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Stroke Counting: Why and How

The two numbers that swimmers habitually track are how many metres or yards they tally in a workout – or some calendar period – and the time it takes to complete some portion of that tally. “I swam 3000 metres today and did 1:39 on my fastest 100.” 

It’s far less common to monitor stroke count. Yet, for several reasons, stroke count is arguably the most important measure:

1. Regular Feedback  

Feedback – a way to connect efforts to outcomes – is the key to improvement and personal best performance. Feedback is most effective when it comes moment-by-moment. You learn your time for a repeat only after you finish swimming. In contrast, you can monitor stroke count every lap, alerting you to loss of efficiency or variation in Stroke Length.

Swimmers Shoulder – A Common Injury, What Is It And How To Prevent It?

Swimmer’s shoulder is the term used to describe the problem of shoulder pain in the competitive swimmer, (1).

Most other sports recruit the lower body for propulsion, balance, directional changes, etc. Swimming, on the other hand, is heavily upper body dominant for movement and force production. To maximize the generation of propulsion, the upper body requires an above average shoulder flexibility and range of motion (ROM).

The World Swimming Association: The Group That Would Replace FINA

FINA, the world governing body of aquatic sports and swimming, has come under fire in recent years, with some in the swimming community calling for the organization’s replacement. FINA, which has close ties with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), is responsible in whole or in part for the supervision of major international swimming and aquatics competitions.

Suits vs Skins

As the winter approaches fewer of us are braving the cold and heading out into the open water, preferring the warmth of the pool instead. On my last sea swim of this season I was chatting to some swimming friends and we got on to the somewhat contentious subject of wetsuits and skins. Swimmers tend to have strong views about swimming kit in open water and a lively discussion ensued.

Bob, an experienced open water swimmer with relay and solo Channel crossings to his credit, is a firm advocate of skins.

The Tools Of A Transpacific Stage Swim

When Benoît Lecomte swim 5,500 miles from Tokyo to San Francisco across the Pacific Ocean during The Longest Swim, he will use a variety of equipment.

His maritime science project will be anchored by a support team and researchers who will study the Plastiphere, as they try to answer the question, "How does the Great Plastic Garbage Patch affect life in the ocean and on land?"

Are Lead Swimmers Negatively Affected By Draftees?

A group of competitive open water swimmers got together in Seal Beach, California and had a heated discussion about drafting and swimming in the lead.

  • One swimmer (trailing swimmer) is drafting immediately behind another (i.e., lead swimmer). Is the drafting causing the lead swimmer to swim slower than he would if the trailing swimmer was not behind him? Or is the lead swimmer actually swimming faster? The theory is the same as the theory that a longer sailboat is faster than a shorter sailboat.
  • Could it be that the lead swimmer senses a change in his feel of the water and thus adjusts? This adjustment gives the perception of swimming slower which is reinforced by the trailing swimmer.

3F: Move From Fear To Familiarity Through Frequency

World champion Holly Lawrence discusses how she transformed herself in the open water through the 3Fs: move from fear to familiarity through frequency with Coach Gerry Rodrigues and host Jim Lubinski at Tower 26's Be Race Ready

Solving the fuelling and hydration puzzle

For all endurance sports, two major factors that cause fatigue and ultimately slowing down are dehydration and running out of carbohydrate. In open water swimming the situation is complicated by the water and ambient temperature, sunlight and the use (or not) of wetsuits, all of which will impact sweat rates.

Don’t let the clock spoil your open water swim

Last weekend I took part in Swim Serpentine, a new open water event on the UK calendar. It ran over two days, with a mass a participation (wetsuit or tow-float compulsory) 1-mile swim on the Saturday followed by the inaugural British Open Water Swimming Championships on Sunday. This was a 2-mile (3.3km) race under FINA rules, so no wetsuits. We were there for the entire weekend with a stand for the magazine and I also did both races.

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