Lesson Series Winter 2018

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    Mat Hudson

    First Session – February 27

    Hello Heather!

    I am glad to start working with you on these fundamental freestyle skills today. 


    Today’s Lessons

    You may view the outline for the general Balance And Streamline Lessons.

    We had less time than planned today so we covered just the first part of the first lesson on balance. In the next session together, we will carry on where we left off and cover the other skills and drills for streamline (Skate Position). 


    Some Additional Reading

    You may review our introduction to the Balance Streamline Propulsion Pyramid. You’ll use this BSP organization to help you set priorities in your skill learning process.

    A central feature of our Total Immersion method is our use of Focal Points to create a super-learning situation for your brain. You may review our introduction to Focal Points.

    Ass you do your personal practice between our live sessions, you may appreciate some guidance on how to organize your efforts. You may read How To Practice.

    And, if you want even more structure and guidance for how to practices these new skills in an orderly way, you may start studying the Freestyle Fundamentals online course that has been designed specifically for those who are taking or have finished our live Freestyle lesson series. You are enrolled in this online course automatically as part of your live lesson experience.


    Thank you.

    Mat Hudson

    Second Session – March 7

    Today we reviewed your balance in Superman for a while to improve your awareness and skill for getting your bodyline on the neutral line just under the surface.

    As I explained, your higher density body composition means that you body will be more dramatically affected by gravity when you deviate from that neutral line. Gravity will shove your body deeper and water pressure will be too slow in pushing you back up.

    You explained your great insight in backstroke about keeping your head deeper in the water (= on the neutral line) to make it easier to keep the body parallel to the surface.

    Focal Points that helped you in Superman

    • weightless head
    • keep arms on track
    • keep wrists as target depth
    • Tippy Toes to firm up the frame of the body**

    **This one seemed to really help your body slide up and remain parallel to the surface a bit longer.


    Skate Position

    Then we worked on Superman To Skate drill.

    You may review the main focal points for Skate Position in the outline for Balance And Streamline Lessons.

    In particular, toward the end, I had you focus on keeping that Skate side of the body long and straight like a skate blade. You imagined stretching an elastic band from wrist to ankle.

    Then I did a successful experiment with you by introducing you to the Counter-Balanced Foot Position. Now your feet learned their role in keeping your body more stable and streamline in Skate Position. I was so pleased with how quickly you picked up on this. Your foot immediately found it spot!


    Interrupted Breathing

    I showed you how to get into Interrupted Breathing Position, and how to use that in the middle of doing drills or swimming laps. Likewise, you did so well picking up this skill.


    More Ideal Arm Overlap

    Lastly, I gave you a preview of the new stroke timing you are going to learn. I used the term ‘arm overlap’ to describe how you hold Skate Position longer and then wait for the other arm (we call the recovery arm) to come forward and overlap that lead arm part way. This allows your body to remain in streamline and conserve forward momentum a bit longer in each stroke.

    I had you ‘trick your brain’ by saying you were going to do a ‘drill, not swim’. And then I had you do Right Skate To Superman To Left Skate To Superman, and so on. And by this, you were immediately able to change the timing of your stroke, to create this more ideal arm overlap on each stroke.

    Then I had you try that drill and insert an Interrupted Breath in the middle, then resume the drill. I did this to show you how to combine both and possibly enable you to do this drill down the length of the pool and have a form of breathing that did not disrupt your balance and streamline.


    Great job today. I really enjoy working with you. Your brain and body are quite receptive to the new skills and you are an eager student. Thanks!

    PS – remind me to show you an improvement for your backstroke next time, ok?

    Mat Hudson

    Third Session – March 13

    We took the first part of our time today to review your Skate Position and focal points, to reassure yourself that those skills are sticking and you are ready to build upon them.


    Prevent Getting Overwhelmed

    With all these skills being so new, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Like a big buffet spread out before you, you can’t eat it all at once! So, you just serve up a small plate at a time and work on digesting that. But what to work on first, and then in what order for the rest?

    You have access to the Freestyle Fundamentals online course. This lays out the skill you have been learning in an orderly progression for your practice time.

    I explained how you need to use the progression of activities to control the level of complexity you are placing upon those new skills. This article Activities and Complexity describes how you can choose the activity to fit what you can handle at the moment, and it gives some examples for how you can build a practice set that fits your abilities and offers your body and brain just the right amount of challenge to stretch your skills further.


