Swim Jargon, Language, Do YOU Understand It?

Negative split. Catch. CSS training. Threshold. Feel of the water. Functional training.

These are all terms bandied around by athletes, coaches and magazines alike. Things we all see and hear weekly or even daily. But do YOU actually know what these words or terms actually mean?

The language that we use defines how we perform our actions. Make sure that you understand what you are doing – and more importantly why you are doing it!

Here are a few bits that we think might need a bit of explaining!

Catch – Commonly known as the front end of your swim stroke (freestyle or otherwise). But can you really “catch” the water? I’m not a fan of the term, it has to be said, I’d prefer to refer to it as engaging on the water. But whatever you call it, your first contact on the water each stroke is what sets you up, gets you moving and sends you forward.

Rotation – Movement from the shoulders, and more importantly the hips away from being flat in the water. The idea is that we want to make sure that the resistance we present to the water is minimal, while at the same time using the largest upper body muscles (lats) and making it easier for ourselves to breath. We’re not expecting to get to 90 degrees to the water like the drills encourage you to do, but a good 30-40 degrees would be nice.

Feel for the water – another very esoteric term… water is wet! What it really means is feeling contact, feeling pressure through all parts of the stroke, and having a control over what you are doing. Too many athletes are concerned with cadence, or arm turnover, and not actually being able to feel like they are pushing the water back or levering themselves forward. Consequently their hands slice through the water like a knife through butter, and they go very little distance per stroke.

CSS – Critical swim speed training – It’s an approximation of your lactate threshold speed and you can find it by doing a couple of swimming tests. This isn’t something that I like to use personally – as I feel that it encourages too much rushing, but this is my own personal opinion and plenty of people use it to good effect!

Negative Split – to do the second half of a swim (or a bike or run!) as fast if not faster than the second half. To do this well takes a good understanding of your body and how to pace yourself. The best swims or events are the ones done with an even pacing rather than going too hard to start with and falling apart.

Hopefully these little explanations have helped. What terms do you not fully understand? What would help you understand your swim and swim sessions more? Get in touch and let us know!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here!

See what’s up next week for our #SwimTechTues tip!

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