While it essentially still contains all of the same elements of swimming individual strokes, swimming Individual Medley events is an entirely new monster to tackle. It not only exploits your stroke weaknesses, but it also challenges you to have the event discipline and perfection of a 50 freestyle over the course of a much longer race. This margin for error is normally where you see the best IM’ers in the world (Like the Iron Lady Katinka), and their mostly unknown competition.
The focus of our stroke clinic for this week is to limit some of these disadvantages one may have in an IM event. Of course, the only way to combat stroke weaknesses is training that specific stroke, but IM transitions are an area that all IM’ers can improve their performance. This IM transition drill is very simple. You swim 100s IM in a LCM pool, and as you switch strokes in the middle of the pool, make sure to dive under, get into a tight streamline, and take no less than 5 underwater kicks before engaging in an awesome breakout. This combats unconscious laziness while training IM and really gives you a good opportunity to focus on turn work even in a long course environment.
The beauty of 100s IM is that you are basically just sprinting 25s of each stroke, and since each stroke uses different muscles, you will tire much less than if you were to swim 100s of specific strokes. Integrate these IM transitions into your normal training routine and you will surely have an extra few meters on the competition.
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