    Recovery Swing

    Today, we began work on the Recovery Swing which is explained in the outline for Send Force Forward, which is the main purpose of that recovery swing. This outline will provide more focal points and activities than we covered in today’s lesson, but you should recognize what we did cover and may intuit what the others are.

    We worked with these activities:

    • Standing rehearsal
    • One-Arm Recovery Swing
    • Alternate Arm Recovery Swing (with pause at Entry Position)
    • Alternate Arm Recovery Swing (remove pause at Entry Position)

    To assist with sinking legs and buy your more time at the surface, I put my Finis Positive Drive fins on your feet so you could do Skate and Recovery drills more comfortably. That seemed to do the trick and keep your body at the surface.

    When doing slow-motion drill work, I would recommend doing a good portion of your Skate and Recovery drills with short fins on so that you can have more time in motion to etch these new patterns. Then when you feel ready to try speeding up the action of the recovery, closer to normal swim stroke rate, you can take off the fins to test out your alternating recovery swing.

    In our next session together, we will work on this recovery swing further and then add some rhythmic breathing to the choreography!

    Send me reports and questions any time.



    Mat Hudson

    Fourth Session – April 5

    Today we reviewed your Skate Position and made some tune up to that since it has been a few weeks since we practiced together. I had you wear the Positive Drive fins to buy you more time near the surface as you practiced the drills.

    And then we reviewed the Recovery Swing, which you were doing very well. You were able to keep your Skate Position long, firm, stable as you swung the arm forward. We started with single arm swings, and then moved to switching the arms.

    This put you in position to begin working on the Rhythmic Breathing skills. (click that link to read the outline for this standard lesson).

    We began with Superman to Skate drill, with a turn of the head. And right away you ran into a struggle of getting the head to stay near the surface. So we spent the rest of the time exploring the cause for that and working out your solution, using the thrust of the catch, keeping a low rotation angle, turning the neck farther, and taking more care to avoid pushing the head downward as it turns.

    Since you have requested some additional lessons I did not feel obligated to cram all the breathing skills into this lesson and instead took time to just work out these preliminary skills first.

    For now, you are moving slowly in drill mode to execute the movements carefully. For this, I recommend you use the fins to give you some lift to the legs and buy your time in drill position. As the choreography of the stroke is more familiar and you can do with at a bit faster tempo with a bit more power, you can take off the fins and practice with the velocity and lift provided by that more normal stroke tempo.

    I look forward to our next lesson where we can expand your breathing skill further!

    Mat Hudson

    Fifth Session – April 13

    Last time we began work on Rhythmic Breathing using a sequence of drills. We just started and knew we would take more time to work on this.

    I explained that in drill position, the body is deeper and our intention is to practice the choreography of the breathing action in slower motion, while we can more easily observe and control the motion. But it is not always easy or possible to actually take a breath from this deeper drill position. We need to increase velocity with a more normal speed stroke, but we need that stroke to follow the new pattern – increasing speed too soon can trip the circuit and shove the swimmer back to the old pattern. So we have a tension between needing more speed to get closer to air and needing to maintain a new movement pattern in that recovery swing that may not be ready for more speed yet.


    Speed Up Stroke Tempo

    My intention for this session was to consolidate your Skate and Recovery skills to allow you to speed up the stroke tempo, to create a bit more velocity and a bit more lift, putting you in better position to actually take a breath. We would have to see how it goes to determine if we could actually insert the breathing action into the faster stroke, or we need to work on that stroke more.

    In the warm pool, I had you do a series of whole strokes, no breathing. On each new repeat I had you increase the speed of your recovery swing ‘one click of the dial’ while also letting the forearm come out of the water just a bit, corresponding to the increased speed. We went from entire forearm submerged, to half the forearm submerged, to the watch band submerged, to the hand submerged, to the fingers submerged to just the fingertips brushing the surface. In order to get the forearm farther out of the water, I instructed you to send the hand wider rather than pull the elbow higher.

    The faster swing of the recovery arm allows that arm to travel a bit more lightly over the torso, not pushing down on the torso as much. The recovery swing should feel light vertically, while swinging with momentum horizontally (like swinging a bag with the intention to let go and have it fly forward).

    You did this sequence fairly well. So we moved over to the cool lap lane pool to try out the faster stroke over a bit more distance.


    Stroke Overlap Plus Breathing

    In the lap lane, I had you swim several non-breathing strokes to test your stroke overlap (the arm switch timing) which would be critical for the best timing of the breathing action. You did very well keeping the overlap on those non-breathing stroke. But I observed that there was not as much lift in your body as I was hoping to see – I sensed that your underwater catch/pull was not working in coordination with your entry and extension and that disconnection would contribute to not getting more lift from your stroke.

