The Difference Two Tenths Of A Second Can Make To Your Swimming

Before today's blog, a quick apology from us. We know that many of you are frustrated you could not get a slot on one of our UK clinics. The clinics in England filled up within 2 hours of last week's announcement which was so quick it caught everyone off guard (including us!). We're sorry for your frustration and hope to be back in the UK very soon for another series.

(by the way there are still a few places available on the Lanark clinic (nr Glasgow) if you're quick:


The Difference Two Tenths Of A Second Can Make To Your Swimming

A few months ago we wrote this very well received post about the catch phase of the stroke:

We explained there how a bad catch presses down on the water or even pushes forwards, putting on the brakes. This often feels right because you feel a lot of resistance on the palm of the hand which makes you think you're getting a good catch.

Here's another problem with pressing down, or pushing forwards: Water is very heavy and so changing its direction takes a little bit of time to achieve.

This added delay has more impact on your stroke than you might imagine. If it adds just two tenths of a second then it will decrease your stroke rate from 60 to 54 strokes per minute - a big drop off which will definitely harm your performances, particularly in open water. Of course, it's easy to add a bigger delay than just two tenths...

We see this all the time with swimmers we consult with: by improving their catch mechanics and pressing the water back rather than pushing down their stroke rate naturally increases, often without them realising it. For this reason it's almost impossible to have a slow stroke rate and a good catch - an interesting thought all by itself.

Swim Smooth!


Anonymous said...

since i have read your last blog i have improved the stroke. yes it is true that having resistance makes one think that the pull is right when actually it is pushing down.

the question i have is that i create a lot of bubbles with my left arm on the pull which means i'm doing something wrong. any suggestions please? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Great site, swimsmooth. I learnt to swim after 55 yrs only 2 yrs back, & have learnt heaps from you. so am writing a separate email on another issue, but regards and appreciation. Mind you, I still haven't figured out this pulling back business, so am off to give it another go....
Dr. Niko Leka

Adam Young said...

Hi guys, thanks for your feedback and glad to hear your swimming's going well.

Bubbles are normally caused just before the catch when the hand enters the water. If you have a lot of bubbles the hand is probably coming in flat, palm facing down, rather than piercing at an angle. And also your elbow could be dropping such that the forearm is coming in flat too - that would drag air down into the water too. Try working on a nice spearing hand entry and see if this helps.


Brian said...

Guys, I love your website as it not only applies to my own triathlon training but also for my two daughters who are involved in competitive team training. Really appreciate the advise and also enjoy the Mr. Smooth app which we play on the computer all the time. Regards,
Brian / San Francisco, CA

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