Adapting your stroke for open water

On Saturday I mentioned adapting your stroke for open water swimming. Even the best wetsuit will limit your flexibility around the shoulders compared to swimming without a wetsuit. Try adapting your stroke to work with the wetsuit rather than against it. The high elbow recovery used in pool swimming can fatigue your shoulders by working against the material of the suit. Instead, adopt a slightly straighter arm recovery technique and swing your arms over the top.

When swimming in rough water it can be even more beneficial to be able to modify your stroke to suit the conditions. Choppy water conditions can suit a more choppy stroke. This allows you to maintain good rhythm. A long stroke can result in you being pushed around by the waves disrupting your rhythm.

If a picture is worth a thousand words a video must be worth a whole lot more! This video of Jodie Swallow, although she is swimming in a pool, demonstrates a number of technical aspects of Jodie’s stoke that make her one of the best open water swimmers in triathlon. To watch the video click here. Now Jodie swims with a stroke rate of about 90 strokes per minute. Not very many people can swim with such a high stroke rate and indeed such a stroke rate may not suit you. But there are still a number of lessons we all can take from Jodie’s technique. Rhythm, timing, body position, body roll, effective catch and pull…the list goes on!

Have a great week. Take it easy those of you competing in Dextro Hyde Park this coming weekend. It’s important to go in to your race feeling fresh and ready to roll. Tim (LFTC Coach)