Friday, August 19, 2016

Rio Part 2: Pool Analysis, Open Water Races & Brownlee Domination


SS Clinics and Camps:



United Kingdom

Northampton Swim Squad

Acton London Video Analysis

Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic

Oxford Open Water Squad

Northampton Video Analysis Clinic

Yorkshire Squads (Pool & OW)

Yorkshire Video Analysis

West Lothian Video Analysis

Richmond SS Squad

NEW High Wycombe Squad Starts 15th Sep

Richmond / Wimbledon Workshops

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis

Twickenham Video Analysis

Lancaster SS Squad

Swindon Video Analysis

Swindon SS Squads **Introductory Special Offer**

Lancaster Video Analysis




Europe

Prague Junior Swim Club

Dublin Video Analysis

Prague Video Analysis

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante

Nijmegen Video Analysis & Stroke Correction

Nijmegen SS Squads

Zwevegem Video Analysis (English - Dutch)

Prague Junior Swim Club




Asia & North America

Montreal Clinic (French Language), Oct 22nd

SS 1 Day Clinic Campbell California, Oct 9th

Montreal Squads

Montreal Video Analysis

Hong Kong Video Analysis

Hong Kong Squads & Video Analysis

Dubai Video Analysis

NYC / SC Video Analysis

Before we get to the open water marathon swims and men's triathlon, let's kick off with Paul Newsome's full video analysis and review of the Olympic pool action earlier in the week. Specially recorded by Paul to give you all his insight into events in Rio, there's loads to learn here about strokes, tactics and keeping a calm head under pressure. Don't miss it:



Brownlee Triathlon Domination

We hope you enjoyed another phenomenal performance by the incredible Brownlee brothers in the Olympic Triathlon yesterday - the brothers took the race by the scruff of the neck and dominated it in every sense of the word!



Despite saying afterwards it was a "slow swim" at just a shade over 17 minutes (!) the boys knew they would have to work their ultra-hard bike strategy right from the off especially as Mario Mola was only 19 seconds down coming out of the water. Their pace was relentless and entirely reminiscent of the Leeds WTS race back in June, in fact it was almost a carbon copy. 19 seconds might not sound a lot in the swim but at this level it is critical - had Mola come out of the water higher up, he would have made the bike pack with the Brownlees and it could have been a different story.

The other athletes would have been very aware that such an attacking Brownlee bike leg would have been a likely scenario but the fact remains that no-one could respond to that call no matter how tactically savvy they might have been.

On the run, despite the brothers being clear and running together after 5km, Alistair decided to surge and break Jonny, despite the risks of going so early in the hot conditions. That right there is the sign of a champion and embodies the spirit of triathlon and the Olympic games as a whole.

At Swim Smooth we were also thrilled to see South Africa's Henri Schoeman pick up the Bronze medal despite never having podiumed in an ITU event. Henri's a class act and he thoroughly deserves to pick up a medal for a phenomenal race:



Henri's one of the best swimmers in triathlon and he features in the Swim Smooth Guru, including our full study of this stroke and interview about his preparation (subscription required):




10K Marathon Swims

Both 10K open water swims were exciting races with Dutch swimmers Sharon van Rouwendaal winning in a super-quick 1:56:32 and Ferry Weertman in 1:52:59. Both had incredible races - Sharon with loads of punch and rhythm in her stroke and Ferry with a longer smoother style supported by the continuous strength of his kick.

Don't miss this great little interview with Sharon after the race, talking about her recent move from the pool to open water and why it's been such a revelation for her. If you're predominantly a pool swimmer and considering the move to open water then why not bite the bullet and give it a crack - it's a lot of fun and who knows, you might find your 'natural' environment, just like Sharon:


In the men's race, we enjoyed Jarrod Poort's seemingly suicide mission for the first 8.5km, here off the front from the very start of the race:



Swim Smooth Head Coach Paul Newsome copped quite a bit of flack on Twitter applauding his effort which was apparently hypocritical compared to all our discussions over the years about pacing and the benefits of drafting. The point remains though that Jarrod would have gone into that race as a top-20 contender or at a push top-10 on a good day, but never a gold medal prospect. He's very good in the surf / swell though which is why Paul picked him for a win in exactly that fashion. He has the ticket stub to prove it! :



He didn't hold on though of course and the strain of his effort really took a toll on his navigation which up until the last lap had been exemplary. It was one of our most memorable moments of this Olympics as to win an Olympic Gold always requires some risk. Jarrod laid it all out on the line on Tuesday and whilst it didn't pay off it was the first time that strategy has ever been employed at that level in this sport. We say credit to him for giving it a go.


