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Wetsuit swimming - technique change?

I swam in Brighton sea yesterday...very nice. I've always tired more quickly in my wetsuit, particularly my shoulders get tired/acid burn. I was tired yesterday on the swim back in and as it was my warm down I wasn't focusing on my technique. I suddenly noticed a more stunted stroke had reduced my fatigue, even though it felt like a silly and ineffective stroke....IE early arm entry. I'm not sure I could replicate it without further experimentation.

Any idea what is going on?


  • grant1974grant1974 Posts: 262
    I don't want to hijack your post Swimfan but I too could do with some open water advice. I find even though I am comfortable in open water, as in, I don't mind it at all, my swim stroke is shortened and I tire quicker. I never really know when to breath, two, three? I know these are probably very personal to the person but some advise would be great.
  • transittransit Posts: 163

    My thoughts are that a longer stroke in open water is better. The benefit of a wetsuit is that it makes you more buoyant therefore you can glide much more effectively with each arm pull. I'd continue to work with trying to get a good long stroke, doing some drills to punch the arm out front and a good pause before bringing it back round. Ensure you get maximum propulsion by pushing right back along your hip.

    I've been getting alot of OW swimming this year and am comfortable, some of the people I train with use alot of energy due to legs being too low in the water and general 'panic' in the water which causes a short, quick stroke.

    The way to reduce the fatigue is to take less but more efficient strokes (as above (hopefully)).[8|]

    Hope that helps a bit
  • transittransit Posts: 163
    Some advocate breathing every two in OW and three in pool. Like you said, it is personal. I like to think you get to a point with your swimming where you just decide you need a breath and take one without too much thought whether it's two/three or more strokes.
  • SwimfanSwimfan Posts: 19
    Hmm... i was wondering if my stroke was fighting against the restriction of suit when taking 'normal' storkes. I'll try elongating it tonight.

    Re breathing..bylateral in the pool every second stroke in OW. However every other stroke makes me feel 'travel sick' [:'(] so I tend to breathe twice on one side, then twice on another. If i am struggling to breathe i slow down and remind myself to glide. I have to concentrate on my breathing as despite months of training I can easily slip into not breathing![:@]
  • JasonBJasonB Posts: 303
    I think the first thing is to gain confidence. I swim OW once a week, sometimes twice in a lake, and have the confidence now to experiment with my stroke.

    I personally find the long stroke the most effective also. My hand enters the water a little earlier, and I stretch my arm, sort of like reaching up a ladder to the next step. Then follow the arm all the way through to the thigh. Going all the way through to the thigh gives that little extra propulsion.

    As for legs, they make up for a very small percentage of swimming. So kick them when you feel like it, or when is comphortable.

    I train with a friend and helped him with his technique, but without picking on him. I could see the following greatly slowly him down, so may be worth practicing. I personally practiced the sight seeing in the local swimming pool, and when it came to OW found it a doddle.


    1. He wasnt stretching his arm out, which caused his body to wiggle, thus not creating a great streamline.

    2. He lifted his head to far out the water to sight see, and basically almost came to a stop.

    3. When lifting his head his whole body tilted.

    4. He breathed only one side. This made him zig zag, as I believe breathing alternate brings you straight.

    5. He didnt kicked with straight legs, therefore causing an anchor/parachute affect.

    6. With the last 50 metres, it is a good idea to kick the legs hard to get the circulation going.

    7. Wear ear plugs. It stops that horrible dizzy feeling.

    God I sound like I am preaching - Sorry. But there may be something in there that can help.
  • I agree with the posts that suggest keeping your stroke long. The easiest way to cover less distance for each unit of energy is to shorten the stroke. My inclination is that the problem is with your wetsuit - i.e. that it's either too small/tight or that you are not pulling it far enough up the legs and into the crotch and far enough up the arms into the armpits, meaning that each stretch feels a bit like your arm is about to bungee back into your body.
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