    Then I had you insert a turn to breath in the middle of the stroke sequence and we observed that this broke the stroke pattern.

    I tested you again with the same sequence of strokes plus a ‘3-part breathing’ action inserted in the middle:

    1. Slide into Skate, pause the back arm
    2. Turn/return the head
    3. Resume the recovery arm swing

    I observed that your stroke pattern still broke at step 3 – the pause with the arm to you side triggered the lead arm to pull as you started the recovery swing, and then you were not able to restore the desired stroke pattern after that.

    We had just a few minutes left at this point. I paused and pondered and decided we need two steps at this point: 1) to add the lesson on the underwater catch and 2) to set up another drill to help you train your brain to hold the same stroke pattern after the breathing action.


    Intro To The Catch

    In the last few minutes I took you back to the warm pool to briefly explain and demonstrate how the catch arm will work with the entry/extension arm, so you could feel the connection between the two sides of the body and get a sense of this potential. We will take a good portion of time in the next lesson to work on this.

    Then we will add breathing work upon the catch skills and see how we can get you closer to an easy breathing position.

    Mat Hudson

    Session #6 – April 20

    In this session we stepped fully into the Catch skills and spent the time developing the shape, path and pressure of the catch arm and the connection with the entry. You may view the outline for The Catch lesson.

    In the relative comfort of the warmer lap lanes of the Courthouse Lancaster club you were able to spend the whole time doing drills, then longer repeats (without breathing) to get in a lot more repetitions of the movement pattern.

    I had you work through this series of activities:

    • 1-Arm drill
    • Superman plus Catch to Skate (holding the rubber ring in your lead hand)
    • Whole Strokes (without breathing)

    I introduced you to the analogy of ‘the ball’ (or beachball) of water molecules at first. Later I used the analogy of the underwater ladder.

    You used these primary focal points:

    • Touch The Ball
    • Hold the ball and rotate past (use the torso rotation)
    • Press the ball straight toward the hip (an d hip rotates out of the way)
    • Feel the ball (pressure zone) slide under the hip and thigh
    • Press against the ball steadily, don’t pop it
    • Arm-wrestle bend at the elbow (to keep the ball close to the body)

    There was a slight tendency for the right catch hand to scoop toward the centerline of the body (in front of the face), so you will need to keep an eye on that side, making sure you are keeping the hand fairly in line with the shoulder and hip, pressing that ball straight back.


    Lastly, I explained that we want to use the catch in two ways to help your body stay closer to the surface, keeping your head in neutral position where it will be easiest to get to the breath.

    1) You will work at slower speeds at first to get very familiar with the catch shape and pathway. Then you will gradually speed up the tempo of the stroke in order to those ‘balls of pressured water under your body more frequently. That more frequent, pressured water, when sliding under the rear of your long, firm Torpedo Frame, will provide a bit more lift.

    2) You are going to use the catch to produce thrust, and you can adjust the trajectory of that catch thrust to influence where your head goes during the catch action. Since your body wants to ride a bit deeper than what is necessary for breathing, we need to use the flow of water under the body to keep you near the surface. You are aiming to press that ball straight back and at the very beginning, to press on it in such a way to help slide your head closer to the surface in position to turn toward air.

    So, as the catch action gets more ingrained, we will be able to use it to work on breathing again.



    Mat Hudson

    Pool Session – May 11

    Since circumstances in the last few weeks prevented much personal practice time, in today’s session we focused on tuning up the Skate Position.

    We are aiming to get your rhythmic breathing in place. To do this, you need to get the body line sliding along closer to the surface, with much less required effort from the legs and to increase stroke pressure and tempo. To do this, you need to be more refined in the balance and toned bodyline to reduce drag and increase support of the body by flowing water. And, you need to have this balance and bodyline etched more deeply into the muscle memory so that when you turn up the tempo, these features remain. To do this, we kept things slower (and thereby deeper) in order to work on Skate Position.


    Skate Position

    I had you swim short, no-breathing repeats while we worked on each focal points, one by one.

    Focal Points

    Make your targets about 2 inches deeper – but enter on a ski-jump pathway, leveling out at that deeper target and finishing the extension with an emphasis on projecting forward, not downward.

