Category: Swimming

Do drag shorts make a difference?

Do drag shorts make a difference?

My last couple of swims this week (High Peak Tri and Macc Masters) got me thinking about this question.

I made a decision, at the beginning of this year, that “all” my Wednesday (High Peak) swims would be with drag shorts. But when swimming in Macc I don’t wear them, just normal training trunks.

Whilst being under the weather for most of January with flu / cold stuff, which makes swimming more challenging, I have really struggled to “swim well” on Wednesdays. And by that I guess I mean, I have not been particularly happy with a number of key focus points:

  • Strokes per length
  • Perceived effort
  • Average 100 meter time

Each of these has been pretty grim. My effort-to-reward ration is low, I seem to be averaging 17 / 18 strokes per length and my 100 meter time is around the 1:30 mark.

No, compare that with Macc last Friday. In Macc, as I have said, I don’t wear drag shorts – just trunks. The main reason for this, is that in general the two lanes I swim in at Macc tend to have faster swimmers than with the High Peak. On those occasions (like Friday) when I have to swim in the “fast” lane – they are fast. Much faster than I am, so any additional drag is not so good, as I struggle to keep up at the best of times.

Anyway this last Friday, there were just the two of us in the fast lane and the session was mainly shorter (100 and 50 meter) sets. And what I noticed from this session was that for each of the three metrics above I scored much better than I did for Wednesday.

Averaging around 15 strokes per length, swimming consistently under 1:30 (the descending 50s I typically went from 41 down to 35). And the final 200 with “good technique” was a little over 2:40.
So my non scientific research thus far says “yes” drag shorts do make a difference.

Friday Night (26/01/2018)

Friday Night (26/01/2018)

Finally back for an evening of swimming with Macclesfield Masters. These are traditional Masters sessions – so there is a decent amount of middle distance work and distance in general – especially as these are 90 minute sessions.

I enjoyed this one and it allowed an “interesting” comparison with my Wednesday efforts, because whilst on Wednesday I wear a pair of drag shorts, on Friday I don’t.

Not sure whether this makes much of a difference, but certainly I swim a lot faster (or may be, keep what speed I have for longer) than I do on Wednesdays.

Set Distance Cumulative Description
1 x 750 750 750 Swum as 3 x 250 (50 FR, 50 BK, 50 Fly drill)
5 x 200 1,000 1,750 Swum as 4 x 50 descending. 1, 3 & 5 FR. 2 & 4 BK.
2 x 350 Pull 700 2,450 Swum as 2 x 25, 2 x 50, 2 x 100
12 x 75 drill 900 3,350 Swum as 6 x FL, 4 x FR, 2 x BK.
1 x 200 FR 200 3,550 Good technique
1 x 100 100 3,650 EZ
Wednesday Night (24/01/2018)

Wednesday Night (24/01/2018)

Busy night last night – some 26 swimmers. Still suffering from this cold virus, so swimming still a challenge. The set was a good mix of short / middle distance work

Set Distance Cumulative Description
1 x 400 400 400 EZ
4 times 1,400 1,800
1 x 200 200 90%
1 x 100 100 70%
1 x 50 50 Max
8 x 75 600 2,400 1 x DPS; 1 x sighting; 1 x max
1 x 100 100 2,500 EZ
Wednesday Night (17/01/2018)

Wednesday Night (17/01/2018)

Wednesday night is High Peak Triathlon night.  Since Christmas the swim time has changed to an early 19:00 and the sessions at the moment are well subscribed (4 a lane in most cases).

Last night, me coming off a week of man-flu, was a bit grim.  Swimming felt really slow and tiring, which is to be expected after 10 days of inactivity.  However, given the 10K looming on the horizon I kind of was hoping that I’d be swimming better than I was.

Set Distance Cumulative Description
1 x 400 400 400 EZ
5 x 200 1,000 1,400 3 swum as fartlek, 2 as steady
6 x 100 300 1,700 Swum in pairs as 2 x 50 IM
4 x 50 kick 200 1,900 I hate kick
1 x 200 200 2,100 EZ
10K Open Water Entered

10K Open Water Entered

Well this will be interesting.  Over Christmas my wife suggested that, because 2018 is a “milestone” year for me, I should mark it with some sort of “big event”.  And so it was decided that both my daughter and myself should enter an open water swimming event.

And it was decided (not sure how) that that event would be the Great North Swim on Windermere (see here).  Not only that but that I should go for the 10K swim.

Currently I am swimming once a week and doing 2 – 2,500 meters, so 10K will be a challenge!!

The one, and only, time I ventured into open water before was in 2003.  That was across the Solent, so I have some experience… but not much.