Sunday, February 15, 2015

February Swim Challenge Week 3 - Harness your propulsive potential

Each week in February we have been challenging you to swim a little more than the week before, try a new drill and complete an endurance challenge during one of your workouts. If you don't have time to do all three challenges each week, don't let that stop you from doing one of them, or perhaps two!
Big thanks to all those who have been sharing your success on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #GTDCSwimChallenge. Each use of the hashtag enters you to win your choice of a pair of Agility Paddles, a Tempo Trainer Pro, 50% off a swim video analysis session or $50 in nutrition. Four prizes will be awarded! Haven't posted yet? It's not too late! Pick a favorite photo from our Facebook page to share on your page or post about what you've been doing in the pool to encourage all your triathlete friends to get in and get wet too!

Last week we encouraged you to swim 3x/week for a little longer, try out the 6/1/6 drill, and do a 500y set of short intervals. This week your endurance challenge is a little tougher, but most excitingly, we are going to help you improve your "feel for the water" with a sculling drill so you can start to propel yourself more effectively. Here are your challenges for Week 3 (Feb 16-22):

1. Swim 3x for 45 minutes (or more) each.
2. Swim a continuous 500y. Make sure to pace yourself if you haven't swum this far in one chunk before! The first 100 or so should feel pretty easy. Make sure to breathe plenty (this is not the time to impress anyone with your ability to exhale half way down the pool), and consider adding a length of backstroke or breaststroke here and there if you need to take a break.
If you managed to swim this 500 with no problems, you might consider signing up for the adult swim meet at the Northwest Family YMCA on Sunday morning, March 1st! All proceeds from your $15 entry will benefit the Y's Annual Campaign (a great cause), and you can enter any or all of the events: 50, 100, 200 and 500y, your choice of stroke at each distance. Email me at casey at for a copy of the entry form. All entries are due at the end of this week!
3. Try the scull #1 drill. This drill, even though it just feels like floating, helps you gain the elusive “feel for the water” at the front of your stroke. If you are able to push against the water with good power in both directions in scull #1, you can also grab water in your catch and press it smoothly behind you, greatly increasing your propulsive power.
How to do it: Use a pull buoy to hold your hips up (don’t kick). With your head above or below the water, reach out in front of you with a slight bend to your elbows. Keep wrists below elbows and fingers a bit below wrist (if you don’t move forward, likely you are not doing one of these things). Think of reaching “over a barrel” or over a big gym/Swiss ball. Press the water inwards and outwards with the palms of your hands to move gently forwards. After half a length of the pool of sculling, transition directly into freestyle, and make sure to “feel the water” at your catch, and press it smoothly behind you as you do.

Paul Newsome of Swim Smooth demonstrates this drill here:
Note what happens when he drops his wrists!

Don't forget to share your success with your friends and use our hashtag #GTDCSwimChallenge when you do to increase your chance of winning! Happy swimming!

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