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by Wayne Mc Cauley

February 1, 1993

Do it early to get the feel

Swim fast in practice to swim fast in meets is a training axiom, esp.during the taper phase of swimming. The decrease in friction and rejuvenation of muscle strength are well documented by studies over the last three decades. One coach even called swimming at race speeds like learning a different stroke. While ZOOMERS has helped simulate racing in practice for the other strokes, there is nothing like ZOOMERS to help breaststrokers train at race pace.

Breaststrokers have been left to the typical taper and shave of three days during the meet cycle, to learn how to swim at race speed. This just isn't enough time to learn the Race Breaststroke. The approach to turns and the underwater pull are greatly affected by race speed. Typically breaststrokers don't fully utilize the underwater stroke. You should keep the same timing of 5-6.5 seconds underwater and allow your increased speed to carry you further. Going into turns many misjudge the walls, often committing the error of taking another small armstroke. This causes the hips to sink and destroys the speed of the turn. During the race breaststroke you should never take an extra stroke into the wall, always glide as you are now much faster than in practice. Because you are going faster into the turns, the wave of water following you is larger than normal. Go deeper off the turn to go under the incoming wave.

A prolonged shave accentuates the reduction in friction and allows for training fast before a big meet. I shave with a electric razor at Regionals and remained shaved for the two weeks until Nationals. My workout times are faster and I still experience nice time drops when I shave again at Nationals. Using this taper allowed me to win a USMS Breaststroke National Championship. Women can feel the same effects by wearing two suits until taper and then wearing their race suit while practicing the Race Breaststroke. You too can swim faster using a longer shave period. Try it once, you will like the results.


  • Technique and Training


  • Breaststroke