How to Swim Like an Olympian
What a great Tokyo Olympics it has been for team GB and particularly in the pool with Adam Peaty once again dominating the breaststroke races. We’ve also had huge successes once again in the Triathlon with our British athletes taking the gold medal in the first ever mixed triathlon relay.
Watching these games can often inspire wannabe athletes to emulate these Olympic heroes but we all know it takes effort, training and sheer determination to get to this level. However, you have to start somewhere.
So the team at Sharks Swim & Triathlon, who also run Swansea Sharks Swim School and Swansea Tri-Sharks, have come up with these tips to help you get started on the route to swimming like an Olympian.
This may sound obvious but it needs stressing. You should try to swim at least two to three times a week as the more you swim, the more you improve and the less likely you are to lose your swim technique.
Swim with Good Technique
This may be easier said than done! Learn to glide through the water, feel the water running through your hands and be aware of your hand placement, head position, side rotation, and kick. Learn the importance of balance and proper stroke mechanics, which produce good swim technique.
Do Your Drills
Drill work may appear to be mundane but they are very beneficial. Drills such as ‘fingertip, fist, catch-up’ allow you to focus on a specific technique and even a few strokes thinking about what you are doing with your hands, arms, elbows, head and feet can help you be a better swimmer.
Use your Swim Aids
The common swim aids are the kickboard and the pull buoy and Sharks Swim & Triathlon has their own brand of these aids which are the same quality as the top brand but at more affordable prices. Other aids such as fins and paddles may also be used in order to help you swim better. Flippers help improve kick strength and ankle flexibility and they allow you to swim faster. Paddles help increase arm and shoulder strength and improve your technique. Try to incorporate these in your next workouts but remember the use of these swimming aids should be deliberate, with a purpose, and limited in your total workout in order to avoid overuse and potential injury.
Complete the long or hard workouts and test yourself. If the workout involves sprints, tempo work, or interval training then ensure you are pushing yourself. Your breathing should be laboured but take the necessary rest in between sets to catch your breath. It’s hard to push yourself but think of the added cardio and endurance you’re gaining from challenging yourself, even if it’s a little at a time.
Learn to Bi-Lateral Breathe
This may be scary to most since it means breathing on your weak side. But this is beneficial if you want to reduce your anxiety during an open water swim triathlon race for example. During a race, you may be forced to breathe on your weak side due to the sun in your eyes or because you need to avoid choppy waters hitting your face. Now is the time to learn. .
Watching yourself via a video camera may be an eye opener to you and it may be a bigger eye opener if you have an experienced and qualified coach who can explain your growth opportunities. You may discover a weakness you didn’t realise you had and you may work on this opportunity to improve your swim technique.
Join A Master Swim Class
There’s no better way to challenge yourself than if you are swimming with others in a masters’ swim class. It definitely enhances the calibre of your swimming just due to your competitive nature and it holds you accountable. It’s also a great way to network with other swimmers and most importantly, to just have fun!
Sharks Swim School and Tri Sharks Master Club hold classes for adults as well as children to help improve swimming technique over a period of time; while the Sharks Swim & Triathlon shop in Gorseinon offers a huge range of swimwear and accessories for all levels of swimming. These products are also available to order online here,