Good swimming turns
Good swimming turns can make the difference between podium/medal or a fourth place. We take a look at the importance of training to do great turns during swim meets.
During our last swim meet, our young swimmer was off normal race pace with approximately 7-10 seconds. We were not upset about this as firstly, the swim meet was just an age group gala and secondly, we know that in any training program, there are highs and lows. We monitor training times and saw the slower times since November 2015 after a peak in September/October 2015, which were important months as KZN Junior championships and our own club gala takes place during these months.
The highs and lows of swimming
Every low in a program is normally followed by a high. Coaches use these biorhythms to plan the athlete’s program in order to peak during important events. In our current training program, we are building up towards Swimming South Africa Level 1 championships which are held from 1-3 April 2016.
On this point, as a swim mom, I just need to side with the coaches for a while. We are friendly with swim moms from all clubs. At swim meets, I always have a friendly chat with the other moms and many times I hear some dissatisfaction about their swimmers’ times.
Firstly, one cannot expect a swimmer, especially young swimmers, to knock seconds off their times at every swim meet. Secondly, many of these swim moms do not know about the natural highs and lows in training and the sport. Please discuss the point in your swimmer’s training with your coach – you will most likely see they are not worried at all. Reason being, that they know after every “low” there will be a high and that high will easily knock 2 seconds off a swimmer’s time especially after tapering for a particular event.
The ideal situation is to sit patiently and wait for the swimmer to progress through the training program and to trust the coach, the program, and your swimmer.
Making or breaking the race with a fast turn
Times aside, during these lows where we know the best times will not be clocked, we focus on something else in the races – swimming correctly. I.e. we check the starts, the swimming turns, and the stroke.
Good swimming turns can make the world of difference. On Sunday, Monica swam the 200-meter breaststroke. Her seeded time was 3:44 and she completed the race in 3:58. Confirming the point I made earlier about the low we currently face in her swimming times.
Nevertheless, this race was stroke-for-stroke with another swimmer in lane 6 (Mica was swimming in lane 5). 4 x 50 lengths in a long course pool. Prior to the race, I instructed Monica to swim correctly, to take her time with the turns and underwater work. At the third and last turn, she executed a very strong underwater dolphin kick, one pull and then surfaced at approximately 5-6 meters. The last 50-meters ended in a touch for third place and 2 hundredths of a second difference between the two swimmers.
If this swim meet was a major event, it would have been the difference between podium and a medal versus fourth place.
We video Monica’s races as we do show these videos to her after the events. We also have to video the events to show it to the Coach that provides us with the training programs. (We live 600 km from this coach so a lot is done remotely). You can clearly see the effect of that last turn as the swimmer in lane 6 was half a body length ahead of Monica and just by turning in an effective way, Monica made up time and distance which most likely lead to touching before the swimmer in lane 6.