Will having a "long stroke" help triathlon swimmers?
Kevin Koskella explains how to develop an efficient freestyle arm action
There is some debate going on in the triathlon world about whether it is important to have a long stroke in freestyle, and if so, how can this be developed?
Being long means extending your arm and gliding with each arm stroke. It also means getting more out of your stroke while saving energy (ideal for triathletes).
Do not get me wrong, you can achieve a lot with a shorter stroke - in fact you could go very fast this way. However, for most people, especially the beginner crowd, this stroke is just not efficient enough to allow them to swim ½ to 1 mile, and still have a good amount of energy to tackle 20 to 40 miles on the bike, and an additional 5 to 10-mile run.
The mistake people make is comparing competitive pool swimmers who swim 50, 100, 200, or 400 meters as either an all-out sprint or a controlled sprint, to triathletes who swim much further and have to complete a race lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 10 hours.
Here are some ways to achieve a longer, more fluid, more efficient freestyle:
While you may not ever become a top-notch freestyle sprinter, learning how to lengthen your freestyle will pay off as a faster, more fun overall triathlon.
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About the Author
Kevin Koskella coaches masters and triathlete swimmers in San Diego, CA. He operates the website www.triSwimCoach.com, a resource for beginner to intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming.
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