Competitions are cancelled for the foreseeable future. You will have to wait to race again. And even if you did not have any competitions planned, how do you challenge yourself? Or, better question, how can we help you challenge yourself? We came up with some great ideas, want to know what they are? Just keep reading.
1. Benchmark it
A benchmark is swimming against the clock. We do them regularly in our pool with our members. They are fun, motivational and measure progress over time.
Examples of benchmarks is a 100 meters or 1500 meters for time. We have an excellent collection of benchmark sessions which could be used for this purpose. Do them regularly. Plan a benchmarking day into your agenda. Do it with others, so that you have “official” time keeping on the side. Keep a journal or record of the results to see how you are progressing and what you have learnt. Benchmarks will make you a better swimmer, no doubt about that.
2. Challenge yourself – Laugh & Learn
There is no limit to the imagination, whether it be visualising the perfect race or trying new things in the pool. Have fun while applying fundamental swimming technique. Want to challenge yourself while the competition pool still lies empty? We have a few great challenges for you.
Katie Ledecky (5-time Olympic gold medalist) her Milk challenge has been a big hit on the internet. We saw Mark Spitz (Olympic swimming legend) take up the challenge successfully, proving that he’s still got what it takes. The notion of swimming with a cup on the head is not foreign to swimming, as any backstroker will tell you - but filling it with chocolate milk, a good recovery drink, is.
Our founder, Johan Kenkhuis (Olympic medalist), also got in on the action and you can see his Milk Challenge here.
We suggest that you try it out first with pool water, to make sure you can keep your head still long enough not to spill. Spilling a cup of chocolate milk in the pool becomes messy on the 10th try. This makes it the ultimate challenge to be able to keep your head dead still while swimming freestyle. Great technique.
Do you think of drills as being dull and boring? Then you haven’t met their fun cousins, the circus drills. We call them that because they are fun and entertaining, yet difficult to do.
For instance, grab one paddle and place it on your forehead. Then start swimming freestyle. This paddle breathing drill will help you work on your head position and breathing technique. If the paddle falls from your head, you are picking up your head too much while breathing, or looking too much forward. Key here is to place the paddle on your forehead, and just keep swimming.
Another fun and challenging drill is swimming underwater. Keep good form and body position while swimming underwater. Difficult? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Watch the video and copy the drill. As you can see from the video, our coach is swimming with good posture and a great catch, try and make your underwater swim just as smooth.
Still not convinced? Try out this fun drill, mirrored breaststroke. You will need a buddy for it. The object is to mirror the movements and look as if its just one swimmer. One person swims on top of the water and one underneath on their back. Look into each other’s eyes while doing this drill. Be careful when swimming with others in the lane.
3. Virtual Racing
Why not join a virtual open water race!? Global Swim Series has been running events where you sign up to swim a distance and register your swim with your GPS device, upload the results and see how you compare with swimmers from all over the world. It’s a new world and virtually and literally anything is possible.
It’s now up to you, are you going to wait until the current storm passes, or are you going to learn to dance in the rain? Don’t hesitate to send us some videos of your benchmarks or challenge attempts so we can share and motivate fellow global swimmers!
Wishing you the best of luck!
Written by Michael Stolt.