One of the things I’ve been itching to do since I have a waterproof (and idiot-proof) camera is get some underwater video of my swim stroke. I managed to do this a couple of weeks ago, but it’s taken until now to get this thing uploaded and edited.
Compared to the other two disciplines, my swim is strong, but that doesn’t make me a coach or expert of any kind, but I figured I could eyeball my form and evaluate it on a few key measures that I know (or at least, I believe) to be important. My information is partly from ‘Swim Bike Run’ by Hobson, Campbell and Vickers and the rest from informal chats both on-line and in real life with other triathletes. Key concepts are:
- Hand Entry – ‘Always enter your hand into the water in a line directly in front of your shoulder… A common mistake among triathletes is “cross-over,” which occurs when the hand is place inside the shoulder line usually in line with the head.’ There’s an interesting parallel with running there, because your hands shouldn’t cross the mid-line of your body then either; it’s all wasted energy.
- Catch – Once the hand is in the water, you actually complete the extension and reach the rest of the way forward underwater.
- Body Roll – ‘… once the arm pull is ready to begin, your body has rolled to that side or your hips are facing away from your hand.’ Body roll is key to getting core muscle power involved in your stroke, but I confess I’ve gotten mixed messages on how much is enough. Swim Bike Run seems to indicate the whole body, while others seem to be saying that it should be mostly torso, with everything below the waist being more neutral in the water, which would result in a bit of a ‘twist’ motion. That’s the ideal I thought I was working toward, but the video might reveal otherwise….
Whether or not my roll below the hips is excessive or not, the asymmetry is a problem. Watching the video gives me some things to think about the next time I’m in the pool, and it’s cheaper than a coach.