Finis and The Race Club have announced a partnership to help advance competitive swimming in the world. Finis has long been recognized as an industry leader for bringing innovative and productive training devices and tools to the market. The Race Club, once known for developing world-class swimmers, has transitioned into one of the world’s most advanced technical and swim training institutions. Now, we will work together to help make swimmers faster.
The Race Club has always been a strong fan of Finis products. In fact, I would go as far as to say that at least three of their products I would consider indispensible tools for ideal swim training. Those are the Finis snorkel, the alignment kickboard, and the tempo trainer. I also really love using the Jr. Rangs on the upper arms to help build up lactate and also to help hold the arm in the correct underwater pulling position.
“We are equally excited about partnering with The Race Club”, says John Mix, Finis President. “We appreciate that The Race Club likes our products, but also look forward to developing new products with them and developing new ways to use our existing products”.
All of their products have been well thought out and are designed to help with specific techniques to make swimmers faster. Finis product designers and management are made up of intelligent, creative and innovative swimmers. As a consequence, their products tend to be practical and functional.
What I love about using the snorkel and alignment kickboard together is that the combination not only teaches the correct body position for kicking, they also enable one to practice tight streamlining at the same time. I also like the fact that the head is in the water, which eliminates the possibility of ‘social kicking’. One of my pet peeves in swimming is that the legs are undertrained. The motion of the legs with a proper kick in freestyle, fly and backstroke is continuous and in both directions, demanding much higher fitness levels than the arms, which spend about half of their cycle time in a recovery phase. Too many swimmers and coaches use kicking as a filler-set between swims or pulls. Fast kicking is a key to fast swimming. You can see how this is done on our video on the following link: http://www.theraceclub.net/videos/secret-tip-legs-propulsion/.
I am a huge fan of the tempo trainer and have learned to use it for all four strokes. Using and sustaining a high stroke rate is essential to fast sprinting. It is natural to begin sets with a high stroke rate, which decreases with fatigue. The tempo trainer, set on an appropriate stroke rate for the swimmer and distance, will help the swimmer understand how to maintain the same or similar rate through the entire race. Therefore, it helps swimmers with better pacing and racing, as they sustain their speed.
I am also becoming a big fan of using Jr. Rangs, developed by Steve Friederang, wrapped tightly around the biceps. I first saw Bob Gillette use rubber bands on Misty Hyman’s biceps while training years ago. The theoretical benefit, developed by the Japanese coach, Kaatsu, is to reduce venous return, building lactate levels in the muscle. Once the bands are released, the lactate leaves the muscle and causes a release of growth hormone for faster and better recovery. The neoprene material of the Rangs also provides a secondary benefit by elevating the upper arm during the underwater pull, helping develop the early vertical forearm position for free, fly and breaststroke.
So, as part of our partnership, I will be contributing a weekly blog about swimming or life in general to post in the Finis website. Finis and The Race Club will also work together to develop a few comprehensive swim camps each year. I hope you enjoy the blogs and we look forward to you attending one of our Race Club/Finis swim camps.
Yours in swimming,
Gary Hall Sr.
Technical Director of The Race Club