Swim Analysis….

Well, last night was a totally new experience.  While I have swam my entire life, I don’t lay claim to having any particular skills.  I can swim for a long time but not particularly fast.  I’ve been wanting to take a formal swim “lesson” for well over a year but apparently my work, life, family schedule isn’t very user friendly so it never worked out.  However, last night MJ from TriSmart carved a notch out of her evening to help myself and a friend.


I won’t say that we were thrilled about going, quite the contrary.  Initially, we were going to swim at the same time that TriSmart had a group swim and this was super intimidating for us.  I have swam with TriSmart before but it wasn’t my fault, we “all” just happened to be at the same pool.  It’s happened multiple times actually and its not fun.  They do workouts and I just swim.  Since their workouts are broken down into shorter segments where they work on one particular skill for a shorter period of time, they get a decent pace going.  And they splash a lot of water around.  And the rocking and rolling of the pool tidal waves make me want to stay as far away from them as possible so that I can “just” swim.  The thought of jumping right into a group session where I was ALSO supposed to be getting individualized instruction, sounded less than ideal.  Fortunately, MJ managed to get us an earlier slot and it was a much more relaxed atmosphere.  Thanks, MJ!

We did a 100 yard (4 lengths of the pool, 25 yard = 1 length) time trial where my lack of swimming really showed in my poor endurance.  I was 10 seconds faster on the first length vs the last.  Oooops.  Sorry about that!   Actually that’s how I run too.  I know, even splits are better.  Boooooo!!!!

We did a 50 yard swim to test efficiency by determining how many strokes it took to get thru one length.  Too many apparently.  Therefore, I need to work on efficiency with the end goal being less strokes to cover the length of the pool verses those I used last night.  How to get more efficient?  Rotate more in the water and get that slipstream going!

We received lots of tips, like I should NOT hold my breath when I swim.   🙂  I don’t think that’s normal for me but I was nervous.  I haven’t been in the pool since August.  Plus, I really was holding my breath and “forgetting” to exhale while I was face down in the water.

I also managed to forget about my “rotation”, a skill that I worked on for probably 6 months prior to my first half ironman in 2008.  I wasn’t reaching far enough and I also was not rotating my body enough in the water.  As soon as it was mentioned, the light bulb popped on…..


I’ve previous worked on the reach and follow thru for long periods of time.  I would have thought it to be ingrained in my memory but apparently not.  In fact, I’m quite certain that I swam all year last year NOT reaching and NOT following thru with good rotation.  I can see the lack of it here in this video that MJ shot:

I am also bringing my arms too far in front of my body.  She wants them wider so as not to cross motion but continue the motion going forward.  Lots to work on.  Where to start?  Ugh!  The swim analysis comes with a workout so that I can start working on remembering what I “used to”  know and also fix some of the things that I didn’t even know where wrong, like trying to swim with my arms wider in the water.  Lots of fun ahead!

Have you have done a swim analysis?   Would you think about it?  We have a few more months before TRI season really takes off in the Midwest, so now is the time to hit the pool and correct some of the little flaws that might be weighing US down.  🙂

** Happy TRIing ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com **

15 thoughts on “Swim Analysis….

  1. I have done a swim analysis a few years ago and the pointers have stayed with me (don’t cross arms, don’t lift head so much, rotate, etc. etc.) I think it’s a great opportunity and well worth it. The ultimate lesson was –just focus on 1 thing to improve per swim–otherwise you’ll mess it all up! 🙂

  2. As someone that has watched more swimming than I care to admit over the last 6 years I have learned a few things. First, there is a lot to swimming. My daughter recently said something so true, “A lot of people know how to not drown, but only a few know how to swim.” At least you don’t have to master flip turns for tris. Swimming is all about momentum. Not losing it when you aren’t suppose to and gaining it when you should, like off the wall. There are plenty of drills out there that will help with rotation and lengthing your stroke. You can definitely lose your stroke quickly if you don’t keep up with it. But once you get master it then you see a world of difference. One of the key things in free is head position. Keep your head down to form a nice line. And lastly if you want to feel bad come to Lincoln Way East this weekend in the morning sessions and watch the 12 & unders swim. There will be some crazy fast kids there.

  3. Yes, I did the swim analysis with MJ in November and it was AWESOME!! I learned soooo much!! Since then I have been swimming 5 mornings a week; using the drillls and warmups. I will definitely be going back iin the fall for another one. You really should do it once a year….because you can always use some help with the swim. Glad she was able to squeeze you in! 😉

  4. I was just thinking this morning about getting a swim analysis or a coach as I was being lapped by all of the younger “dolphin” swimmers in the public pool. Yes I have swum my whole life as well, but I don’t think I’ve had a lesson in technique ever. Maybe I’ll watch some youtube videos and see if that helps!

    • Those dolphin swimmers amaze me. I just don’t like drinking their water. The swim analysis was good. Not too pricy and I think worth it. I’d go back.

      On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM, TooTallFritz

      • I like that expression “drinking their water”! Anyway, I may have to look into it. It’s tough being the guppy in a pool of dolphins! 🙂

  5. I really did enjoy the session with MJ, and it was much less intimidating than I had imagined. I have some things to work on, and hopefully I will be able to figure them out. It is great to have a starting point so that my progress can be compared after practicing more. I don’t think that I will be hanging out with Michael Phelps anytime soon. At this point, I’m really glad that my competition is only a couple of senior citizens in the next lane at Lincoln Way at 6 a.m.! But working with MJ was encouraging, and I’d do it again!

  6. I just got back into coached swimming this month, got a new coach last week, and was similarly shocked by all of the pointers. I thought I was swimming well! A lot of the same things you’ve got — continue the reach, breathe more frequently, don’t cross arms.

  7. When I was a teen, I spent summers lifeguarding, and I used to teach swim lessons. So I’m honestly a little nervous to get an analysis and learn all the things I do wrong. However, when I was teaching lessons, it was more so the kids didn’t drown, and not for competitive purposes. I doubt I’ll ever do a tri or swim competitively, so for now I’m just happy to use swimming as a crosstraining workout, even if my form is wrong.

  8. That’s really neat. I would have never thought of doing a swim analysis. It sounds like you guys got a lot out of the experience that you can use in the future to be stronger swimmers.

  9. Pingback: TriSmart Transition Clinic | TooTallFritz

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