Swim Video Analysis: Improve your Ironman Swim technique
Swim faster without spending more time in the water
Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back onto this edition of The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown, it’s time to chat some swimming today and returning guest, Liza Rachetta, welcome back onto the podcast, Liza, nice to catch up, welcome.
LIZA RACHETTA: Thank you Brad, great to be back.
BRAD BROWN: Liza, when we spoke in our first chat you mentioned you were an okay swimmer. Growing up, swimming was something you were comfortable doing. Out of the three disciplines, which would you say is your weakest?
LIZA RACHETTA: I would say my Ironman run is my weakest discipline. I didn’t have any competitive running and it was something I just did for fun with no specific structure.
BRAD BROWN: So you’re fairly comfortable on the swim. I’m looking at your swim times and they’re pretty good. I think most people would be satisfied with those sort of splits. Do you think there’s still room for improvement on your Ironman swim times?
LIZA RACHETTA: Oh, there definitely is. I hate to admit it, but swimming I spend the least amount of time on at the moment. That is mostly because I do have a background in swimming. I need all the recovery I can get between the run and the bike sessions.
Swim video analysis is a game changer for Ironman training
BRAD BROWN: What’s one of the things, looking back over your triathlon career, is there one thing you can pinpoint and put your finger on and say, that’s made probably the biggest difference to my Ironman swim performance?
LIZA RACHETTA: I would say getting swim video analysis. I have a group called Boost Swimming and they do open water clinics and swim video analysis.
Once a year with the swim video analysis they’ll break down my freestyle stroke and go through what needs to be worked on. That, for me, I usually unfortunately get it done later in the year. I don’t have as much time to prepare and use it. But the swim video analysis has definitely changed the way I work on my freestyle stroke.
BRAD BROWN: It’s amazing. I see people bombing lengths and hours and hours in a pool and technique is not really great. It’s such a small thing that if you took a bit of time and got some swim video analysis and a bit of stroke correction, it can make a huge difference and improve your performance massively.
Struggles for new swimmers
LIZA RACHETTA: That’s right and I always have to remind people that struggle in the water. All of a sudden they’re putting their body in a horizontal position. They’re hypoxic and they’re forced to move through this dense area of water fast. It’s not easy, it’s a very technical sport.
BRAD BROWN: It is and it’s weird, I think for those of us who come from a swimming background, we often forget about how difficult it is. If you’re lucky enough to come from a swimming background, you discount the fact that it is something big.
A lot of people get into the sport not having that background and some even have to learn to swim outright in order to take part in an Ironman. We should never play it down.
LIZA RACHETTA: No, definitely not, swimming is a very technical sport.
BRAD BROWN: Liza, as far as workouts, you say you don’t spend that much time in the pool and you should theoretically do more. From a workout perspective, what do you love doing in the pool, what are some of your favourite Ironman swim workouts?
LIZA RACHETTA: I would say I tend to work out with a group, Stanford Masters Swimming. There’s a coach there, Gina Kehr, she has more triathlon specific training. One of my favorites is doing 400, sort of at a sub threshold. You don’t start with gear and you gradually add gear, but your interval time decreases.
Can less be more when training for your Ironman swim?
You’re sort of forced to increase your speed, but you do have a little bit of assistance.
BRAD BROWN: As far as the amount of swimming you do out of cycling season, when you are building up to an Ironman, how many swim sessions would you put in, typically, in a week?
LIZA RACHETTA: Well, the cycling takes up quite a bit of my time. If I’m lucky, to be honest with you, I don’t recommend it, but probably once or twice a month, however, this year I’m aiming to change that and be in the water at least once a week, just a recovery type, easy swim.
BRAD BROWN: Gee, that’s incredible. Liza, I think it’s fantastic what you are able to do. Your swim times are fantastic. With that sort of amount of swimming, but brilliant, you’re obviously a natural in the water. We look forward to seeing what happens when you do increase that frequency a bit more in the coming season.
LIZA RACHETTA: Yeah, I definitely hope so.
BRAD BROWN: Liza, thanks for your time today on The Kona Edge. We look forward to catching up next time around to talk about your cycling. You Ironman bike is your wheelhouse, it’s what you’re really good at. I want to find out some of the things you’ve done to get better on the bike. We’ll save that for next time.
LIZA RACHETTA: Great.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
If you'd like to advertise on The Kona Edge, download our rate card.
If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Patron of The Kona Edge, click here.