SWIM EASY DVD & BOOK – Learn to Swim like a Champ!

John Konrads’ new Swim Easy DVD comes with a 96 page A5 size colour booklet. A must for those adults wanting to learn how to swim with great technique, it’s also suitable for teenagers and kids.

This DVD was produced in association with the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association [ASCTA]. It’s a detailed learn to swim tool for competent swimmers as well as beginners and it focuses on John’s 7 Basic Principles of Freestyle, common to all champion swimmers. Once you get these right, the details fall into place easily.

“Swim Easy” means learning how to swim efficiently with greater speed and distance.

Learn to swim like a champ!
Find out more about John’s product. To purchase at the special 20% discount online click on SALE OFFER under “Pages” top left.>

Please note: This DVD is not ideal for parents/teachers looking to book children in to learn how to swim for kids; alternatively, please see information about swim clinics via the left hand menu.

JK DVD image


Practice what you preach, Konrads!

A few months ago I had a shoulder reconstruction. At least my shoulder lasted 50 years longer than Ian Thorpe’s! I’ve only just started swimming again after an absence of well over a year and apart from my swimming muscles [lat’s, pecs and triceps] having dwindled, I’m in poor shape aerobically.

After a few laps I was puffed out and feeling tension in the opposite shoulder to my breathing side! OK, I’m out of shape, but stuffed after 200m???

So I checked my technique, noted some errors and said to myself “practice what you preach!” Two key things were happening:

Principle #5. Breathing. Because my pull was weaker and shorter I had less time to inhale, and I was not only snatching a short breath but not exhaling enough. Double whammy! This happened particularly in choppy water. Being less fit and older, it takes me longer to fill my lungs. I used to be able to do it in a millisecond when I was competing. So I delayed my pull, pulled further back and left my head longer in the inhaling position, until my recovering arm made me rotate back. I got immediate relief from puffing and fewer strokes per lap at the same speed!

Principle #2. Rotation. I was rolling enough to my breathing side but with a shorter stroke I wasn’t rotating to my opposite side enough. This caused stress in my deltoids and upper back muscles. We rotate equally to both sides, particularly when sprinting without breathing and the breathing is an “add on.”

Good technique not only saves energy but also gives us a more effective workout.


The Catch

The “catch” is the phase of the freestyle stroke commencing with the entry of the hand in the water through to the beginning of the “pull”. You’re catching a hunk of water and directing it backward with some downward pressure as well.
Your hand enters the water forward of your shoulder, which is then starting to rotate downward. The hand then reaches forward underwater and starts pressing down. There’s a gliding feeling and your hand and forearm descend as you prepare for the pull, which is the phase with the greatest propulsion.
Importantly, the pull starts forward of the head, coinciding with the other hand entering the water [see Principle #4 of my Swim Easy DVD]. This means that while one hand is going through the catch the other hand is doing the whole remaining cycle.
The catch is also a powerful element of propulsion. The objective is to maximize backward pressure on the water and this is achieved by keeping a “high elbow” i.e. your elbow stays higher than your hand. The forearm is also part of your “paddle”. Try swimming with clenched fists and feel the amount of pressure exerted by your forearm [the banned full length swimsuits used to have rough material on the inside of the forearm for better grip].
A common error is to “drop the elbow” as your shoulder muscles become engaged.
Keeping a high elbow as the catch develops is sometimes called swimming “over the barrel” as the shape of your arm has a curved profile to fit a row of barrels that you’re “swimming” over.
The catch is, [pun intended] that the “catch” is critical to the timing of your whole stroke.
Keeping a high elbow can cause the error of pointing the fingers downwards too early, which leads to starting the pull too early – before the other hand has entered the water. Remember, delaying the “pull” maximizes the combination of arm pull and body rotation, so if you pull too soon you’re just using muscle because your body hasn’t started to roll yet. It’s like hitting a tennis ball with your shoulders square to the net, and you’re driving in 2nd gear, revving, using more fuel and going slower!
To avoid pulling too soon, continue to reach forward in the early phase of the catch. This also encourages more body rotation, hence more power, and gets you closer to your destination with your forward hand. The trick is to reach forward while keeping the elbow higher than your hand.
Don’t confuse arm speed with swimming speed – drive in 7th gear. The bottom line is that doing this will lead to fewer strokes per lap and greater speed while saving energy. You’ll therefore have more energy to apply to the [delayed] pull.

