Some top-secret video from a Tennessee Volunteers practice has leaked out.
Earlier in the season, SwimSwam’s Amanda Smith was watching swimming videos, and noticed the peculiar top-arm breakout that the Tennessee Volunteers have been using. Read more about those here.
At the time, we were teased a little bit by Tennessee Associate coach Tyler Fenwick with a “wait until you see our backstroke breakouts.”
Well, now we can all see them, thanks to some more sleuth work from Amanda. This video, posted on the Coach’s Eye website, shows a Tennessee swimmer demonstrating their unorthodox breakout. Many, many coaches believe that kicking on one’s side is faster, but Tennessee has taken it to the extreme with swimmers actually surfacing on their sides before their breakout stroke.
This time around, Fenwick says that “we’re just trying to ride that line and snap into the breakout,” emphasizing the smooth penetration of the water’s surface, followed by a more pronounced rotation than normal on the first stroke.
“It’s allowed our swimmers to carry speed through the breakout more effectively,” he said of early results.
We haven’t been able to obtain any race footage of the Volunteers have been using it in the meets to see if it’s given them a visible advantage over their opponents, but Fenwick says they’ve been using it all year, and it’s something we’ll be watching for in two weeks at the SEC Championships in Athens, Georgia.
For what it’s worth, Tennessee’s women’s backstroke group has quietly been developed into a very deep and very impressive group. For example, Lauren Solernou topped defending NCAA runner-up Sinead Russell in the teams’ dual meets last weekend.