View Full Version : Improvement strategy

February 13th, 2015, 11:01 PM
Hello...I love swimming b/c you can always work on your technique each time.

I started enjoying swimming watching the sunset in the ocean, then I swam 5 minutes before sunset, then 10 minutes, next thing I'm swimming a mile. The ocean taught me bi-lateral and swimming strong. A year in, I took a deep look at my technique and realized the ocean forced me into a very good technique for someone with zero teaching.

I feel like I haul serious a__ in the water and I've run into many swimmers in the ocean that cannot keep up with me. I just timed my mile swim and it is about 30 minutes so I looked that up and was surprised how freaking fast others are swimming a mile, wow! I can't imagine swimming a mile in under 25min but it looks like that can be achieved. I don't compete I just swim for fun, but love it.

I do a 2 beat kick, and have recently read a 6 beat could speed me up. I feel like when I do a 6 beat I am swimming slower unless I really work the 6 beat kicks hard to which I get exhausted really fast. Even a casual 6 beat seems to be much more taxing on my breathing, abs, and hip flexors than the 2 beat.

Can I get under 25min with a 2 beat? Should I start doing a 6 beat? Any suggestions to remove 5 minutes from my time? I'd really like to continue the 2 beat, but if the 6 beat removes minutes I will explore that.


Gary P
February 14th, 2015, 08:25 AM
There's no need to go to a 6 beat to get to a 25 minute mile. As you've found, a 6 beat takes a lot more energy. I personally don't use a 6 beat for any race longer than 100 yards/meters. You should be able to get to your goal with a combination of improved stroke efficiency and aerobic capacity. Google "total immersion freestyle" for some tips on long distance swimming technique.

February 17th, 2015, 08:02 PM
Thanks....can someone comment on what kicking strategy they are using in this 3:15 minute mark in the olympic 1500m?

Also, am I better off swimming as fast as I can for 1 mile or swimming 2 miles normal to gain better speed?

February 17th, 2015, 09:50 PM
Left side view swimmer is using 6-beat. The swimmer to his left looks like he's using a 6-beat/4-beat combination, kicking to his stroke rhythm when he breathes.

I'm not a distance swimmer, but training for the mile at your all-out pace, for a mile, would not seem to be an effective way to improve your time in the mile. Everyone is different though, but maybe a time trial only once every other week to test progress? There is an endless variety and approaches to train for a 1500, just boils down to what works best for you.

Keep in mind that swimming fast is about 100% technical and (in my opinion) comes first over training for anyone.

Check out USRP training for examples of workouts

Allen Stark
February 18th, 2015, 08:07 PM
Also, am I better off swimming as fast as I can for 1 mile or swimming 2 miles normal to gain better speed?

Neither.You will swim faster faster going intervals.As Steve says,you can look into USRPT, but I'd suggest you start by swimming something like 15X100 with 15 sec between 100s.Start at an easy pace and then try to make each 100 faster than the one before.

February 19th, 2015, 11:07 AM
In terms of your kick, I would suggest not focusing as much on whether you have a 2-beat or a 6-beat kick, but rather placing more emphasis on building an efficient and consistent kick that helps you stay balanced in the water. You can use your kick strategically during long swims - picking up the pace when you need to pass another swimmer, for example (as you can see in the video that you linked to) - but in order to be able to do this, you need to develop the strength and speed of your kick during workouts.

Regarding your second question asking how you would improve your speed, you need to think about developing workouts that combine drills to improve your technique with interval sets. Building up your technique through drills that are geared specifically towards your needs is of vital importance, just as increasing your endurance is essential through interval sets or longer swims.

All of this need to be done both in the pool and the open water. Nature is a great teacher, but in order to get the extra edge, you will need to work with a competent coach who can help guide you towards the improvements that you desire to have.

Here's a recent article I wrote for Ironman that may help answer some of your open water training-related questions: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2015/01/tri-coach-open-water-swimming.aspx#axzz3PwmigvCV

Best of luck!