BY Meghan Satterstrom//Correspondent
Splash had the pleasure of speaking with Duane Sorensen, the head coach of Iowa State University Women’s Swimming and Diving Team. Sorenson gave us his recipe for success for swimming the 100-yard breast stroke.
Coach Sorensen says his strategy for this race is fairly simple: take small arm pulls during the first 50 yards and larger arm pulls in the second 50 yards. His idea behind this is that when swimmers get tired, their arm strokes naturally tend to get smaller. While it sounds simple, by really concentrating on larger strokes during the last 50 yards, hopefully that will keep the stroke from becoming shortened or rushed.
Another simple strategy coach Sorenson tells his swimmers for this race is to swim it at about 95-95% effort. While this may sound unusual for a sprint race, he says swimmers too often rush their stroke when trying to go all out on this race and end up losing their timing and rhythm, both which are vital to the breaststroke.
His favorite drill to prepare for this race is to focus on stroke count. This drill can be customized by starting with any stroke number and working up or down, but the main idea is to work on timing and rhythm.
Count your strokes during each 25 yard and add a stroke each time. For example, first length= 6 strokes, second= 7 strokes, third=8 strokes, fourth=9 strokes. Swimmers can feel how the rhythm and timing differs by adding strokes to each length. After adding strokes, then move back down and subtract one on each individual 25 yard. After working on this drill, move directly to the set below.
6x100, on an interval where swimmer will get 15-20 seconds rest. Incorporate principles fromm the above drill into this set:
1-3: add one stroke each 25 within the 100 yard
3-6: subtract one stroke each 25 within the 100 yard
If the swimmer-to-coach ratio and time allow, time each 25 yard swim within the 100’s to see which has the fastest time with the lowest amount of strokes to find the optimal stroke count. Stroke counting isn’t just for backstroke and freestyle. Coach Sorensen says the fastest breaststrokers in the world count their stroke to stay efficient.