America's Best Offer Swimming Tips

Ed Moses broke three world records at the 2000 NCAA Championships: once in the 100-meter breaststroke prelims, and again in the finals. He also won the 200-meter breaststroke in world record time.

According to Moses, nutrition and hydration are extremely important components that should not be ignored in training. Moses warns swimmers to stay away from carbonated drinks and foods high in fat like desserts and candies.

During a workout, he says, many swimmers don't realize how much they are sweating. It is extremely important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

After a workout, Moses recommends that people eat foods that can digest quickly, like bagels and raisins.

"If you're going to take the time in the water and work hard, you should supplement that work by taking care of business outside of the pool," Moses said. "It's like having a good race car. You don't put unleaded fuel in it, you've got to give it diesel fuel--the good stuff."

B.J. Bedford was a U.S. record-holder in the 50-meter backstroke and specializes in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke.

Bedford said that the questions most often posed to her are about improving speed. Being at or near the top for so long, one might think that she had some secret training that kept her at such a high level. However, that is not the case.

"I wish I had an answer or a magical tip that would make everyone into a great swimmer," Bedford said. "But the secret is simple and not a fun one to hear: Swimming fast is hard work, and a lot of it. There is no substitute for logging in hundreds of hours in the pool, and that is the only way to be sure you will learn to swim and swim well."

Matt Payne, NCAA Division III National Champion in the 100-meter breaststroke, qualified for the Olympic trials in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke.

According to Payne, the key to breaststroke is height. The higher you are out of the water, the faster youll be. In order to get that height, you must develop a good kick. Payne said that if you combine a good kick with a strong pull from your arms and lower back, your speed will increase dramatically.

For those looking for tips on form, Payne advised people to watch themselves.

"If you can get a hold of a videotape of yourself swimming, that will help a lot," Payne said. "At Nationals, we would watch video of ourselves from the prelims. I could see exactly what I was doing wrong and fix it before I raced. After I watch video, nine times out of 10 I am faster the next time I swim."

Kristy Kowal, a U.S. record-holder in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke as she easily won both events at the 2000 NCAA Division I National Championships. She was named NCAA Co-Swimmer of the Year.

Kowal is a rising star in U.S. swimming. She is a big believer in just getting in the pool and going. Kowal has a great passion for the sport and encourages people looking to improve their speed and/or technique to spend as much time in the pool as possible and to enjoy it.

"The only tip I can think of that isn't specific problem focused would be to make sure that you are not rushing your stroke," Kowal said. "Listen carefully to what your coaches tell you and of course, have fun."

Bill Pilczuk, a 50-meter freestyle specialist, was considered one of the best in the world. He won the 1998 world championships in the 50, and is a veteran member of the U.S. national team.

Let's face it; speed is the most important thing for competitive swimmers. Pilczuk knows this and is always examining ways to improve his times. He has found that a workout including both weights and pool work is one of the most effective ways to knock time off your marks.

My tip for any swimmer to increase speed is to do a sprint workout immediately following a weight room session," he said. "That way your arms, legs and back will be exhausted and make it very difficult to hold good technique. Then just sprint as hard as you can and really focus on holding great technique while you are broken down from weights. Don't do anything over a 25 in the sprints you will be tired enough from the weights that a 25 will simulate your last 25 of a 50 or a 100, which is where races are won and lost."

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