Women's Triathlon Preview

The women's triathlon on Saturday should be equally exciting - it will be fascinating to see how the likes of Jenkins, Spirig, Stanford, Duffy, Hewitt and Spirig go and if they can pull an upset from race favourite Gwen Jorgensen. Gwen's running phenomenally well and any athlete is going to need a big lead off the bike to beat her given the long drag-strip straights of the run course which will suit her perfectly to chase down any escapees. Don't miss it, it should be another cracker!

Swim Smooth!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Announcing New SS Coaches In Montreal, Gothenburg, Kuala Lumpur and Felixstowe, UK

Swim Smooth are very proud to announce the certification of four new Swim Smooth Coaches in Montreal, Gothenburg, Kuala Lumpur and Felixstowe, UK!

Training to be a SS Coach is a huge undertaking. Developing the necessary skills and experience of advanced video analysis, stroke correction, squad coaching and open water skills takes time and cannot be rushed. We are fortunate enough to be able to pick our coaches from a large talent pool but even for the most experienced coach, training takes at least 1 to 2 years.

Whether you are a complete beginner or elite competitor, when you see a Swim Smooth Coach you can be assured you are seeing a brilliant coach, highly trained with the very best coach methods at their disposal.

A very big welcome to the coaching team Bart, Anna-Karin, Shauqie and Seamus! :




Anna-Karin Lundin, Gothenburg, Sweden: www.simcoachen.se


Anna-Karin loves swimming and has a real passion to pass this on to others. Her coaching offers sustainable, smart and fast swimming for all levels of ability. With a huge breadth of experience and expertise in the latest technology, she guarantees you better swimming, whether you want to swim faster, longer, with more comfort - or all of the above!

Anna-Karin was an Olympic swimmer competing for Sweden at the Seoul games. As the head coach and founder of Simcoachen, Anna-Karin runs 1-2-1 sessions, squad training, camps and workshops. She also trains using the Guru herself, swimming and competing in Open Water and Swim-Run races.

It goes without saying that AK is a brilliant swimmer herself, see her in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBKaxS5VAhA




Shauqie Aziz: www.myswimcoaching.com


Shauqie is based in Kuala Lumpur and is our first Swim Smooth Coach in South East Asia. 11 years ago, before open water swimming was popular in Malaysia, he made his first solo swim across the Penang North Channel and entered the Malaysia Book of Records for being "The Youngest to Swim The Longest Distance" at the age of 15.

Shauqie continues to be passionate about swimming and shares his experience by coaching adults, taking them from beginner swimmers to triathlon and Ironman competitors. Shauqie offers video analysis and stroke correction services and runs weekly swim squad sessions.



Bart Rolet, Montreal, Canada: www.swimsmoothmontreal.com


After 4 years as head coach for one of the largest triathlon clubs in Montreal, Bart founded "La Swim Squad" Montréal which has been running now for 3 years. It is now the biggest adult squad in Montreal with 5 to 8 sessions per week depending on the season and 150 active members.

Bart first met the Swim Smooth team for training in California in 2013 and followed up with the training in Perth Australia in 2016 to become the first Swim Smooth Certified Coach in Canada. Bart has spent thousands of hours on the pool deck sharing his passion for swimming with athletes of all levels. If you are just starting out or aiming for the top, don't be afraid to see Bart or join the squad!



Seamus Bennett, Felixstowe, Suffolk, UK: www.swimscaper.com


Born and raised on the North Sea coast, Seamus is an accomplished, lifelong open water swimmer with an infectious enthusiasm for the sport - Felixstowe Swimscapes, the sea swimming group he started in 2012, now has 370 members of all swim types and speeds.

