*Purpose* - A Much Overlooked Arnie Strength

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Quite a few swimmers find they perform better in open water, finishing ahead of those who would normally beat them in the confines of a swimming pool.

If this is you, you might think this is because you benefit a lot from wearing a wetsuit bringing your legs up high in the water. Whilst this is almost certainly the case, there may be another reason which you might not have thought of:

Arnies are the swimmers who classically 'fight the water' with many common faults in their stroke including lifting the head to breathe, crossing over in front of the head, scissor-kicks, a lack of rotation and low lying legs:




They're certainly not the 'best looking' swimmers in the water but once they're wearing a wetsuit, and if they can swim straight, they can be surprisingly effective racing in the great outdoors.

The reason? They have a good sense of natural rhythm and purpose to their stroke. Yes there's a lot of energy going to waste through poor stroke mechanics (which could certainly do with being refined) but with their legs brought higher by the wetsuit, their natural stroke rhythm helps them punch through disturbed open water better than many swimmers who have longer smoother strokes.

It's tempting to look at Arnies and think "I'm going to avoid swimming like that at all costs!" but make sure you look past the faults and appreciate their rhythm and sense of purpose, which is a definite strength. If we can straighten out the Arnie by removing the crossovers, improving their breathing and leg kick technique but maintain the sense of rhythm then we're going to end up with a very fast open water swimmer! Of course, we'd use our Arnie stroke correction process to do just that: https://app.swimsmooth.com/sequence/xa/taming-the-arnie/

As we refine an Arnie's stroke they naturally evolve towards being Swingers - swimming with good stroke mechanics and a good sense of rhythm. And as we saw last week looking at Shelley Taylor Smith's stroke, Swingers make the very best open water swimmers on the planet.

The Overglider

At the opposite end of the spectrum to Arnies are Overgliders who have killed their rhythm by adding in a deliberate pause-and-glide to their stroke timing. The problem with this stroke style is that water is 800 times more dense than air and the dead-spot causes the swimmer to decelerate between every stroke. This is doubly inefficient in open water where the additional buffeting causes even more deceleration between strokes than in the pool.

In numerical terms, Overgliders typically have a stroke rhythm in the 40-52 SPM (strokes per minute) range. Arnies and Swingers meanwhile sit a lot higher at 60-75 SPM. If you're an Overglider we're not looking to take you from 40 to 75 SPM immediately but by working on improving your catch technique, this will start to lift your stroke rate. By embracing a little of that Arnie rhythm and purpose you too can make some big strides forwards.

This is fundamentally how Mega Megan improved from 2:12 to 1:32 / 100m. Like Megan, by swimming with more purpose you'll instantly gain speed and efficiency in the pool, and even more in open water.

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New Shelley Taylor Smith Analysis & Jenson Button Trust Tri

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Twickenham Video Analysis Full information here

Lancaster SS Squad
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Lancaster Video
Analysis Consultations

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West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague International Kids Camp
Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

New Oxford/Henley SS Coach
Clinics & Video analysis here

Beg. & Int. OW Workshops
Berinsfield, Oxfordshire

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round: here

Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
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Ringwood SS Squad
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As we previously announced, the Swim Smooth team will be at the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon on July 11th and 12th! It's going to be a fantastic race on fully closed roads with the exciting double-race format retained from previous years:

www.jensonbuttontri.com

We've just finalised details of the special free Swim Smooth open water skills session which will take place on Saturday 11th July at 3pm. Our coaches will take you through some simple exercises to get you comfortable and relaxed in the water whilst tuning up your open water skills such as drafting, sighting and swimming straight.

You'll also get a good look round the swim course from on the water giving you an advantage come race day!

This session is for race entrants only, so put your name down for it if you've already entered the race:

www.swimsmooth.com/jenson-trust-tri-ow-session.php

Or if you haven't already entered the race yet then sign-up here first :

www.jensonbuttontri.com

See you there!


New Shelley Taylor-Smith Analysis

We've also just released a new analysis to Youtube of 7-time World Marathon Swimming Champion Shelley Taylor-Smith (arguably the greatest marathon swimmer of all time). This was recorded in April during our certified coach training course in Perth.

As they study her stroke, Paul and Shelley hold a fascinating discussion on the differences in stroke styles that great swimmers use between the pool and open-water :



The clip finishes with an interesting discussion on arm recoveries in different conditions. Shelley says (paraphrased) : It’ll be really interesting to see the strokes at the Rio Olympics next year. The 10K swim at London 2012 was in a lake with perfect flat water but Rio can get rough. We won't see many high elbows!

