Catch and pull - marathon swimming vs. 1500m training
Kfirpravda IsraelNew Member
I’ve read somewhere that in open water marathon swimming the focus is on cadence, while in pool swimming for shorter distances the focus is on the strength of the pull. I’m not certain if this is true, but I wanted to ask the following: what’s the difference in technique between the two, when it comes to catch and pull?
My stroke shortened up after a while in longer OW swims. That last bit of your press takes a decent amount of energy as well as wearing out some of your deep shoulder muscles like the infraspinatus. They’re often the first muscles to get pissed off at you. Shortening the stroke helps with this.
Don’t worry too much about any of that, IMO. You’re body and mind will adjust accordingly. Overthinking and worrying too much about your stroke or pace may make you force things, which is a recipe for disaster. Go with what feels right. Always.
I'd like to add that the water conditions also affect your stroke. When you are swimming on a smooth glassy surface it is so nice to go into your nice long stroke. But good luck doing that when the wind picks up. I kind of let the water dictate how I move through it.
THIS! I cant agree with this more. I just completed my first 20km swim and I felt very strong and fresh for the first 15km. The last 5k I still felt like I had lots of energy but I told my crew I couldn't pull as strong because my anterior deltoids would fire up if I tried to pull with all my strength. I just decreased my force but kept up the same output and could easily keep swimming.
Interesting, I found the complete opposite of this!!
(Background, before starting marathon swimming I played a lot of water polo (very very high cadence), and I do a LOT of strength training for my rotator cuff muscles.)
I found as I started doing more open water, more longer swims, more ultra marathons (8-16 hours), my stroke got longer and longer and slower. I think that my small muscles are strong enough that they don't tire too quickly, and so for my body the most efficient stroke for energy saving is longer and lower cadence. Back when I was playing polo, I reckon my cadence was about 60-65spm. I now cruise at 46-48spm which gets me about 3-3.2km/h.
So I agree with @swimmer25k - go with what is right for you, always!