Swimming: Suck Less in '17

If you want to improve your swim, get some video.  Seriously.  The last time I got video was late 2011 when I did a swim focus that off-season. That was the last time I made progress in my swim.  It's actually gone backwards a bit the past couple of seasons.

To start my off-season, Courtney went to the pool with me to get some video with the GoPro.  My plan was to analyze the video using Kinovea (great, free software for analyzing video, measuring angles, going frame by frame, etc.) and find two or three big form flaws to work on.  I don't want to try and work on too many things at once.  

2016 on the left.  2011 on the right.  My left arm has improved, but still a lot of work to do.

 I watched a great webinar from USA Swimming on rotation so that was on my mind when analyzing the video.  I over-rotate, especially when I turn to my right to breathe.  I'm not as bad as I used to be - I used to rotate almost completely on my side - but I'm still over-rotating.  I'm starting my pull with my left arm too soon and I'm rotated too much.  Then when I rotate back to my stomach, my arm is pulling under my body, which is not an effective pull.  You can see it very clearly on the right image above from 2011.  The one on the left is from 2016.  It's better, but I'm still missing out on a lot of my pull by over-rotating. My hand should be below my shoulder like the image below. 

An image from the webinar showing good rotation.

   Above is an image from the webinar showing good rotation (about 30-35 degrees) and a good catch.

Me.  Rotating too much.  Arm is too deep.  Not a good bend in elbow.
 This is me.  I'm rotated too much, about 60 degrees.  Because of that, I can't get my arm in the same position as the pic above.  I don't have shoulder flexibility like that (who does?).  My arm is too deep and my catch isn't very effective....and this is my right arm, my good arm. 

Another shot from the webinar.
 Above is a shot from the webinar showing a bad catch on the left and a good catch on the right.  I'm much closer to the image on the left.  The good news is that those images are of the same person 6 months apart.  There's hope.

So that's 2 things:  rotation and catch.  The third thing I found that I want to address is my kick.  It's actually come a long way since I started, but I still have some work to do.

Look at my left leg.  That's a lot of drag.
 Your kick is supposed to be tight. You shouldn't bend your knee that much.  I'm creating a ton of drag doing that.  I suspect it might be related to my over-rotation.  I think I'm kicking my leg out to the side for balance, so if I can minimize my rotation I think my kick may start improving as well.

So those are the three big things I've decided to work on immediately. I'm not going to worry about any other form flaws until I improve those three things.  I think, if I can improve those, I'll make some good progress.

It's one thing to find issues.  It's another to address and fix them.  In my next post I'll go over my plan to make improvements and my new swim toys I think might help.

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