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Video Clips - Natalie Coughlin

Natalie Coughlin's Body Position Basics

Here are some things that Natalie focuses on at every practice:

  • Align your head and neck - grow your neck "tall", making your upper spine straight in the water
  • Use the pool markings - look at the markings directly below you, do not raise your head to look forward
  • Suck in your belly - this flattens your lower back, making it easier to rotate around your spine, and it strengthens the connection between your arms and your legs

iTrain Natalie Coughlin Freestyle Master Class

Look at her posture, aquatic line and balance in the water, which she refers to simply as body position. Stop on almost any frame and look at that body position: head, neck, body rotation (to both sides), breathing, arms, legs - I could go on and on - I like everything about this video. One reason Natalie Coughlin is the best, is because she is the best at the fundamentals. Imitate what you see here...

  • At about 1:30, see the Freestyle Rotational Kick drill.

iTrain Natalie Coughlin Backstroke Tips

Body position. Rotation. Shorten your exit.

3 Tips to Increase Distance Per Stroke

If you can increase your distance per stroke without losing any speed, you will be spending less energy to go the same distance. When focusing on distance per stroke, you are conditioning your body to become more streamlined and more sensitive to drag - and in the end that will make you faster. Watch the video and listen to what Natalie says about increasing your distance per stroke.

More about Distance Per Stroke

First of all, what is distance per stroke? It's something coaches talk about all the time, but nobody actually calculates the distance in terms of yards or meters. It's much easier to talk about strokes per length, which we refer to as SPL. You count one stroke each time either hand hits the water. The underwater pull-out after your push-off doesn't count. Efficient swimmers have a lower SPL, newer swimmers have a higher SPL. Efficient, tall swimmers generally have the lowest SPL. The goal is not just to lower your SPL, but rather to lower your SPL while maintaining the same speed. You don't win anything for taking the least number of strokes.

There is no ideal SPL that applies to everybody. How many strokes per length is best for you depends on a number of factors - height, strength, body type, the distance of the race, the type of race (swim only or multisport), etc. But if you start counting your strokes per length, it is an invaluable tool for gauging changes in your efficiency.

Let's say you take 20 strokes to swim 25 yards. The swim leg of a half-iron-distance triathlon is 2,112 yards, or about 85 lengths of a 25-yard pool (assuming you swim very straight). If you can reduce your stroke count by two strokes per length while maintaining the same pace, you would take 170 fewer strokes to cover the half-iron distance in the same amount of time. You can save a lot of energy by taking 170 fewer strokes, and that should get you out of the water smiling!

iSwim Set3 Video iTrain.com

A longer (7 minute) version of the first video above, with more great video and drills.

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