Everyone knows that swimming is an individual sport, but its version in open waters has certain characteristics that make it more social. When we take part in a crossing or event, we are surrounded by other swimmers with whom we share nerves, anecdotes, fearful advice,…
Also for various reasons, almost always, when we get ourselves to swim trought the sea, lake or river, we do it accompanied, either for security, motivation or to have more fun. Very good for your part! But, do you get the most out of these meetings?
With this article what we pretend is to help you to do so, and that, apart from adding meters to your training schedule, you can use your group workouts in open waters to improve important technical aspects in competition and at the same time, your performance. Meet a few friends and go for it!
1. THE DEPARTURES
This is the worst moment for most of us. We should focus on two aspects:
– TECHNICAL FACTOR:
Entry to the water or torn, hits, dodge, find your place, …
SIMULATION of a Race START. At the signal you goes to the most.
Observations: Swimming relatively together. If you enter the sea raise your feet well and if there is swell, jump the waves or overcome them below. Try to run as much as you can followed by Dolphin technique until being able to swim well.
Variations: One or several of you take the role of hinder-bother: cross, grab, …
– PERFORMANCE FACTOR:
In any race, the starting rythm is so hight, for this reason, we must accustom our body to the physiological needs that this requires.
SIMULATION of a Race Start. The signal goes to the most.
Observations: Perform several continuous outputs of Continuous-Regressive Swimming.
Example: 5 × 3’Regressives, rec2 ‘passive. The 3 ‘we distributed in 1’ to the Max followed by 2’TEMPO (at race pace).
Variations: We can modify the swim time and its intensities, add a point of reference where you have to go and return, get out of the water, jumping into the water from a site, etc. The possibilities are endless.
2. SWIM IN GROUP
In OW we can take advantage of the wake of other swimmers and swim at their feet, but to get the most out of it we must practice it, while it is important to know how to swim inside a group to take advantage of it.
2.1 FEET DRAG SWIMMING
It is important to swim next to the swimmer who precedes us but try to disturb as little as possible. It has happened to all of us that someone who follows us in the wake constantly touches our feet and is something that does not please at all.
- FOLLOW THE STELA: In pairs, one leads and the other follows their feet.
Observations: It is important to know how to adapt our rhythm to the swimmer who precedes us. A matter of practice and sensitivity. If you see that you are done, open yourself to the side and return to the wake. Leave few centimeters of separation, but enough to not rub your feet to each stroke. If you split a lot you will lose the favor of the «slipstream».
Variations: «TOM and JERRY» The swimmer in front can modify trajectory and rhythm. So the follower must learn to adapt and pursue him.
- MY SITE: It is about getting placed at the feet of the swimmer who precedes us by beating the position of another swimmer.
Observations: As in competition, you must struggle a little and try to win «YOUR SITE» behind the swimmer that we want to follow, but we can not spend the whole race like this, so that after a few moments, we drop and put ourselves at the feet of the swimmer who has earned the site. You can start from land or once inside the water.
Variations: Go trying every «x» time to recover the feet of the first swimmer and take advantage of any carelessness to steal the feet of the partner who previously won the game. Change the start mode of the game (race from the beach, from standing in the water, to the signal from a third partner, change the swimmer that leads, number of swimmers to win «YOUR SITE», …
2.2 SWIM IN INVERTED V
In order to get the most out of swimming in a group, it is best to swim in the form of an inverted V, since in this way all the members of the group benefit from the wake created by the other swimmers, except, of course, the swimmer who is tipped spear.
- WE ARE DUCKS! Swim in training.
Observations: Distribute by positions and swim together simulating the flight of the ducks.
Variations: Change your site within the group. It is interesting that the «leader» modify the trajectory and rhythm. Even so, the group must remain united and each one in its place. Important to assimilate sensations!
2.3 RELAYS (POSSIBLE DYNAMICS)
If we get together in a race with one or several partners of our level with whom we share objective, what better than to alternate in the task of pulling the group.
- RAISINS? Conduct relief in the most efficient way possible.
Observations: In pairs we will alternate in the function of marking the pace and direction, but every so often we will give way to the companion who follows us so that it is he who sets the tone.
Variations: Expand the number of swimmers. Swim one behind the other or in formation, do relays on the right and / or left, short or long relays, combine rhythms (eg: 30 «strong + 2’30» TEMPO), etc.
IMPORTANT: Just as in cycling, it is not the one behind the one who overtakes the one who precedes, the swimmer in front is who opens to the side and lets fall from the group and joins the tail of it. On the contrary, the energy expenditure is enormous. I recommend you keep a uniform rhythm to save energy. Jerks and sudden changes in rhythm can take their toll.
3. RHYTHM CHANGES
In any in open water the swimming rhythm usually varies according to the moment. In the exits it leaves strong, when arriving at a turning point or buoy it is usually tightened, we advance to other competitors, we orient ourselves and the low rhythm and we must start again, and finally, we see the arrival and we are accelerating to finish asap or not to be overtaken by other swimmers …
There are many circumstances to not take them into account in our preparation. In the next article I will talk about how to face this fact in your trainings but as an example for your group trainings set up a circuit (from buoy to buoy or times like a Fartlek) and once in the water you put it into practice in the important thing is to alternate moments of high and low intensity, some progressive with moments of swimming to rhythm.
4. THE FINISH LINE
We see the finish line arch and we have several swimmers nearby and after the effort we have done, we do not want anyone to come forward and we will surely give the rest to arrive before them.
- ME FIRST! It’s about being the first to cross the finish line.
Observations: From a certain distance to the shore or finish line increase the pace to arrive before our companions. Previously we must agree where the «finish line» will be.
Variations: We can put the arrival in a buoy to which we must touch a mark or a line on the shore that must be crossed. In some races it is at some distance from the shore, so changing the distance of the finish line will be something to take into account.
Now you just need to join a few swimmers and put it into practice. Good group training!