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Freestyle Reimagined

with Matt Kredich,
University of Tennessee Head Swimming & Diving Coach (men and women);
2x SEC Women's Coach of the Year;
coach of 2x Olympic Silver Medalist, Christine Magnuson

and Bill Boomer,
University of Tennessee Assistant Coach; 2000 US Olympic Team Assistant Coach;
Pioneer of balanced swimming (using core muscles to minimize water resistance) with more than 50 years coaching experience

Bill Boomer is a revolutionary figure in the sport of swimming, who has incredible insights into how people swim and the best way to get them to move faster. He developed the language of Posture Line and Balance that is so instrumental in teaching correct movements in the water. After 50 plus years of coaching he continues to build on his own ideas and terminology while looking ahead to the future of swimming.

Historically, freestyle has been focused on techniques using the hands and feet with little focus on what the body is doing. Coaches Matt Kredich and Bill Boomer breakdown the future of freestyle with instruction to maximize the line, velocity, leverage, and core focus that one needs for great impulse-space swimming.

In Freestyle Reimagined, the thought is to go away from pulling the body forward to throwing momentum forward, creating a surge in the stroke. Traditionally, the underwater pulling action has created an impulse (putting energy into the water) followed by a riding of that impulse - or riding the spaces. In this concept, the energy comes from the pulling hand and the riding of the impulse or space between strokes comes from the opposite hand gliding forward. In the reimagined freestyle, the impulse or surge comes from the arm swing of the recovery hand followed by immediate space travel on that same hand. The space between the impulses is where the speed truly lies.

Understand Leverage Systems

Coaches and swimmers have been focusing on the second-class, or less efficient, levers of force to generate movement in freestyle. Kredich and Boomer use the classroom and pool to teach you how to transition to balance, the first-class leverage system that is producing break-through freestyle at elite levels. Coach Boomer uses his unique gift of turning complicated scientific principles into tools coaches and swimmers can understand and put into practical application.

Identifying Aquatic Signature

Each swimmer has an aquatic signature - a natural position his or her body will hold in the water when they completely relax. Aquatic signatures determine a swimmer's inclination toward certain strokes and distances. Understanding that will help coaches determine which strokes and distances to emphasize with swimmers, what sort of distance, intensity and duration of training will be most effective for them, where swimmers should focus next to become more versatile, and what sorts of recovery different types of signatures require. Kredich and Boomer demonstrate how easy it is to determine the aquatic signature for each swimmer, discuss what can change the signature and how often it should be reevaluated.

Establishing Proper Aquatic Alignment

Establishing and maintaining a proper aquatic line, especially as speed increases, is the key to fast swimming. Watch as the coaches have an elite swimmer demonstrate ideal alignment, then mimic common flaws in head and body position and discuss corrections. Learn drills using kickboards and foam rollers that will destabilize swimmers as they try to maintain proper alignment, challenging them to use their cores to hold the high, toned body line they will need at race pace.

Use Assisted Swimming to Establish Line

The faster the swimmer is going, the more drag, and therefore the more tactile feedback the water provides. However, while a swimmer is working to generate top speed, it is difficult to also focus on the nuances of water feel. Towing a swimmer lets you create the speed. You can watch for clues that the body's reactions and the quality of the water flow behind the swimmer give you about what is affecting the swimmer's alignment. Kredich and Boomer demonstrate a series of towing drills, all starting with body line, a challenge that causes the line to degenerate, and then the recovery to excellence. While the coach is learning the swimmer's strengths and weaknesses, the swimmer is building a "mental library" of how it feels to deviate from ideal alignment and what adjustments it takes to recover.

Teach your Swimmers the Restart Position

The Restart position mimics having a swimmer suddenly pause between stroke cycles in the middle of high velocity swimming - just at the position where the body generates the next impulse. It is the best position for swimmers to learn where freestyle comes from and for coaches to diagnose errors in a swimmer's understanding of the stroke. Watch excellent restart position, and see drills you can incorporate into your practices. Kredich and Boomer also have the swimmer demonstrate common errors in restart position so that you can identify and correct them. They also show how restart position can be used to teach a faster topside breakout using the principles of first class levers for maximum speed.

Take the challenge! Reimagine freestyle - the way to train it and swim it - so that you will be at the forefront of the revolution in the stroke.

182 minutes (2 DVDs). 2015.

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