On Friday I attended the first session of the swim clinic that I have mentioned in my past posts. It was encouraging and challenging. We went back to the basics of the freestyle stroke, starting with the swim kick. A strong kick gives the swimmer propulsion through the water and is often what differentiates a strong swimmer from a weaker swimmer. The kick is however, often neglected by triathletes. Triathletes reason that they will save their legs for the upcoming sports of cycling and running. Wolf emphasized that to ignore the kick is to lose about a third of the power in the swim. The take home lesson: Get Kicking. It all starts with a strong kick – the engine that should be pushing you forward. Check out triathlete article: “Why it’s Important to conquer the kick“.
To kick properly, the swimmer must kick from the hips. Knees should not be locked nor bent. On the up kick, the knee bends slightly and on the down kick it straightens. The strength comes from the hip, not the knee. Use the full leg to kick. Next, focus on the feet and ankles. Keep feet relaxed, extend your ankles and point your toes. Having lose, flexible ankles assists with the kick, allowing feet to flutter up and down quickly. Watch a helpful video illustrating a powerful kick.
Wolf had us kick like we had never kicked before! We kicked and kicked some more: – with one flutter board; with a perpendicular flutter board to create a lot of resistance in the water; with two flutter boards balanced one under each hand; on our side with one hand balanced on a flutter board and one arm at our side….
The Swim Kick Challenge:
At the conclusion of our session, Wolf left us with a challenge to improve our swim by targeting our kick. The challenge is to work up to 20 x 100m kick on 3min (and then reduce the pace time – 2:45, then 2:30, 2:15….)
My Kick Challenge:
I heard the challenge and set out the next morning to work on my technique and specifically on my kick.
I managed 10 x 100m kick on 2:15. My legs felt like jelly after that workout. 20 x 100 sounds simply frightening My goal is to work up to the 20 x 100m kick on 2:15 by June!
We also started work on our arms, focusing on arm entry and completing the pull stroke. I will focus specifically on freestyle pull in the next article. Benefit first hand from the clinics and join me next Friday to work on your freestyle stroke and have your swim video recorded.