    Keep your head in neutral. Avoid looking forward, even just a little bit. Rather than focusing on the eyes, you may imagine a narwhale spike, extending from your spine, coming out of the top of your head, and pointing the way ahead. Keep that spike pointed ahead in the direction of travel, not pointing upward out of the water. Feel that your stroke is driving that spike forward.

    Stretch your Skate side leg into the Counter-balanced Foot Position. Notice specifically how there is a stretch over your hip and down the side of the thigh as you extend that leg back (reaching the heel toward the surface). This is to keep the thigh straight in line with the torso and locked, at least for this moment in Skate, so this side of the body can more effectively channel momentum into forward motion.

    This thigh-in-line-with-torso is the new default position and gradually you will learn to conform the flutter kick to this thigh position, reduce the flutter and then eventually shift to the 2 Beat Kick.


    Personal Practice Time

    Here is some suggestion for how you can spend your personal practice time work on these focal points.

    Focal Points

    • A – Keep stroke overlap (or Arm Switch Timing)
    • B – Hands at deeper target
    • C – Point your spike straight ahead
    • D – Skate side leg extended in CBF Position (thigh straight with torso, or extended back slightly)



    Short, 6 stroke repeats, no breathing

    When drill feels easy and ready for more challenge…

    • First, increase tempo of motion slightly
    • Second, try adding a bit more thrust to the catch

    Use interrupted breathing for as much of this practice as you like.


    Main Set

    Swim 5 rounds:

    • Round 1: Focal Point A
    • Round 2: Focal Point B
    • Round 3: Focal Point C
    • Round 4: Focal Point D
    • Round 5: Blend two focal points, your choice

    On each round swim:

    • 4 repeats of drill with fins 2 minutes
    • Swim 3x 50 with fins
    • 4 repeats of drill without fins 2 minutes
    • Swim 3x 50 without fins

    If you are feeling more confident with a couple of the focal points, finish up with a 150 swim blending those two focal points.

    Mat Hudson

    Pool Session – May 18

    In our session today, I had you wear the fins so you could train the lower body to hold its long, stretched position without feeling like you had to kick so much to stay near the surface (and thus break the frame you must reply upon).

    I had you do Skating Drill – which is almost like swimming normal strokes, but with emphasis on the Skate Position in each stroke cycle. You were alternating side to side, sliding into Skate Position on each side and holding it distinctly for a micro-second longer than normal. I wanted you to emphasize the Send Force Forward in each recovery swing, entry and extension into Skate.

    Focal Points

    • Swing the arm on a linear path forward (not arcing upward and downward into the water) – build momentum only in the forward direction
    • Swing the arm so that it ‘flies’ dynamically, lifting its weight off the torso for a moment, weightless almost (we want to prevent the swinging arm pushing your head deeper as it comes forward)
    • Enter the arm steep and early, extend the arm underwater to part a path through the water molecules ahead
    • Slide extending front arm to a deeper target in front (to help keep the legs higher in back)

    We are aiming to get you into approximate position for breathing easier, then refine it. For this your body needs to be sliding along at the surface, particularly with the head on the neutral line, ready to turn and touch the air more easily.

    Hence, our use of the fins to assist your legs, allowing them to stay more calm, and participate in the Torpedo Frame of your body. Rather than kicking to keep the legs up, you will come into Skate Position, balance and slide along in this position while breathing, with no need to kick to hold your body up near the surface.

    The front end of your body – arms and torso – are more quiet and smooth than the back end (legs). You need to then rely one the thrust of the upper body provides, and slide the back end over the pressured water your create on each underwater stroke.

    So, the goal of this practice was to…

    • minimize movement the legs (don’t break the frame by bending at hips)
    • keep head in neutral position, consistently (ready for breathing)
    • keep legs sliding behind, at the surface
    • Lean upon your long, sleek Skate Position while turning/returning from breathing

    Up to now we had been working with slower motion to help you carefully build the precision and choreography of the movement patterns. Now we are gradually speeding up the tempo of the movements so that you generate more appropriate amount of momentum (on each recovery swing) and thrust (on each catch and torso rotation) so that your body rises and slides along higher in the water, in position for easier breathing.

    So, in your practice times, you’ll need to also practice variable speed of movements. Start slower (with short repeats so you can hold your breath) to tune up the movement patterns, then gradually increase the tempo until you are riding higher in the water, and can turn and touch the air with your face on each breathing action without straining or warping body parts out of position to do it.


    Mat Hudson

    Pool Session – May 25

    Today we worked on getting your vessel to ‘fly’ at the surface, by tuning up the synchronization of your upper body. With the long Torpedo Frame ready to slide over the water that you send under it, you need to create precisely directed thrust with each stroke to keep your body sliding at the surface, keeping your head right where it will most easily turn to catch some air.

