Chambersburg Swimming Basics
At Chambersburg High School, we expect our swimmers to do things right at all times. This means what we ask should be done properly whether the set is of short or long rest; whether the pace is easy, moderate, or fast; and whether you feel tired or fresh. It also means that you try hard in every situation betweens these extremes. If you are honestly and sincerely interested in being a great (or even just a good) swimmer, this makes more difference than any other single factor, including "talent".
Great Swimmers Do the Following and Coaches Should Demand:
· No breathing after the flags on the finish for free and fly
· Breathe every 2 in fly (or 2 up and 1 down)
· Kick vigorously in fly (up and down)
· Do not pop straight up and breathe after start and turn…stay down a minimum of 3 strokes (most important in sprints)
· Off all walls in free and back, pull with arm closest to bottom of pool first after streamlining on your side
· Fly and breast keep strokes long into turns and finishes
· Hips high (and heels high) on dive starts
· On dive starts concentrate on moving, not on the gun
· Get to top speed in 3 strokes - but do not spin wheels (slip)
· Butterfly and Breaststroke bounce (punch) your turns
· Rotate bottom arm (elbow in), recover top arm straight over the top of your head for all OPEN TURNS
· Knees up quickly in OPEN TURNS
· Practice OPEN TURNS to each side
· Practice all Medley turns and stroke exchanges on both hands
· Count strokes per length to check streamlining and distance per stroke
· Kick in and out of turns vigorously
· Punch feet toward the wall on freestyle and backstroke turns
· Do not lift your head on finish until after you have touched
· Finish with full stroke in breast and fly (arms straight)
· Practice freestyle and backstroke turns so that there is no glide between last stroke and snapping legs to the wall
· Do stroke drills with less strokes and more effort
· Hand speed must increase at the back end of all strokes so stay relaxed during the early "catch" phase and accelerate through the pull
It is important to GRADE athletes at the beginning of each season. The guide Coach Miller uses is provided in the attachment at the bottom of the page, but what he looks for is not detailed on the attachment. Here is an example of some qualities an athlete should model when swimming freestyle...
Freestyle Guidelines (In Priority Order)
- Stable Head and Body Position. Your body follows your head. As you move or lean the head from side to side or up and down, you may increase the actual distance you are swimming or you may increase the amount of resistance your body receives and thus you are working harder AND swimming slower as a result. Kicking is important in keeping body position. Small, fast kicks with toes pointed (12" to 18" separation) that bring the heels just to the surface are best. The kick begins from the hips and is done in both directions thereby using the top and bottom of you foot.
- Body Rotation . The rotation of your body along its axis is critical. The rotation provides for a deeper catch and maintenance of the streamline position while you pull your body past your hands. The rotation should include the shoulders and the hips to maximize the distance of the pull and the depth of the up-tempo kick..
- Appropriate Breath Timing and Coordination. When you breath during the stroke is actually considered more important than how often breathing occurs in the race. We use the phrase "breath at extension" of course implying to the opposite side. A breath should be taken without lifting the head or the chin. By simply rotating the head with the body at extension the swimmer is already in position to breath. "Diaphragmatic breathing" should be used. Diaphragmatic breathing is the term used to show a difference between shallow, upper-chest (intercostals) breathing and diaphragmatic breathing which causes a quick, deep breath followed by a long, slow exhalation. This habit allows for maximum inhalation while virtually eliminating a break from the streamline position. After a quick breath is taken, the head should rotate back into position independently.
- High Elbow Recovery. Your recovery affects the path your hands take underwater. The recovery also affects your hand entry. We use the phrase "take your hands out of your pocket". If the recovery is started in this manner, you can have a nice, high elbow recovery. Try to keep a "relaxed arm through the recovery". This helps to keep a stable head and body position.
- Entry should follow the "fingers-wrist-elbow" concept . Treat the arm as one unit, but avoid air bubbles on the entry of the hand so that you can feel power as you begin your stroke.
- Thumb down. The thumb should be pitched slightly down and you should slide the hand in quietly, without a lot of splash or effort. The hands enter the water about halfway between the top of your head and as high as your hand can reach, in line with your shoulder, then slide the hand forward.
- High Elbows. Keep the elbow higher than the hand above or below the surface (but especially true underwater). This allows you to keep pressure on your hands so that you will travel further and faster on each stroke.
- Thumb to Belly Button . Actually, the hands should pass under the belly button as you complete the power phase, while being careful not to cross too far under the body (and break streamline/rotation).
- Back and Out. At the end of the stroke it is important to snap the finish as you are pushing back and begin the recovery immediately. This slight adjustment in the hands makes a big difference in how fast you swim. A continuous transition from finish into recovery is necessary for the best results. Avoid a pause at the completion of each stroke.