Smooth Strokes Blog

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Total Immersion technique and mindful training advice

New Swimming Pleasures In The Dominican Republic

Today we finished our first open water (exploratory!) swim camp in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. We had 8 swimmers, 4 companions, and 5 staff including myself for 6 nights on this picturesque sub-tropical island sitting between Cuba (west) and Puerto Rico (east)...

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The Pleasure Of Motion

I took my boys to the local skate park on a rare sunny winter day recently. They like riding their pro scooters there and practicing mild versions of the tricks they've seen on Youtube. I was watching them practice as well as the dozen other boys gathered there, from...

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Foods Provide Nutrition and Cause Stress

Foods have more than one side to them. When the body metabolizes food into energy and useful nutrients for rebuilding the body, there are waste products produced from that process. It is common to focus on what good things the food brings to the body, but not at what...

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Skin Care For Pool Swimmers

If any of you, like me, are around family members who are not swimmers, you may get polite but concerned comments about how much you smell like chlorine after being at the pool. When I was a kid I would lick my skin and sniff as a reminder of the practice coming that...

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Foot Care Around The Pool

It's not a very exciting topic, but for those of us who spend a lot of time at a pool - and in the communal shower and changing room - taking care of our feet is an important health topic. These wet and warm surfaces are petri dishes for highly contagious and...

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Learn To Coach Yourself

When I started the first version of our online training in 2012, my intention was to provide support for our camp and workshop swimmers, who traveled from afar, who were going home and had no local coach and no materials to show them what to do in the weeks and months...

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Where Does Your Breath Come From?

What do you do when you have done your best to solve your breathlessness problem in the pool and it is still not enough? You followed the Checklist For Easier Breathing: You've worked hard on your fundamental stroke skills. You've worked hard on the breathing...

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Tim Terriss Interview With Terry

It has been just over two months now since Coach Terry passed away from this realm we are conscious of. I'd been waiting carefully until I felt I could listen to his voice again. Early this morning, preparing for a long run in the dark, I felt it was time to listen to...

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What Gets You Out The Door?

Let me explain what motivates me to keep training, day after day, month after month, year after year - and perhaps this will resonate with you as well.    When Fitness Must Be Earned It was somewhere around 1987. I was a freshman in high school, and it was the end of...

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Does Swimming Burn Fat? 2

As well as being asked about this from time to time, I've learned that this is a common online search phrase so I should get some extra hits on this post. Previously, I've written some thoughts on body fat in relation to swimming: Does Swimming Burn Fat? 1 Swim For...

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Do What Works For You (?)

"Just do what works for you." I have heard some version of this phrase spoken or written by coaches or pundits many times, in many different sports. It can be alarming to me because:  I doubt the average (citizen) athlete understands the context of principles in which...

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You Must Use Momentum – Part 2

This discussion is continued from Part 1... If body shape, stroke pattern and stroke length were equal between two swimmers, but one swimmer is sending her recovery arm forward with better momentum and directing that into her sleek Skate Position, she would be...

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You Must Use Momentum – Part 1

Here is something I explain to my swimmers when we're building (or re-building) the freestyle stroke for the first time. This is meant to help students on each extreme: those who are too anxious to start moving faster, and those who are too reluctant to add more...

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Courtesy In A Crowded Lane

This post continues the discussion from When Swimming In A Crowded Lane... Here are some guidelines I've used to help me be a more courteous swimmer in a crowded lane and contribute to a more peaceful pool space. First and foremost... Be Friendly I very much want to...

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Thinking About A New Wetsuit?

I want to lay out some thoughts about buying a wetsuit to address the many questions and concerns I receive. Much of the following is an excerpt from my forthcoming ebook A Better Triathlon Swim  that is just days away from being published. Wetsuits are desirable for...

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Checklist For Easier Breathing – Part 3

The Checklist Here is a 'short' and essential checklist to help you survey your pattern to look for gaps or weak spots. If you've been to one of our training events you'll recognize many of these points and remember what kind of drills we use to develop these skills....

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Checklist For Easier Breathing – Part 2

This is continued from Part 1... Improve Your Understanding Of Exertion Likely, some of you have been working earnestly on your stroke and your breathing, but it is still not coming as easy as you think it should be. You are getting to air, but it still doesn't feel...

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Checklist For Easier Breathing – Part 1

Stressful, disruptive breathing is one of the top complaints brought to us by swimmers seeking coaching help.  Sometimes the swimmer can experience a great improvement in ease with just one or two little adjustments. But often there are underlying structural problems...

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When Swimming In A Crowded Lane

An ideal swim training situation is to be either in a lane by yourself, or training with others in the same practice sets. But there is the situation, probably more common for some folks than others, where your only option is to share a lane with many other people,...

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