Swimming into the New Year: Resolutions That Will Lead to Success

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Swimming into the New Year: Resolutions to Garner Success

By Annika Hobson, Swimming World College Intern

Any point in the year is a good time to pinpoint some habits to better your swimming, but with the new year quickly approaching, it’s a great time to center your swimming habits. To become a better swimmer, one must ensure they focus on both the small and large aspects of the sport. From continually completing clean flip turns to getting enough sleep, being in tune with healthy swim habits allows you to become a more accomplished swimmer.

Clean Turns

Whether you are going to be swimming a 1650 or a 50 freestyle, you need to have excellent flip turns. With a shorter race, good turns are essential to a pristine race. Due to the sheer number of turns in a distance race, there is a lot of room to add or lose time. In either case, it is important to have good turns to set yourself up for the best race possible.

Improving your turns entails a lot of dedication. You must be mindful from how you approach the wall to how you streamline off the wall. Some habits to establish include square and strong foot plants onto the wall, continuing your momentum throughout the turn, and pushing off in a tight streamline with strong dolphin kicks.

Additionally, it is important to practice tightening up your open turns. Open turns are used in the individual medley, breaststroke and butterfly races. Like freestyle and backstroke flip turns, swimmers’ open turns need to be efficient. A common mishap with open turns is staying on the wall for far too long. Therefore, an important habit to create is getting off the wall quickly and efficiently.

Controlled Breathing

Similar to having clean flip turns, having breath control is important in all races. In a tight race, breath control can be the factor between winning or losing. To maximize your race, it is important to establish a breathing pattern. In longer races, breathing patterns can help you settle into a pace and ensure you are getting enough air. In shorter races, it is important to carefully time your breaths, so you do not slow down. For example, a swimmer would never want to take a breath on the first breakout stroke after a dive, as it would slow their speed. Another area on which to practice breath control is around the walls. To maximize your swimming efforts, it is best to not breathe in or out of the walls. Lastly, in any race, it is vital to not breathe into the finish. With a good breath-controlled finish, you can out-touch your competitor.

Strong Underwaters

Another habit to establish to improve your swimming is performing strong underwaters. In swimmer lingo, an underwater is the time spent in streamline and kicking before breaking out on the surface of the water. While in streamline kicking, a swimmer is at their fastest speed. Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of one’s speed underwater. If you routinely do one to two dolphin kicks off the wall in a freestyle race, try to do three to four, etc. By working on your underwaters and adding more kicks off the wall, you will take advantage of the speed off the wall and go faster.

Good Hydration, Nutrition and Sleep

As swimmers, we all know the importance of having good hydration, nutrition, and sleep, but it is important to check in with yourself regularly to see if you are fully implementing these healthy habits. Competitive swimming is hard on the body and takes a lot of energy, so we need to ensure we refuel, rest, and prepare properly. Without proper hydration, nutrition and sleep it is nearly impossible to reach your full potential. To best set yourself up for a good end-of-season, you will need to make sure you have healthy habits that align with your swimming goals.

As we enter 2022, keep up good habits and ditch ones that are no longer working for you. If you tend to breathe immediately off the walls, focus on holding your breath past your breakout on every turn, every set, every warmup and warmdown for a week. With continual focus and dedication toward good habits, your swimming will improve into the new year.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.