Just for fun, we thought we’d take a look at how the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, compares to a few familiar aquatic animals. You might be surprised at the results!
The competitors beating you in the water aren’t faster because they spend more time in the water. They’re faster because they have better technique.
Many triathletes stand to make substantial time drops in their swimming leg by making small changes to their freestyle technique. And here’s the best part—technique changes (even drastic ones!) are best done in SHORT, focused training sessions. A 15-30 minute swim is plenty of time to concentrate on technique.
1. Consult with a coach or technique expert on your personal technique strengths and weaknesses.
2. Train with short swims (25yds are best) at a slow stroke rate where you are not getting fatigued.
3. Concentrate on technique as much as possible during every training session. Don’t worry about swimming fast. As changes become more ingrained, you can slowly increase speed.
4. As with any sport, swimming technique often gets worse as the athlete becomes fatigued. More reps done focused on technique when not fatigued, means more permanent technique changes.
Swimming World recently posted its annual listing of swim camps. For any swimmer or parent considering which of the available camps to attend, we have a few suggestions.
4 Things to Look for in a Swim Camp
- Low swimmer to instructor ratio. If you’re working with one coach and 40 other swimmers, chances are you will receive very limited personal feedback. You’ll get more out of the session if you receive individual attention.
- Emphasis on technique over conditioning. Conditioning is important, but a week of intense training will not have a long term impact on your physical fitness or your speed. To the extreme, over training can cause injury and technique usually gets worse with fatigue.
- High level of instruction. Check the credentials of the instructors and coaches at camps you are considering. If you’re serious about swimming faster, look for a camp that offers more than white board workouts and someone to call out the sets.
- A positive overall experience. Keep your goals in mind! Whether you want to swim faster or just have fun and meet new people, there IS a swim camp out there for you!