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Rowdy Gaines and Mel Stewart at WSC

posted September 16, 2008 @ 3:58 AM  |  Meets, Open Water, and Other Events | Technique, Tips, and Drills category

WSC-Rowdy_Mel-091308.gif On September 13, Rowdy Gaines and Mel Stewart hosted a swim clinic for the Water Rat Swim Team. A few of our WSC Swimmers were in attendance too.

Photo: Rowdy Gaines, Jake Gulick, Laura Burke, Billy Geoghan, Mel Stewart

~Billy Geoghegan writes:

Rowdy and Mel talked all drills. For free, Rowdy pretty much described as Mel demonstrated. A main thrust was body positioning. The first step was moving the head down, or "level swimming", not as we are used to, with the waterline just over our goggles. The head up position forces the back down, and presents a larger frontal area to the water, therefore more resistance. And streamlining off turns, with dolphin kicks was said to be "40% of the job". One drill was to keep one arm back at your side and stroke with the other arm. If you were moving the left arm you would then breathe on the right side to create rotation making the right shoulder nearly perpendicular to the bottom of the pool (when out of the water). One must be careful not to crossover when doing this drill. Rowdy also had the kids swim with their legs crossed at the ankles. This proved how important the kick is while keeping the feet aligned with the rest of the body at the surface. The fist drill was then added as a method of showing the importance of forearm positioning. Rowdy said that when kicking, to have at most, the heels break the surface.

Another drill was related to hand (arm) speed. Everyone had to try to turn their hands over as fast as possible when swimming while keeping the head up and out of the water. One point I found very interesting from him was about the finish. He said you "don't" (necessarily) have to finish past your suit. Most of the strength and speed from the hands are done by the time your hand position reached the suit, at that point you are only pushing water up thus pushing your body position down.

Mel worked the butterfly drills. He stressed how important the body is from chest to knees -that's where all the power is. They worked sculling, like we do, hands under body at the chest section and feeling the water being pushed by the hands. He also had the kids swim laps with the head completely out of the water doing fly.

By the way, Mel was telling us how he is swimming Masters, and how is wife is too, and is loving it. It was a great presentation in a short time!

Thanks so much, Billy!


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