Back to the Basics, Week 1

Our goal for this FINIS Blog is to share information and feedback about swimming more openly. So I wanted to share an ongoing story I have about a friend re-learning the basics of swimming.

Steve is looking to do an open water swim this year after not swimming regularly since high school. So while on a ski lift at Squaw Valley this spring, Steve asked me for technique hints or suggestions so that he doesn’t embarrass himself in the water. I told him that the first thing to do is go back to the fundamentals. Over the next few weeks I found myself “coaching” Steve via email instruction as if he were just learning how to swim.

I started out by asking Steve to get in the water 3 days a week and repeat the workout below each day during his first week. Target yardage 1200. Steve suggested, come on, that’s too easy! My reply was that quality is far more important than quantity. During the second week we would increase to 1500 or 1600 yards, so I told him to enjoy the shorter workout while his body gets used to swimming again. Our end goal is to get Steve swimming 3 days a week about 3000 yards per workout.

Week 1:

    500 yards freestyle warm up. Concentrate on each lap, not just finishing the 500.  Think about catching the water at the top of the stroke; reach out front, catch the water and at that moment, rotate the opposite hip down and try to pull the body past the hand.

    5 x 50 yards breaststroke (10 second rest between each 50)

    6 x 75 yards free/kick/free with the snorkel. Make the middle 25 kicking only, hands at your sides, rotate to the left side and right side every six kicks, keeping your head straight, rolling your shoulder toward the bottom of the pool.  10 second rest between each 75.

    Get out, relax and come back after a day off.

Steve enjoyed his first week but he admitted having a tough time grasping the concept of rolling the opposite hip down and pulling the body past the hand. In future posts, I’ll expand more on my coaching growth with Steve but I do have to say that it has been fun for me to teach Steve through some of these fundamentals that I have learned over the years. And it is even more exciting to get his enthusiastic replies when a concept I had been explaining finally sticks. Perhaps it is not too late to re-learn some of the basics? Swim well and blog on.

- John Mix
CEO and Co-Founder


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