Friday, May 25, 2012

Training in Traffic

Some kids just don't care if the lane is crowded.  Weaving through traffic at full speed is an under-appreciated swimmer skill.

We have all dealt with crowded lanes and made the most of it.  I have had to rearrange the order of swimmers sometimes to keep things running smoothly sometimes.  Just this week I had to start telling my age groupers to line up in order of their 100 free time just to keep them from fighting about who leads the lane.  It is not usually a big deal until coach gets out the watch and expects some race quality splits when you know people are gonna get run over.

I had a first last night-- something I had never seen, or at least never seen this executed so well...  I just have to brag on it.  It was impressive.  We were doing a set of 8x100 on 2:00 in the yard pool, best stroke (non-free) and I expected them to hold a pace that was in what we call "zone 3" which is calculated by taking half of their 200 time and adding 4-7 seconds to it.  It gets them right around VO2 max.  I let the kids take #7 easy so I could see how close they could get to race pace on #8.  This set is pretty typical for us although this was very short for this kind of set.

My breaststroker, who just finished his freshman year in high school, took off like a rocket on that last 100.  He was out FAST and I was excited to see what his time was gonna be.  Unfortunately he caught up to the last person in the lane just after the pull-out on the last 25.  He did about 5 or 6 strokes at her pace before he finally got impatient enough at the 15 meter mark to pass her...

but he couldn't pass down the middle as there was a butterflier in the way.  So this kid improvises:  he takes a breath, submerges and crosses under the lane rope without even interrupting his rhythm, and finishes in the next lane with a pretty incredible time.  I wish I had caught it on video.  His best time shaved in a meet is 59.4, and his best 200 is 2:07.  On this push 100 at the end of the set he went out in 29, and even with a half length stuck in traffic he finished in 1:03.  Not bad for a push! Of course, I worry a little about the day this kid finally gets his drivers license and I am glad I ain't the one teaching him how to drive!

I love coaching age group.  It's gonna be a fun summer. 


  1. We definitely teach our kids to pass in the next lane - tho the breaststroke aspect makes yours pretty impressive. Once had a kid who was so good at passing in the next lane, that he would sometimes use 4 lanes in a fast 500. It was so fun to watch.

  2. My swimmers were ignoring my instructions on circle swimming consistently, so one day we did vertical circle swimming (with fins). Vertical circle swimming is where going one direction, the swimmers swim on top of the water. Going the other direction, the swimmers swim underwater (the whole length of course, as to not get their heads taken off by the swimmers going the other direction). They figured out circle swimming pretty quickly after that.

  3. Haha, I can totally see him doing that.