NEW edition of Sheila's original book, Swim Speed Secrets! Includes crystal clear underwater photographs of 2016 Olympic gold medalists!
In her best-selling Swim Speed series, Sheila Taormina breaks down the science and data of fast swimming in understandable terms for athletes of all ages. Each chapter, filled with crystal clear underwater photos of Olympic medalists and world record holders, provides competitive swimmers and triathletes the information needed to practice with purpose - helping them to realize their goals.
To learn more about the Swim Speed series, keep up on the publisher's latest news & posts, and order, please visit www.velopress.com/category/swim-speed
BOOK REVIEWS AND SWIM CLINIC TESTIMONIALS
I just wanted to thank you again for your help at the clinic this past weekend and I wanted to share the immediate improvements I am seeing.
On Monday (the day after the clinic) I was a little sore, but swam a 3,000 yard workout. At the end I swam 4 x100 free, descend. Last week I started this set at 1:17 and finished at 1:12. After your expert coaching I swam the first 100 in 1:15 and the last one in 1:07!!!! Last night I did 5x50 descend (pushing off the wall) and finished the last one in :29! My Master's PR off the blocks is 28.0 seconds! I guess I was letting a lot of water slip by before you helped me.
Thank you very much for helping me this past weekend. I really appreciate your explanations of the physics behind swimming and the energy and fun you put into the instruction.
Recently, I bought your book: Swim Speed Secrets and, now, three weeks later I am experiencing time drops that I wouldn't have imagined possible: not even in my wildest dreams.
Today I went 2:13 for a 200 M Free from a push off. While to many, that is not a very remarkable time, when you consider that three weeks ago I could barely go 2:20, you realize how much of an achievement it is.
The freestyle pull has never been explained so clearly to me. The thing is I thought I had been doing it correctly, but I hadn't.
The stretch cords that I ordered arrived last week and thus far I have only used them once, so I can't attribute my gains to any increase in strength.
I realize it is early days, but I feel so excited. I think about swimming all the time and I just can't wait to take the next step on my swimming adventure. Your book has ignited a fire in me. Thank you so much.
Why did I write a new edition of Swim Speed Secrets?
From the Preface of the new edition:
When I wrote Swim Speed Secrets in 2011, I had one principal goal: to steer swimmers and triathletes away from excessive gliding. Rumors of low stroke count waterlogged the market so much that athletes were led to believe this factor was the one and only key to fast swimming. Gliding with a sleek body position became the most doable method people discovered would help them reach the low stroke counts of Olympic champions. The problem was that the other half of the swimming equation – rate of turnover - was completely ignored, and athletes were not finding themselves any faster.
So, I set out to introduce the “rate” side of the equation in the original edition of this book. I wanted to show athletes that once they understood the importance of rate, they would realize low stroke count is not effectively achieved by gliding but rather by properly navigating the propulsive phases of the stroke. The majority of my effort in the original edition was directed toward convincing readers of my rationale.
Today, in 2018, most athletes understand they must pay attention to the propulsive aspects of the stroke to achieve low stroke count while also attending to the rate side of the equation – the combination that makes for fast swimming.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching swimmers and triathletes begin the process of adopting the very doable, although challenging, stroking mechanics of elite swimmers. Their hard work is paying off. Times are dropping and physiques are changing – telltale signs of solid mechanics.
This is exciting, but there is more. I now want to delve deeper into the stroke.
In the original edition, I did not provide enough guidance on the stroke itself. Two factors contributed to the lack: 1) As mentioned, my primary focus was affecting change in the swimming community’s mindset, and 2) I believed that broad descriptions of the stroke were enough for readers to apply solid mechanics.
However, the more I’ve studied technique and worked with athletes of all levels, the more I have honed in on details that - although sometimes barely perceptible - have the power to limit performance tremendously if navigated incorrectly, or at the wrong moment, or not at all. Thus, broad descriptions are simply too vague. They leave too much room for misinterpretation, or leave out key elements altogether. If, for instance, a coach says, make a “deep catch,” then how does the swimmer know what that means exactly? What is deep enough? What is too deep? Should the swimmer think about the hand, the shoulder, elbow, or some other part of the arm when considering the depth? This uncertainty simply leaves too much to chance and too much potential on the table.
