THE SWIM

Men's Health (South Africa) - - TRIATHLON: -

YOU’RE PROB­A­BLY ter­ri­fied of nav­i­gat­ing open wa­ter, drift­ing off course, or get­ting kicked in the face by an overly keen com­peti­tor. All real haz­ards; but ex­perts will tell you a suc­cess­ful swim is mostly about tech­nique. Fig­ure that out, and you’ll gain the raw skill needed to avoid shin­ers and mouth­fuls of wa­ter. Cun­nama ad­mits swim train­ing can be a drag. Un­like run­ning, which is as sim­ple as leav­ing your home and tear­ing up the tar­mac, it’s a lot of ef­fort to haul your­self off to the pool and put in hours in the wa­ter. But your time in the pool will pay div­i­dends, arm­ing you with the tools you’ll need to con­quer the short­est but most stress­ful leg of the race, re­gard­less of race dis­tance. Aim to get in at least two swims per week for around two months be­fore race day. You want to build up to cov­er­ing around 1km per ses­sion. To ready your mind for open wa­ter, sched­ule some prac­tice swims in the ocean or a dam. As you swim, min­imise drag with proper body po­si­tion and stroke me­chan­ics. Here’s how:

1. GLIDE WITH YOUR HEAD DOWN

Po­si­tion­ing your body cor­rectly be­gins with your head: keep your nog­gin in line with your spine. If you raise or lower it, you’ll cre­ate ex­cess drag. Rook­ies feel an urge to peek where they’re headed. Don’t, ex­cept when you’re sight­ing. To prac­tise, use the pool’s lane line to stay straight.

2. STRAIGHTEN OUT

Avoid lat­eral move­ment by keep­ing your head, shoul­ders, hips and feet in a straight line. As you swim, imag­ine be­ing stretched from both your head and your feet.

3. KEEP YOUR FEET CLOSE TO­GETHER

Gen­er­ate a com­pact kick us­ing power from your hips, keep­ing your legs close to­gether.

4. STRETCH

As your lead hand en­ters the wa­ter, your arm should be nearly straight. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study on fluid dy­nam­ics, this is more ef­fi­cient than “sculling”, in which the arm is bent and traces an S curve while pushing wa­ter be­hind.

5. TIME IT RIGHT

As one arm reaches full ex­ten­sion in front of you, wait to pull with that arm un­til the other arm is just about to spear into the wa­ter. If you be­gin the pull be­fore the other arm is ready to strike, your body will ro­tate pre­ma­turely, which kills your glide and slows for­ward propul­sion.

6. BE­COME A FALL­ING LEAF

As you stroke through the wa­ter, your body should open as you pull your arm over­head, and then close when you stroke through. Try to vi­su­alise your body as a fall­ing leaf, or a boat, gen­tly rolling from side to side in a swell.

For stroke ef­fi­ciency, keep your fin­gers slightly spaced.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.