Today I spent time in the open water with one of my favorite athletes. She started with hardly any swim experience, a fear of deep water, very little kinesthetic awareness and a huge desire to learn. Her persistence and dedication has her making progress in leaps and bounds, and excited to swim her first non wetsuit 70.3 in the fall.
In todays session we made several connections that were useful in increasing her awareness and swim skills.
During the warm up section of the swim, I asked her to connect mentally to a pool swim she had the day before. During that swim she had a breakthrough in her breathing control and swam several laps with ease. She described the ease of breathing being similar to a walking breath. It was important in the first stretch of her lake swim to recall this moment to strive for the same calm breathing and use this happy thought to achieve mental clarity. connect today with positive past experiences
In the next section of swimming I asked her to draw a little more attention to breathing. We aimed to connect the amount of air inhaled, to the amount of breath exhaled. Making this connection was aimed to increase the sustainability of breathing ease. connect inhalation with exhalation
Next we connected her hand entry to a tempo using the Finis tempo trainer metronome. Making this connection helps keep the body moving with fluidity and continuity. After several intervals, we combined the tempo and breathing awareness. connect tempo with fluidity in movement and breathing
The next connection was making the tempo faster, while holding onto stroke thoughts and length. Each tempo we repeated a minimum of three times. The aim of this exercise was to get the neuromuscular system used to firing a little more quickly to swim faster. Repeating the interval gives the brain and muscles time to accept and adapt to the task. connect tempo with speed
Once we had a found a faster tempo that was sustainable, we wanted to connect some improvement areas of the stroke to the new stroke rhythm. I asked her to synchronize the tempo to the core rotation, and then to the kick. The aim of this connection was to highlight areas of the stroke that needed attention to keep the faster tempo fluid and smooth. connect tempo with pockets of potential for ease and speed
Take some time in your next swim to make connections, and let us know how you get on,