As a Professional Triathlon Coach and Swim Coach for Vizsla Swim Team, I occasionally challenge my swimmers to figure out what will make them faster. For some swimmers, it is gliding through the water. For others, it is kicking harder. One way to figure out what technique is best for them is to practice workouts in which the goal is to lower their swimming golf score.
The swimming golf score is calculated by adding the number of strokes they take for 50 meters and add it to the time it takes to swim 50 meters. For example, if a swimmer takes 36 strokes for 50 meters and it takes them 45 seconds to swim the 50 meters, their swimming golf score is 81 (36 + 45).
In order to lower their swimming golf score, I ask them to practice concentrating on 1.) gliding/streamlining, also known as DPS (Distance Per Stroke), in which they take few strokes, but can maintain a fast time or 2.) kicking harder, which should result in the swimming faster. I want the swimmers to determine which technique is best for them to improve their speed. Then, I ask them to practice that technique (ex. kicking harder) for their speed sets. When swimmers know what it takes to make them faster, they become more confident which will translate to faster swim times.
Below is a recent swimming golf workout the swimmers on the team completed:
100 Easy Swim, 50 Stroke, 100 Easy Swim, 50 Stroke
3 x 300 Descending w/ :30 RI
Swimming Golf (Score = # of Strokes + Time):
3 x 50 w/ :20 Rest (Record your scores. Try to lower your score for each of the 50s.)
3 x 50 w/ :20 Rest (Focus on kicking hard. Record your scores. Try to lower your score.)
3 x 50 w/ :20 Rest (Focus on distance per stroke. Record your scores. Try to lower your score.)
3 x 50 w/ :20 Rest (Use what helped to you to lower your score (ex. Kicking hard, Distance per stroke or a combination of the two). Record your scores. Try to lower your score.)
50 Easy Swim, 50 Stroke, 50 Easy Swim
Practice this workout and others that focus on isolating a technique to help improve your speed and confidence as a swimmer and a triathlete!
If you want more help with your swimming in a group atmosphere, please consider joining Vizsla Swim Team! We meet on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6am at Agnes Scott College in Decatur for a one hour coached workout. I am also available for private lessons at the City Club of Buckhead located inside the Atlanta Financial Center. Visit my website or contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 404.667.0817) for more information.