Practice racing in practice
Most competitive swimming programs do a decent to excellent job training their swimmers physically, but few teach them the tactical side of racing (how to swim a race). Typically, swimmers are left to ‘learn on the job’ in the actual race. But I’ve discovered a simple method to teach my PVC swimmers how to race like an Olympian in practice. Did you know that ninety-nine percent of winning swimmers (in Tokyo) increased their stroke tempos on the second 50 of the 100 and second 100 of the 200? That doesn’t mean they went out slow in the first half of the race; instead, they ‘went out fast and came back faster!’ Here are two examples. Canadian Margaret McNeil won the 100-butterfly with a stroke tempo of 55.6 for the first 50 and 56.9 for the second. British breaststroker Adam Peaty did the same. His stroke tempo for the first 50 was 54.1 and 56.2 for the second. Neither was a coincidence either. They were able to do in competition because they trained that way in practice!
So that’s your challenge this week. When swimming 50s, increase your stroke tempo on the second 25. On 100s, do the same on the second 50 and the second 100 on all 200s. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding!