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.


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