Seamus is a sports science graduate, level 2 open water coach and swimming teacher who has been inspiring the progress of swimmers and triathletes from novice to advanced, since 2010.

Seamus loves the positivity, innovation and inclusivity of Swim Smooth and becoming a certified coach has been his long-term aspiration. He will now combine his natural passion for swimming and helping people reach their potential, with Swim Smooth’s unparalleled expertise – a handy combination guaranteed to improve your freestyle swimming!

Contact Seamus for expert video analysis & stroke correction and bespoke SS sessions for individuals, groups and clubs - and watch out for a new Swim Smooth squad coming to the east of England.




For full information on all our Swim Smooth coaches and to find your local Swim Smooth Coach see: swimsmooth.com/certifiedcoaches



For more information on training to become a Swim Smooth coach, visit: swimsmooth.com/becoming-a-swim-smooth-certified-coach.php


Swim Smooth!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Swim Smooth's Rio Round-Up So Far And Look Ahead


SS Clinics and Camps:



United Kingdom

Northampton Swim Squad

Acton London Video Analysis

Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic

Oxford Open Water Squad

Northampton Video Analysis Clinic

Yorkshire Squads (Pool & OW)

Yorkshire Video Analysis

West Lothian Video Analysis

Richmond SS Squad

NEW High Wycombe Squad Starts 15th Sep

Richmond / Wimbledon Workshops

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis

Twickenham Video Analysis

Lancaster SS Squad

Swindon Video Analysis

Swindon SS Squads

Lancaster Video Analysis




Europe

Montreal Squads

Montreal Video Analysis

Prague Junior Swim Club

Dublin Video Analysis

Prague Video Analysis

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante

Nijmegen Video Analysis & Stroke Correction

Nijmegen SS Squads

Zwevegem Video Analysis (English - Dutch)

Prague Junior Swim Club




Asia & North America

Hong Kong Video Analysis

Hong Kong Squads & Video Analysis

Dubai Video Analysis

SS 1 Day Clinic NYC August 6

SS 1 Day Clinic South Carolina, July 24

NYC / SC Video Analysis

We hope you've been enjoying the Rio Olympics as much as we have! This week on the blog we're bringing you our review of the swimming in Rio so far and what to look out for in the coming week:


Phelps On Fire

At Swim Smooth we focus mainly on freestyle distance, open water and triathlon swimming but it would be rude not to mention Michael Phelps who has incredibly won two more gold medals taking his overall Olympic Gold tally up to an insane 21! Beyond any shadow of a doubt the greatest swimmer of all time, who's to say he won't add to this tally over the next few days? Here at Swim Smooth we certainly hope he can.

Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners. Whilst you would hardly call the great South African swimmer Chad le Clos a "loser" - this picture does tell a very poignant tale about focusing on your own race and being the best you can be!

What can we learn from Michael's swimming to improve our own? If you missed it first time around, take a watch of this Phelps inspired swimmer analysis by Paul Newsome from a few months back:




Horton vs. Yang in the 400m Free

In perhaps the race of the meet so far, Australian Mack Horton touched out controversial Chinese swimming star Sun Yang by just 0.16 seconds to take the Gold. Claiming the win as one "for the good guys" Horton sparked outrage in China by saying Sun, who served a three-month ban for testing positive for a banned substance in 2014, was a "drug cheat". This will only add spice to the 1500m freestyle, where they should clash again on Sunday night in the final (more on this below).

With this bitter war of words raging between the two camps, it would have been easy to miss a fantastic race. Two things we observed about Horton's fantastic swim:

1. Amazing Pace Awareness. At the start of the race, British swimmer James Guy (GB) flew out well under world record pace, only to die in the last 100m and finish 6th. Horton conversely appears to accelerate as the race goes on, when in fact his 50 splits are very even until the final sprint:

Horton 50m splits:Guy 50m splits:
26.05 (from dive)25.87 (from dive)
28.0127.83
28.7428.29
28.3928.24
28.5528.80
28.2728.76
27.3928.96
26.1527.93

What we're really seeing is Guy slowing down in the second half of the race (he is still leading until just over 300m). Guy is the current world champion over 200m freestyle and whilst the commentators claimed he needs to go out fast and try to hold on, even as world champion, if you cook yourself, the result is going to be the same as you cooking yourself at the start of a CSS set - disaster!

