Endurance Sports – Swimming

Sometimes swimming is associated with gentle relaxing times, such as resting on a beach and a couple of gentle lengths up and down the hotel swimming pool. However, as soon as swimming becomes competitive the perception of swimming changes enormously as it can be a lung bursting activity not helped by the fact that when most people are tired they start gulping large amounts of water.

Adam Peaty 1.33 seconds faster than any other man in the 100m breast stroke history

Most people’s first memories of swimming actually involve learning how to swim. From an early age one learns that the actions involved in swimming are not natural and with the help of buoyancy aids the young are taught the techniques involved needed to keep one’s head above water. It does not matter how advanced the swimmer becomes they will not get away from the fact that it is a technical sport and as soon as tiredness kicks in the swimmer lose their technique and hence their performance will suffer.

Swimming is complicated by the fact that there are four separate strokes. The front crawl and the breast stroke are the easiest ones, the back stroke is slightly more complicated as the swimmer cannot see where they are going. The most difficult stroke is the butterfly which most people cannot do let alone compete using it. The sprinters of the pool are the freestylers who compete over 50 meters. This explosive event requires great levels of anaerobic fitness because if the competitors do not react quickly enough the race is over as soon as it has started.

A good start is essential then the swimmers must maintain good stroke speed without losing control. If control is lost the speed is lost as the efficiency is wasted. The American Matt Biondi claimed that he would swim faster if he backed off a little. Most of these swimmers take one breath during the race. Perhaps one of the most successful swimmers in recent times has been the breast stoker Adam Peaty. The Britain seems to be almost as successful over the 50m as he is over 100m. In the last two years he has smashed the world record for the 100m on a number of occasions. In 2015 at the British trials he became the first man to go under 58 seconds.

Adam Peaty – a body trained for endurance

During the heats of the 100m breast stroke event at Rio 2016 Olympics Peaty broke his own world record taking it down to 57.55 seconds and then when winning the gold in the final he reduced it further to 57.13 seconds. He has now recorded the 11 fastest 100m breast stroke times ever, as well as recording the 6 fastest times ever in the 50m event.

How has Peaty put himself so far ahead of his world rivals? It is a combination of a fantastic technique and limitless supplies of endurance that has been stored away as a result of his intensive winter training programmes. He trains incredibly hard consuming up to 8000 calories a day and by the end of each weeks training he is exhausted. He manages to maintain his heart rate at its maximum for repeated 50m sets in the pool. This explains why at the end of the big races he can still maintain perfect form pulling away from his rivals as their stroke shortens due to fatigue. His natural strength and work outs in the gym can hold their own against an athlete from any sport particularly with the power from his chest. Peaty has taken a naturally strong body and with total commitment has trained himself into the record breaking world star that he is today.

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