At first I was extremely dubious about the technique! I had seen video footage of these big strong men executing the technique perfectly and thought “well, I am 5ft and a bit, I have little upper body strength and all my swimming speed comes from my leg kick, this is not for me!”
However, I began with lesson 1 determined to show the world I could learn a new technique even if it doesn’t actually make me a faster swimmer. So, lesson 1 began and by the end of the session I think I had mastered stage 1! “Oh dear, this isn’t going too well” I thought! Anyway, feeling useless I made it to the start of my second lesson. My coach Steve was really patient with me despite my temper tantrums…. for some reason my body just wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do! He guided me time and time again through each of the stages, one moment I had completed stage 1-4 and it looked like progress was being made and the next it had all gone wrong again. I was amazed at his attention to detail (noticing every time my hand drove into the water or I didn’t quite get the right line) but he calmly talked me through my mistakes and helped me find ways to overcome them. By the end of the session we had gone through all the stages but I felt strange in the water, everything felt very mechanical and I wasn’t going anywhere fast! So the final session “oh great, back to stage 1” I thought. However, we went through the stages again briefly and then I set off. A strange thing happened, finally all the stages came together and the leg kick (or lack of) just felt right. I was still concentrating on trying to fit each piece of the puzzle together but after a while I felt myself relaxing into it and it felt good. I swam a good few lengths in a row nice and easy but kept an eye on the clock for a rough idea of speed. I finished each 100m feeling fresh, it was absolutely effortless and although I wasn’t swimming at any top notch speed it wasn’t far off my ‘old style easy swim’, the only difference, I wasn’t even the slightest bit out of breath. Although I am certainly no expert yet, I do feel that this is a technique I will continue with. It is such an efficient stroke that for triathlon it is a ‘no brainer’, finish the swim with as much energy conserved for the next bit.