St Ives Swimming Club

A Competitive Cambridgeshire Swimming Club 

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Training Techniques

The coaches use a variety of techniques to develop the skills and performance of swimmers. The techniques vary according to swimmers’ squad and age. These include:

Flex

These are gentle stretching exercises undertaken before swimmers enter the water. These prepare muscles for exercise and reduce the risk of strain

Warm-up

This involves swimming for 5 –15 minutes to warm muscles and prepare heart and lungs for more intense activity.

Drills

Drills involve swimming in a way that encourages the development of good stroke technique. Drills often focus on arm strokes or leg movements, but also involve both.

There are many different drills for each of the strokes.

Sprints

Sprints enable swimmers to get used to swimming fast for short distances (<100m) whilst maintaining good stroke technique. Sprints use energy stored in muscles.

Starts and Turns

This is largely a matter of practice. Swimmers can find out whether conventional or track style starts suit them best. Perfecting starts and turns can improve performance by several seconds.

Aerobic

Sets Aerobic/endurance swimming involves swimming close to maximum heart rate. Aerobic swimming uses energy converted by the body as it is needed.

Hypoxic Sets

Hypoxic swimming involves swimming with reduced breath intakes. This is the swimming equivalent of high-altitude training. Over a long period of time hypoxic swimming increases the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen.

Stroke Analysis

Bad habits and fine tuning of stroke technique can be sorted out by direct intervention of an experienced coach. Videoing can be used to aid this. All videoing is supervised and undertaken in accordance with the Swim England child protection guidelines.

Swim Down

The intense activity of swimming produces lactic acid as a by-product. Swim down is a short period of swimming which disperses the lactic acid.

Land based training

Swimmers are encouraged to visit their local gym at their own convenience. Instruction is also given on exercise that can be done at home using only the weight of the body. This is referred to as plyometric exercise.

Training Cycles

Anyone who has followed athletics will tell you that it is not possible to be in top form all year round. Sports science tells us that swimmers’ performance can be made to peak around 3 times a year. The training programs at our club have been scheduled into cycles to ensure that peak fitness is reached at times of major competitions.

Each of the training cycles involves a preparation phase, pre-competition phase, a competition phase and a recovery phase. As the training cycle moves from one phase to another, swimmers will notice changes in the content of their training programme.

Preparatory Phase

The Preparatory phase focuses on endurance work and stroke technique. A minimal level of sprint training, starts and turns, and medley is undertaken.

Pre-Competition Phases

This phase reduces the amount of endurance work but maintains a focus on technique. The amount of sprint and speed work doubles.

Competition Phase

Endurance work is reduced further as is stroke technique. The level of speed and sprint work is increased to three times that of the preparatory phase. The amount of time devoted to starts and turns is doubled. One week prior to competition the distance and intensity is tapered down.

Recovery Phase

The amount of sprint and speed work is reduced significantly. The main focus returns to aerobic and technique work.