Last night, 10 swimmers of Monday Tri Swim group had their practical session with Sheila. She led us through specific drills and simple assessments that focused on the swim techniques of the best swimmers in the world. This is a summary of what we learnt and experienced from the passionately talented, 1996 Olympics gold-medalist in the 200m swim relay held in Atlanta. We learnt by discovering for ourselves how our strokes felt against the water. It felt elusive and subtle at times, yet deliberate and obvious in other moments.
We warmed up with gentle front-crawl strokes, with Sheila verbally emphasizing the high elbow pull and engaging our lats (not shoulders). It was revelation when we felt how the correct muscles worked to propel us through our watery medium.
Having a streamlined body after your (low) push-off (from the wall) is important. Shoulder flexibility is a skill to strive for as it offers us greater stability and range of motion.
Bands are good for building arm strength and enhancing your high elbow pull, however we need not trace a circular path on the recovery phase. Keep your wrist straight, and remember to salute!
The finish of the high-elbow, arm pull activates our triceps and completes the continuum of propulsion.
We enjoyed making and seeing vortices (whirlpools) during our sculling session. The emphasis is to ‘feel’ the water on our palms, wrist and forearms. We were enthralled when we were successful in making these vortices during our 'pull' phase.
Photo-credits: Wilson Ang, Richard Leong & Sheila Taormina