I recently had the opportunity to help Coach Al Lyman conduct a swim clinic for a great group of elite triathletes – including some fantastic swimmers. Attending were 2-time Kona top-ten finisher and former champion backstroker at Stanford Dede Griesbauer, 2008 Olympic Triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker, 2-time (and current) under-23 US champion and former U Michigan swimmer Ethan Brown, Neo-pro and former overall amateur winner at IM Lake Placid and Kona Alex “Iron Doc” McDonald, and our very own Lisbeth.
I stayed up on deck and helped Al do some underwater filming, and also helped analyze strokes. Now, all of these folks swim well, and some swim at the pointy end of the pro field. But we all agreed that no one is perfect and everyone can improve. The very fact that each of these champions have that mindset should carry them all to even more success.
Rob Sleamaker, head honcho of Vasa arranged this clinic to so that all of these athletes would have the opportunity to get some tips to work on during the off season, and also to help them learn how to maximize their swim training through supplementing swim time with the Vasa. Lis and I have been using ours for almost a year, and it’s a great time saver and the best way to improve your swim-specific functional strength.
After some morning stroke filming, Al gave a chalk-talk explaining the fine points of modern freestyle for triathletes. We then stepped through each swimmer’s underwater videos in a group setting, where everyone, including coach Tim Crowley, could and did critique everyone else’s strokes. I think this group analysis is great – it helps everyone learn.
We then went back to the pool and the athletes rotated through swim drills, stretching, and working on the Vasa ergometers poolside. One thing was clear – even these great athletes can improve their functional strength, flexibility and coordination. That means that each of them can get even faster – scary stuff.
All in all a great success, and very similar to the swim clinic format offered by Coach Al, Lis and I in the near future to everyday triathletes. Look for some video clips soon!