Derby Triathlon Club

Tuesday Swim Session

Introducing Swim Smooth

The Swim Smooth coaching system provides a methodical step-by-step approach to developing your swimming. Both Paul Newsome and Adam Young, who are Swim Smooth, are both triathletes who have developed a coaching system that is simple to understand and relevant to triathletes. This led to British Triathlon appointing Swim Smooth as swimming coaching consultants in 2010 and Swim Smooth have rewritten the syllabus and training courses for the Coach Education System based on their methods. In addition Swim Smooth run a 3-day coaches clinic where coaches can learn more directly from Paul and Adam.

Please note none of the Club coaches are certified Swim Smooth coaches we are just employing their methodology of swim training which can be found in their book, on their website, their DVDs and in part imparted through the coach education system and clinics.

Within the Tuesday Swim sessions we will embrace the Swim Smooth three keys to better freestyle swimming:

  • Stroke Technique Development;
  • Swim Training; and
  • Open Water Skills.

Training Plan

Sessions are designed to add value by providing opportunities for members to improve as swimmers and maximise the benefit of having coaches present but the Tuesday Club sessions should form only part of an athlete’s swim training. To realise the maximum benefit from the coached sessions, athletes will need to complete their own swim training.  Most swim coaches recommend swimming at least three times a week to see improvements.

Below is the structure of a plan based on an athlete swimming three times a week utilising a 6 week training block.  If you cannot complete three sessions per week then you need to ensure that you still include the different types of sessions.

 Week  Tuesday  Session 2  Session 3
 1  Technique  Threshold / CSS  Endurance
 2  Threshold / CSS  Technique  Endurance
 3  Technique  Threshold / CSS  Speed
 4  Threshold / CSS  Technique  OW Skills
 5  OW Skills  Threshold / CSS  Endurance
 6  Technique  OW Skills  Endurance
 7  Threshold / CSS  Technique  Endurance
 8  Technique  Threshold / CSS  OW Skills
 9  Threshold / CSS  Technique  Speed
 10  Technique  Threshold / CSS  Endurance
 11  Threshold / CSS  OW Skills  Endurance
 12  OW Skills  Technique  Endurance

For each 6 week block this breaks down as follows:

 Session Type  No of sessions  Aim of session
 Technique  5  Reduce drag and improve propulsion to develop a more efficient stroke
 Threshold / CSS  5  Develop accurate race pace judgement and develop swim fitness
 Endurance  4  Develop aerobic capacity whilst maintaining good form
 OW Skills  3  To develop the skills required to realise potential in the Open Water
 Speed  1  To improve top speed and maintain it for longer
 Total  18  

Technique Sessions

Due to the benefits of bilateral breathing in developing stroke symmetry and improving open water skills it is recommended that in all swim sessions, athletes bilateral breathe and this skill will be worked on specifically within technique sessions.

Technique sessions will utilise a standard set of drills in conjunction with the appropriate drill progressions. Coaches will use other drills where appropriate.  For more details on the standard drills.

Click here for description of standard drills

Technique Sessions - Video Analysis

The Club has invested in an underwater video camera which will enable the coaches to identify the areas of the stroke requiring correction and to allocate each swimmer a Swim Type.

Click here for more information on Swim Types

Although it would be fantastic if each athlete could have individual review of their video with a coach this is not possible within the Club sessions.  Each athlete will be informed of their Swim Type, the main areas of their stroke to work on and can have a copy of their video file.  Armed with this information, feedback from the coaches and using additional resources each athlete should better understand their stroke and how to correct it.

Click here for access to additional resources

If the athlete wants a more in-depth review of their swim video or a 1-2-1 stroke analysis and correction session then they can enter into a private arrangement with a Club coach or a coach external to the Club.

Technique - Equipment

In order to be able to complete all the drills and the stroke corrcetion process each swimmer will require a set of swim equipment.

We are not allowed to use any of Repton School's equipment on a Tuesday.  The Club will have a set of equipment that will be used during the sessions by the coaches and give athletes the opportunity to: try out the equipment; understand its benefits; and in the case of fins select the correct size before making a purchase. 

Click here for more information on equipment and links to purchase

Threshold / Critical Swim Speed (CSS)

To become a good triathlete you need to develop good aerobic fitness.  Within running and cycling you are probably aware of the concept of lactate threshold (threshold for short).  This is the level above which you tire quickly and need to slow down - stay just below it and you can maintain a good pace for a long time.  CSS is swimmings equivalent so by training at this pace you will be training the correct energy systems.  If you can improve your fitness so that your threshold and thus CSS is at a faster pace you should be able to race quicker.

Click here for more information on CSS

It is recommended that you test your CSS approximately once every four weeks.

All athletes will be required to know their CSS so the coaches can organise the lanes and lane order efficiently.

Open Water (OW) skills

These sessions will focus on developing OW skill as huge amounts of time can be gained or lost depending on how you straight you swim (click here to watch an interesting video); and you can experience a 40% energy saving if you draft correctly.

  • Swimming in close proximity to others
  • Sighting
  • Drafting
  • Turning
  • Wetsuit swimming 

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