Of course, what is really amazing about these times is if you have a CSS pace in the 1:40-1:50 /100m range, Mack Horton would nearly lap you twice in a 50m pool - crazy! One of our squad swimmers this morning suggested they should keep the two outer most "wash lanes" free for a mere mortal to swim against the champions to really give you a perspective on how quickly they're moving!

2. Breathing Sides. Horton is at a distinct advantage over Yang in the final 50m as they are both breathing to their right but Yang is on Horton's right. Horton can see Yang, Yang can't see Horton. How important is this? See for yourself next time you're trying to race someone in the next lane.

Mack Horton

This reminded us of Ian Thorpe's amazing 200m Olympic Gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics against Pieter van den Hoogenband (www.youtube.com/watch?v=WASQ36nkz6E) - Thorpe breathes to his right up the pool and left coming back - always keeping an eye on Hoogie - one reason why we're so pedantic about mixing up your breathing sides when training!


Unstoppable Ledecky

Rapidly building a case as the greatest female swimmer of all time, America's Katie Ledecky was unstoppable in the 400m freestyle, winning by 5 seconds and setting a new world record of 3:56:46 (try putting 14.78 into your Tempo Trainer Pro in a 25m or 50m pool and see how that feels!).

Much has been written about this driven 19 year old from Washington DC and why she's so fast but let's dispel one myth right now - she's not fast because she's got a super-long stroke, or because she's trying to take as few strokes as possible.

In fact when you study her swimming, you can see that as one stroke finishes at the rear the next immediately starts at the front, which you can clearly see in this shot with the right arm finishing at the rear and the left hand tipping down to commence the stroke at the front:



Katie continuously and seamlessly transitions from one stroke to the next without any pause or glide in her stroke. She takes around 41-42 strokes per length, which is not an especially long or short stroke but backs this up with a very high stroke rate of 90 strokes per minute - and the combination is deadly. She's found the perfect trade-off between stroke length and stroke rate for her and it's paying her huge dividends, even if it goes against conventional wisdom that she should maximise her stroke length at all costs.

Katie is an absolute pleasure to watch swim and tends to be even stronger in the longer events, so expect more domination - and perhaps a lowering of her own world record - in the 800m freestyle final on Saturday night. In fact just as we write this Katie has also just taken the gold in the 200m freestyle as well - amazing!


A Well Paced Gold For Kyle Chalmers

Another amazing performance in the men's 100m freestyle, this time from 18 year old Australian Kyle Chalmers, showing incredible maturity and calmness in the biggest meet of his life. Through the heats, semis and final Kyle showed brilliant pacing skills, coming through the field as everyone else slowed in the second 50m. In the final he turned in 7th (!) and came through for the gold. It just goes to show how important pacing skills are - even in a 100!

Here's our head coach Paul Newsome tweeting his thoughts on the commentary:







Other Favourite Events

Here's some more of our highlights from Rio (well worth finding these events on your local Olympic channel's catch up service):

1. Adam Peaty’s (GBR) total dominance and world record in the 100m breaststroke - the commentators in Australia stated during the swim: “look at him bobbing his head, bobbing it up and down and a crazy fast stroke rate, and yet he still seems efficient” - could these very factors actually be Peaty’s force d'être? We think so.

2. Kyle Chalmers (AUS) sub-48 second 100m freestyle in the heats, reaching the 50m in 7th position and then coming over the top of everyone to qualify fastest overall into the semi-finals. Chalmers is just 18 years of age. The patience and skill he showed in pacing out that 100m was incredible and yet the commentary went as follows: “that was a terrible start for Chalmers, he’s got a lot of work to do, way too slow in that first 50m…” - a Personal Best / Record and the faster qualifier would suggest otherwise - yes, even a 100m sprint requires pace judgement!

