5 Pro Tips To Swim Faster With Lucy Charles


– Swimming may be your
strongest discipline or it may be your weakest. Either way, we’re all searching
for ways to swim faster. So we’ve got the help of
uber swimmer Lucy Charles. – So here are my top five
tips for swimming faster. (mellow electronic music) Hey, so my first tip
that I’m gonna talk about is the catch, which is, basically, the front end of your stroke. And a lot of people, when
you say catch, they’re like what do you mean by catch. But basically, it is the
front end of your stroke. You want to anchor it, you
want to catch the water and you want to feel the water. And the main thing is really to be more efficient, so the
more water your can catch, the easier you’re gonna
get through the water and the faster you’re
gonna move through it. So that’s sort of my first tip. – So how would you go about reinforcing it or seeing whether you are
getting that catch or not? – Yeah, so the easiest
thing is if you can get your coach to film you
whilst you’re swimming because when I’ve been filmed before and watched it back, I
couldn’t actually believe that was me swimming. So if you can get your coach to film you, then you can actually
see what you’re doing. And, even better, if you can get access to an endless pool with
a mirror on the bottom, then you can really see
what you’re doing that way. – Is that what you do yourself then? – Yeah, so I’m lucky
enough to have one at home, so I really can reinforce, and I think my strokes actually improved
just from seeing that. – Brilliant, and then, are there actually any drills that you can do
to actually help that catch? – Yeah, definitely. So sculling is a key one, really, because you are
strengthening your forearms. And one that I always say to people and they always laugh is doggy paddle because it really is the
catch part of your stroke. You might feel silly doing
it, but it really does work. Okay, so my next tip is
structured swim sessions. I think if you get in and
you haven’t got a plan and you’re just floating
up and down aimlessly, one, it’s going to be really boring and you’re not going to get a lot from it. So if you’ve got a plan when you get in, you’re gonna get tonnes
more from the session, and it’s actually going
to be way more enjoyable. – Yeah, I think a lot of people fall into a trap with just trying to cover the distance they’re gonna do on race day and there’s no real
meaning to the session. So you get in and you actually follow a really structured session and different on each days, perhaps? – Yes, every day is normally different. I make sure there’s a lot of variation because I find swimming quite boring, if I’m honest, so I’m not gonna lie. Yeah, so the biggest
thing is if you’ve got a squad available to
you and you can get in and swim with the squad, then
I’d 100 percent go with that. – [Mark Threlfall] So is
that motivation as well? – Yeah, you’ve got that
slight competitive element, you’ve got other people pushing you, and you’ve got that
bit more social element that you don’t often get from swimming. So, 100 percent, go with that. – I think I’m very much the
same, actually (chuckles). – Okay, so up next, I want
to talk about arm rate, which is, basically, your
cadence with your stroke. And for Triathlon in open water, a high cadence stroke rate
often works a lot better, and I’m very lucky in that,
even when I was a poor swimmer, I had quite a high cadence stroke rate. Well, if you compare me
to my other half, Reese, he had quite a long, slow stroke rate, and he was always much
faster than me in the pool, but when we went over to open
water, he often struggled. So he’s actually had to
adapt his stroke rate now to a high cadence,
especially for open water. – [Mark Threlfall] So what
is it that you kind of need that high cadence for? – Particularly, if it’s
really chalky in the water, it actually helps a lot
more to have high cadence because you can not fight with the waves. You actually can get freedom and it works a lot better that way. – Because I guess the water’s moving, so you’ve got more chance
of catching a stroke, that sort of thing? – I think, like we talked
about earlier, the catch, if you’ve got a good catch
and a high cadence stroke, then you will really work with the waves and move through the
water that much better. – Is there anything you do in training to help that, or perhaps,
Reese is trying to implement in his training? – Yeah, often you can
actually do, I’d say, do half a length sprinting,
but you’re actually exaggerating that high
cadence stroke, right, so you’re doing it way
more than you would, but you’re going over and above. And if you can do that, then when you’re doing high cadence, but not exaggerated, it feels more normal. – So bring on those windmill arms. – Yeah, exactly. Okay, so my next tip
is bilateral breathing, which basically means being
able to breath to both sides. And when I was a swimmer,
I actually only breathed to the right hand side because
I was a lot faster like that. And when I moved into
triathlon, I actually found I had a lot of
issues and some injuries from bike and run because
I was so imbalanced from only rotating to that direction. So, in that respect,
I would definitely say you should bilaterally breathe,
but also in open water, you need to see what is going
on on both sides of you. So yeah, I’d definitely
say get in the pool and breathe to both sides. – So when you’re swimming
in the open water, if someone approached
on your left hand side, do you switch and start
breathing so you can see them? – Yeah, definitely, obviously, I’ve had to work on
breathing that way, as well, because I’m much more efficient
breathing to the right. But obviously, if you say, there’s someone coming up on your left and
you don’t look that way, you’re not gonna know they’re there, you’re not gonna make
use of drafting from them or anything like that. So yeah, you want to know
what’s going on on either side. – So how have you helped to improve that breathing in your training? – So I’m swimming the warm
up or swimming slowly, I’ll make sure I’m bilateral breathing, or even make sure I’m actually breathing to the weaker side, so I’m
getting stronger that way. But I still tend to revert back to breathing to the other side. – [Mark Threlfall] Because
I guess it’s quite hard to implement it in the middle of a hard session because
you’re trying to work really hard, you’re gonna opt for your preferred option though, aren’t you? – Yeah, definitely, and I’ve
got that competitive nature, as well, that if I’m getting left behind on a set with these faster swimmers because I’m breathing to my weaker side, then I’m gonna revert back to breathing on my stronger side.
– So start on the easy parts, the warm downs, the
recoveries, that’s the good… – Yeah, for my self,
I would almost call it lack of rehab because I’m strengthening the other side by breathing the other way, so whenever it’s easy stuff, I definitely make sure I’m bilateral breathing. Okay, so my next tip is speed work, and you may think this sounds pretty crazy because the distance I’m
doing is an Iron Man, and it’s very much endurance, but I definitely wouldn’t
neglect the speed work, you want to make sure you’ve
got that initial speed to break out at the start,
and then if somebody’s gonna surge in the swim,
you want to make sure you’ve got that speed to be able to react. – [Mark Threlfall] So what sort of session would you do in a week? – So my key session would
be something like 30 50s. So I would do that nearly every week and really working on the
speed and breaking out. – Are they all out maximum efforts? – So they’re vary from 25 max
to three quarters of the way to a whole 50 max, so you’ve got three and then you’re building your way through. – So there you go, there’s some top tips to swim faster with Lucy
Charles, thanks for joining us. – Thank you very much. – And if you liked this video, hit that thumbs up button, and to see more great videos from GTN, click
on the globe to subscribe. – And if you want to see the
swim skills video, click below. – And if you want to see some
swim workouts, click here.

