Are you taking the dip for Sports Relief this weekend? If you’re tackling the #swimathon, check out these last-minute tips from non other than Olympic gold medalist Duncan Goodhew MBE. And good luck, you’ll ace it!
This Friday afternoon, instead of a leisurely lunch with a couple of ‘here comes the weekend’ vinos I’m heading over to London Fields lido (yep, outdoor) to swim 2.5km as part of the Sainsbury’s Sports Relief Swimathon. Now I know I can’t really complain about a bit of wind in a heated lido, especially after watching Davina McCall tackle lake Windermere in the bitter cold earlier this year, but I’m still nervous. I’ve been training in a 25m pool, the lido is 50m meaning there are a lot less ends to push off from. Although I’ve covered the distance in training I’ve done it with lots of stops. I don’t think I’ve swum that far without breaks for a good 20 years. And I can’t even keep count of my lengths when I swim eight in a row, how am I going to keep tabs on 50?
Hey it’s normal to be nervous though right? And, unlike cramming the morning before an exam, I do think a couple of helpful hints the morning of an event can make a big difference. For example, I was lucky enough to have a swim session with four times World Champion Karen Pickering MBE the other day, she gave me a couple of tips – look ahead, follow the line on the bottom of the pool and try not to let your arms cross it – which helped stop me zig zagging across the pool in seconds. So read these tips from Duncan and hopefully they’ll help you through the distance.Most importantly of all though, have fun!
Think of yourself as tall, long and thin in the water to help get you as streamlined as possible, This will help to increase your speed while working the body ergonomically so you don’t tire as quickly in the water
In all strokes (except breaststroke), remember that most of the power comes from your arms and not your legs
Keep ‘soft hands’ while you swim – relax your fingers, hands and wrists in the water to maximise speed
Relaxation goes for the whole body too – the faster you want to go, the more relaxed you need to be. Make sure not to tense up your arms or legs or hold your breath
Last, but certainly not least, make sure to relax and enjoy your swim – you’ve taken on a challenge for a great cause and will be helping raise much needed cash for Sport Relief.
The Swimathon is the UK’s biggest fundraising swimming event with thousands of people jumping into pools around the country from 21-23 March 2014. To find out more visit sportrelief.com