2. Sarah Sjöström’s (SWE) win in the 100m butterfly final - pure elegance and finesse from the 22 year old Swede who’s super-versatile in her events covering the butterfly sprints up to the 200m freestyle where she claimed a silver behind Katie Ledecky.

3. Katinka Hosszu’s (HUN) incomparable dominance to win the 100m backstroke, 200 and 400 Individual Medley events (and still more to come probably!). They used to call British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the “Iron Lady” but now that nickname is being rightly used for Hosszu - every time you watch the screen she’s racing another event - incredible!


Rio Inspired Guru Virtual Squad Session

If all this Olympic swimming has fired you up then checkout Paul's Rio inspired training session in the Guru Virtual Squad:


You need a PRO license to swim the set!


Looking Forwards To The Ultimate Swinger Vs Smooth Smackdown In The 1500m Freestyle

Earlier we looked at Sun Yang versus Mack Horton in the 400m freestyle. Well, they're both back in the action in the 1500m on Sunday night and Sun gets a chance to extract revenge in his favourite event, where he set an incredible world record of 14:31.02 at London 2012.

But, and it's a big but, there's going to be another factor in this race and that's the Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri - the European Champion and 1500m short course world record holder in 14:08.06. Whilst Horton and Yang favour the longer smoother style of the "Smooth" Swim Type, Paltrinieri is a full on Swinger with a shorter stroke and faster turnover. Seeing Yang and Paltrinieri swim side by side with their very contrasting strokes will be fascinating, it goes to prove there's not one way to swim:

YangPaltrinieri
Strokes per length:2840
Strokes per minute:6590

It could be the ultimate Swinger vs. Smooth smackdown - we have our fingers crossed for an epic race, whichever way it goes:



Looking Forwards To The Triathlon And 10K Marathon Swims

The weather has certainly played a part in many events in Rio so far and could well continue to do so. Both the 10K open water and triathlon swims take place in the open Atlantic Ocean off Copacabana beach, potentially offering much lumpier conditions than the pancake flat Serpentine at London 2012. In fact if you watched yesterday's cycling timetrials and noticed the rough ocean conditions in the background, that's just along from Cocacabana on the same stretch of coast! :



What will this mean for both events? If you've been following Swim Smooth for a while you'll know that waves and chop favour swimmers with shorter strokes and a faster stroke rates. Expect these swimmers to come to the fore, and those with longer smoother strokes to relatively struggle. In the men's triathlon watch out for Alistair and Johnny Brownlee, and Henri Schoeman, all of whom race at 90 to 100 strokes per minute - super fast stroke rates!

Watch our unique study of Henri's swimming in the Guru here: www.swimsmooth.guru/video/k1/henri-schoeman/

Here's our predictions for the men's and women's triathlon medals:

MEN

1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)
3. Vincent Luis (FRA) or Mario Mola (ESP)

WOMEN

This is a much harder race to call than the mens and we think will be heavily based on conditions and race tactics, much more so than the men’s event which is likely to come down more to current form. But here’s our take if the predicted break-away survives and the dice don’t all roll towards the amazing American Gwen Jorgensen:

1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) or Helen Jenkins (GBR)
2. Flora Duffy (BER)
3. Gwen Jorgensen (USA)

…we could be way off the mark with these predictions (that's the beauty of triathlon these days) so don’t bet your house away!

Our predictions for the men's and women's 10km open water marathon events are a little more open but be sure to watch out for the current world champion Jordan Wilimovsky (USA) in the men's event and outside chance (but über-Swinger) Spyridion Giannotis (GRE), as well as the antipodean duo of Jarrod Poort (AUS) and Kane Radford (NZ) both of whom are very strong in the rough surf. In the women's event, the form factor suggests Aurelie Muller (FRA) as current world champion will be firing but the home favourites Poliana Okimoto Cintra (BRA) and Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA) - both of whom have amazing Swinger strokes - will be sure to impress!

Enjoy the games - one things for sure, these Olympics are only just hotting up!


Swim Smooth!