100 thoughts on “5 Pro Tips To Swim Faster With Lucy Charles

  1. Which of these tips do you think will make the biggest improvement to your swimming? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below 👇

  2. Lol I'm having a swimming gala soon so I'm here just binge watching all swimming videos but not actually swimming. MY LIFEEEE. And also I'm 13 year old and my 50m butterfly is 56 seconds is that slow or fast?

  3. She and many of the pros kick quite a bit more than typical triathletes. Obviously this helps their time but keep in mind these are elite level triathletes and this is only possible at such high cadences because they have a mind blowing amount of endurance and fitness. I am a very competitive age grouper and I can and have done iron man distances but for me to kick as much as she is kicking here I would be gone in 500-700 meters!.. just completely demolished.
    I am aware that I tend to employ one whip kick per arm stroke typically at long distances (not in my shorter speed work obviously) therefore not consuming the oxygen needed to have a high kick rate beyond 700 meters and also saving my legs for the bike and run. These elites are absolutely amazing like on a lever that most cannot wrap their heads around and they seem to have an endless amount of leg endurance and an unreal Vo2max.

  4. Swimming has always been in my family and is has triathalons. My mom was in the junior olympics and she hasn’t really swam in a while and has gotten just a little out of shape, but my aunt still swims and is a swim coaches and does triathalons often. I feel worried because I’m starting a swim team for the first time (I’m in 7th grade 💀) even though I’ve been swimming my whole life I’ve never really done it competitively and I’m also in track/cross country but I can hardly run 2 miles. Biking well I’ve been doing that since I got on 2 wheels. Sooo, I’m still worried about my first swim team I feel like I’m starting too late. Erm

  5. very informative thanks, just taken up tri from a cycling TT background….loving all your videos. Keep them coming,…..thank you

  6. 1. use your arms
    2. use your legs
    3. use your arms and legs simultaneously !
    4. don't breed while you are underwater
    5. pick just one direction

  7. Heres a good tip…. swim nude….. no suit means no resistance and you compedators slow down out of confusion and watching you

  8. I swim with long slow powerful-ish strokes. If I were to increase my cadence, would that mean my stroke would have to become less "efficient" (pushing less water with less force) in order for me to be able to sustain the effort?

