This drill uses fins to help you explore — in practice — what true SPEED will feel like when you reach the championship time of the season.
There are many tricks that swimmers use to help them reach race-day levels of speed and pain. Power racks are one trick… surgical tubing is another. But the quickest, and simplest way for swimmers to experience ultimate speed, is to put on a pair of fins.
Ideally, the fins should be light enough, small enough, and flexible enough to allow the feet to move at a natural rhythm. If the fins are too big or too long, the feet will move too slowly, and the rest of the stroke will do the same. If the fins are too small or too short, they won’t give enough payback to get the swimmer up to speed. Of course, we’ve chosen to use the Zura Alpha fins for this drill… well… because we like them.
Why Do It:
I’m pretty sure I answered that above, but here goes again. The goal is to simulate the pain and the effort level that comes with race-pace swimming. You also want to learn what it FEELS like to have the water flowing swiftly past your body, and what it FEELS like to encounter the added resistance of fast swimming. If you can find ways to experience this during practice, you won’t be surprised at your championship meet when your hands can barely keep up with that new-found speed.
How To Do It:
1. Put on your fins, and swim to the other end REALLY slowly.
2. Determine how far you’re going to swim — no farther than 25, but you might even do twelve-and-a-half yards — then push off the wall with FORCE, and get into the kick right away. Use the wall, and your streamline position to build HUGE speed.
3. When you start to swim, you should ATTACK – ATTACK – ATTACK!!!!
4. Swim to the other end REALLY slowly, and do it again. Ultimate-speed swims should be done for very short distances, with a lot of rest or easy swimming in between. A good rule of thumb is that your recovery time should be at least three times as long as your ultimate-speed time. And you don’t want to do too many of these. Four to eight would be plenty. Ultimate-speed swims should be done without the worry of technique, but rather the awareness of it.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Just in case I haven’t gotten across the real focus on this drill, it’s about THE ATTACK! There is nothing smooth about this, and nothing nice. This is where you imagine that your biggest rival is in the lane next to you… or that an alligator is about to chomp your foot… or that you’re on TV and the World-Record line is creeping closer.. or that a college scholarship in on the line. This is when you think about someone watching you, and putting it all on the line.
The fins help you achieve that speed, and now you’re going to have to move your arms faster than you usually do in practice, and your bodyline is going to have to be CORRECT. Don’t change your stroke in the middle of a sprint 25. After you touch the wall, evaluate what just happened, talk to your coach, and swim back thinking of the subtle changes you want to make, and put them in the NEXT 25.
Now go attack some 25s, and just be careful of that wall at the end… it’s coming up quicker than it was a few minutes before.