Pool Swim Stroke Vs Open Water Triathlon Stroke | How Do They Differ?

(swooshing music) – You’ve probably noticed by now that Mark and I have
different swimming strokes. I think it’s fair to say that mine is more of a pool based type stroke and maybe, Mark, yours is a bit more of an open water triathlon type style. – All right, I hear you
but believe it or not, I actually used to have
quite a nice stroke having come from a swimming background, but it has changed quite
a lot over the years due to triathlon, much to my
old swim coach’s disapproval. – Well, enough about us. I think it’s time we’re
going to be comparing the different styles of front crawl, as well as working out who’s
got the best stroke, Mark or I. (gentle upbeat music) – Well, it’s that over
the water recovery phase that seems to be the
most notable difference between our two swimming styles and the two different styles of stroke. – Yeah, well typically,
a pool swimming stroke you’ll see a bent arm recovery with a very smooth entry, so, actually, the elbow
comes out of the water almost before the hand and then the hand stays really close
to the surface of the water, almost touching it as it comes through and then it’s fingers
first as the hand goes in, so, basically, it’s very sort of tidy, smooth looking stroke. – [Mark] Whereas an open water stroke maybe isn’t quite so pretty. It’s a little bit more splash and that comes about due to maybe having a slightly
straighter arm recovery, almost like this windmill action and then actually the hands entering almost at the same time as the arm, and, adding to that, we’ve got also a slight increase in arm rate and that just comes about due to sort of the movement in
the water, in other words, but we’ll get into that a
little bit more later on. However, underwater the strokes should, more or less, be the same. – As we’ve already mentioned, Mark used to have what we
call a typical pool stroke, or so he says, and after years
of competing in triathlon it has changed, but why is that? – Well, there have been
a number of factors that have contributed to that, one of which is the fact
that we suddenly got so many more people swimming around us, so if I still had that low arm recovery, then there is a chance
of us getting tangled with our arms, and now having that slightly straighter and
windmill arm recovery, I can get in a little bit
closer to other swimmers and then get a better draft. If I still had that long
nice pool stroke and gliding, if I lost traction because of the moving water in open water, then it is a long time
until my next stroke so having that quicker
recovery and arm rate actually means there is more chance of me getting traction and
purchase on the water. And then also, there is the fact that there’s just movement of the water, it’s the choppiness of the water, so having that straighter arm recovery I’m just making sure my
hands don’t hit the water. – Okay, well that all makes sense. And I guess also, especially in the UK, cold water plays a part. ‘Cause if you do get into cold water, you’re gonna want to swim a bit faster, make your stroke rate a bit quicker just to warm up. And then, you add in a wet suit, which we would normally
have to use in this country, and that changes your body position to a certain extent, so it’s gonna change
your stroke a little bit. You’re slightly less flexible
at your elbows anyway with a wet suit on. And then also, obviously, in a triathlon, you’re
conscious that you’re gonna be getting on the bike after. So I guess your leg kick is gonna become a bit less, and your arm pull’s gonna become a bigger ratio in your stroke. Mentally, my pool
swimming doesn’t transfer to open water triathlon swimming as well as I’d like it to. And I do know that I’m strong on a tumble turn and a push off, so that plays a part in making me better in the pool in comparison. But I think it goes beyond that and I need to start to look at my stroke and see how I can change
to be more efficient when it comes to open water. – Well I do get asked this quite a lot, and actually I think the starting point we should go with is that you
should have a good technique, because I mean, the open water
technique is somewhat messy, and there’s no point
going with that technique if you haven’t got a good
technique to start off with. Which you’ve got a good pool technique, so we’re good to go. – Okay. – Starting point again
is with more the cadence, so our stroke rates. So what we’re focusing on here is trying to get more
strokes in per length, but we’re not going to
shorten the stroke in any way. Since we’re looking at
taking out those dead spots, so when we’re gliding at
the front of the strokes, for instance, the arm recovery, so having that straighter arm recovery is something that happens
a little more naturally, so as you mentioned already, wearing a wet suit
slightly more restrictive around the elbows. You probably just find this sort of thing would happen a little bit
more naturally over time. And with the quicker stroke rate, if one of those strokes is
disrupted by moving water or a swimmer alongside you, it’s not long until the
