I had the great pleasure of attending the Luna Chix Summit back at the end of March. The Summit is a kick-off for the season where all the Luna Chix local team members are invited to Luna Bar / Clif Bar Headquarters for seminars, training, and a lot of fun! I was thrilled to get to attend since I will be a Luna Chix Journalist for this year.
When I was at the Summit, I had a sense that some of the women I met from other parts of the country had already started training and doing workouts outdoors. But up until the Summit, my workouts had been confined to the gym and had also been sporadic at best. The Seattle winter – and even spring can leave a lot to be desired! I’d prefer to stay dry and warm, so unless I have a specific event I’m training for, not much is going to push me outside on a 40 degree and raining day.
But that all changed this past weekend! It was the kick-off event for the Seattle Luna Chix Triathlon workout season. We had an awesome swim clinic at the Samena Swim Club. This club has and indoor, as well as an outdoor pool. It was a brilliant sunny day. And although the temps we’re probably only in the 60’s at best, it felt great to be swimming outdoors!
The Luna Chix brought in Kiko Van Zandt. Kiko has been a competitive swimmer all her life and is now assistant coach to U.S. Paralympic Swim Team (she’ll be coaching in London!) as well as coaching the “Shadow Seals”, a USA-swim club for swimmers with disabilities.
In the swim clinic, Kiko focused on swim drills and explaining what we should strive to “feel” with each drill. A few of the drills were familiar to me… the fist drill, the catch-up drill – but she also through in a new one… the scrape drill. The scrape drill is where you straighten your arms and try to “scrape” the sky and then the bottom of the pool. This really helps you feel the rotation you should be making with your shoulders when you swim.
Why I love the Luna Chix
Each and every time I’m with this group, I learn something new. The Luna Chix ladies pair up with individual swimmers and offer their insights and experience. Any question is fair game!
Kiko then looked at our swimming strokes individually and offered her advice on how we could get more efficient. I’ve always known I “crossed over” into the middle on my stroke reach. Kiko gave me a great drill to help correct it. She was having me swim as if my arms were at “10 and 2” in position to my body. (I had never heard this before…see… learn something new all the time!) I swam a length of the pool that way, and although my shoulders really felt as though they were getting a much bigger workout – I certainly was coming into the wall much faster. And faster means I was more efficient and moving more water on my “pull”.
Then she took it a step further. She had me move my stroke out to what I thought was “9 and 3”. (Totally reminded me of a penguin when she demonstrated it!) But again – a wider stance to my swim stroke and I was moving faster.
Drills will be the key
You can make changes to your natural habits in anything. You have to concentrate on what you’re trying to correct. I know from experience that drills are a way to train/re-train your muscles to have a chance to work on new form. Now I’ll be doing all my drills with a “wider is better” approach.
I love to swim. I know many people dread the swim portion of a triathlon. (And I myself have been known to break apart on a swim and question “what the heck am I doing here?” during a tri.) But swimming feels amazing to me. Anything I can do to help my body move faster and more freely though the water contributes to the fun.
(P.S., thanks to Marne… Luna Chix Seattle Tri team member for being my photographer!)