SwimEasy Newsletter Jan – Swimming & Strength

Happy New Year !

Swimming and Strength.

Why are so many world records set by teenagers? Surely strength is important. Well it is, and those teenagers usually keep breaking their own records as they mature, but swimming is a sport where technique and fitness are more important than physical strength. Firstly we are suspended by water and weight due to gravity is not an issue, unlike cycling, running and the obvious sports like weightlifting.

I keep on emphasising that efficiency means using only those muscles which are required and keeping the others loose. But which ones are they?

Speed comes from applying more backward pressure on the water during the “pull” phase of the stroke which is combined with body rotation for more power [see Principles number 4 and 7 of my 7 Basic Principles]. The muscles which do most of the work are the lats, pecs and triceps. That’s why you see champions stretching with their hand behind the neck, elbow pointing up and pulling that elbow with their other hand in a sideways and backwards arch.

The lats, pecs and triceps should feel tired and stiff after a hard and/or long swim. That’s good. If you feel stiff in your deltoids neck and upper back, you’re doing one or more of;

  • Not rotating enough, needing to get your recovering arm out of the water using back and neck muscles rather than by body rotation. Body rotation uses very little energy. Just float on your back with a gentle kick and roll over onto your front. Yes, that’s all the energy it takes!
  • You’re rotating by jacking your elbow up rather than leading with body rotation. Our shoulders are built for the efficient use of arms within the circle of your peripheral vision when looking straight ahead, i.e. eating, hugging, holding babies etc. Stand with your arms spread sideways, then push your elbows and hands backward and feel the stress in all those hundreds of back and neck muscles!
  • At the end of your pull you are bringing your arm forward [“recovery”] using your deltoids, and if you guys haven’t shaved you have a rash on your upper shoulder! Keep your shoulders away from your jaw in their natural, relaxed position. Lie on your side on the floor, bottom arm extended forward and top arm resting on your hip. You’re in the inhaling phase of your swim stroke [or point your nose to the floor while still lying on your side and you’re exhaling]. Now just throw your upper arm forward keeping your hand lower than your elbow. That’s all the energy you need for the recovery phase. Note that you’re sideways during this phase which goes with my slogan “Stay sideways longer.”





Use the “fingerdrag” exercise to achieve a relaxed recovery. Remember to lead with body roll, not your elbow, and drag your fingers past your head so you stay sideways longer.

Consult with a trainer for strength exercises for your lats, pecs and triceps. A good one is with dual handle pulley weights, pulling down and back as if you were doing swim strokes from the “entry”, through the “pull” and a “push” at the end.

Hey, with more power you’ll do fewer strokes per lap at greater speed….. with the same or less effort.




Swim Easy Holiday on the Sunshine Coast

Develop great freestyle technique while taking a break. What better place to learn how to swim for adults and kids than the lovely Sunshine Coast?!

I have reduced my fees for swimmers who want to combine a Swim Easy Clinic with a holiday. In addition, the Clinic includes an ocean swim with me. I hope you don’t go too fast as I’m slowing down at my age!

All the features are included plus I give you the SD card from my underwater video camera including my comments as you are filmed.

Come by yourself or with family and friends.

The fee for1 swimmer for 1 1/2 hrs.+ is $200. 2 swimmers, 1 3/4 hrs.+ $300.

3 swimmers 2 hours. $360.

Swimmers who already have the 2012 DVD+booklet deduct $50, otherwise I will mail you a copy before the clinic for $57 including P&H.

Bigger groups up to 8 swimmers for 4 hours are available at reduced rates.

Email me at john_konrads@bigpond.com or call me on 0407 560 568.

