Swim Speed Workouts Week 1-2: “One-Arm Sam” or “Finding the Inner Shark”

The Swim Speed Test Team is a group of volunteers that is testing out Sheila Taormina’s new book of waterproof swim workouts before it releases in March. Here’s what testers thought of the second workout, which you can download and try out for yourself (see below).

Swim Speed Workouts Test Team logoTEST TEAM SUMMARY OF WORKOUT 1-2:

Rich R. (The Phoenix Coming Off Injury): I played a lot of golf growing up and I learned to break my swing down into components so that I knew where I was at any point. Today, when I coach kids in hockey, I tell them the power comes from the back leg when crossing over. The crossover is the end of the movement, but if they miss it, then the movement isn’t as powerful.

I don’t know why I never equated that to swimming, but today the light went on for me. Catch, diagonal component, and finish. I feel like I can segment the stroke now like I was able to do with my golf swing. I also didn’t realize how little attention I was paying to the diagonal component and especially to the finish of the stroke. Having drills where I was able to focus on each part of the drill really allowed me to connect it all together. I feel like my stroke is becoming more connected now. And my times at the end of the workout were faster than at the beginning.

Craig P. (The Olympic Speed Racer): A good workout for isolating the different phases of the underwater pull.  The combination of doing one-arm drills while simultaneously focusing on individual phases of the underwater pull allowed me to get a better overall feel for the pull.

Ronald R. (The First-Time Ironman): This workout showed me some moments of what a great catch must be like. I could feel myself surging forward when the water felt solid. After practicing with the tubing for a week, my catch is starting to change.

Jennifer M. (The Coach): Who knew drills could make you so tired? I realize now that I have not been really focusing until now. My drilling in this workout was much better than it’s been in all my previous years of swimming. I’m no longer just going through the motions.

Greg S. (The 10x Ironman): There was a bit of a learning curve for me on the drills but that resolved fairly quickly.  It helped, as instructed, to review the drill cards before going to the pool. This workout helped me get a better feel for the water, even during the workout. The better water feel during the swim was most obvious during the 4×75 sets of 50 swim and 25 horizontal scull, as a result of the alternating intervals.

Catherine L. (The Number Cruncher): My first impression completing it was that this workout took more mental energy than physical energy. If I had to name this workout I would call it “Finding the Inner Shark by Pulling at the Sea Grass.” Swimming today slowed me in such a manner that it reminded me of swimming in shallow open water where I would pull myself along the grass to swim through it and get to deeper water. That’s my progress today — the realization that I have lost focus on my underwater pull. These workouts are going to help me get where I need to be. The in-depth focus and concentration on the underwater pull was enlightening.

Chad L. (The Sprint Speed Racer): Loved this workout (until the kicks)! First, it really made me focus on every aspect of the pull. Second, it made me realize how far I need to go: I could tell when I wasn’t focusing on the pull phases. I need a lot more work to have it come together.

Rebecca B. (The Open-Water Swimmer): Our swimming group felt there was too much one-arm drilling for one workout, but we really liked the 200s for building yardage. There is serious talk among our group about starting 10 minutes early in order to get the full number of yards. As for progress, it’s hard to say yet, but I think working with the tubing and focusing on drills is making my core stronger as well as the front of the deltoid muscle.

Michelle S. (The Beginner Swimmer): The first few laps my arms felt heavy from the previous workout which means something happened! The scull drill and one-arm pull with kickboard drills were awesome for engaging my lower abs and focusing concentration on high elbow catch.  As a beginner, swimming can be complicated and being able to compartmentalize and focus on one aspect really helps with improvement. The one-arm drills really work in terms of feeling the water and getting a catch!  I felt more confident with my stroke in the free and swimming almost felt like second nature at times!

Rhoden G. (The Soldier): The sculling is a great way to really get a feel for the water with the hands…The drills helped me focus on each portion of the stroke…Up to the bonus set, I was able to stay on the fastest times, but this set was not for the beginner. It was tough – a great cardio/leg challenge – but I was not able to stay up there, so I dropped the times a little and came in with just enough to get back on.

Scott P. (The Ironman Trainee): The looks you get when doing the Tarzan drills are always interesting. I find it interesting that at this point there really have not been any long, sustained distances. Even the 400 warm-up sets on Saturday were really just connected 100s.

TRY THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF SWIM SPEED WORKOUTS YOURSELF! Based on our Test Team feedback, you will be swimming noticeably faster after two weeks on the Swim Speed program. You’ll have developed a high-elbow catch and a better feel for the water. You’ll have begun to strengthen your core, and your swimming fitness will be rising rapidly. Click here to learn how.


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