Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project Swim [Wong] Star


Jocelyn "Wongstar" Wong is an up and coming pro triathlete and a member of Team TBB. She consistently bikes under 5:30 and runs 3:30 for an ironman, which you would think, would put her just under 10 hours for most races. Sadly this is not the case because her swim, as one of my coaches used to say, is unfortunate. In her last 3 races, she averaged a 1:15 for the swim. She recently asked me if I had any advice about her swim stroke. Hmmm...did I mention her current coach is Brett Sutton, world renowned triathlon coach with a background as a swim coach? What could I possibly do that Brett hadn't already done? Videotaping.
I'm too lazy to make this a thoughtful analysis of swim stroke mechanics, it would involve way too much writing. In a nutshell, I think there are three pillars to good (and fast) swimming: proper rhythm, good posture/balance, and (swimming specific) strength. Good swimmers do all three very well. Triathletes who swim well do two (usually rhythm and strength) of the three well. And I've seen some triathletes swim damn fast on one pillar alone, strength. In the case of Jocelyn, she is weak at all three pillars, and she doesn't compensate by doing one super duper well. But I am hopeful.If I look at the individual parts of Jocelyn's swim stroke, she looks pretty decent. Refer to the above picture: she has a decent entry right in front of her shoulder, the path she takes in her underwater stroke is quite good, and when asked to kick on her side, she uses her core and as a result, she has good posture and her kick is mostly used for forward propulsion. Good swimming, however, is the result of proper synchronization of these individual parts; and unfortunately for Jocelyn, she looks a bit of a hot mess when she puts it all together. Thus, Jocelyn is pretty decent mechanically, but conceptually, she can't visualize what fast swimming is supposed to look and feel like. But in order to correct what she is doing wrong, she first needs to see what she is doing wrong. I'm glad I was able to help out in this piece. It's now your turn Mr. Sutton, take it away.

5 comments:

Tawnee said...

Great tips, thanks for sharing. now, do you want to come film/analyze me?!?! :)

the Wongstar said...

hot mess in the pool :D I'm going to learn to swim, watch out world. and scarier yet, I will master the pull-up. thanks for the help KT!

Charisa said...

Awesome! I think I need you to fix my swim as well so I can go under an hour :)

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

I too like the "hot mess" reference!

Libby said...

man you are good at stroke analysis. do more for us!!