The Evolution of Swimming

By Gary Sr.

Much has changed in swimming over the past 30 years. I will summarize the most important changes in two categories; swim training and swimming technique. Both are critical to fast swimming.

Much has changed in the sport of swimming over the past 30 years. I will summarize the most important changes in two categories; swim training and swimming technique. Both are critical to fast swimming.

Swim Training:

  • Swim yardage in practice is less overall, but much more intense on the hard days, with more training closer to race pace. Swimmers train smarter, not harder.
  • Recovery days have been appreciated as being as important as the intense training days.
  • Training cycles, changing the type of training in a season, have become much more appreciated and utilized.
  • Training in all five disciplines (swimming, strength, mental, nutrition and recovery) have become essential to maximize swimming performance.
  • Much more equipment and technology are used today to train. Once a kickboard and pull buoy were the only required equipment. Today, a large mesh bag is needed to hold all of the equipment such as fins, paddles, snorkel, bands, tempo trainer, resistance bands etc.
  • More emphasis on kicking as a critical component of fast swimming, particularly the dolphin kick.

Swimming Technique:

  • Much greater awareness today of the adverse consequences of frontal drag, with more emphasis on technique that reduces drag.
  • An appreciation of the need to develop different techniques for different distances and different skill sets. One size does not fit all in swimming.
  • Clearer understanding of the two basic different freestyle strokes, hip-driven and shoulder-driven, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • More emphasis on developing sustained tighter kicking and kicking in both directions.
  • Learning to pull in freestyle with more of a straight path backward and a high elbow rather than the big S-shaped pull with a deeper drop.
  • Using the body rotation more in freestyle and backstroke to increase power and distance per stroke

We will never have all of the answers in swimming, but we seem to get a better understanding each year of the complex movements and training required to reach one’s potential. As soon as we think we have it all figured out, though, a swimmer comes along that proves we still don’t know enough. That is what keeps this sport interesting. At The Race Club, we just keep learning.

For a better understanding of how to implement the most recent training methods and improve your technique, please come to one of our Race Club camps or visit us privately. We are here to get you faster.

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About swimbikerun1
Devoted Father, Husband and Employee.Endurance sports fanatic (running,cycling,swimming).Triathlon athlete and coach.If only days had more than 24 hours.

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