Getting Open Water Down To The Core

Getting Open Water Down To The Core

For decades we have been advocating the importance of core (abdominal) strength in open water swimming based on our empirical scientific testing and observations of channel swimmers, lake swimmers, marathon swimmers, ocean swimmers, cold-water swimmer and every kind of open water swimmer in every kind of environment.

We have always advocated that if open water swimmers have limited time, the one dryland training that they should focus on is their core strength.

This benefits are especially useful when the water is choppy, lumpy and bumpy. You can remain more streamlined when you sight, your ability to swim straight is enhanced when your core is stronger and your body is not twisting, your ability to maintain a high elbow position is enhanced when facing surface chop, your hips do not drop as much and your legs tend not to fishtail as much.

And it does not matter what age you are or your speed. 54-year-old Anne Cleveland (shown above) has focused on maintaining her core strength for years, knowing that it helps maintain a good streamlined position in rough water conditions and when she tires during a long or hard swim. “As a coach, one of the major differences I notice between the fast lanes and the slow lanes is core engagement. As a swimmer, you must have a strong core to “lean on” when powering yourself through wind and chop, especially when heading into it. Several of my channel swims were done in force 4-5 conditions and afterward it was my lats and core where I felt worked. After one particularly rough Maui Channel swim I actually felt as though I’d had abdominal surgery.”

We were pleased to read in the Washington Post newspaper that there also seems to be a renewed focus on building core strength among pool swimmers.

The article interviews a number of pool world record holders and Olympic gold medalists:

The [technical swim] suits showed everybody just how beneficial it is to have that core stability and that strength, that line in the water,” explaind Olympian Dana Vollmer. “It opened eyes to how much faster your swimming could be if you focused on those things.”

Multi-Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte also changed his training regimen to include more core-related work. “Without the [technical swim] suits, you don’t have that buoyancy anymore, so you actually really had to go back to work on your core.”

When it comes down to it, some things in the open water just get down to the core.

Upper photo of Anne Cleveland by the Royal Photographer of Monaco. Lower photo of 2008 Olympic 10K silver medalist David Davies of Great Britain.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones