The Three Keys To Becoming A Much Better Swimmer

220 Magazine have just released their interview with our Head Coach Paul Newsome which was filmed recently at The Triathlon Show in London:

In it Paul talks about two very important concepts for better swimming: Swim Smooth's 'Three Keys' and using Tempo Trainer Pros for fitness training and developing your pacing skills.

To supplement Paul's interview, here's an overview of each:

Swim Smooth's 'Three Keys'

As you develop your swimming it's important to appreciate there are three key areas you need to work on to reach your potential in the water:

Key 1. Your stroke technique to move more quickly for the same level of effort.

Key 2. Your swim specific fitness so that you can sustain your stroke technique at a strong level of effort.

Key 3. Your open water skills such as sighting, drafting and swimming straight.

A good way to look at these three areas is to consider that each is broadly worth the same amount of time to you. So if you're swimming 30 minutes for 1500m but want to get to 24 minutes, then look at this challenge as you aiming to gain 2 minutes from technique, 2 minutes from swim fitness and 2 minutes from open water skills.

This is how the swimmers making large improvements do so. They don't gain everything from one area, which is extremely hard to do, instead they work year round in a balanced program combining all three keys, gaining performance from each.

Using exactly this approach Paul coached professional triathlete Kate Bevilaqua from 65 minutes for the 3.8km Ironman swim down to a fantastic 49 minutes (previously covered on the blog here). That's a huge gain, taking her from last pro out of the water to the very front of the field:

Tempo Trainer Pros For Fitness Training

Secondly Paul mentioned how Finis Tempo Trainer Pros are extremely useful tools for developing your swim specific fitness. Tempo Trainers are best known for being used to control your stroke rate for technique development but they can also be used to set a swimming speed to sustain over a training set.

Set the pace on the Tempo Trainer before starting your set.
For instance, if you are looking to swim at 2 minutes per 100m in a 25m pool, just set the beeper in mode 2 to beep every 30 seconds. Then set off on a beep and control your pace to turn and push-off on every beep. This really helps you develop and tune in to your pace judgement, an essential part of improving your distance swimming.

As a shameless plug, you can purchase your Tempo Trainer Pro from our Swim Shop here:

Swim Smooth!


Gregory Yourek said...

While this is an improvement, the chart is very misleading and would never stand up to scrutiny in scientific review. The y-axis should start at 0 minutes and not at 46 minutes. I know this would make the improvement look less impressive, but it is the correct way to present it.

Thomas Costello said...

G Y: Have you seen many triathletes completing a 0 minute ironman swim?

Anonymous said...

@G Y Have you ever compiled a chart? I am statistician and that is how you plot data, within the min and max range of your data (sometimes looks better with fewer data points but that is way you chart it). Its not the chart what makes it admissible, its many other factors including sample size, distribution etc.

Adam Young said...

Hi G Y,

No need for concern, we're not pretending this is a scientific paper, it's a blog post designed to help swimmers improve their swimming.

Also, trust me when I say, going from 62 minutes to 49 for an Ironman swim is hugely impressive, no matter how you plot it and almost everyone reading the post would kill for that level of improvement.


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