    I gave you the picture of the underwater ladder to work with as you worked through a series of focal points to tune up your synchronization.

    There are three components to your stroke thrust (there are four, the leg kick being the fourth, but we will work on that later):

    1. The Catch/Hold (to generate force)
    2. The Torso Rotation (to transfer that force to the other side)
    3. The Entry/Extension into Skate (delivering that force into forward movement)

    Those are the three sections we focused on today.

    We tuned up in this order:

    • Tune up a single part at a time
    • Blend 2 parts
    • Blend all 3 parts

    Focal Points for the Entry/Extension

    • Slide hand down to the rail, the slide forward on the rail
    • Aim with wrist, keep hand and fingers soft
    • Keep head at surface

    Focal Points for the Catch

    • “Capture the Guppies”
    • Get a grip far in front – feel pressure build up on hand-forearm
    • Catch and h0ld a point in the water, slide body past
    • Catch hand pulls straight back on track
    • Keep head at surface

    Put All Three Sections Together

    • Blend the Torso and Entry/Extension – feel the arm driving at the same rate as torso turns
    • Blend the Catch and Torso – feel the torso rotation pulling the forearm with it
    • Blend the Catch and Entry/Extension – feel the pressure of the catch proportional to the speed of the extending arm
    • Blend all three – feel the torso rotating, receiving the wave of force and transmitting it into the entry/extending arm, smooth, gradually accelerating

    You are memorizing how each part should feel when precise, the ‘sensory bullseye’ – then you seek out that ‘sensory reward’ on each repeat, on each stroke, to let your body know when it is getting warmer, closer to the bullseye.


    Practice Recommendation

    • Wear fins
    • Short repeats without breathing
    • Alternate fist and normal hand on repeats
    • Use head position as feedback that your actions are sending you on the right trajectory
    • Occasionally, when things are feeling good, slip in a turn of the head toward air to test the effect
    Mat Hudson

    Pool Session – June 1

    We tentatively agreed to meet a couple more weeks (until we both travel), June 8 and June 15:

    • Next session – to continue to consolidate these components of your breathing
    • Second Session – to possible do a 500 or 750 test swim (after warm up) and get some data on your strengths and weaknesses over the distance.


    Advice For Practice Time

    I explained how you may use two different activity modes in your practice time:

    1. Short repeats with attention on several focal points
    2. Longer repeats with attention on only one focal point at a time

    For #1 – you are challenging the attention and neural control by stacking up several qualities and this will be taxing on the brain. So do short repeats with generous rest between in order to refresh attention.

    For #2 – you are allowing yourself more fitness challenge with a longer repeat (and perhaps less rest), and lowering the demand on attention a bit, but always choose one quality to maintain.

    You might structure a practice with 15 minutes in Mode #1, then 30 minutes in Mode #2, and then cool down back in Mode #1.


    Tune Up Foundation For Breathing

    In today’s session we worked on a checklist you can use to prepare yourself for breathing:

    • Set Torpedo Spine – with back of the head sliding along at the surface
    • Long, firm Skate – with lead hand soft, at deeper target, and leg stretched behind in pigeon toe
    • Ideal Arm Switch Timing – you are very consistent with this, but just make sure its there.
    • Connect Catch to Torso – in other words, pull with the side of the torso, or as if pulling on the catch hand from the hip (tied with an elastic band)

    In order to keep the legs calm – when not wearing fins – and devoted to streamline and CBF, the brain needs to feel that its getting enough thrust from your torso-empowered catch. You need thrust to keep a flow of water under the body, to preserve momentum, so your head slides along at the surface, ready to turn toward the nearby air.

    We had you use a swimmer snorkel for this tune up work so you could enjoy longer uninterrupted stroke repetitions. You seemed to be comfortable with the snorkel (obviously!) and and that this may be a way you can get in more continuous swimming and stack up a few non-breathing focal points.

    Once those features are tuned up and feel fairly consistent, you can insert turns toward air.


    Insert Turn To Air

    We removed the snorkel and turned attention to the breathing action. I noticed you were doing a wonderful job of keeping that lead arm reaching forward during the entire breathing action. You kept a marvelously straight body line. Even when your recovery was being pulled by your turning head, you still kept that lead arm patiently waiting for the arm switch moment. Good job on those.

