“Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane . . . no it is just someone swimming correctly.”
When I teach swimming, I always ask, “Have you ever seen a superhero take off?” Inevitably people answer, ” Yes”. I do wonder where they have seen this but we live in Boulder after all and there are many superheroes here. But superhero posture will help your swimming.
Look at image above of Olympic Swimmer Missy Franklin underwater and the image below of our superhero SuperPope. Notice the similarities?
To start assume the position of a superhero at takeoff; (i) stretch your right arm, (ii) open your chest, (iii) stretch your psoas. (The psoas is a deep muscle, involved in complex moves and communications through the core and lower part of the body. It is the only muscle connecting the spine to the leg.) There is a cross connection between your right hand and your left foot, this position is powerful. Feel it, be it.
How to Wake up your Core
Fiddle Faddle Drill. Place a paddle on your right hand, then a fin on your left foot. Swim. Feel the cross connection. Now switch. Place the paddle on your left hand and place the fin on your right foot. Flying Upside Down on your back, extend your right arm , lift your chest, and now navel swivel with fins on. Loosen your lower lumbar. Now reverse. Extend your left arm, lift your chest, swivel your navel. Breastroke pull with Dolphin Kick using fins press your core forward and down. Feel your lower lumbar working and psoas stretching.
Then envision the Superhero dropping his cell phone reach down with that front hand while still stretching through the arm and the chest. Mirinda Carfrae, 2013 and 2014 Ironman World Champion said, “It seems counterintuitive to stay open and lifted while reaching down, but it works.”
Last week on twitter, I tweeted the picture to improve your swimming. It was of Pope Francis, depicted as a Superhero painted outside the Vatican wall. (Figure 3) I used the hashtags #superpope #papafrancesco #solestoheaven. It was picked up by the artist, Mauro Pallotta, 4 people in the Vatican and 10 Italian swimmers. I think I am finally starting to understand social media; but more importantly the visual impact of the picture of the Superpope.
Get your Soles to Heaven
Pull with fins on so you know where your feet are. Many triathletes have tight Achilles tendons and their feet point to the bottom of the pool. Fins will create awareness of where your feet are and which way they are facing. Work the upkick with or without fins. We always work the downkick. Shift your focus and work in opposition to what you usually have done. Use an ankle band with fins. Buy Jesse Vassallos' D Band or make use of that flat tire you had riding and tie your ankles together but use fins for additional weight. Focus on the long axis rotation. Use a navel swivel, and use a cross connection, left hand to right foot and left foot to right hand. As you reach and drive, press and finish with the other side.
Dryland practice to improve your Posture
Yoga. Lie with a yoga ball behind your upper thoracic. Open your chest. Stretch. Row. Use a rowing machine to get your scapula’s moving. Intelliskin Wear Intelliskin Products on land or even in the water.
Just the thought of being a Superhero will empower you. Put on your goggles, wear your towel as a cape. The tag line for my company Mountain Mermaids is "Don’t be a damsel in distress, Be your own Superhero." Now get out there!
Eney Jones has achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer, and is also a yoga instructor.
- Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
- Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
- National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
- Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
- Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
- European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
- Over twenty time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
- Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
- Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).