DIY stroke correction

DIY stroke Correction

Once you’ve studied my DVD and Booklet, there are many ways of checking out your own technique.

Principle 1.

If you are aquaplaning upward or tryining to “swim high” in the water you’re wasting energy so check your body position by floating with arms extended forward. Thats how deep you are when you swim. If your legs sink you have higher body density but a gentle kick will get you horizontal. If you’re aquaplaning with your arms and hands you’ll see bubbles streaming from your fingernails if you look forward underwater and see your hand entry. Just point your hand downwards till your arm is parallel with the surface.

Principle 2.

If you’re not rotating enough you’ll get tired in the upper back muscles and deltoids, wasting energy. To rotate more, do the Fingerdrag drill but make sure you are rotating more reather than jacking up your elbow. Drag your fingers pforward past your head so you stay sideways longer for good streamlining.

Principle 3.

Puffed out? You’re kicking too hard! Swim without kicking, just drag your loose legs behind. If they sink your head is too high or you’re lifting it to breathe. If they only feel like they’re sinking it’s probably by only 10 cms. or so, so don’t worry.

Principle 4. The most common source of inefficacy.

Count your strokes. For tall people it should be 40 or less per 50m., and less than 45 for everyone. If not, you’re pulling too soon, i.e. not enough “catchup”. Do the Thumbtouch drill without actually touching so you’re overdoing the “delayed pull”. Now let the front hand go down a bit until you feel that roller-skating, gliding groove. Momentarily you’ll have 2 hands forward of your head. Check this by looking slightly forward underwater and momentarily seeing both hands.

Principle 5.

Apart from being puffed out by kicking too hard you may be holding your breath too long. Focus on breathing out from both mouth and nose. Try breathing out fully as a test. You’ll still have enough air in your lungs to cough if you get some water in your throat. Roll to breathe by looking skywards. Don’t lift your head to breathe. Do the Sidestroke drill to get an efficient head position.

Principle 6. 

Look at your recovering hand when breathing in and if it’s higher than your elbow drop it down so it’s going forward rather than up and down. The difference between the Fingerdrag drill and real swimming is that your recovering hand is only about 10 to 20cms. higher than the surface.

Principle 7.

When you swim faster, your stroke count will actually go down because every stroke carries you further. If not, then you are pulling sooner as well as harder, reving in 2nd gear! Do the stuff in Principle 4. while swimming faster. Ian Thorpes first 200m world  record for laps 2 and 3 took 34 strokes each. Several years later his world record stroke count was 29! Libby Tricket also reduced her count over the record braking years.

Swim smarter, not harder!

Swim Easy – Principle number 1 – Body position

The John Konrads Swim Easy System is based on applying the fundamentals of freestyle technique. I call them ‘The Seven Basic Principles’. Once these are correctly adopted, most stroke details fall into place. The rest are easy to correct by an instructor or even yourself.

This is all covered in my new DVD contained in a 96 page color booklet which was produced in association with the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association, our peak body.

Principle number 1 – Body position

Principle number 1 deals with the position of your body in the water and provides a basis without which you can’t achieve good technique.

Importantly, we swim at flotation depth so that the water does the work of holding you up. Sounds simple but our subconscious drives want us to aquaplane upwards.

These are involuntary and originate from;

  • Anxiety. Everybody has even a little bit of anxiety because humans aren’t built for an aquatic environment.
  • Cold water. “It’s warm up there, it’s cold down here!”
  • Speedboats aquaplane to go faster. Yeah, but you’re not built like a speedboat!

You may think our Olympic swimming champions ride high in the water… wrong! The reason you can see their backs is due to their big bow wave.  They are right at flotation depth except some sprinters who aquaplane slightly due to body shape.

You may think to yourself “I don’t float very well”. If that is truly the case then you have to rotate, or roll more to get a good breath. (this is covered in more detail in principle number 2, stay tuned…)

So the energy you save can be applied to swimming faster or indeed swim further (covered in principle number 7).

Future Newsletters will provide information on each of Principles, so watch this space, or follow me on facebook for all the latest swimming tips