Saturday, November 03, 2007

Going For the Holy Grail

My swim coach has been talking lately about "The Holy Grail of Swimming" aka the catch phase of the stroke and getting your shoulder rotated so that you can start your stroke keeping your elbow high and your hand and forearm lower. It feels a bit strange and different, and I can tell that if I do it too long at one time right now I will end up with very sore muscles. But I can also tell that it's a powerful move that communicates more force to the water than my previous stroke, in which I wasn't rotating my shoulder so that when my elbow bent, my hand came further underneath my body than it does with the new catch. So the other night at the pool when I was swimming by myself, I tried to throw in one 25 of this new stroke into every 200 yards. It was immediately noticeable when I went back to my old stroke how much power I'm losing with my old way of catching the water. That leaves me hopeful that if I can train up my muscles to adapt to this new stroke, I might be able to get some speed back into my swim (largely I've been going for distance over the last few years of HIM and Ironman training and have lost some of my snap in the sprints.)

If you want to see the catch I'm talking about, check out this video of Ian Thorpe from the front. You can actually see the shoulder rotation in play in the slow motion:

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