I've been trying something slightly different with my swim stroke for the past two weeks, and I'm happy to report that the change is netting me faster times, and an improved efficiency. In fact, I felt faster almost immediately but like a good scientist, I wanted a larger sample size before I reported my findings. What is this change? I've been taking a wider pull.
Back in May when I was in Kona, I was doing an open water swim sesh with Bree, and we got to talking a bit about swimming. At some point, she told me that Karlyn (Pipes-Neilsen), an amazingly fast masters swimmer who qualified for the Olympic Trials as a 40 year-old, was preaching a wide pull (where the hands pull down and back along the side of the body rather than underneath). For some reason, two weeks ago, this bit of advice came back to me and I started to try a wider pull. Not only did I feel faster, but I felt more efficient, almost like a delayed onset of muscle fatigue. Now, when I say faster, I mean my pace for distance sets. Last night, I was holding 32's on the 40 second interval, and it felt so much more effortless than in the past. I'm not sure how this wide pull would hold up in the sprints, but I suspect it is less effective because there is less lift in the water with the wide pull. Since I've only been doing the wide pull for two weeks, I have no idea what, if any effects, there will be on biomechanics that may result in shoulder or other injuries. I like the result thus far and I plan to use the wide pull in my olympic distance race tomorrow. Will keep y'all posted.
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