IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Friday, January 26, 2007

Swim Analysis

About two weeks ago, I had a swim analysis done by Brett Petersen of Petersen Performance Lab. I've been swimming for quite a number of years, but I've never seen myself on video and I've never had any type of analysis done.

I was filmed both under water, where I swam directly toward the camera and above water, while he walked alongside the pool as I swam. All in all, the taping part couldn't have been more than 2 minutes. I didn't know what to expect as I anxiously awaited the DVD to come back to me.

As soon as I picked up the DVD and came home, I popped it into the computer. This software automatically downloaded and on my screen there is a large window where the video can be played. To the right of that, there is a comment section. Below those two windows are smaller still frame shots of various points in time during my stroke where Brett felt it was important to point out some key element. Included on the still frames are yellow markings to indicate what to look at in each particular view. If you double click on the still frame, it will pop into the large window on the left and the corresponding comments to that particular position during your stroke show up.

You can view the video all at once or in small sections. There is a drop down menu to select which video you want to see (above surface, below, first swim, second swim, etc.). Now some of the things that were pointed out are not news to me. However, by looking closely at some of the elements of my stroke, I see things that I do in the water that I never realized. You can think you're doing something perfectly correct, that is until you see it on camera!

Since I've reviewed the DVD, I've been focusing on correcting some of the flaws in my stroke. The unfortunate part of working so intensely on technique is that you cannot maintain your speed. I find myself trying to think of about 5-6 different things all at once that I'm trying to imrpove. Next thing you know, I'm being lapped by the other people in my lane!

But this is just the first session of a two-part clinic. The idea is to be taped, review the analysis and work on making improvements, and then I will be taped again in a few weeks. At that time, I will be taped again and then the two videos will be compared to see if I've been able to make any improvements.

I've realized how difficult it is to try to change something that you do on autopilot. You must concentrate on the improvements on every length until it then becomes habit. But when you've done something the same way for so long that you don't even think about it anymore, well, it's easy to be distracted (remember those hairballs I talked about during my 100x100x100 swim??). And then to keep those new and improved skills in tact while you pick up speed and/or try to sprint is even more of a challenge.

So I'm working very hard at trying to improve my stroke and I've even asked my lane mates to point out when they see I'm making some of my habitual mistakes (and they're MORE than happy to help me out with that!). The next taping is at the end of February and it will be interesting to see how much of an improvement, if any I can make. Even more interesting will be to see if I can drop my normal interval times.

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