  9. Thanks for the tips! We'd love to see more about swimming in the open water, which brings many unique challenges to swimmers.

  10. Anyone else pay attention to their hands like I did during the whole vid? Their hands are so big and good looking, omg those 20 long fingers

  11. I love swimming and while in practice, I feel so terrible because I’m the slowest, I’m always behind. Everyone is done and I’m still swimming and finishing the practice. It sucks 😔

  12. He says, "Bring on the windmill arms"… and then the next background has a windmill in it…

    coincidence or was it ment to be that way?

  13. And endless pool with a mirror on the bottom? Yeah, ok I'll buy one.

    Anything else? No.

    Ok, just the pool then?

  14. Tips:
    1: Keep your fingers closed
    2: Structured swim sections
    3: Control how fast/slow your strokes are depending on water environment
    4: Breathe to both sides
    5: Focus on your speed

  15. Just getting into running tris at 37…also just fell in love with Lucy Charles! Global Tri Network…you’re OK. 🙂

  16. It'd be useful to know exactly how long the rest should be between each 50M sprint set. The less rest, the more likely this is going to be a threshold aerobic session (which I think is what she's doing), and not an anaerobic session. Ie 50M sprints with only 10sec rest is still a kind of CSS training.

  17. If you don't have a swimming background, and many Triathletes do not, you should see if there is a Masters swim team in your area. The quality of coaches for Masters teams will vary a lot, but if the team is fairly stable and has more than 10 or so people then it likely has someone on deck who is a decent coach. Teams with poor coaching tend to fall apart pretty quickly. If you can't find one, look for year round teams (ages 6 – 18). Obviously you can't swim with them, but very often the assistant coaches will do coaching on the side and they may be a less expensive way to get in some focused stroke technique work. I haven't met a coach yet who will turn down some side work as long as they don't feel their time is being wasted.

    Have your spouse/significant other/friend video you, and since many phones are water resistant, you can get video under water. No endless pool + mirror or coach required.

    Drills are very helpful, but you need to know which ones to do, when to do them, and how often per practice/week to do them. If you overdo it or do them incorrectly, you can end up worse off than if you hadn't done them at all. Being told, "Do drills to improve your catch" or "Keep your elbows high" or whatever the case may be doesn't mean YOU should be doing them, or that there aren't other issues with your stroke that should be sorted out first.

    Don't rely on fins, paddles, bouys, or boards. They all have their time and place, but if they are overused they become a crutch. Kicks without a board are fantastic for core strength. Same for pulls without bouys.

    Don't rely on only swimming freestyle. Breaststroke is extremely useful. Backstroke kicks (without fins or a board) are excellent for overall endurance. Butterfly for strength and endurance. Basically, don't just roll up, swim a ton of freestyle and be like, "1 and done!" because you're doing yourself a disservice.

  18. I'm 10 years old and I have a swimming competition four days after the first day at school c b and a squad are there it's at the aquadome in Inverness one like equals one good luck charm

  19. Thumbs Up. From Shaun' I don't want to put all my name online. Shauna. ' what did I enjoy the most I learned You are Short and Slim and You need more movements than Rest . . .

  20. 3:56 "do half a length sptinting" – it means half a length of the stroke, with accent on cathing, not ending?

  21. Swimming with a wetsuit in a pool, is it advisable? I have to get used to swimming with a wetsuit and would like to know if I can use a wetsuit in one of my swimming sessions at an indoor heated pool? We have ows but limited with time, temp and weather. Thanks for the tips Lucy Charles and GTN.

  22. i really wished i can swim.. i can run marathons and go cycling on full ironman distance… but im traumatized by drowning at sea when i was a kid… maybe im not made to become a triathlete.. just a marathoner/ cyclist. 😓 and im already 28 years old.. LoL 🤣

  23. I really struggle with breathing to my left, normally in open water every 2 breaths I throw my head up quickly. But this has helped greatly 🙂

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