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jim clemmons
January 4th, 2005, 04:09 PM
The following question was put forth and I thought I'd pass it along for your collective comments and remarks.

" I am mediocre female Masters swimmer in my mid 50’s. I had no experience in coached or competitive swimming before I was 40.

There are many things I can work on in my attempt to improve my swimming—technique (including clinics and videotaping), strength, flexibility, cross training, and aerobics. There is not enough time to work on them all. Is there some way to find out where my time would be best spent? Or is there some general pattern of weaknesses for swimmers such as myself?"

The swimmer has been training for approximately 10 years and does regularly compete. Due to time constraints, she wants to get the largest return on her investment so we come to you all.


Kevin in MD
January 4th, 2005, 04:21 PM
But the answer comes to "What is holding her back?"

So is it technique? I suspect that even without getting a video session she has an idea of whether her technique is holding her back. One easy way to to look at the people swimming faster than her and start counting strokes per 25, crude estimate but it's a start.

Strength - If injuries continually slow her down then I think strength exercises are a good idea to even out possible imbalances. Otherwise with limited time strength exercises seem to me to be of limited value.

Flexibility - Dr. Hull seems to think that lots of us are held back by our lack of flexibility. I worry about trying to get flexible because we often do so in ways detrimental to long term shoulder health. (See back issues of swim magazine for a good explanation of this.) I don't know anyone that I think is held back by her flexibility.

Cross training and aerobics are good adjuncts, support healthy lifestyles in general and can help you remain fresh. But rarely seem to be the best of use of time for a severely time constrained athlete.

But in general the question she needs to ask herself is what does she lack as an athlete? Top end speed? Stamina? Endurance? Technique? Whatever she comes up with, concentrate on that area.

good luck

January 4th, 2005, 05:45 PM
My two cents:

1. Technique
2. Technique
3. Technique
4. Technique
5. Strength training

Seriously, most late starters seem to lack technique more than anything else. Flexibility (stretching) can be added easily before or after swimming. I've never read anything very convincing regarding the benefits of crosstraining. On the other hand, strength training, emphasizing the core and the specific muscle groups/movements used in swimming, would be very beneficial for her.

January 4th, 2005, 08:41 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by gull80
[B]My two cents:

1. Technique
2. Technique
3. Technique
4. Technique
5. Strength training

6. more technique....

and I also agree with the rest of your post. I think cross-training has its place especially for tri-athletes, but it sounds like she wants to improve her swimming.
my 2 cents....:D

Fred Johnson
January 4th, 2005, 09:55 PM
What does her current workout schedule/regimen look like today? Does she swim a variety of workouts, training for different distances, strokes, and muscles? I see people at the pool who swim forever but never seem to vary their stroke, speed or distance, let alone work on technique.

If she is spending the vast majority of her time swimming laps but not working on sprinting or technique (as examples), she might find improvement in the variation and focus of her workouts. For instance, setting certain days for LD, sprinting, stroke and freestyle and dedicating a portion of each session to technique could provide opportunities for improvement.

This is interesting since I think I will benefit from the responses. I look forward to others' thoughts.