Guide For Dominating The Big Meet
Written by Mr. Poirer
You’ve put in the time at practice. Now it is time to put that work to use and swim out of your mind and faster than you ever have. Here is a quick field guide for mastering the environment and your performances at your next big meet.
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE FACILITY AND SET-UP.
If you aren’t competing on the first day of the meet warm up and prep as if you were so that the next day everything is familiar. Figure out in advance where the ready rooms and marshaling areas are. In the event of a long course meet, find out what end the 50’s will be starting from.
These are all little things you don’t need to be stressing about in the minutes before your race, so do the necessary recon in advance.
HAVE A WARM UP PLAN IN PLACE.
Hopefully you have had enough experience at competition to know what it takes for you to prepare for optimal performance. As many swimmers and coaches know a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works for a team or group warm-up when athletes are performing a variety of events from 50 to the mile.
Have your warm-up plan in place before the meet so that you know what to do when you hop into the pool. It would be wise to have an out of the pool warm-up that you can fall back on as well in the event that the pool is bubbling with swimmers and you find doing the necessary yardage difficult to impossible.
WARM-UP 20 MINUTES BEFORE THE BIG RACE.
A common question swimmers have surrounds how much time they should aim to leave between warming up and their race. When a group of international level swimmers were split into two groups, one swimming an all-out effort 20 minutes after warming up, and the other waiting 45 minutes, the 20 minute group performed faster.
Scope out the heat sheets and make a guesstimation at what time you will be competing at, and either have a full warm-up plus a re-warm up (if your event is late in the session), or simply time yourself to complete your warm-up 20ish minutes before your race.
DON’T MESS AROUND WITH YOUR TECHNIQUE.
You have put in the hard work, honed in your technique, worked your starts, turns and breakouts to near perfection. The day you step on deck at a meet is the last time to decide that you are going to make some changes. It can be easy to fall for the need to make change—you see a fast swimmer doing a really neat-o start and breakout during warm-up that inspires you to wanna replicate him or her.
There is a time for experimentation, to make big changes in your swimming, and it is called “practice.” Swallow the urge to tweak with what has gotten you to where you are until after the competition is over.
PREPARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.
If you are competing at an outdoor meet, have a plan in place to stay in the shade and out of the energy-sapping sun. If you know the stands and pool decks are going to be overflowing with swimmers, get there early and stake out a corner of the pool deck for you and your teammates.
Be aware of the challenges that the pool will provide and do your best to prepare for them.
WARM DOWN LIKE A BOSS.
After your race, regardless of whether you swam according to expectations or not, make it a point to perform a comprehensive warm-down. Doing so will help flush your body of lactate and help get you prepared for your next race.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, sprinters require more of a warm-down than distance swimmers. Sprinters tend to have more muscle mass and a greater amount of fast twitch fibers, which create more lactate.
How much is enough? Over the course of three years of international competition British swimming found that blood samples signaled sprinters needed an average of 1,400 metres to return their blood lactate levels to normal.
Boost your warm-down by replenishing your glycogen stores with a carbohydrate solution and give yourself the best chance possible at swimming like a boss the next time you step up on the blocks.
Five Reasons Why Breastroke Is Getting Faster
Over the past decade, breaststroke have undergone massive time drops. The Men’s 100-meter breaststroke 2000 Olympic Champion would have placed 19th at the 2015 World Championships. This large discrepancy demonstrates the enormous shift breaststroke has made in the past 15 years.
This reasoning behind this shift in speed is complex. However, understanding the possible factors can further enhance performance. I feel these improvements can be broken down into 5 main categories.
ONE – Rule Changes: In breaststroke, allowing a dolphin kick on each pullout has certainly breaststroke performance. Adding this extra kick has improved breaststroke by ~0.2 seconds per pullout (theoretical guess). In a 100-m breaststroke, this equals a 0.4 second improvement of the 2.5 second improvement over the past 15 years.
TWO – Technological Improvements: Swimming has undergone many technological changes over the past 15 years. I’ve discussed in detail the potential improvement of the Omega kick plate blocks in detail on my website Swimming Science. To summarize, these blocks may improve times by ~0.2 second. On top of this, lane lines, pool depth, and many more small technological improvements have aided performance.
THREE – Human Genetics: Humans are increasing in size and strength. Many feel this is from training, but continual human evolution is occurring. Also, with more people participating in the sport, the higher likelihood of genetically gifted swimmers entering the sport occurs. When the ultra-gifted swimmers participate in the sport, the higher the chance of the swimmer’s best suited for swimming participate. Combine this with the continually size and strength increase and more potential improvement exists.
