Mr. Smooth

Now that I have completed a 140.6 triathlon and am comfortable with the prospect of a 2.4 mile swim, you might think that my swim training is all about complex drills and crazy pool distances. You would be incorrect! The best swimmers will tell you that the fastest way to improve your swim isn’t through cranking out big distances, it is through improving your form and maximizing the efficiency of each stroke.

Coach Laura Wheatley has me returning to the basics to improve my stroke. Before today’s workout, she sent over a beginners swimming module for me to watch. As athletes we spend quite a bit of time each week reading articles on technique, nutrition, recovery, mechanics, etc. so a little pre-workout reading wasn’t a surprise.

The module featured Mr. Smooth, an animated model to show proper stroke, breathing, kicking, and rotation. Mr. Smooth is an excellent demonstration of proper technique–proper technique that I will be trying to commit to muscle memory over the winter.

Animated swimmer

Mr. Smooth demonstrates ideal freestyle technique.

There is plenty I can work on, but the first item I will focus on is bilateral breathing or breathing on both sides for the layperson. Let’s examine that a bit closer:


lateral=of or relating to sides


Now that you are familiar with the complicated lingo, I will say it can be tough to develop the habit of bilateral breathing and taking a breath every third stroke, when you are a unilateral breather like myself and accustomed to taking a breath every other stroke. Still, I believe the payoff is worth the effort, and bilateral breathing should also help me a bit with my rotation.

The goal in off season training is to come out fast. I will be working on all aspects of my triathlon and running game. I’ll give more updates as I progress (or regress). Be sure to check out Mr. Smooth at the link above. It is a nifty tool.

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