Swimming Tips From Robby B

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If you're like me, you're really hairy. But nevermind that.

If you're like me, you love getting swim / bike / run advice, and it means a LOT when it comes from someone who is MUCH faster than you. My online / triathlon buddy Robby B is one of those fast people. Specifically in the water.

Robby has done many triathlons, but only 1 Ironman (like me). But UNLIKE me, Robby came out of the water 41st overall. Out of over 2,000!! There were 31 male PROs and 18 female PROs who did Ironman WI in 2005 with Robby, and he was out of the water before 15 of the guys and 11 of the women!! (And Robby's not a PRO....)

When I asked Robby for his "swim credentials," here's what he (begrudgingly) told me:

I've done nearly 20 aquathons (1K swim/5K run), ten sprints, one Olympic, five halves, and one full distance. And I'm pretty sure that in all the races of done, I've never been out of the water worse than fourth in my age group, which came at IMWI in 2005, where I was 41st out of the water overall, including PROs. I'm usually in the top 3 overall in small to medium races.

I swam competitively since age 10 through high school, and coached age group in college.

Why am I giving you Robby's swimming resume? Well, back in September, I filmed Robby giving his EvoTri teammate Rural Girl some swimming advice. Rural Girl was already Kona-bound, and she was looking to improve her swim. We were all hanging out after they had all just finished Rev3 Cedar Point, and we were getting ready to head out to ride the rides!

Here's a photo of Pharmie and Rural Girl pre-race:

Here's an EPIC photo of Robby eating one of my Krispy Kreme's just minutes before starting the race:

And here's a photo from later in the day (post-race) showing Robby and Pharmie moving quickly from ride-to-ride at Cedar Point Amusement Part:

Anyway, here's my little video of advice from Robby to Rural Girl:
(turn up the volume to hear all the background chat...)


- Yes, that's the LOTRs on in the background.
- My lovely Pharmie makes a cameo at the 2:10 mark.
- The first half of the video is "fluffier," but the second half has more specific info.
- Robby gives 3 drills to Rural Girl that he thinks she can use. Here's some of what he's saying (paraphrased):

Tilt your head up A BIT to be able to use more proper muscles.

Drill: Trojan crawl. Swim with your chin up (at the water line).

Drill: Fingertip drag to work on high elbows.

Drill: 6 kicks on either side, then breath and switch.

Good question from Rural Girl: Should we be looking at videos of super fast sprint swimmers because they're not endurance focused? Robby's answer: Yes, we can learn from their stroke.

When you want faster turn-over to build speed, work on NOT sacrificing stroke length!

So use this advice if you can! Robby's got a great swimming background, so he's not just "blowing smoke out of his ass." Big thanks to Rural Girl and Robby B for "letting" me film them! ;) Can't wait to see you 2 (and the rest of Team EvoTri) when you all come to town for the Minneapolis Triathlon this summer! Should be fun!


Katie 4:17 PM, March 29, 2011  

Good entry!

The video was fun--it's nice to see other athletes "talk shop" and I like the ideas to try to have a greater stroke and efficiency!

(a side comment, not related to the post, but sort of: I wish there was a direct "share" button from your blog to share directly to facebook--this one is great and I shared it by copy/pasting the link, since it wasn't on the fb fan page yet...have you ever considered having a direct share at the bottom of the posts so people could share your awesome posts with the world directly?)

Steve Stenzel 6:33 PM, March 29, 2011  

Katie, I need to figure out how to do that!! I'll look into it...


CoachLiz 7:25 PM, March 29, 2011  

I will have to give that Trojan Crawl drill a shot. I do the other two on a regular basis at Masters swim workouts.

And no, I'm not hairy like you. LOL!

I'M Tri-ing 7:28 PM, March 29, 2011  

I wish he would have moved to the left a little, I was trying to watch Lord of the Rings!

RobbyB 8:48 PM, March 29, 2011  

If only you could've known how stiff I was "hurrying" to the next ride. A Half-REV and then roller coasters made me really sore!

(Sorry about being in the way of the TV. It was a good part, too!)

Jumper 2.0 10:18 PM, March 29, 2011  

Haven't heard of the Trojan Crawl. Definitely going to give that a try. Well, whenever I get in the water again. I haven't been in since September 30th. That is AWFUL

Steve 10:28 AM, March 30, 2011  

Just started swimming so great tips. I need to work on using the right muscles. Great post.

BTW, Frodo lives!

Anonymous,  2:37 PM, March 30, 2011  

Thanks for posting. Great tips. My swim always sucks. I'm excited to try the drills.

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