The Power of 25m Repeats
To really imprint the new timing on my 2BK that I learned from the Freestyle Mastery course, I've been swimming many short repeats of 25m over and over again. I don't hear this talked about much, nor do I see other swimmers doing anything like it--but it's proven to be an extraordinarily effective way for me to organize my practice to learn and hone new techniques.
Here's what I did today:
2 x (10 x 25m): This was a nice easy tune-up, swimming slowly and trying out various focal points. SPL ranged from 14-16. Did not get down to my usual 13 SPL, didn't feel all that great.
5 x (4 x 25m), repeated at 14 SPL, 15 SPL, 16 SPL, 15 SPL, 14 SPL in reverse pyramid fashion. Was able to hold target SPLs, but only by really focusing on HOW to do it. What worked was two things:
1. Being hyper-vigilant about NOT letting any rotation begin until the press/kick. I had to pay attention to keep my body on its left side, for example, even as my right arm was recovering and spearing--a mental shift for me that really helped solidify my kick timing. Only when the spearing arm was wrist-deep did I allow myself to begin the press/kick on the other side. As soon as I consciously focused on this delayed rotation, I felt a much stronger smoother connection between kick and press.
2. Getting an "early" catch. Funny, I had always assumed "early" had something to do with time. Today I thought about it instead as "early" in the arm movement--i.e. NOT letting the arm slip backward to set up the catch position before the press. Instead, I simply directed my awareness to the hand of the catching arm, gave a SLIGHT wrist bend and slight squeezing motion with the hand itself to feel the hand grip the water. No arm movement. Then, when it was time for the kick/press motion, and ONLY then, did I let the arm move back. The result, it seemed, was that I was able to begin the propulsive press motion with my hand still well out in front of my head--something close to an early vertical forearm. This made it much easier to avoid a dropped elbow pull, and seemed very very effective (probably because it lengthened the propulsive phase of the stroke).
With my kick/press coordination feeling really good, I wanted to keep honing that feeling rather than stressing it by trying more aerobically challenging sets. So next I did this:
5 x (2 x 25m, 1 x 50m) again repeated at 14, 15, 16, 15, 14 SPL in another reverse pyramid.
The 50m repeats were a bit more challenging to keep good focus on, but within reach. I held target SPL all the way through. Feeling really good at this point, with a very obvious hip-driven kick and complete relaxation of the body but excellent balance, breathing with the head very low in the water with absolutely no urge to lift up.
Finished off with this:
5 x (2 x 50m), this time starting at higher SPL: 16, 15, 14, 15, 16
After 90 minutes in the pool, I had completed 2,000m. 1500m of it was in the most perfect form I am capable of right now. Felt really really good.
Especially when imprinting new skills or stroke modifications, I'm convinced it's far more effective to swim many short repeats until you are solid in the new skill. I'd go so far as to say that means spending WEEKS of practice focused unrelentingly on that one thing you are trying to change, without any distractions. I'm starting my third week of intensive 2BK focus right now, and think I'll go on like this for the rest of the week before moving back to "normal" practice sessions to apply what I've learned.
I learned SO much more doing this than I did at a local Masters Swimming "workout" I attended last week, where we were told what distances to swim and how much to rest, but nothing else.
I love TI!
Last edited by Tom Pamperin : 01-22-2018 at 10:02 PM.