What’s Your Swimming Age?
10 months ago

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As you guys know, recently I took part in a Yakult Campaign with the Olympic swimmer, Jazz Carlin, to find out my swimming age.

The whole point of trying to find out my swimming age was to see what level I’m swimming at, based on the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) swimming competency framework.

On the day, we were asked to wear the Garmin Swim heart rate chest strap and forerunner 920 XT watch for the duration of the experiment. This was to monitor our heart rate.

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We had to take part in a range of 6 different swimming activities, using our preferred stroke. I chose front crawl and back stroke. Inbetween each activity, we were allowed a break, to allow our heart rate to return to baseline.

Swimming age was calculated as the average time taken to complete a task, plus the average number of swimming strokes per task. This number is then multiplied by heart rate change (expressed as a decimal), minus my age.

Based on previously studies, the optimum swimming age is approximately 21 and I have a swimming age of 20.

I guess I’m not that bad of a swimmer after all lol.

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The lovely Jazz gave me some amazing feedback following my swims, to help my technique.

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Her tips were :

1. Gliding: Instead of going straight into a stroke, practice gliding. Mastering a good leg kick is essential for maximising the propulsion and momentum at the start of a stroke and the fewer strokes you make, the less energy you use!
2. Technique: Enter each stroke a shoulder width apart as opposed to crossing arms and over-exerting yourself. Keeping your toes and hands pointed will also help to reduce energy used, making you more efficient in the water. For example pointing your toes will reduce drag in the water and dramatically increase your speed.
3. Efficiency: When you’re swimming freestyle it’s important to remain streamlined. Keep your head and chest down and lift your bottom up slightly. This will make kicking and travelling a lot easier.
4. Turns: When turning, use your hands for stability. If you practice this each week, you should notice an improvement in both your speed and stamina during turns.
5. Workout: Always try and use a variety of muscles in your sessions, working on different strokes and different parts of the stroke. Kicking is a great way to focus on your lower body and a pull buoy is a great way to isolate your upper body. If you mix it up, you will benefit from a full body workout.

Whilst these tips are specific to me, I thought they might be of some use to anyone struggling with their swimming technique.

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