    But we observed these points we need to override:

    • the head was turning too slowly, too casual, with the slower speed of the torso rotation. This was bringing you to air too late in the window
    • as the head returned it pulled the recovery arm with it, as the same speed

    To be able to resist and override these points I had you slow the tempo down and use the 3-Part Breathing Drill, with pauses to:

    • Turn the head a bit faster than the torso rotation speed
    • Pause a moment at air without disrupting Skate
    • Turn the head a bit slower without triggering the back arm to start the recovery

    Once we slowed it down and put you into this 3-Part mode you were able to resist those old patterns, and getting some sips of air!!


    Mat Hudson

    Pool Session – June 8

    In today’s session we kept your fins on and began with tuning up on short repeats, non-breathing strokes.

    As I noted toward the end of the lesson, you are keeping a really nice long, straight body line (Torpedo Frame), and very straight side in Skate. You are maintaining a good arm switch timing. And your head, on turns toward air, is staying amazingly flat, on axis. So, the fact that your body travels a bit deep, the head is not easily kept at the surface, is not because of a lack of fundamental skills. You simply have a body that has a deeper neutral line which requires you to develop a much finer level of position and control over your movements to get that the body (head) sliding at the surface, in position for an easier breath, without breaking balance or streamline to do it.

    The first step was to get body balanced, parallel to the surface. The second step was to direct the flow of water under the body to create more lift.

    Focal Points

    • Head in neutral position, weightless
    • Recovery – drag the fingers on the surface
    • Let arm fly ‘weightless’, fluidly forward
    • Slide entry arm down to deeper target
    • Catch – send water under the body

    I had you stop for a moment and do Superman Glide to check how ‘weightless’ your head really was. You realized you were looking forward and holding it up a bit. So you practiced releasing the head, looking straight down.

    Then I pointed out how you could slide your scapula outward, away from the spine, to further reduce tension in the upper spine region.

    We went back to short repeats of whole strokes and I had you focus on each stroke (keep attention in that stroke of the moment, not thinking ahead to the breathing stroke), and get the head into neutral (weightless) position. Only if the head is in neutral are you then permitted to turn toward the air.

    First I had you stand and rehearse the turn to air with the focal points.

    Breathing Focal Points

    • turn the head with the start of the catch (don’t delay)
    • turn with the torso rotation, and turn quickly (not whiplash!)
    • then hold at air for just a moment to simulate the time you would need to take a sip of air
    • direct the thrust of your catch to help slide the turning head up to the surface


    Practice Pattern For Breathing Work

    In addition to the recommendations given in the last pool session, you may follow today’s pattern when working on breathing. First, do short repeats, without breathing, to tune up the balance and get the body parallel to the surface and then direct the flow so that your head is staying steady at the surface. Then move into short repeats with a single turn toward air when you are able to keep the head in that neutral position at the surface.

    Mat Hudson

    <h2>Pool Session – June 14</h2>
    We followed our pattern today to first work on non-breathing strokes to tune up the body position and then worked on breathing strokes.

    I had you wear fins and swim short repeats without breathing.
    <h4>Focal Points</h4>

    • Neutral (weightless) head (breaking the surface)
    • Drive tip of head down the lane
    • Extend the lead arm forward, along the ‘ladder rail’
    • Send Force Forward through the recovery (don’t arc the arm)
    • Keep fingers in contact with the surface
    • Send the dot (on your elbow) forward
    • Shoulder slides, pulling the elbow, pulling the forearm
    • Let entry location be closer to the shoulder (don’t reach so far in front before entry) – extend the arm underwater, not over the surface
    • Remove the pause at the entry moment to conserve momentum
    • Remove that pause without speeding up the stroke
    • Make the recovery arm ‘weightless’ – let its weight lift off the torso

    Then we switched to breathing work, with fins. I had you swim 1/2 lengths with one turn to breath in the middle.
    <h4>Focal Points</h4>

    • Fully lean upon Skate Position
    • Keep head at surface in neutral position
    • Turn to breathe every 3 strokes

    <h3>Test Swim</h3>
    I suggested that you come to the pool some day in the next couple weeks, warm up with short repeats of non-breathing strokes and then short repeats with breathing. And then go into an ‘open-ended’ test swim where your goal is to simply get into an easy rhythm with breathing every 3 strokes (as much as you can) and just swim lap after lap, work on staying moderate in effort and comfortable, and see how far you can go. You may wear fins. You can stop whenever you feel it getting stressful. Record how far you made it and any changes in perceived effort or drops in attention or control along the way.

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