I swam 3200m today, starting at 9:50. The pool was 30 degrees C.

400 warmup, mixed

8×50 FR, increase SPL every 2, (14, 15, 16, 17)

5x [100 drill, 4×25 sprint, 100 drill, 100 sprint]

#1 #2 #3 #4 #5
4×25 All :19 w/ 17 SPL All :19 w/ 16 SPL All :19 w/ 16-17 SPL :19.. :20, :19 w/ 16 SPL :19.. :20.. w/ 17-16 SPL
100 1:20, w/ 14.17..18 SPL 1:21, w/ 16…17 SPL 1:21, w/ 16.17… 1:22, w/ 16.17… SPL 1:22, w/ 15.16..17 SPL

100 recovery

2x [75 KK w/ fins, 25 FR]

100 ez

COMMENTARY

The 8×50 SPL increase warmup was focused on being sensitive to precise SPL rate, and controlling it. I am getting better at estimating what SL I am swimming with at different speeds. In the pool with various visual markers in and alongside the pool, and the wall making and end of each length, this is fairly easy. But I hope that such sensitivity will transfer to the open-water where I will have to rely on non-visual feedback to estimate my SL and SR.

This 5x (Drill/Sprint) set was a good high intensity set. I was pleased to hold :19 for the 25s, which means my 1:17/100m goal is within reach for sure now. A few were maybe at the top of :18 even- but I like to round off conservatively so that I am pleasantly surprised later.

The focus today was to zero in on the spear-hand target and catch position at higher speeds. So the warm-up and drills were all focused on feeling out the best path to the catch point.

Observations:

My right arm does not catch quite as well as the left. (I also have a tighter shoulder joint on that side- I wonder if it is related?) I tend to keep a high elbow and firm grip on the left, even under fatigue, while the rigth side wants to drop the elbow and get a lazy wrist when it gets fast and tired. It just doesn’t feel as consistently solid as the left side.

On the first repeat I tried to just swim harder, with a deeper catch, but I felt my catching hand pull too soon, as it was provoked to do so by the sensation of more drag against it. It was lower in the water and so had more surface area presented to the water in front. Thus I felt like I was losing a bit of the long-body-line. The net result was that I added an extra SPL but did not gain extra speed. I felt tired. On the second repeat I aimed at reaching long instead- and sure enough, I swam stronger and longer. I just do better when focused on ‘long-powerful’ rather than ‘quick’. So as the set progressed and I felt more fatigued, I focused more intently on long-full strokes. 16 SPL was a good fit at these split times. I had to glide to the wall a little extra on just a few of them. Before the last 100 I was tired but I took a moment to quiet down my heart rate and imagine my focus point- not speed but long-smooth-power.

I just swim better this way, but still I have to fight against the traditional mindset that still tries to drive me to go ‘harder’ at the cost of quality. I can indeed work harder but I create so much drag it negates the effort. But when I warm up and swim ‘long’ over the whole practice I maintain a much lower drag position even at higher intensity or duration. I swim quieter, smoother, and I make new PR’s.

I am still not sure of the pathway and best catch position for the spearing hand. At lower speeds I can enter higher and let it curve down to the deeper catch position. But at higher SR if I aim at that high of a target I must, by necessity of the rate, catch at a shallower position- then I either drop the elbow to compensate or I have to pull ‘down’ before I can pull back, which of course wastes a lot of energy and time. But when I aim lower and spear directly at it, I feel like the water is pushing against my forearm, rather than my arm cutting the water; I feel like the water is pushing the hand back before I am ready to catch it, and if I resist I feel the drag it creates. When I give in to the push and catch sooner, I lose the patient hand and long body line position and so create more drag which in turn negates the extra effort.

Hmmm…. I need to keep experimenting.

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