Australians love to shorten any word and put an 'o' on the end - in this case shortening 'uncoordinated' to make Unco. This probably tells you straight away that it is quite a challenging drill! We'd encourage any swimmer to give it a try but it is probably best suited and most beneficial for upper intermediate and advanced level swimmers. If you are a bit of an Overglider or have any deadspots or pauses in your stroke then give it a go, you'll find it really interesting.
Unless you have an exceptionally propulsive kick, always use fins when performing Unco. It's a one arm drill, performed with one arm by your side whilst performing a full stroke with the other arm:
(sequence above taken from our forthcoming DVD "Catch Masterclass")
Breathe away from the stroking arm and breathe on every single stroke - even if you don't feel you need to - this helps drive your body rotation. We suggest you start with your right arm stroking and breathe to your left as shown in the pictures above. Once you get the hang of it you can swap sides every 25m or so.
The key to the drill is to make sure that you rotate your body fully to the dead side, ensuring that you dip your non-stroking arm and shoulder down into the water as shown in the last picture. The mantra of the drill is 'stroke and drip... stroke and dip...'. You will really have to emphasise dipping the dead shoulder into the water as there's no arms stroke on that side to help you. Get this right and your stroking arm will recover easily over the top of the water. However stay flat on that dead side and the arm recovery will be very tough!
If you struggle to coordinate the drill don't worry that's normal - in fact it's the whole idea and simply highlights that the timing of your stroke may need some work. When you get it right it should feel smooth and rhythmical.
Try 4x 100m with fins as: [ 25m left arm Unco + 25m right arm Unco + 50m freestyle swim + 20 seconds rest ]
You will feel the magic of Unco when you swim normal freestyle immediately after performing the drill. We recommend you perform a short swim every time following Unco, keeping the fins on and just feeling the rhythm and timing of the stroke. The improved smoothness and efficiency can be a revelation.
By the way, The Feel For The Blog has just exceeded thirty thousand subscribers, all since July last year! Thanks for reading, thanks for forwarding the posts to your friends and thanks to all our contributors. We've got some great material planned out for the coming months to keep you on an upward curve with your swimming and hopefully inspire you at the same time. Enjoy your time in the water!