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Sat 24th Aug 2019
TYR & CRC Swim Academy - Athlete Blogs #1
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Friday 15th May 2015

Tags  Competition  |  CRC  |  TYR  |  Tyr Swim Academy

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Following on from their first TYR & CRC Swim Academy coaching session we hear how the SIX athletes are progressing...


Following the swim training day on the 2nd May I was really keen to try out some of the drills and to think about my swim stroke a lot more. With Richard's help I was able to pick up a few things that I was doing with my stroke that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to notice - my breathing style for example and my split leg kick.

My first opportunity to swim was at the Hart Sprint Triathlon race in Fleet on the 4th May, my local triathlon. A 400m pool swim and I exited the water in about 6m45 putting me 28th of 369 competitors. I focused on keeping a high elbow and exhaling as soon as my head was back in the water. I was delighted to be third lady overall so something worked!

On 5th May I opted for a recovery swim session and spent 1.5k trying out some of the drills, sculling and breathing techniques we'd been using at the training day. It was good to spend time on this sort of technique improvement as normally I just get in the pool and swim sets - either endurance or interval, but very rarely drills.

Keen and eager I went to the pool again on 6th May with a friend and did a 2k swim with longer intervals. All the time I was trying to put into practice the learning that Richard had offered about breathing and stroke.

There is a lot to think about though so I split my time into thinking first about my breathing, then about my arm position, then my body rotation and finally my leg kick. My week finished off with my first open water swim of this year. The TYR goggles were superb for open water with great viability and tinting. I managed 2.5k before my feet went numb!


Since attending the TYR and Chain Reaction Cycles coaching session I have been noticing changes in the way I feel when I swim. I am a confident swimmer but it's always beneficial to know there are elements I can improve upon.

Taking what I learned from the session I've been trying to think about each section of my stroke including the frontal catch position that Richard advised me to concentrate on and in time I am sure this will become second nature.

At this stage I am still getting a feel for the changes to my stroke, but I am slowly increasing the length of my stroke by bringing the catch in earlier and overall the feeling of being able to go faster has increased.

It's been tough trying to find the time to go swimming while I'm studying for exams but when I did get the chance I found that as I begin to try to increase my swim speed, my focus shifts and I realise that what I have been practicing drops away. I have the tools to improve on this and hopefully I am putting them into practice to make forward steps.


It's been busy since we left Surrey Sports Park, but I was successful in getting time to swim twice this week. I wanted to concentrate on the feedback I received from Richard at our coaching session so I made a conscious effort to keep a high elbow and pointing my hand downwards on entry as well as attempting the sculling drills we learned at the coaching session.

I feel like I am learning to swim again and I'm finding it difficult to switch off. I have so many thoughts going through my head but like Richard said, it's better to focus on one thing at a time in the drills and as we progress to encompass all the teachings, after more practice I'm sure this will all be second nature.

I've discovered that swimming alone compared to with the group feels a lot harder, but I'm determined to keep going because I know when we meet up again in June I'll be a better swimmer.


In my first swim since the coaching session I spent the majority of my time trying to remember some of the things that Richard had highlighted and work on those. In an effort to do this I tried very hard to "swim in a narrow channel" and not scissor kick. Richard did say not to try and think of too many things at once so I concentrated on the narrow channel, not lifting my head too far i.e. looking at someone's feet at the side of the pool and keeping my elbows high on the catch phase.

I must have been doing something right as at my club swim training session the next day, I got a compliment from our coach about my hand position - he is sparse with his compliments! At our club session we also practiced some open water drills such as rolling over the person next to you and swimming in very close proximity so that you get bashed about a bit!

I swam approximately 3km this week, and I feel that what I learned from Richard really helped.


Week one began fantastically after the initial coaching session. I was really motivated and had my first sea swim of the year in Swanage bay, I managed to swim without my hands for the first 10 minutes and afterwards I felt as though I'd been karate chopped in the throat - it was a very cold 30 minute session.

When I had my first indoor swim I started off desperately trying to put into practice all I need to work on and by the end of the week I was in agony but a gentle swim really eased the pain and I used this opportunity to picture Richard walking up and down the poolside telling me to look at his feet to aid my breathing.

I was successful in getting time to have a second open water swim, and although the initial swim out was good I struggled back against the wind and tide, in total it was a 1 km swim but pretty difficult.


Since the coaching session my confidence has definitely been boosted. After Richard pointed out that I wasn't kicking I made a conscious effort and my swim seems to be improving which has spurred me on a lot.

Personally swimming has always been somewhat of a challenge for me, I'm relatively new to the game having only started in 2014 and I still find it extremely difficult in both the technique and stamina. I'm hoping that as I follow Richard's swim plan and practice more my skills will develop and I'll begin to enjoy it as much as I'd like to.

I have found it difficult to put the drills and techniques into practice in a busy pool and it can be intimidating training alongside good and strong swimmers. However, I'm not going to be pushed back by this and I'm happy to get in the water and swim, however there is a long way to go.

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