FOUR – Training Improvements: Swimming training is shifting from high volume programs to either lower volume and/or high-intensity training. Some may feel they still do a lot of volume, but the current high volume programs are still at a fraction of previous swimming. Allied training has also improved significantly. Dryland has shifted from long running to specific-strength training. Nutrition and mental training have also improved significantly, all further improving breaststroke and swimming.
FIVE – Biomechanical Improvements: Biomechanics play the largest role on swimming performance. Breaststroke used to encourage a wide separation at the knees. This technique increases frontal drag and slows kick rate. For elite 50-m and 100-m breaststroke, a major shift is occurring towards a narrow breaststroke kick, encouraging the swimmer to use hip internal rotation, not hip abduction. This position helps reduce drag and maximize kick propulsion. Moreover, a breaststroke kick originating from hip internal rotation also reduces stress at the knees. This stress reduction at the knees is not resolved, as this stroke has a lot of knee stress, but every little bit helps. To further progress breaststroke swimming, a shift must occur in the technical elements of breaststroke from learn-to-swim to professionals.
Swimming improvement is very complex. For this reason, controlling the variables you can influence is huge! In swimming, biomechanics are the greatest modifiable tool for swimmers. In breaststroke, the kick provides the greatest propulsion and drag.
Dear Hard Work
I used to hate you.
When you called my name, I heard it but I ran away from you.
When I knew you were coming, I used to hide from you.
When you influenced others to talk to me, I quickly made excuses to get away from you.
Afraid of the pain because I didn’t want to get hurt. Afraid to fail, so I didn’t even try. Afraid of your name because of what you have done to others.
Who do you think you are, making me so afraid of who you are? Reflection in the mirror, shadow behind me… I take one step, and you are still ahead of me. Sweat in my face, tears in my eyes.
Is there anything that you can’t do?
Now look at me.
You made me who I am today, and because of you, I have this never-losing, never-giving-up attitude.
That’s not in my vocabulary.
When they quit, I keep going.
When they sleep, I work harder.
When they say that I can’t, and count me out, I show them that I can.
When I tell them about my dreams and they laugh, I make sure to laugh last.
I am a dream chaser. That means I chase my dream and no one else’s.
Only I can defeat me. It’s me against this work you put on it. There’s no losing.
I will not lose!
I came this far and I am not stopping now.
Oh, hard work, my dad was right about you. You do pay off, and because of that, I love you.
How can I not? I am no longer hiding from you. I am waiting for you. As a matter of fact, where are you? I need you.
In hard work I trust
How Bad do you want it
Let me tell you right now that anything that you want in life, success, money, anything that you want to accomplish in life, is not going to be an easy accomplishment.
Anything worthwhile is not easy, anything worth having does not come over night. Anything that will be worth it to you, will be worth the struggle.
There are a whole lot of people out there waiting to be successful. But I don’t suggest you join the waiting list for success, because thats just an endless wishlist of people saying I want it.
It's no longer enough to want it, you have to go for it. Thats the only way you’re going to be successful And today you have to stand up and fight for your dream, stand up and go and get whats yours.
While everybody else is waiting, while everybody else is relaxing, wishing for it, wanting it, hoping for it, you have to be out there making it happen every single day.
If you want to set yourself apart from the rest of the sheep herd, the rest of the people, mediocrity, average; if you want to get away from all that and into success, you have to step up.
Step away from average, step away from the 97% of the population.
Understand that in order for you to be successful you have to find success and be around it. Spend as much time around it as possible. You have to learn from it. You have to be constantly learning from it. Thats the only way you’re going to get to where you want to be.
The formula to success is really, really simple. However, the journey, the grind, and the hustle, is by no means easy.
So if you’re going to get up and take this seriously, if you’re really going to go for it, you have to get this straight through your head. Its going to require all of you.
Every little piece of you, that last bit of energy, everything that you have, all your resources, all your time.
There are no other options, its the only way.
If you want to make something big happen, its going to take a while.
If you want something thats worth it to you, Its going to take effort, hard work and dedication.
Stop looking for the overnight success.
Focus on whats important to you in order for you to get to your goal.
The easiest thing in the world is to be distracted.
There are so many distractions out there.
Being successful is all about deciding that you’re not going to fall for the detractions.
You need to be able to stay focused on your goal and keep going every single day, no matter how hard it gets.
You are the only one that can make your life what you want it to be. There is no one else that is responsible for your condition.
If you want success in life try taking some responsibility. The moment you take responsibility for your life is the moment that everything shifts.
Decide that you will not leave it up to anyone else.
No one is responsible for your success but you, and that puts the power in your hands.