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Swimming - 02. February 2009.

The one resource for a lifetime of serious swimming

Regardless of venue, target, competition or fitness level, any swimmer can benefit from periodically assessing and re-evaluating their goals, techniques and training programme.

Now US swimming legend Jim Montgomery offers advice for adult swimmers who want to improve their strokes, add variety and purpose to workouts, or simply learn more about the sport in his newly released book - Mastering Swimming.

Swimmers of all ages and abilities will benefit from a targeted approach that covers these essentials:

  • Stroke instruction and refinement for freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.

  • Workout plans for fitness and competition.

  • Training for open-water swimming and triathlon.

  • Second-saving starts and turns.

"A successful swimming experience begins with the basics of body balance, relaxed breathing and efficient stroke technique." Montgomery says. In Mastering Swimming, Montgomery and co-author Mo Chambers advise swimmers to improve technique for each stroke by analysing and adopting three simple elements.

  • Maintain a long body line that moves through the water with a minimum amount of resistance.

  • Generate power from the core.

  • Stay relaxed and in the flow of the stroke

The flip-turn also gets Montgomery's attention. "Whether you choose to compete in a competition or simply want to improve your workouts, it is essential that you negotiate the walls quickly, smoothly and with minimum resistance." he says. "By following a series of simple, illustrated steps of the basic flip turn, you will find it is a lot less mysterious and a lot more fun than it looks." he adds.

In addition to technique, Montgomery explains that swimmers can improve performance through conditioning and modifying workouts. "Perhaps the most creative part of swimming is configuering your workouts to achieve your goals." Montgomery states.

Versatile workouts both in and out of the pool are essential for improved fitness because they work different muscle groups and cause a varied heart rate. "Consistent and well-designed dryland workouts will transform a good swim programme into a great swim programme."

Montgomery explains. "Your time in the gym and your time in the pool will work together to create a balanced and truly injury-proof training programme."


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