This Saturday I attended my first ever swim clinic. I had the joy of getting up bright and early to make the 30 minute drive to the pool for the Masters' group freestyle swim clinic. The clinic started at 7am which means I was up and in the pool before I normally even leave the house for work!
The clinic started with an overview of what to expect during the two hour session. There was a group of 6 or so coaches that all had lots of experience from sprints to triathlons. After a brief swim assessment the coaches divided up the group into smaller groups for the actual clinic. I was a little nervous that our coach wanted to start at a very basic level with just doing bobs in the water. Some in the group were struggling with the breathing aspect of the crawl and so the coach thought it would be good practice to learn through bobbing how to exhale under water. We then moved onto learning a mixture of drills from the catch-up drill to things like the zipper.
I learned that I need to focus on my rotation on my left side and also work on my reach so that I don't enter the water too early. The drills that the coach suggested for me included one where I focus on high elbows and then trailing my fingertips along the water so that I keep extending my reach. Another drill that I liked was called something like 6's and 3's. We did a side kick for 6 counts then 3 strokes of crawl which ended on the opposite side for side kicks. It required some practice but it was probably the drill I liked the most.
At the end of the clinic, one of the coaches led an optional session on starts. When I joined the Masters Swimming group in January I decided I would try to do as many of their events as possible. The group is putting on a swim meet in June so I thought the practice would be good since I haven't done anything like a swim meet since maybe 6th grade. We started out by doing dive starts from the pool deck and then worked our way up to the actual starting block. I kept my goggles on for all of the dives and only managed to do a quasi-bellyflop twice! It was a fun way to start the day and I just might try to make it to at least one early morning workout a week. If you haven't looked into your local Masters Swimming club you should give it a try.