- To feel comfortable in the water.
- To know stroke counts (per lap) for all strokes.
- To understand timing of all strokes.
- To have excellent walls and turns.
- To practice with proper stroke mechanics.
A swimmer also needs experience racing and that takes, a long time and hundreds of races for mechanics and strategies of each race to sink in, not to mention the pain factor. When in pain, how well do you think about what you should really be doing? Most swimmers worry about breathing and finishing the race first, especially as they are learning.
Let’s use the 50 freestyle to continue our “all swimmers need”
- A quick start with proper form remembering to use legs more than the upper body to get off the block.
- To enter the water in a streamlined position and maintaining this position during the breakout.
- To maintain a streamlined position off of the dive while enabling either a proper fly kick or free kick through the first two strokes of the race (breakout). Being able to know where you are in the water so not to stop the momentum from your dive and underwater kick into your breakout.
- To maintain a sprint kick even while breathing.
- Knowing when to breathe (timing) while at the same time preparing for the turn, after judging the wall correctly in warm-ups.
- To complete a proper turn.
- A proper streamlined position off the wall of the turn with a proper breakout, while getting past the flags.
- To finish the race without losing momentum. Proper judging of the wall is where it is won or lost provided, that is, the swimmer has not succumbed to the pain. You must judge the wall in warm-ups.
- Not to breath at the end of a swim, while maintaining a sprint kick, while holding together proper stroke mechanics, not to mention sprinting the entire race since it is only a 50…
There are tons to know, swimming takes brains, retention, and motivation. Just try to handle it one thought at a time. Try to remember this as a coach and especially a parent. When you say something to your swimmer like, “how did you miss that turn?” Try to remember all that goes into racing.