Swimming for me is frustrating. It is so technical in nature where the rewards of hard work are minimized, almost made worse by flawed parts of the swim stroke. It seems easier to be a little sloppy on the bike or on the run then it does in the water.
Most triathletes have probably had some sort of swim instruction or maybe swam as a child and have incredible muscle memory that carries them fairly successfully in a race. For me I want to have a good swim and not feel like I used more energy than my time warrants so that I have plenty left for the rest of the race. I know athletes who want to kill the swim and that’s great but I would guess for the majority of us, we are hoping for the most efficient swim possible.
Swim Labs can help. I was visually able to see my deficiencies and given instructions and drills on how to improve them. I walked away with photos and video to help continue to improve. Of course each time I want to return then there is a benchmark to start with for more improvement.
Michael Mann and Giff Cutler founded Swim Labs in 2007 to bring the best technology and coaching together under one roof to offer all types of swimmers a chance to improve in such a controlled environment. They built a facility with superb video technology and well-qualified instructors with state of the art pools capable of challenging any swimmer.
Think of it as a treadmill in the water. Water circulates at a controlled speed and a mirror in front and on the bottom lets you see yourself swimming very clearly. Cameras are situated to give the instructor a 3 dimensional view to better isolate all parts of the swim stroke. After a couple of minutes of swimming, I would stop and watch myself and the instructor would point out something to work on and give me a drill and I would start swimming again. After about 20 minutes of drills and isolating opportunities to improve, I watched myself again and my stroke definitely looked better.
I found it interesting that the instructor would change the speed of the water that would then change my stroke as I would try to work harder to speed up. Think of those times in a race where you push hard to get out ahead or at least out of the fray and chances are a great deal of efficiency is sacrificed.
I then took the drills to my pool and have been working on them, so hopefully I will see improved efficiency and decreased times. This is a great time of year to visit Swim Labs and evaluate your swimming and then improve in your own workouts. Plan to come back and keep tweaking things and get better and better.