Is she right? We'll find out in 2016!

Find out more about Shelley and her inspirational public speaking on her website: www.championmindset.com.au

Swim Smooth!
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How Your Body Type Affects Your Swim Stroke

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Ringwood SS Squad
Full information here

Twickenham Video Analysis Full information here

Lancaster SS Squad
Full information here

Lancaster Video
Analysis Consultations

Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague International Kids Camp
Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

New Oxford/Henley SS Coach
Clinics & Video analysis here

Beg. & Int. OW Workshops
Berinsfield, Oxfordshire

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round: here

Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here
Back in the 1990s they said that everyone should swim the same way, how we should all aim to make our strokes as long as possible. How we should all try to match the stroke length of Olympic Champions.

These days we understand that making your stroke as long as possible actually isn’t efficient swimming - you need to find the right trade off between the length of the stroke and your stroke rate (cadence) for you as an individual. This is in fact what Olympic Champions do - although many have long strokes, they could go even longer if they wanted.

How long should your stroke end up being? The answer to that question varies hugely based on factors such as your height, arm length, size of your hands, physical strength and swim fitness:



The short video above shows a great example of two swimmers of very similar speed - Brad Smith and SS Head Coach Paul Newsome - both swimming very effectively but with very different stroke styles. Each swimmer has taken account of their own physical make-up to find a stroke that works for them.

You should be aiming to do the same, even if that means going against what was historically considered to be an 'ideal' stroke.

We haven’t discussed Ape-Index on the blog in a while but it is always worth a revisit. Find some more information on it here:

www.swimsmooth.com/ape-index-swimming.html

And some more examples in the Swim Smooth Coaching System here...

app.swimsmooth.com/video/cqT/swimming-individuality-introduction/

...featuring Neil, our current Ape-Index world record holder!

Swim Smooth!
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*Mega* Megan Is Back!

Upcoming Swim Smooth Clinics / Camps:

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis
Full information here

Ringwood SS Squad
Full information here

Twickenham Video Analysis Full information here

Lancaster SS Squad
Full information here

Lancaster Video
Analysis Consultations

Full information here

West Lothian
Video Analysis

Full information here

Prague International Kids Camp
Full information here

Prague Junior Swim Club Full information here

Richmond SS Squad
Full information here and here

Acton Video Analysis
Full information here

New Oxford/Henley SS Coach
Clinics & Video analysis here

OW Skills Workshops Pre-Blenheim
Berinsfield, Oxfordshire

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante
All year round: here

Richmond/Wimbledon Workshops
Full information here
Newsflash: We've just made the following updates to the Swim Smooth Coaching System:

- Added Paul Newsome's video analysis of elite triathlete Rachel Joyce (2011 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion & 2nd Place IM Hawaii).
- Added Paul Newsome's video analysis of Terenzo Bozzone (2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champion).
- Added 20m pool option for beeper settings.
- As previously announced, added a brand new Brownlee Tri Sprint Training Plan - perfect for beginners swimming an open water triathlon for the first time.
- Improved webapp responsiveness on touch devices.

If you haven't checked out the system yet, signup for your free trial here: app.swimsmooth.com



*Mega* Megan Is Back!

Perhaps our most popular ever blog post here on Feel For The Water was our case study of Megan Surrette, an open water swimmer from here in Perth. From 2012 to 2014 Megan reduced her threshold swimming speed from 2:12 to 1:32 /100m - a HUGE improvement that justifiably earned her the nickname Mega Megan!

If you missed it the first time around, see how she made such a staggering improvement on the original blog post here and in her video review on Youtube here.

So that was a year ago... what's she been up to since? As well as swimming the 13km Northumberland Strait in Canada (one of only two last year to achieve the feat without a wetsuit), she's been developing a very nice 2-beat leg kick technique to further improve her stroke efficiency. As she says on the video below, Megan achieved this using our two-beat kicking tutorial on the SS Coaching System.

You can watch SS Head Coach Paul Newsome taking Megan through her latest video analysis session and see that 2-beat kick in action. The recording is packed with tips for any level of swimmer:



Video Index:

0:25 Arm Recovery
1:30 Straight Arm Pull-Through
6:00 Leg Kick Comparison
8:00 Great 2-Beat Leg Kick
16:15 Good Alignment
17:55 Swimming Down A Narrow Corridor
25:25 Summary
----
30:26 After Stroke Correction

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