Coaches have fallen into a habit of describing this complex sport in short phrases, usually in 4 words or less. “Rotate,” “glide,” “kick from the hips,” “keep your head down,” “reach,” “pull straight back,” and so forth. This is partly practical - swimmers get cold if they have to stand too long at the wall listening to a lengthy explanation of what to do. But it becomes far too easy to write off a slower swimmer as someone who “just doesn’t have a feel for the water.” If a swimmer does not improve after being instructed to “kick from the hips,” for example, the instruction itself is not questioned, it is the swimmer who either didn’t start swimming at an early enough age and therefore is behind the curve and always will be, or who doesn’t have kinesthetic awareness, flexibility, or strength.
In this revised edition, my goal is to change that by adding the depth of guidance.
I believe elite stroking is within every athlete’s grasp, but too many athletes are missing out on their potential for lack of guidance on the details. They’re “making a catch,” but they’re doing it too late, too wide, or with improper hand speed. In the following pages, I will unpeel the deepest layers of the stroke and hone in the checklist that is required for making a great catch, as well as other phases of the stroke.
Those who have read the original edition of this book will recall that its theme centered on organizing the massive amount of information relating to swim technique and then lasering focus on the few vital elements of the stroke. That remains the theme in this new edition. The propulsive phases of the stroke are still where I contend we must place the majority of our focus. However, in this edition I have defined how to navigate those phases in more detail, so that athletes do not miss a critical element that can make the difference in performance.
Complementing this in-depth description of the propulsive phases of the stroke are several other related updates, including the following:
1. Hand speed change:
Feel for the water is an area I’ve examined closely for several years. The generally accepted truth about it in our sport is that an athlete either “has it” or doesn’t. I have never bought into that mindset. Working with hundreds of athletes over the years has led me to see that this vital element is teachable, not simply a gift to the lucky few. Feel is closely related to hand speed change throughout the stroke cycle. Not hand speed; Hand speed change. In this edition, I teach the finer points of acceleration, namely the unique movements at the beginning of the propulsive stroke cycle that affect hand speed (hint: they do not entail a passive “gliding” motion). Once swimmers learn the details behind these movements, they will understand and “feel” the secret ingredient to elite propulsion.
2. Oar Locks
In studying minute details of the stroke in action, I noted that some athletes employed very good mechanics but failed to effectively transfer momentum to the core. Their speed did not match their mechanics; they were slower than they should have been. This led me to the discovery of a key detail in the stroke that has never been addressed in our sport. I term it oarlocks and here’s why it matters: unstable oarlocks diminish the effect of great mechanics. Stable oarlocks, on the other hand, reward the swimmer by maximally converting propulsive power from the limbs to the body’s movement forward. In this new edition, you will learn where the oarlocks are on a swimmer and how to stabilize them. I’m extremely excited to share this crucial information with readers.
3. Reinforcement of Pull Path
Since the original edition of Swim Speed Secrets was published 6 years ago, an ideology that began in the early 2000s has grown in popularity – the “pull straight back” craze. I’ve watched with uneasiness as coaches and swimmers revile the S-Pull to such an extent that they’ve swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. The newly chosen semantics imply that swimmers should eliminate all movement on the lateral and vertical dimensions of our 3-dimensional sport. The result? Shoulder injuries are skyrocketing, and swimmers who use this path are not getting faster. While some progress has been made toward convincing athletes of the curvilinear path, the straight-back path is still too readily taught. This edition includes a section intended to redirect the pendulum, along with photos throughout of the most current freestyle Olympic medalists from Rio 2016, confirming the curvilinear path in their strokes.
4. New Drills
The drills in the original edition were chosen to correlate with the broad stroking guidance I gave in that book. Now that we are unveiling deeper layers of the stroke, I’ve selected drills that correlate with those details. Don’t worry – while a few may be a little more challenging than you’re accustomed to, all are very doable, and will help you develop a championship stroke down to the last detail.
5. Applying Rate
Rate is a significant topic in the original edition, and here I take a more extensive look at how it is applied. Rate is not automatic; it must be trained. In the original edition, I addressed only racing rates of turnover, but in order to reach those, a swimmer must know how to apply rate of turnover in training. In this edition, I explain how that is accomplished.
6. The Non-Vital Elements of the Stroke:
Finally, while I will always believe the majority of a swimmer’s focus should be on the critical underwater pull path, there are other parts of the stroke that do impact performance. In the original edition of this book I did not address those. In this edition I dedicate a chapter to the details behind those elements, and explain how to train them.
I’m excited to share these updates and the many discoveries I’ve made along the way as I’ve studied our amazing sport. My overarching goal with this book is the same as it has been since the first edition: to help those interested in getting faster discover the beauty, science and art of propulsive swimming.
NEW EDITION OF SWIM SPEED SECRETS COMING OFF THE PRESS MARCH 2018!