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Tip of the Month - 1997

The following "Tip of the Month" columns were written by Dr. Paul Hutinger and published in the Maverick Lane Lines newsletter. Our first edition of "Tip of the Month" was in 1997.

1. Distance Per Stroke

Concentrate on DISTANCE PER STROKE. Count each stroke and try to reduce the numer of strokes per length, so you will become more efficient. To lengthen your free style, think about the stretch on the entry, the pull under your body, and the push part to finish. Touching your thigh with your fingertips at the end of the stroke, confirms that you have taken a full stroke. This, generally defines the "S" stroke

2. Broken Swims

Prepare for meets and your events with BROKEN SWIMS. The following is an example for the 200 free: Estimate your goal time for the next meet-- 3:00, or :45 per 50. Do 4 x 50 on 1:00 and pace your 50's for :45. This gives you :15 rest after each 50. To be more specific for your race,
dive on the first 50, giving you :40. A more involved set would be as follows:

1. 4 x 50 with 10 sec. rest/50
2. 4 x 50 with 20 sec. rest/50
3. 4 x 50 with 30 sec. rest/50

Try to hold your pace on all sets taking several minutes between sets. You will have more rest as you do each set, to enable you to keep your pace. This works for all strokes, distances, and the IM's. If your times are faster, keep the same intervals, but decrease your pace; if
you are slower, increase your pace.

3. Turns -- The Winning Edge

(Material submitted by Charles Schlegel/updated by P. Hutinger)

At a recent meet in Ft. Lauderdale, Clay Britt (36) and Bill Specht (38) had a close race in the 200 yd. back. Britt was the faster swimmer and reached the wall first, but Specht, had the better
push offs. On the last turn, Specht did a super push off, came up five feet ahead, and held on for a touch out win. This was an excellent example of a slower swimmer winning a close race by having superior work off the wall. Schlegel, with years of coaching experience, has guidelines for
improving your turns and pushoffs.

1. Work on turns during every practice, building speed to the wall for the turn, instead of the typical easygoing turn.

2. Streamline off the wall--stretch, keep arms pressed against your ears, one hand on top of the other, and head buried. If you have at least an average dolphin kick, use at least three underwater on the back before you start to surface. A new innovation by world class swimmers is to do one or more dolphin kicks off the wall in the free.

3. Concentrate on your turn--don't look at others, especially on the breast and fly.

4. Practice without breathing for one stroke in and out of the turn in free.

5. The pushoff speed is faster than your swimming speed, so use this momentum to your advantage.

6. The turn is a vital part of race tactics. Make your move on the turn to get a jump on your opponent with a super push off, as in the example of Britt and Specht.

4. Set Personal Goals

Set personal goals for your swimming this year, whether you compete in Masters or Senior meets, open water swims or just swim to maintain your fitness level. Tillotson is working on the
200 IM. He bought fins to improve his fly technique. P. Hutinger's challenge is the open water Gulf swim. The 200 Medley Relay is going for another World Record at the Dixie Zone SCM Meet in Nov. M. Hutinger is rehabbing so she can swim a 50 back and breast at her first meet in
Nov. Work on specific techniques for your events. An example of the benefits occurred at the recent Nationals. My body and performances were not up to par due to our recent accident. In the 50 back, I had a close race with two competitors at the finish. I could tell the swimmer in the adjacent lane was slightly ahead as we approached the finish flags. I frequently practice the finish touch out and used this technique to out reach my competitor, even though he was ahead of me.
Bill Specht, 39 yr. old world record holder frequently beats his competitors with superior skills on his starts, turns and finishes. If I can help you with your goals, or workouts, let me know.

5. Swimming Your Pace

There have been many unusual devices and techniques designed to control training speed. Here's a cheap, simple one that's extremely effective:

1. Set an electronic wrist watch with a timer function to go off at a specific TIME interval, e.g. every 40 seconds. On my Timex Ironman, this is called COUNTDOWN REPEAT.

2. Start the COUNTDOWN and place the watch UNDER your swim cap. This is an alternative to wearing your watch on your wrist, especially if you don't hear well.

3. Push off on the first BEEP of the alarm.

4. By listening to the BEEP every 40 secons, you know exactly how fast you are swimming (i.e. for this example, 1:20 per 100 yards). If, for example, the BEEP goes off as you pass over the "T" on the way INTO the wall, the pace is TOO SLOW! If the BEEP goes off as you pass
over the "T" on the way out from the wall, the pace is TOO FAST. If your foot touches the wall on the first BEEP, then your pace is RIGHT!

Workouts getting boring? Looking for new ideas? Needing suggestions on training for meets, tapering, open water swimming or stroke improvement? Tell me how many yards you swim, how often, your 50 yd. times on each stroke and daily workout yardage per week. -Coach Paul Hutinger

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