THE BAL­ANCE OF POWER HAS SHIFTED

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page -

TRAIN­ING From Pool to Pond

GEAR Swim Toys 29 Wet­suits 30

SWIM

GROUP DY­NAM­ICS One of the sin­gle big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween in­door and out­door swim­ming is the prox­im­ity to other swim­mers – a lot of other swim­mers. For many new­combers to the sport, mass starts and draft­ing are the most in­tim­i­dat­ing el­e­ments. Work­ing on th­ese skills in the pool can help al­le­vi­ate some of the the anx­i­ety at the start line.

Start­ing in late win­ter I have my group do mass starts in the pool. We might have any­where from 10 to 16 swim­mers bunched into two lanes. Many of the swim­mers report that th­ese starts are more ag­gres­sive than many of the races they’ve been in. Learn to look for feet in­stead of try­ing to find clean wa­ter. Do it enough and you’ll learn that your worst fears, even if re­al­ized – a kick or a punch – are never as bad as you think they’re go­ing to be. You take the hit and keep go­ing.

There are any number of ways to do draft­ing drills. I have my club form groups of two to four swim­mers and have them do longer swims where they switch leads ev­ery 50 or 100 me­tres. Some­times the front swim­mer will hit the wall and stop while the rest pull through. Or the front swim­mer can pull over and swim easy while the line goes by. A tougher way is for the last swim­mer to ac­cel­er­ate and over­take the line. Even when you’re swim­ming in a 50-me­tre pool this can be more chal­leng­ing than it sounds. Another fun op­tion is to have the front swim­mer in the line stop a me­tre or two from the wall and do a ver­ti­cal kick while the rest of the swim­mers snake around with­out touch­ing the wall.

If your group has a good re­la­tion­ship with pool staff you can get them to pull the lane ropes, drop in some buoys and then prac­tice go­ing around them, too. I’ll start the swim­mers off 10 sec­onds apart at first, then send them off in pairs and, even­tu­ally, in groups. It’s al­ways one of the more en­joy­able ses­sions for the group.

In or­der to do most of th­ese drills you need to work to­gether with other swim­mers. If you don’t swim with a group it can be a chal­lenge to get th­ese types of work­outs done, but if you can gather a group of triath­letes to­gether for the odd work­out you can work in some of th­ese sets.

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