Learning from the best- fc technique

Ian Thorpe Photos Photos: Olympics Day 4 - Swimming | Ian thorpe, Swimming  pictures, Swimming champions

In the following video it will show you why Antony and myself have been driving home certain points (mainly the same points) on FC technique and why it is important to follow what we are trying to coach you.

The video includes the best swimmers the world has ever seen on FC and points out why they are far ahead the rest of the field due to their technical superiority. I will outline the points below so you have something to read with the video and how you can improve this area to make you a stronger FC swimmer.

VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/embed/bMDemnq7xYg

Points to take into your training:

  • Long Gliding Strokes….

Swimmers on the video have these fantastic long strokes where they look as if they are gliding through the water by getting their body behind the outstretched arm and almost being on the side ensuring the most streamlined position in the stroke.

You can achieve this by:

  • Always entering the water with your middle fingers first not the thumb.
  • Keeping the hand shallow (no deeper than 10cm below the water). Keeping that hand at eye level
  • Extend your shoulder and rotating your body the way of the outstretched arm, rotating back as you pull through. Using the full body to pull not just the shoulder muscles.
  • Pulling with a high elbow…

In the video it shows amazing examples of pulling with a high elbow under the water. They all keep the forearm vertical to the water gaining as much propulsion as possible per stroke, the elbows are pretty much on the surface of the water.

You can achieve this by:

  • Extending your arm and rotating the body as stated above, not pushing the hand down to the floor but pushing the shoulder out and keeping the hand eye level.
  • Pulling the hand down but keeping the elbow close to the surface and pushing the hand all the way to the hips and rotating back.
  • Make sure your forearm stays vertical, and when pulling keep the hand on the side, not crossing the middle line of the body.
  • 6 Beat Kick…

Again, the video shows us the best examples of a 6 beat kick, meaning the swimmer has 6 beats of leg kick between the hand starting at top of the stroke and then finishing at the same point. This ensures the swimmer is always moving forward and there is no pause at any point during the stroke, always gaining forward propulsion in the stroke, even when breathing and when the arm pull weakens.

You can achieve this by:

  • Improving your kick and always taking kick sets seriously, so no talking or kicking with goggles off.
  • Start the kick beat off with opposite foot to hand entry, so left hand in, right foot starts the kick down.
  • Practice the rhythm of this to your stroke and keep on top it in all stages of training from warm up to main sets and even through to swim downs.
  • 3/4 Breathing…

The video shows us that the best swimmers in the world have this smaller angle when breathing looking like catch up style FC on one side of the stroke or galloping rhythm moving through the stroke, making their FC look as smooth as silk and not start/stop as the breathe to one side.

They are very aware that they cannot pull effectively because their arm is being used as support when they have the head turned to the side so will wait until the other arm nearly catches up to get the most out of each pull, but will not catch up the other side.

You can achieve this by:

  • Only breathing on one side, breathing 2 sides is not effective at top level swimming. You will have a stronger dominant arm, and this should be the one that holds above your head while the other arm catches up.
  • Improve your kick to support the stroke, it is very important as stated to have a strong kick so your body is not fighting below the water.
  • When breathing try to keep half the face in the water and breathing under the elbow not looking forward or back whilst breathing.
  • Do not over rotate your body and only rotate with the pull not the breath.
  • Try out the galloping rhythm to see if this suits you and don’t be told it is wrong, my first national champion was a 14 year old male, who won his 400 FC final by nearly 50m with a galloping stroke, everyone told me and him to change his stroke- but why when it is effective to the individual, we stuck with it and had a very successful time.

Hopefully you can take some points from this and the video and learn from the best FC swimmers in history- there is nothing wrong with trying to copy these swimmers!!