next stroke comes around. – True. Well it’s still, I have one other issue I think for my stroke, and that’s my leg kick. I came from swimming 200 freestyles so I’ve got a strong leg kick. Take that out and I go
backwards in the pool, and sadly I think I
know the answer to that. I’ve just got to do more
swimming with a pool boy. – Just to add to that as well, when you are swimming with a pool boy, the real big focus there then is on that initial catch phase. So just to help give
that lift in the water, and get that propulsion going. – Okay, I think it’s actually time to do a bit of a comparison. So Mark, you’re gonna go first. I want you to do 25 meters of trying to remember
your perfect pool stroke. – Been a long time. Not sure if I can do this. – Followed by your normal
triathlon style stroke, and then, you know, give
us a little bit of feedback on how it feels. – Yeah, this’ll be interesting, alright. Well, now for my perfect technique. – Let’s have a look. – Okay, here we go. – Let’s see if he’s
actually real about this. I’ve never seen it. Not quite as tidy as mine is. He’s got finger entry first. Very much a pool stroke here. – How’d it look then? – It looked obviously, much tidier than your triathlon stroke. – Right, still not quite there though. – I feel that you used to have a slightly prettier stroke than that. – Yeah, I mean I have to admit I’ve definitely gotten
used to that straighter arm and just even the slight amount I’m even bending my arms. – Did it feel really exaggerated? – It felt crazy, and probably
wasn’t even that much, right? – You did have finger entry first. – Okay, well, getting there then. Alright, now for my open water stroke. – Into your comfort zone. – Alright, watch back. Watch out guys, I might splash. – He’s happy to do this. There we go, look at that
stroke rate straightaway. Much quicker. You can see it really
well from this angle. Right arm’s got a little
bit more of a bend, but that left arm just
swings it’s way around, slaps the water. I think I’m gonna get wet now. Back in your comfort zone? – Looks good doesn’t it? – You look happy swimming it. You know, it’s your stroke. – Right. – I mean, and that just feels nice. – One thing I will say is with the open water stroke, you might not look pretty, but because my hand’s
going around so quick, it’s going in, I’m just
instantly catching, where as when, and I do remember
from when I used to swim in the pool all the time, nice stroke. I used to glide, lose
the catch at the front cause my elbow would drop. So I actually feel like
I swim better like that. – He’s selling it. – Even if it doesn’t look pretty. Well now, your turn Heather. – Okay, well I’m going to start with my comfort zone, I think. I can see if I can look any
prettier than you, Mark. That’s my challenge. – I think you’ll probably do that. – Let’s have a go. – I think mine looked
just like that, didn’t it? Yeah, there’s not much splash there. Very nice, very elegant. Very careful placement of
the hand, very little splash. Nice. What do you think? Well, you’re used to that, aren’t you? – Yeah. – You just look like you’re
gliding through the water. – It just feels, feels relaxing. – Okay, now. – Well, I don’t know if I can do this. So you might. – Just lots of splash. – Lots of splash,
straight arms, and faster. – Just make sure the underwater
part is still the same. – Okay. – So much better. Look here, it’s beautiful. She’s veering off right, so
we might need to fix that. No, I mean it does, obviously there’s a lot more splash there. Doesn’t look quite as nice. But I’d be interested to hear what she thinks about the catch. That was lovely Heather, lovely. What’d you think? – What did it look like? – I mean, there’s a lot more splash. It looked good, it looked good. – I mean, it felt slightly like I was maybe taking the mick out of you. But I wasn’t meaning to. And my problem was my underwater
got straighter as a result. – Right. – So I think I was – Just a bit of practice there needed. – Yeah, I mean, I think my stroke rate naturally it feels like faster. And I think weirdly it’s
hardest doing a pull. Like I think I’m getting
closer to a open water, but yeah, some practice needed. – Yeah, bring it. Right, well, swimming open
water is clearly very different than swimming in the pool. I think we’ve made that quite clear, and then swimming in a triathlon is even different again. – Yeah it is, but like we said, you can’t force that. So make sure you’ve got a
really solid pool stroke before you start working on it. And I think something I’m realizing as well, just from this summer is it’ll happen naturally. The more open water swimming you do, the quicker you’ll get there. – Absolutely. And if you’d like to get hold of some of these GTN swim caps, you can head over to our GTN shop. And if you’d like to see
more videos from GTN, you can click on the globe and subscribe. – Yeah, and if you want some tips on how to actually practice
swimming open water, and various skills you might need and you’ve only got a swimming pool, we’ve made a video on that just here. – Yeah, and if you’d like to see our wet suit versus trisuit video you can see that by
clicking just down here.

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