West Virginia University post-grad and A3 Performance athlete Bryce Bohman finished 5th in the 100 and 200 backstrokes at the 2014 NCAA Championships placing him 19th All-Time in both events for 2014…In other words, he’s pretty good. Bryce had the success he did not only because of his talent and work ethic but because of his approach and race plan. The 200 backstroke requires a strategic race plan for success. Take a look at Bryce’s top five tips for a faster 200 backstroke and you won’t be disappointed with the results!
Hold a Tight Streamline
Streamline is one of the single most important positions in swimming. Athletes need to remember to hold a tight streamline position so that their body is not creating areas of resistance while moving through the water. A tight streamline is critical to maintaining momentum off of your walls and into your breakouts.
Increase your Tempo on the Back Half
The front half of the 200 backstroke needs to be fast but you need to make sure you are staying long and strong. The second half of the race is where swimmers tend to fatigue and where increased tempo is crucial. Increased tempo compensates for the fatigue and helps maintain your front half speed all the way to the finish.
Kick into your Turns
Many swimmers make the mistake of shutting down their legs when they flip on to their stomach going into a flip turn. You build up all of your speed and momentum during the length of the pool and you want to maintain that going into the flip turn by kicking into the wall. Keep your flutter kick going hard in order to keep the speed so that you can get in and out of that wall FAST!
Increase Underwater Kick Count
Swimmers need to count the number of kicks that they are taking off each wall. Thinking of it the same way as the tip about increasing tempo, in the front half of the race swimmers need to start their dolphin kicks off big and powerful working on DPK (Distance Per Kick). As the race progresses and you start to fatigue, remember to add more, faster underwater kicks to compensate and keep your momentum off the wall and through to the surface.
Embrace the pain!
The 200 backstroke (and all 200s of stroke) are tough races and many times athletes will psych themselves out before racing, but swimmers need to remember to stick to their OWN race plan that you and your coaches have talked about as well as making sure that you are HAVING FUN IN THE PROCESS! It is not going to be easy, so embrace the pain, get after it, and show everyone all of your hard work is paying off!
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