Category: Tools

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.