Audrey, who coaches our JAGS session on Fridays, has asked me to post this guidance ...
Make the most of your pool time with the following swimming gear
- Goggles - Depending on if you will be doing any open water swimming will depend on how many pairs you need. For pool swimming the most important thing is that they are comfortable and well fitting. If you are going for open water swimming then you will need clear lenses for dull days and dark or mirrored lenses on a bright/sunny day to reduce the glare.
- Pull Buoy - Held between the thighs means you don't have to kick and can concentrate on your arms and breathing. If your are short on space in your kit bag you can buy the combination pull buoy/kick board.
- Fins - Make sure you have fins that encourage ankle flexibility as this will help you learn what a good swim kick feels like. Fins are useful during drills and/or at the end of a long hard session. Choose your fins with care, long diving fins (as some of you that swim at JAGS may know) are not suitable for pool swimming and fins that are too short and heavy can (surprise surprise) give you cramp and make your legs heavy. Short flexible fins are what you should aim for or special buoyant fins if your legs sink.
- Paddles - As with fins make sure you get the right size. There are a variety of paddles that you can get depending on what you want to focus on. Fingertip paddles for technique, Palm paddles for the position of arm and wrist and how that can affect your stroke, Full paddles build up the back and shoulder muscles.
- Kickboard - great for focusing on that straight leg flutter kick, also good for catch up and single arm drills if your non working arm keeps sinking.
- There are other pieces of equipment that you could invest in but as a basic kit bag the above is all you need.
Pre Swim Stretches
As with most training sessions these are normally done at the end a day stuck sat at a desk all day, so our bodies have only been used to one position or early in the morning when muscles and joints have be resting. To ensure you get the most out of your swim sessions the following stretches should be done before getting in to the pool.
- shoulder shrugs - draw shoulders up to ears then lower
- monkey hugs - arms out in a crucifix positon to start then pull arms across front of body giving yourself a hug
- monkey swings - hand starts at hip then swing up to opposite shoulder blade (1 arm at a time)
- arm rotations - forward and backwards 1 arm at a time
- trunk rotations - keeping hips still, rotate torso
- side bends - sliding hand down to knee on one side then the other
- leg swings (front/back) - lean again a wall when doing this
- leg swings (side) - swing leg out to the side and across the front of your body - lean on a wall when doing this
- heel to bottom flicks
- toe and heel taps - tap heels and toes on the floor just in front
these should be fluid movements and you should aim to do them 10-15 times each to help joints move more freely, to be more flexible, to increase blood flow to the soon to be working muscles.
If anyone is unsure of any of these stretches please let me know and I will go over them with you.
And Finally - if you have any injuries that you are currently recovering from please let me know, as it will have an impact on your session.