Friday, November 11, 2011

A Story Of Dramatically Improved Efficiency

At Swim Smooth we receive a lot of emails giving us feedback about how your swimming is improving. Lee (a Kiwi living in London) wrote in and his experience really struck a chord with us - it's so typical of the stories we hear from Overgliders. Thanks for allowing us to share Lee!

Dear Swim Smooth team

I just had to write to send a huge thank you to all of you for an amazing transformation that your website has unlocked in my swimming. 

I am, as I discovered from your website, a 100% classic 'glider' swim type, with a stroke per minute figure somewhere around 36 to 38 (as I know now, very slow) with a huge dead zone between hand entry and catch commencement.  My absolute fastest possible 50m split was about 54 seconds, in a 25m pool.  Well, last night after discovering your website, I headed down to the pool with the goal of just seeing what 60 strokes per minute felt like.  After visualising strokes at one per second at the pool edge using just the seconds hand on my watch, I set off.  First go: 45 seconds!  I just dropped 9 seconds off my fastest ever PB; I couldn't believe it could be that simple.  It didn't even feel like it was all that hard. 

I figure that has got to be the best swimming tip I have ever received bar none, in 5 years of trying to get faster in the water.  I can't wait to get back in the pool again - I'm sure there's another 5 seconds in there somewhere on your website!  So ... um ... THANK YOU!!!

Kind regards

Lee Berry

The next day we heard from Lee again, as he took off another three seconds from his 50m time! The fact he's now swimming 24 seconds per 100m quicker without much or any increase in effort really highlights how inefficient Overgliding with a big deadspot in the stroke is. As you can see from Lee's email, he did this by visualising better rhythm (simply from looking at the second hand on his watch!) which is exactly what Overgliders need to be working on.

If we look at our Stroke Rate Chart we can see that Lee's moved out of the blue zone (signifying too slow a stroke rate) up into the white zone. This is why he's been able to make such a big step forward with his efficiency. Of course if he went too far he'd end up fighting the water by moving into the red zone :

(for more information and an interactive version of this chart see here)

If you're an Overglider, as you swim work on keeping your lead hand constantly in motion: either extending forwards, tipping the hand at the wrist to initiate the catch, bending the elbow or pressing the water backwards - never stopping and gliding! A smooth and continuous catch technique will lift up your stroke rate with little if any increase in effort and you'll regain a real sense of rhythm to your stroke. All the details on how to do this are in our Swim Type guides:

Overgliding has become an epidemic in our sport over the last two decades: we sell 41% of Swim Type guides to frustrated Overgliders, many more than any of the other five Swim Types! Lee's experience is quite an extreme example and we can't promise every Overglider can improve quite so dramatically in just 48 hours but you too stand to make some big steps forward in your stroke efficiency by removing the pause from your stroke.

Swim Smooth!

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