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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > Oct/Nov 2016 > STROKE COUNTING: WHY AND HOW

STROKE COUNTING: WHY AND HOW

It is time you stopped only measuring time and distance, says Terry Laughlin

The two numbers that swimmers habitually track are how many metres or yards they tally in a workout – or some calendar period – and the time it takes to complete some portion of that tally. “I swam 3000 metres today and did 1:39 on my fastest 100.”

It’s far less common to monitor stroke count. Yet, for several reasons, stroke count is arguably the most important measure:

1.REGULAR FEEDBACK

Feedback – a way to connect efforts to outcomes – is the key to improvement and personal best performance. Feedback is most effective when it comes moment-by-moment. You learn your time for a repeat only a³er you finish swimming. In contrast, you can monitor stroke count every lap, alerting you to loss of efficiency or variation in Stroke Length.

2. NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Stroke Length – the distance you travel on each stroke – has been shown repeatedly to correlate more closely with performance than any other aspect of swimming. In contrast, there is a relatively poor connection between the number of metres you tally in training and how well you swim. Counting strokes is the most basic and accessible way to monitor Stroke Length.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In this issue we explore wild swimming in Scandinavia, where the right to roam extends to swimming outdoors – in some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. We also bring you reports from some our favourite events of the summer – more swims for you to add to your bucket list! We hear from Howard James and Sabrina Wiedmer about their record breaking swims – the earliest (and coldest) English Channel crossing and the first woman to cross the Dál Raita Channel, respectively. And if that all sounds a bit too hardcore and serious, Dan Abel shows us how to keep our swimming fun. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.