Part 1: Swim
This has definitely been a good year for swimming. I committed back in October to increasing my weekly swim volume and getting some technique help. This started in New Zealand, where I had access to a pool that was practically empty on a permanent basis. I wanted to have several blocks of 20+ kms a week in the pool, through base (Oct-Feb) just working on technique. I had a couple of endless pool sessions with Tony Lambdon (of HBTriStudios near Napier in New Zealand) which were invaluable in sorting out some of the major problems with my stroke. The improvements showed up by IMOz where I came out of the water in 55 minutes – a big improvement on 59:30 (IMAustria 2005) and 1:02 (IMGermany 2006 – non wetsuit). But by the time I returned to the UK, the volume of swimming and a period without coaching had meant that my technique had gone to pot again. By the time I was training in Italy in May, some video analysis with Dan showed my swimming to be shocking again. So back in the UK I signed up with Andrew Potter (of T3 Performance Coaching – http://www.t3performance.com/) for some one on one coaching sessions. The results speak for themselves – within a few weeks I swam 53minutes at IMAustria, and then swam 49:47 at IMUK to finish off the season (ok, so the swim was probably a little short!). Andrew’s coaching is HIGHLY recommended (for any level)… he’s got stroke analysis down to a fine art and shows you step-wise how – and why - to change your stroke.
The increase in swim volume (still only averaging 16kms a week) did have a noticeable effect on my swim endurance. I can put at lot more effort into a race without affecting my race later in the day. The new wetsuit probably deserves some credit too – Sailfish ONE – awesome piece of kit.
Aims for next year: to consistently be near or sub-50 minutes, and maintain competitive IM swim positions. Maintain solid swim volume (near 20km/week) with regular technique checks/improvements. More masters swimming.