find out more: www.swimsmooth.com/wetronome

Gossip: British Swimming own 60 Wetronomes and Australian Swimming own 30 Wetronomes which they use for training their elite swimming squads. Watch this space for an interview with British Swimming we hope to secure soon.
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What Is An Efficient Freestyle Stroke?

We all know that Olympic level swimmers are extremely efficient and move staggeringly quickly through water. But have you ever wondered about the range of stroke styles they use to achieve this? And if you've watched an elite triathlon swim have you noticed they tend to use a different style again?

How can they all use different styles and yet be so quick?

To answer this question we've put together a 10 minute video presentation which you can watch using the link below. It features new hi-def footage shot here in Perth of Athens Olympian Jono Van Hazel and top age group triathlete Sally Scaffidi.

We'll think you'll find the conclusions and implications for your own swimming very interesting:

play pt1

play pt2

Swim Smooth!
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Increase Your Propulsion Or Reduce Your Drag? Part 2.

Last week on Feel For The Water we posed the question, should you focus on reducing drag or increasing propulsion in your individual stroke? The answer is important as it will give a real focus to your technique sets. If you're stuck on a performance plateau this can really help you understand how to move forward.

Without a coach to watch you swim it can be hard to figure out which you should work on. Here are some simple tips to help you understand whether excess drag or a lack of propulsion is holding you back:

1) Do you find it considerably easier to swim with a pull buoy between your legs? If you do, this is a good indication that either your body position is quite low when you swim normally or your kicking technique is poor. These factors will be creating a lot of drag and extra effort when you swim.

2) If you find it slower or harder to swim with a pull buoy, this suggests your arm propulsion is a little lacking and you're relying on your kick for propulsion. A focus on developing your catch and pull technique will pay dividends. At first you may feel an increase in effort as you develop your arm propulsion, however you can offset that by reducing your kick strength. Overall you'll be a faster more efficient swimmer because arm propulsion is many times more efficient than kick propulsion.

3) Have you developed your swimming by stretching out and taking as few strokes as possible? This process of lengthening will normally reduce your drag by getting you into a long and straight position in the water. That's great but most swimmers doing this will introduce glide at the same time, which isn't so good. Glide is a bad thing for your propulsion in several ways but one of the most common problems is that in over-reaching you tend to drop your wrist and show your palm forwards. This causes your elbow to drop too, totally ruining your catch on the water:


If you have developed an over-gliding style you almost certainly need to work on your propulsion. When you're swimming, try not to over-reach at the front of the stroke. It's better to have slightly less reach and a vastly improved catch. It'll make things more efficient and more rhythmic too. The first step is to develop a cocked wrist position at the front of your stroke just like Mr Smooth:


4) Do you feel very one-paced when you swim? If a coach asked you to swim easy, moderate or hard do you think you'd just end up swimming the same speed? This is a classic symptom of a lack of arm propulsion in your swimming. If this is you, it's very likely you're pushing down on the water at the front of your stroke - all this does is lift you up at the front end and sink your legs. So as you work harder you also create more drag - and end up going about the same speed! The solution is to work on initiating your stroke by tipping your wrist and bending your elbow at the front of your stroke. This will allow you to press the water back towards the wall behind you rather than pushing it down. Think of this action as a gentle caress - it doesn't need to be hard but it does need to be in the right direction. Find out more here: www.swimsmooth.com/catch

Swim Smooth!
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Increase Your Propulsion Or Reduce Your Drag?

Very broadly there are two ways to become a better swimmer:

a) You can reduce your drag by slipping through the water more easily. You'd achieve this through a better body position and better streamlining.

b) You can increase your propulsion for the same level of physical effort. You'd achieve this by developing your catch, pull, rhythm and timing.

Both of these would increase your overall swimming efficiency. Increased efficiency means you go faster for the same effort, or the same speed for less effort.

So which is more important? What should be my priority?

poor propulsion
That depends on you. If your drag is very high working on your propulsion will only bring you small gains in speed. Instead, working on improved streamlining and body position will boost your efficiency and so your speed.

Alternatively, if you have been swimming for a good while and have been told you have a nice stroke but are still slow, a focus on propulsion makes sense. If you are in this situation we know how frustrating it is to be told you are doing everything right but you aren't making any speed improvements. This is more disconcerting than for someone who has a clear problem to fix! Start focusing on the right thing and you too can make big strides forward.

If you have access to a coach, ask them to watch you swim and tell you whether drag or propulsion is a priority in your stroke. If you don't have a coach, next week on Feel For The Water we'll be posting some techniques you can use to determine which area is a priority for your individual stroke. It's one of the most useful facts to understand about your swimming.

Swim Smooth!
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