Regular swimming is good for your muscles and is the perfect cardiovascular workout. Swimminginstructor Urs Zgraggen explains what you need to do to get the most out of swim training.
Interview: Clau Isenring
Swimming is like riding a bike: once learned, never forgotten. True or false?
True. Thankfully Swiss primary schools attach great importance to getting children used to the water, teaching them to feel at ease in the water and mastering the basics. Breathing, diving, floating, pushing off and gliding are key elements in learning to swim. When you’re learning to swim it’s particularly important to make lessons fun and relaxed.
Is there one stroke that most people want to learn?
The most popular stroke is undoubtedly the crawl. We get a lot of requests for lessons from both men and women. Crawl is a verytechnical stroke. The right breathing and arm movements are essential if you want to do crawl properly. However, once you’ve got the right movement, with a good coach you’ll make good progress in three or four months.
Why is swimming so popular?
Swimming regularly is a great way of staying healthy. It’s a workout that combines cardiovascular and strength training while also being kind on the joints. Regular swimming is also great for losing weight. In water you burn 20% to 40% more calories than if you were doing the same exercise on dry land.
What methods do you use to pinpoint errors and optimise movements?
An experienced coach can quickly identify problem areas and help to correct them using floats, drills, video analyses and isolated movements. A new trend, which we also incorporate in our courses, is to use short fins and snorkels. Snorkels, for example, are great for learning to crawl, because they help you focus on getting the movement right without having to think about the breathing technique. Short fins help improve your position in the water and allow you to move through the water more easily, which is a great advantage if you’re learning to crawl.
Three tips from Urs Zgraggen