Thursday, March 26, 2015

Free Speed

Last week I had an appointment at the SweetWater Swim Studio in Amherst, NH with ASCA Level II certified coach Stacy Sweetser, who has kicked my butt in numerous races! Although it is a two hour drive it was well worth the session!

The SweetWater Swim Studio houses an Elite Endless Pool with underwater mirrors and underwater video capability in Amherst, New Hampshire.

The SweetWater Swim Studio is a training facility that aims to enhance athletes stroke technique across all levels of swimming, from the pool to open water. The immediate feedback from the swim current, the visual feedback from the mirrors and optional video analysis all help guide the swimmer to a more effective and powerful stroke technique.

About the coach:
Stacy Sweetser is an experienced coach with a background coaching USA Swimming age groupers, U.S. Master's swimmers and triathletes. Stacy is a USA Swimming and ASCA Level II certified coach.

Stacy is a former NCAA Division I swimmer. Most recently, Stacy was recognized as an All American in both U.S. Masters Swimming and U.S.A. Triathlon. Stacy is experienced in events as diverse as sprinting the 50 Free and 100 IM to open water swimming events including sprint and olympic distance triathlon and the 4.4 mile Chesapeake Bay Swim.

Before I made the appointment Steve and I were hesitant because we didn't want have too much feedback. Steve has an excellent style of coaching me where he layers on different techniques or tips as I progress and am ready to work on them. We agreed that if I was given too much we'd choose a few things now and save some for later so I wouldn't get overwhelmed. To our surprise that did not happen!!

Stacy and her husband have worked so hard over the last few months to prepare her studio for swimmers.  I was so impressed when I walked in. It wasn't just an endless pool in a basement. It was so professional and comfortable. It has a beautiful bathroom with a shower and storage for towels and cubbies for all the swim tools you need! The pool has mirrors on the bottom so you can get instant feedback too!

She watched me swim for a few minutes and noticed I was diving my arm in and "snowplowing" the water creating A LOT of bubbles. I wasn't getting much glide and was slowing myself every stroke.

Watch the video of this analysis here (only 1:37 long)

Simple fix: a PVC pipe and the Power Y drill! This keeps my hands/arms closer to the surface to glide with less friction and I can begin my pull much earlier - FREE SPEED!!

After working on this drill for 15 minutes there is already a huge difference!

Watch that video here (2:06) 

This is the only thing we worked on and it was perfect, I didn't get overwhelmed at all! Since the session I have already seen huge improvements with less energy expended. Now I just need to re-train my body to swim this way.

Thanks Stacy!