Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How to Watch a Good Swimmer and Learn

I've mentioned before in this blog that I particularly enjoy watching other people swim. Analyzing strokes has become an obsessive hobby of mine. One might feel watching from the pool deck is sufficient, but I find it completely insufficient. I once heard a coach say, (paraphrasing here) "You don't get any where with your arms out of the water. It's what's happening in the water that wins the race." He's 100 percent correct. You can stand on the pool deck and watch a good swimmer. From there you can see the body positioning, the arm recovery and the first part of the reach, but you won't see what is really making things move. The best place to be is in the water yourself, with your face under the surface. Above the surface, you miss the full extent and angles of the reach, the pull - particularly angles as the arm levers its way through. You'll miss how the face is positioned and how its placement creates a slip-stream to the on-coming water, and you won't get the nuances of the kick. While there is surely plenty I've skipped here, you can't go wrong watching a fast swimmer fly past you in the next lane. You learn quick that way - I know.

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