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Underwater Dolphins – Increasing Rate

When working on your underwater dolphins, experimenting with rate may be the big change you’ve been looking for.

Why do it:

You can’t work on your underwater dolphins enough, but only working on how many you take off each wall may limit your ability to really find that perfect underwater.  Experimenting with how quickly you take your kicks can also make big changes.

How to do it:

1 – We use a Tempo Trainer to determine the regular rate of the swimmer, matching the rate to the swimmer.

2 – Next we start to increase the rate of the Tempo Trainer, making the swimmer match the rate of the beep to each dolphin kick.  By increasing the rate, we will also reduce the amplitude, or wave size of each kick.  This can also help to reduce resistance introduced by younger swimmers who are just trying to create BIG kicks.

3 – Time yourself to a mark on the bottom of the pool to see just what mix of kick rate, or size of kick, and number of kicks gets you to that spot the quickest.

How to do it really well (the fine points):

To add to this challenge, once you get to a rate that gets you to that mark the quickest, put on a pair of fins.  Match the new rate with the fins.  The increased surface area of the fins will make it more difficult to match that rate.  It will either require more power, or again, experimenting with reducing the size of the kick to match the rate.  This searching, and ability to adapt by the swimmer, will continue, or introduce subtle variations athletes will need to learn to maximize their performance.

When adding resistance at high speeds, as we’re adding fins, be careful to focus this “fine point” on more mature and physically ready athletes.  These intense parts of drills are not intended for athletes that are too young, or too old.  They are, however, sometimes a necessary part of training high level athletes.  Use common sense and if you’re the athlete, listen to your body to protect against any potential injury.  If it hurts in a bad way, stop doing it.