Swimbot Featured In January Issue of Swimming World Magazine

Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine

Swimbot: Better On Technique

What is polarized training?

The traditional training method called “threshold training” has been used for years in swimming clubs. The principle is to regularly swim sets that last 30 to 45 minutes at the best average speed with short rest. Scientific studies in the 1980s reported that training at these moderate speeds was ideal for developing endurance.

As opposed to this method, polarized training is now seeing the light of day in many clubs. Polarized training consists of training at low intensities around 80% of the time. The remaining 20% consists of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or competitions and small amounts of threshold work. Most research findings have shown that polarized training is superior for developing both central endurance (cardiovascular adaptations) and peripheral endurance (local muscular endurance).

Swimbot has met Nicolas Granger, one of Swimming World Magazine’s “World Masters Swimmers of the Year” in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He explains to us how instinctively throughout his swimming career he shifted from threshold training to polarized training and who this is the best method for him. :

Why are you interested in polarized training?

“For many reasons! I am no longer 20 years old, and I don’t feel capable (either physically or mentally) of doing the high-yardage, threshold-type training I used to do when I was younger. So instinctively through trial and error, I have found with time that training at very slow speeds–with lower yardage, but with extremely high demands on the technical aspects of my stroke–has yielded better results. High-intensity training only represents a small amount of my training volume, either as competitions or occasionally as HIIT sets such as 6 x 150 at a fast pace. It is also important to me to improve recovery and adaption. This enables me to maintain a high quality technique all year round and to perform at the important competitions.

“As I am my own coach, I’ve been able to explore alternative methods, and for me, training based only on physiological development is a mistake. I have learned a lot from other sports such as Alpine skiing, where visualization is a key part of training. Alpine skiers incorporate specific breathing patterns to their visualization routines. Mastering breathing is a big part of my focus during my training and i feel that when breathing is efficient, the rest of the stroke is as well. This is especially important for optimizing my technique in the individual medley, where you change strokes all the time.”

What are the limits of polarized training?

Studies on swimming efficiency show that the best compromise between distance per stroke and stroke rate generally occurs around threshold pace. This sheds serious doubt as to whether polarized training is arable to swimming!

At very slow speeds, there is the danger of overgliding, which, in freestyle, takes the form of “catch-up stroke.” Important intra-cycle speed variations are simply incompatible with efficient racing. Also, most swimmers find slow swimming boring! Efficient slow swimming requires the presence of a great coach who has time for you or a lot of experience and focus, which is the case of Nicolas Granger!

Alternatively, swimming at very high speeds often pushes swimmers to have poor technique. Drag increases exponentially with speed, and most swimmers have a tendency to greatly increase stroke rate without being efficient. Fatigue also causes distance per stroke to shorten. So, efficient swimming at high speeds also requires focus, experience and the eye of a great coach!

Thus, there exists a serious dilemma in swimming: traditional “threshold” training seems to provide more benefits in terms of biomechanical efficiency, whereas polarized training provides greater physiological benefits.

Polarized training and Swimbot

WIMBOT may be the answer to this dilemma. At slow speeds, it is able to give instant feedback on changes in speed within the stroke cycle. It also helps swimmers to optimize breathing patterns with its sophisticated tempo cues. At high speeds, it gives instantaneous feedback on streamlining as well as data on stroke rate and distance per stroke. It’s now possible for each swimmer to have full-time technique feedback whatever the pace.

“I think Swimbot will be a game changer as i train on my own: it will be possible to get feedbacks!” says Nicolas Granger “High technology within the smart device is so impressive that it will avoid wrong interpretations and mistakes. SWIMBOT will help me as a coach to train my swimmers who need instantaneous feedbacks, as I can’t give them all at the same time, and I can’t see what happens underwater.”

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Photo Courtesy: Swimming World Magazine

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FEATURES

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014 TOP 9 OLYMPIC UPSETS: #7 ANTHONY NESTY BEATS THE GREAT ONE!
by Chuck Warner
Beginning with the November 2015 issue and running through July 2016—a month before the start of the Olympic swimming events in Rio on Aug. 6—Swimming World Magazine will bring you its top 9 upsets in the individual events in Olympic history— in particular, in the last 50 years.

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016 5 TOP STORIES OF 2015
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017 THE STATE OF U.S. SWIMMING: THUMBS-UP!
by Chuck Warner and Annie Grevers
New swimming facilities in the United States are keeping pace with the country’s growing number of competitive swimmers.

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020 2015 ATHLETES OF THE YEAR: DIVING, POLO, SYNCHRO, DISABLED SWIMMING
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026 HERE COME THE AMERICANS!
by Annie Grevers
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030 2015 RECORD PROGRESSION
by Jason Marsteller

COACHING
010 LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: BOB BOWMAN
by Michael J. Stott

012 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE MISCONCEPTIONS: ARM ENTRY
by Rod Havriluk
In freestyle and backstroke, swimmers typically complete the arm entry with the arm parallel to the surface. In butterfly, it is common for swimmers to complete the arm entry with the hands above the shoulders. Research shows that these typical arm entries result in significant wasted time.

019 TECHNIQUE: BACKSTROKE— REACH FOR THE SKY!

022 THE SWEET SPOT IN DISTANCE TRAINING: WHERE VOLUME MEETS INTENSITY
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041 Q&A WITH COACH SUSAN TEETER
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042 HOW THEY TRAIN LISA BOYCE AND CLAIRE McILMAIL
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040 DRYSIDE TRAINING: NEW YEAR, NEW STRENGTH—4 SIMPLE EXERCISES TO A STRONGER 2016
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036 GOLDMINDS: HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
by Wayne Goldsmith
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045 UP & COMERS
by Taylor Brien

COLUMNS
008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT
046 GUTTER TALK
048 PARTING SHOT

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Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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