Frustrated by your swimming speed? Unsure what it is – exactly – that you are doing wrong in the pool? Trying to improve you kick, or pull, or catch, or body position or any one of the numerous parts of the swimming technique that you need to master to become faster?
Many swimmers now swear by underwater videoing. For most it’s not a case of knowing what to do to improve their swim technique, it’s more that they can’t see exactly what they are doing wrong. And even the smallest adjustment of leg position, head and catch action can make a huge difference to overall speed and efficiency.
For amateur triathlete Jo it wasn’t until she actually saw her swimming technique on video that she could begin to understand the myriad adjustments to be made to improve her swimming speed.
She says: “I had been attending coaching sessions for about six months and I had listened and learned a great deal. My swimming was really improving but I still couldn’t grasp exactly what I was suppose to be doing with my leg kick and my arm catch.
“I really thought I was doing all that the coach said but I wasn’t. Seeing my swim technique on video highlighted some of the areas in which I thought I was good but in fact I was lacking.
“For example, I had no idea that my left hand was entering the water with the fingers pointing upwards instead of down. I could also see that my arm catch was falling way short of where I thought it was. And I wasn’t pushing through to the end of the stroke at the side of my body so you could actually see bubbles in the water where I was creating drag. And, as swimmers all know, drag is not good!”
Rise and rise of swim filming
Swimming film sessions are becoming more popular at swimming and triathlon clubs across the country. The decreasing cost of an underwater video camera makes it possible for more clubs to invest in the technology.
Many of these high-resolution video cameras combines an underwater lens and an above the surface camera to monitor it.
Out of the water, the camera is linked up to a computer or TV screen to give coaches and swimmers instant feedback in helping to refine swimming technique.
The benefits of viewing a swimmer underwater, rather than above the water, are as clear as the pool water itself.
As one coach said: “It’s one thing for me to tell a swimmer how to do their stroke, it’s another to actually see what they are doing. They may think they are doing the right thing, and then they see, ‘Oh I’m not doing that at all.’ ”