Friday, May 28, 2010

Are You A Swinger?

Do you know the type of swimmer in the fast lane of your squad with the not so pretty but very effective stroke? The guy or girl who breaks all the 'rules' of swimming. They have a short stroke and a fast turnover, they can appear to fight the water and yet they swim very quickly indeed - much quicker than many of the middle lane swimmers trying to glide along. Somehow they seem to keep this up for longer and go further - without complaint - than much more stylish swimmers! How can this be?

We call this type of swimmer a 'Swinger' - because fundamental to their stroke is less body roll than someone with a classical long smooth stroke. This means their arms have to swing more around the side rather than over the top:


Other characteristics of a classic Swinger are:

- A high stroke rate with lots of rhythm
- No deadspots or pauses
- A slightly rushed catch, often hindered by a thumb first entry
- A high head position looking forwards
- In unrefined form they can be quite asymmetrical (lopsided)
- A tendency to cross over at the front of their stroke
- Minimal leg kick - the legs often seem to just trail behind being towed along
- Likes to get on with it and swim fast all the time
- Goes very well in open water
- Often has an outgoing, easygoing, personality

Important: don't confuse Swingers with some of the guys and girls who share many of the same 'flaws' in their stroke but are much slower and less proficient. This is a very different type of swimmer.

The fascinating thing about Swingers is how amazingly fast they can become. Many of the world's best open water swimmers have a refined version of this stroke and so do some of the best pool swimmers. The vast majority of pro-triathletes are Swingers too (though sometimes not that refined!).

Swingers have found a natural, organic way of swimming that works for them - it's rare that they were taught or coached to swim that way. To become quicker, a Swinger shouldn't lengthen out and add glide to their stroke as that would be throwing away their fundamental strength - the rhythm and momentum in their technique. By gliding they would end up being less efficient and slower. Instead, the unrefined Swinger should work on improving their alignment to remove that crossover and set themselves up for a better catch and pull. Taking a fraction longer over the catch - and not rushing through it - will improve their hold on the water. They might also like to formalise their kick a little into a more rhythmic, defined, two-beat action.

A New Project From Us

At Swim Smooth we believe that everyone is different and when we swim we are different again. Here in Perth we've been busy beavering away on a new project to explain your individuality. This project explains why some swimmers respond to slowing down and lengthening out their strokes whilst for others that's entirely the wrong thing to do. It shows you why some swimmers are quicker in a wetsuit while others are slower - and how to fix that.

In every instance it shows you a clear pathway to improve your individual swimming, whether you're struggling to swim a lap or you already swim like Mr Smooth. And, of course, it explains how Swingers do what they do and whether adopting that style - or should we say throwing your keys in that pot - would be right for you.

Don't worry, in true Swim Smooth style we've worked hard to make things easy to understand and simple to act on. We're very excited about how it will help your swimming and can't wait to properly launch the system to you very soon. Damn, we feel quite emotional!

Swim Smooth!

1 comment:

Darren Smith said...

Really nice post. You are definitely on the right track esp. for open water swimmers and just about every other FS swimmer under 6 foot tall and size 14 feet.