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Take a Dip! Be cool in the Pool

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Coordination, core strength and mobility are all key to perfecting your strokes: Swim coach Michael Fasching of Harry Wright International shares his insider tips with Rachel Sadler

PHOTOS COURTESY OF Harry Wright International

YOU SHOULD LEARN TO SWIM AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE, it’s easier to pick it up and become proficient at a young age. The first stroke children are taught is backstroke. It’s the least stressful stroke to learn because it doesn’t involve putting your face in the water.

BEING TALL AND HAVING BIG HANDS AND FEET is a natural advantage for competitive swimmers. Competing at a high level involves self-discipline, determination, commitment and time management. It changes the body and develops endurance that helps in all areas of life.

baby swimming

SWIMMING IS FOR EVERYONE and it’s a great way to fitness for any body type. It works the whole body and it’s a low-impact sport. Swimming two to three times a week makes a big difference to fitness levels. It strengthens joints and is good for cardiovascular endurance.

STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE TRAINING, like cross-fit, yoga, boxing and Pilates, helps you get swim fit. Sports, like long-distance running and cycling, are great for building stamina and endurance

dive fitness adb nov 21

TO GET A FRONT CRAWL LIKE SIOBHAN HAUGHEY takes years of dedication and practice but the single most important skill to master has a lot to do with the way you position your head in the water. You need to keep your head still when you take a breath. There are always little things you can improve and tweak, like being at ease with exhaling underwater and inhaling on the surface.

WITH BACKSTROKE, THE START IS IMPORTANT. You have to enter into one little hole in the water and get your body nicely streamlined into the entry point. One of the first skills you’re taught is how to count your strokes from the flags to the end of the pool. This is adjusted as your body develops and your stroke-count changes. Backstroke swimmers need to have well-developed joint mobility and tremendous core strength.

front crawl swimming

CALEB DRESSEL’S BUTTERFLY IS EXPLOSIVE and takes a lot of core strength. Over short distances of up to 100 metres, the leg kick in butterfly is what counts but for longer distances, swimmers also rely on upper body strength. It takes strength and flexibility to cut through the water efficiently.

ADAM PEATY’S BREASTROKE IS SO FAST because he is superstrong and has mastered the technique, which means he can glide seamlessly through the water. The key with breaststroke is to get your coordination right and move efficiently in the water.

butterfly swimming

SWIMMING IS ABOUT BEING PRESENT IN THE MOMENT and it can be tremendously relaxing. There is breathwork involved and you follow a specific rhythm, so it’s a lot like meditation.

Harry Wright International offers swimming classes for babies, children and adults at Discovery Bay Recreation Centre and Club Siena. You can enrol by downloading an application form at www.harrywright.com.hk and submitting it in person at one of the clubs.

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