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Coaches Blog – Long Course Season

The short course season has finished and the long course season is upon us. For those parents and swimmers who have not been through the process before, what are the major things to be aware of?

Conversion times are “guesstimates”

One of the major points of conversation when swimmers and parents are first experiencing long course swimming are the conversion times that appear on meet mobile or when entering competitions. The conversion times are worked out as a very rough estimates based on the average times of swimmers who have previously raced long and short course events. They do not take in to account the many many differences between swimmers and their skill level. So whilst the conversion times are useful and allow clubs and teams to ensure swimmers who are fast enough qualify for certain meets, they are not a perfect guide and therefore should not be deemed personal best times.

Why is a short course pool so much faster?

For swimmers who are particularly skilled in underwater fly kicking and turns, the short course pool is significantly faster. As a programme, these are some of the main focus points for our junior programme, so Hamilton Aquatics swimmers should see significant improvements in a short course pool when compared to the 50m pool.

Why do some swimmers transfer to long course swimming better than others?

The long course competitions will often see some swimmers who competed well in the short course pool struggle to transfer to the long course season. There can be many reasons for this, but in my opinion the main areas for swimmers to work on are efficiency of stroke and then consistent attendance of training.

Swimmers who are inefficient will struggle to transfer their strokes to a long course pool, due to the higher percentage of time that they are swimming per 50m. Distance per stroke, stroke counts, reducing resistance – these are key to allowing swimmers to maintain their speed in the second half of each 50m. Tying into this is attendance. Swimmers who are not fit enough will also struggle to compete in a long course environment, so it is VITAL that swimmers are attending the right number of sessions prescribed to them by their coach, dependent on their development. When swimmers get the right balance of technical efficiency in their strokes and conditioning from their training – magic will happen in the long course pool!


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