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Swim Club Blog: What's Your SWOLF Score?

The Endurance Store Swim Club provides you with simple swim training plans throughout the winter months. The plan runs October to October and is completely free. We only ask that you pre-register so that your training plans can be emailed directly.

Registration is free and you may unsubscribe at any time from the Swim Club and stop receiving updates. Overview of the swim plan be seen below, but before you start you need to complete a test to set your swim paces, then register and download the sessions. GO HERE to register for swim club.

Last week we blogged about stroke rate versus stroke count. If you didn't read it, you can do so in full by GOING HERE. 

The way in which stroke rate (the speed of your arms) and stroke count (strokes per length) interact, is critical for swim perfomance. There is generally an excessive focus on stroke count and this often leads to the following:

1. An excessive slowing down of the stroke and a reduction in speed
2. An excessive focus on gliding to try and reduce the stroke count
3. Subsequent pauses / dead spots in the stroke as a result of 'over-gliding'

Have you noticed how much easier it is to swim in the pool when it's calm and still? When the water gets choppy, it seems much harder? That's because we don't glide well in choppy water.

If you over-glide and have pauses / dead spots in your stroke, then swimming in rough water is almost impossible, because you are reliant upon still water for the glide. For that reason, in open water, your performance will suffer. You need constant motion, your arms need to be propelling you forwards at all times to make progress.

What's SWOLF?

The game 'SWIM GOLF' is simple. Swim 50m, count your strokes and time yourself. Add the 2 figures together to get your SWOLF. For example, 55 seconds and 44 strokes gives you a score of 99.

Your efficiency improves as your SWOLF score comes down, but here is the problem. If you try and reduce your stroke count for 50m from 44 to 42 by gliding more, your time will probably be 3-4 seconds slower. As a result, your SWOLF gets worse. Taking fewer strokes is not really beneficial if you're swimming slower.

Try it in the pool this week and think about that dead spot!

Marc Laithwaite
The Endurance Store

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