8/1/08 - 9/1/08

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Aug 26, 2008

Wetronome (Improve Your Swim Stroke Rate)

I have had a few swimmers comment on this blog about their stroke and the rhythm, so I decided to put the following info together for you.

Have you ever heard of a Wetronome? This little and simple device can help you with the rhythm, timing and the rate of your swimming stroke. Wetronome is put under your goggle strap and cap right in front of or behind your ear and is set to beep in some interval of your liking. Then the swimmer basically just starts
a stroke with every beep to improve the stroke rate of the swim. Stroke rate is basically how many strokes a swimmer takes per minute. This is very dependent on what stroke you swim and what event you swim, but the basic idea is the same. An ideal stroke rate is different for each person, however, if it is too low, dead spots appear in your stroke and if it is too high, you are probably not pulling the right way and might get tired too fast. Hence swimming with Wetronome will help you achieve the ideal rate for you and improve upon it, so your stroke is not off rhythm as some might say.

I am not too sure how long I could endure constant beeping in my ear, however, the beauty of self setting the timing of the beeps is great. I'd say if you can find a few songs with the same beat and put it in your iPod and waterproof case, it might be a bit enjoyable. Anyhow, the idea is quite nice and the guys from SwimSmooth have put together an explanatory video and an article which will tell you more about how it works and why one could improve their stroke with using the Wetronome.

If any of you already tried the Wetronome or are going to give it a whirl, I'd be very glad to hear your comments as to how you liked it, so don't be shy and tell me what you think.
Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.

Aug 16, 2008

Swim Like Michael Phelps (A Champion is born and raised)

After Michael Phelps' another stunning performance in the Beijing Olympics, it is only appropriate we find out what is hiding behind the scenes of his phenomenal swims. Apart from a great amount of swim practice with his coaches, have you ever wondered what it takes to swim as fast as Michael Phelps?

Well, for starters biology has a lot to do with it. For example, his ankles bent by 15 percent more than most folks, so one can say he is hyperflexing his ankles. Not moving too far on the body, his feet are stunning size 49.5 (14) which is quite unusual for someone only 193 cm (6ft 4in) tall. His legs are quite short in comparison to his upper body, so he can stay afloat in much more streamlined position since his legs are not weighing him down. As I already mentioned, his trunk is longer than usual and his arm span is over 2 meters which is also unusually large for having height of 193 cm. And of course his hands have to be quite large, so he pulls large amount of water with each stroke.

by The Wall Street Journal
Second advantage that helps in breaking world records is the now infamous LZR Speedo body suit. It is thought that the suit helps cut resistance in some parts of the body by more than 24%. The LZR Speedo suit is made out of special polyurethane rubber which helps the glide in the water. It is said that the overall speed gain is about 2%. However, that being said, most of the top swimmers these days have access to one, so apart from some sponsorship issues, this is really not an advantage over the entire swimming field, more just over the past world records. It could be speculated that this suit helped form 56 new world records this year already. However, beware, small advice here. If you are not a top notch swimmer who is going to be breaking world or country records, you might want to reconsider buying one of these LZR Speedo suit bad boys. The price is quite expensive and what is even more frustrating for a regular bloke is that the suit does not last very long (perhaps 5 swims) and is a horrible task to put on where you can bruise some knuckles :). If you are into the full body suits, I'd suggest sticking with some cheaper option for now, even from a different brand like TYR and Arena.

Thirdly, after Lance Armstrong, the American public needs another big hero which helps them through the day. So, Michael has the biggest support out there for whatever he does. I can imagine he has the best nutritionist, sports psychologist, doctor etc. etc. which obviously is not taken lightly. I would be very interested in seeing a comparison between Laszlo Cseh's life and Michael Phelps', that would be some interesting reading.

Well, do not take me wrong, I believe Michael has put in his hard work for sure, he is determined, very talented and he dreams big. Without those characteristics, he would not be where he is, but he does have a little (or more) help out there:). And here is something for you at the end.

BTW, did you know his middle name was Fred. I'd say he does look more like Fred than Michael.
Learning to swim is priceless and SwimSmooth Learn to Swim DVD is a great start