02/24/03 – Ladder playing with Stroke Rate

Well, I finally climbed back in the pool for an organized practice. The snow if finally cleared from most of the roads, and I’ve run out of excuses.

Anyway, this past weekend, I got some sample products in to test, so I took one in particular to the pool. It’s called a “Tempo Trainer”, and it’s basically a beeper for under your cap which helps you maintain a constant stroke rate. You set it, stick it under your cap, and swim listening to the constant beep.

At first is was a little annoying, but then I started getting into it, and we swam the perfect practice to try this new tool out.

600 warm-up ( I didn’t have it in yet, so I just swam around)

1 x 400 on 6:00
2 x 200 on 2:50
4 x 100 on 1:20

Since I set the Tempo Trainer for the 400, I quickly learned that maintaining the exact same stroke rate from lap 1 to lap 16 was pretty cool. It took some preplanning in actually creating more flow at the beginning of the swim, rather than just power out these strokes.

The real learning came when the interval got harder, and the distance got shorter. IMMEDIATELY I wanted to pick up the pace and turn it over a little faster. It was almost frustrating to be reminded of how slow I had to keep my stroke rate, but the interval was MAKING me swim faster. This basically reinforced everything that I’ve known for years. Learn while you train, don’t just spin your arms faster, figure out what you’re doing.

The real challenge came in trying to swim fast at this slow stroke rate during the 100’s. This is where the set got MUCH harder, and also much more fun.

Anyway, I was able to accomplish everything, but MAN do I have ideas on how to use this, especially when training a GROUP.

We repeated this set for pulling, and I kept the Tempo Trainer set at the same timing while I put on a pull-buoy and paddles. Immediately, I started swimming much faster with the added surface area on the hands. The entire set was pretty much the same as the first, showing the same problems and solutions as the first set.

Next were 4 x 100 IM on 1:45. These felt good after all the freestyle.

We next did some kicking, and then I went to give a lesson in another lane.

Of course, I took my new little toy with me, and we played some games. All I can tell you right now is, after the lesson, the swimmer, who is 12 pointed at the Tempo Trainer and said, “That thing is COOL! I feel like I’m in the Matrix!”

Of course, the Tempo Trainer will be for sale in our online store in a couple weeks. It passed the audition!