It was a fun weekend in Austin, Texas! The TYR Pro Swim Series provided plenty of swimming action and many talking points. I love seeing the blend of age group, national team, Olympic, and masters athletes all swimming in the same pool. Some trends began to surface and I want to give you three takeaways that you can provide to your swimming performance.
Takeaway #1: If you’re not completing a dynamic warm-up before you practice or race, you’re living in the dark ages.
This was probably the most exciting thing for me to see! The TYR Pro Swim Series hosted teams from all over the country and the world. As I walked around the halls of the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, this trend absolutely made itself heard (in the form of medicine ball slams by the team from Wales). Regardless of country, dynamic warm-ups were on full display. Athletes were wearing full dryland gear just minutes before their swimming heats. I saw skipping, jumping, sprinting, medicine ball slams, band work, and more. The athletes would then head off to the blocks, heart rate up, and huffing and puffing.
Unfortunately this swimming warm-up trend hasn’t spread through the US at the rate that we would like to see, but it was fantastic to see all ages of athlete completing a dynamic warm-up.
Think about it! If medicine balls, bands, and other dryland equipment were important enough for teams to bring with them on the plane from their home countries, it is probably a good idea for you to consider adjusting your warm-up accordingly.
The Three Moves I Noticed The Most
Takeaway #2: Speed Is Sustainable
Let’s continue with the theme of the large age range of athletes. If you look at the bulk of research, the general though is we slow down each decade after 30. However, a pocket of athletes are changing perceptions on this. I honestly only say “pocket” because many more could be on this path but they have walked away.
If you have followed RITTERSP for any amount of time, you are probably familiar with the name, Siphiwe Baleka. Sips set multiple national records, won multiple national titles, and took home four silver medals at FINA Masters Worlds last summer. Sips is 46 and swimming as fast or even FASTER than he did as a 21-year-old.
Sips had quite the 2017 and took some necessary downtime to close out the year. The TYR event was a early season return to competition. Talk about perspective!
My favorite quote from Sips over the weekend was, “It is fun running into people I swam with in high school or college. They are now coaching and I’m still swimming.” It was also so fun to watch Sips and Brendan Hansen talk about Sips’s success at this point in his career.
The best part, Sips and many of these other “aging” speedsters are not following some ridiculous training plan. Their intensity is high but the volume is low (think 45min-1hour practices 3-5 days a week and two dryland sessions).
If you’re slowing down significantly, you might actually need to swim less and swim with more INTENT! You’ll hear Sips mention that he is swimming about 25% of his original volume!
Takeaway #3: Swimmers Are Getting Stronger And People Are Still Surprised.
The sheer size and strength of swimmers does not surprise me. It surprises me that it still surprises people that swimmers are strong. I heard countless side conversations talking about the size of Nathan Adrian and other elites. I even heard conversations about how big and strong the up-and-comers looked.
Then the next line would be something like, “wow they must swim a lot.” Don’t get me wrong, swimming is the main focus of their training, but they are doing more than that! These athletes are also putting hours in, in the weight room or at least a sound bodyweight routine.
If you’re stagnant with your own performance right now. The answer, again, isn’t always to swim more.
It still amazes me that some swimmers shy away from getting stronger. I’m not even saying you have to go and lift a barbell with plates. I’m just saying GET STRONGER.
You’ll be happy you did.
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