2017 English Channel swim

Monday, September 27, 2010

Favorite pool toy

During my early training season of pool workouts, I include the use of my favorite "pool toy"...velcro ankle straps by Speedo. With my ankles strapped together, I swim freestyle (front crawl) and I closely pay attention to my balance in the water. I use my core strength to stay balanced. If my hips start to drop, I'll adjust my stroke and core until I'm perfectly balanced. Also, if I start to fishtail (swaying) then I know that my pull is unequal and I need to focus on equal pulling. Don't kick. Likewise, if your not balanced during bilateral breathing, your legs will sink. During flip turns, focus on using your core muscles to turn. It's a challenging workout that requires the swimmer to focus on their swim technique and core strength. The use of velcro straps is recommended for the intermediate and advanced swimmer. I purchased Speedo ankle straps online for under ten dollars.....great pool toy for the money. Give it a try and you may find that it becomes your favorite pool toy, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Corkscrew drill for open water training

Recently, I was asked what's my favorite open water drill during training season.   Without hesitating, I responded the corkscrew drill.  This drill helps to strengthen the core,  improves balance,  builds endurance, and helps fine-tune bilateral breathing.   There are many variations of this drill.  Some coaches recommend going from backstroke to freestyle after every stroke....for me,  it caused severe dizziness so I had to adjust the drill.   So this if my variation,  start off with the freestyle (front crawl).  After taking  three full strokes, while your right hand is near your right hip and your left hand is extended in front of your left shoulder, quickly rotate to your back, using your core strength to turn.  Do not use your hands to help with rotation.  Swim three full strokes of backstroke, then quickly rotate to the front crawl using your core strength.   Again, don't use your hands to rotate.  ***Be mindful of hand entry for both strokes***.  Enter each hand stroke  in line with your shoulder and don't cross the center line of your body.  Continue to swim a few strokes backstroke, rotate, few strokes freestyle, rotate, few strokes backstroke, etc.     Rotate core to the right for a few strokes and then rotate core to the left.  Incorporate this drill into you workouts for five minutes to start, then as your endurance builds extend your time.  This drill helped me when I swam the Strait of Gibraltar.   Five minutes into my swim a large wave loosened my goggles.  I quickly rotated to my back, adjusted my goggles and continued kicking while moving forward, then quickly rotated to the front crawl using my core strength.   One hour later I started having dry heaves from diesel fumes, instead of stopping, I quickly rotated to my back, continued with backstroke, moving forward .  My crew gave me some crystallized ginger to ease the nausea (it worked) ,  I quickly rotated to freestyle without stopping.   I completed my swim in record time......I believe my corkscrew drills in practice helped me to have one of my strongest swims.  I would highly recommend incorporating this drill into your swim practice.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today I received this photo of Philippe Croizon from friends Evelyn and David from Dover, England.  Philippe  is a quadruple amputee who successfully swam across the English Channel in a time of 13 and 1/2hours.  He had his limbs amputated after a tragic electrical shock accident.  I am in awe of his accomplishment.   He is my new hero.   Such determination and spirit.  Congratulations, Philippe.   His next quest is swimming the Strait of Gibraltar.  Go, Philippe!! You're an inspiration.