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Coley Stickels provides a refreshing training exercise with stretch cords. This drill builds shoulder, lat and upper arm/tricep strength by imitating a swimming stroke with resistance. The drill is done at quick speed and for 8 to 12 reps.
The athlete grips the stretch cord handles and backs off to put tension on the cord. Then the athlete bends to align the upper body until parallel to the cords with the arms extended fully forward. The drill starts when the arms are twice swept backward between the legs and then twice swept backward with the hands outside the legs.
Ohio State Head Men’s Swimming Coach, Bill Wadley, teaches youth swimmers techniques of the backstroke turn. They will learn to try to take a last breath before rolling over to their stomach to begin the turn. This drill emphasizes rolling over without pausing for that last breath, which will break up the necessary rhythm and speed of the turn.
Each athlete has to decide a direction they will turn by which side they feel more comfortable turning toward.
Coley Stickels has coached National Age Group record holders and Olympic Trials finalists and in this segment, he presents 5 key ideas that need to be understood and reinforced if the swimmer is to improve his or her freestyle performance.
The first key is the need for a high elbow catch with the elbow out in front of the head. 2nd, he explains that underwater video of top swimmers show they move their hand under the body so that their thumb moves by their belly button and then pushes into the outsweep. 3rd, Stickels demonstrates how the distance swimmer enters the hand near the head and sways the arm outward while the sprinter’s entering arm and hand resemble a claw. 4th, he demonstrates the need for a quick breath and return to a flat position before the recovery hand enters the water with the breath taken in an air-pocket and a long high neck. 5th, Stickels explains that distance freestylers utilize considerable body roll in their stroke while sprinters stay fairly flat in the water.
Larry Stoegbauer, the strength coach for swimmers at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, has put together a drill that allows the coach and the swimmer to measure the progress and improvement in building strength and power for swimming.
The swimmer places a belt around his or her waist connected to a strap approximately the length of the pool with a bar bell weight of between 10 to 95 lbs. attached. The weight is placed in the deep end of the pool and the strap is curled around a backstroke start handle and out to the swimmer. The swimmer then sprints to the other end of the pool towing the weight across the pool bottom to the starting block. As the swimmer gains strength, the weight is increased.
Claire Donahue, Olympic and World Championships Gold Medalist, and Tyler McGill, 2012 Olympian, simplify the Butterfly by demonstrating a drill that emphasizes great technique. This involves performing a simple dive off the blocks with a pull buoy that forces the swimmer to squeeze their legs for a clean entry.
A clean entry on the start is crucial for maximizing speed off the start.