Thursday, July 07, 2016

Lucy Charles - The World's Fastest Female Triathlete In Water?

SS Clinics and Camps:

United Kingdom

Swindon Video Analysis

Swindon SS Squads

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Northampton Swim Squad

Acton London Video Analysis

Birmingham Video Analysis Clinic

Cardiff Video Analysis Clinic

3 Week Open Water Course Starts 16th May

Northampton Video Analysis Clinic

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Yorkshire Video Analysis

West Lothian Video Analysis

Richmond SS Squad

Open Water Beg & Int Courses London & Oxford

Richmond / Wimbledon Workshops

Salisbury 1to1 Analysis

Twickenham Video Analysis

Lancaster SS Squad

Sherborne Dorset Clinic, July 2nd


Nijmegen SS Squads

Zwevegem Video Analysis (English - Dutch)

Prague Junior Swim Club

Prague Junior Swim Club

Dublin Video Analysis

Prague Video Analysis

Swim/Tri Camps Alicante

Nijmegen Video Analysis & Stroke Correction

Asia & North America

SS 1 Day Clinic NYC August 6

SS 1 Day Clinic South Carolina, July 24

NYC / SC Video Analysis

Hong Kong Video Analysis

Hong Kong Squads & Video Analysis

Dubai Video Analysis

A few weeks ago whilst testing the new HUUB Mad system at the fantastic Best Centre Mallorca, we had the opportunity to meet up again with two of the very fastest swimmers in triathlon - Lucy Charles and Reece Barclay.

Lucy made headlines at Ironman Hawaii last year when she set the fastest female swim split... racing as an age grouper! Jodie Swallow had a fantastic swim leading out the female Pro field by over a minute in 55:04 before Lucy decimated the age group field and shattered Jodie's time in a scarcely believable 52:20:

Hawaii Ironman 2015

After that fantastic performance Lucy turned Pro, finishing 3rd overall at Ironman Lanzarote (47:11 swim - first female) and 4th overall at Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire (23:36 swim - first female).

Lanzarote Ironman 2016

So what does Lucy look like in the water and what can we learn from her swimming to improve our own performances? Well just for you we filmed Lucy's stroke in Mallorca and have uploaded Paul Newsome's analysis into our online coaching system The Swim Smooth Guru:

(If you're not a Guru subscriber yet you can subscribe to the standard version for just US$2.99 / GB£1.99 per month and study all of our elite swimmers, use every SS drill, correct your stroke using our fault fixers and follow our complete Learn To Swim Program!)

Three Key Aspects Of Lucy's Stroke

Lucy credits the strength of her swimming to the great work done by her junior coach Roy Shepherdson. Funnily enough Roy swam with Paul Newsome as a child in Bridlington and is still one of his best mates - swimming is a small world!

To get a full appreciation of Lucy's brilliance in the water you need to watch the video footage in the Guru but here's three key aspects we've pulled out:

1. Keeping The Head Low When Breathing

When breathing Lucy keeps her head as low as possible in the water, this keeps her front end down and her legs up, reducing drag. Notice the shape of the bow wave to the side of her head and how it falls away creating a trough right by her mouth to breathe from:

Lucy's kept her lower goggle in the water as she breathes. Try this the next time you swim - get it right and you can see above and below the water at the same time ("split screen vision")!

2. Straight Legs And Pointed Toes

As you'd expect from a swimmer of her abilities, Lucy has a very high body position in the water with the chest, hips and legs sitting very near the surface. This keeps drag to a minimum.

One way she achieves this great position is to keep her legs nice and straight as she kicks with only a slight softness at the knee. Her ankles are flexible and feet nicely pointed behind her:

She's not looking to generate a huge amount of propulsion from her kick but to keep her body high with minimum effort.

3. A Perfect Open Water Arm Recovery

Lucy chooses to use a straighter arm recovery style with the arms swinging a little around the side of her body:

As you might have guessed, like most Pro triathletes and open water swimmers Lucy has the classic Swinger stroke style which is brilliantly effective for open water swimming.

This arm recovery gives her great clearance over waves and chop in open water and works brilliantly to overcome the restriction of a wetsuit. If you feel uncomfortable swimming in open water give this a try, it can make a world a difference!

A big thanks to HUUB wetsuits for arranging the shoot in Mallorca and to Lucy for letting us show her stroke to the world. Follow Lucy on her blog and twitter feed here, she's a fantastic athlete who's cycling and running are quickly catching up with her truly brilliant swimming:

Swim Smooth!

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