I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend Tim Floyd's swim camp for several years now. I have arrived with varying degrees of swim fitness but have always come out of the camp swimming 2-3 seconds per 100 yds faster. This camp involves swimming more than 30km/week and highlights the value of spending time in the pool. Many athletes ask, "How do I get faster in the swim?", and most often the best answer is to simply swim more. Even for me as a professional, the best way to get faster in the water is to spend more time in the pool.
This year I went for 10 days of the camp. Tim has continuously adapted and progressed this camp with new tools and research to back his coaching methodology. This year we used "The Brick" kick board, AquaVolo paddles, drag socks, and mitts, as well as Laguna Fin Company fins. Tim uses the phrase "constrain to train" when referring to these devices to point out the value of resistance training in the pool. There are definitely some I like more than others, but I do see purpose in all of them.
Most sessions started with some swimming, kicking, and pulling to warm the body up before going into a descending set such as 4 x 100 on 1:30 with the last one right at 95% of maximum effort. We would then use swim equipment to constrain our swimming in some way that would force the brain to concentrate on what it was doing and what was different about the stroke. Drills included
It is amazing the sensations and heightened awareness that comes when you take off the constraint. For instance, the mitts make me really feel the water and enhance my proprioception after removing them. Additionally, the Drag Sox encourages a high elbow catch and swimming with The Brick helps engage core muscles and increases rotation.
Depending on the day, we would then go into a hold pace set such as 60x25 on 35 and try to hold 14/15 or 30x100 on 1:30 trying to hold below 1:10. I have also just started using the new FORM Swim Goggles which were so helpful in these sets because they include a heads up display that tells you your split every time you flip turn and count your yardage for you.
All of this swim training coupled with my fast Quintana Roo HYDROsix wetsuit and HYDROspeed swimskin will allow me to swim with or lead the front swim pack in my upcoming races. Can't wait to get started next week at IRONMAN New Zealand.
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