Previous Blog Posts
If you’re thinking of coming down to Cornwall over the summer period have a look at our good friends the Mad Hatters. They offer a wide range of different events spanning most of the summer period.
Coaching a large number of people that have started to take swimming seriously in their 20s, 30s and 40s I’ve noticed that leg kick can be a real issue. Generally in the pool you kick to keep your body flat in the water and avoid drag. Personally I also get my rhythm when swimming from my legs. However, for most their leg kick is almost counter-productive. Your legs represent massive muscle groups and consume a lot more Oxygen than your arms, providing 10-15% extra propulsion (if you have a great leg kick). Even with a great leg kick it’s questionable whether or not to kick hard during a swim. Over a sprint, yes. Over middle to long distance, probably not.
So do you stop concentrating on your leg kick? Absolutely not!
Whilst a good kick only improves a swim marginally, if at all. A bad kick can sap a swimmer of energy, prevent the body from rolling correctly (which in turn effects the pull and your reach), have a negative impact on your body position and create masses of drag. Incorporating leg kick into a swimming session also allows your upper body some recovery time whilst still working the lungs and core and notching up the k’s.
So where to go from here?
Firstly, to improve your leg kick you need to know whether there’s anything wrong with it. My suggestion would be to either get some professional coaching, or if you’re on a budget get a friend to film your leg kick during a session. Speak to the lifeguards before attempting any kind of filming in a public session! It might be possible to get some footage during quieter public sessions.
Secondly, websites like YouTube are a valuable resource. If you’re not sure on any topics watch some videos. Make sure you watch a few and get a general consensus. Just because someone has made a video (or written an article!) doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.
Thirdly, if you’re only interest is open water swimming and you have a terrible leg kick and you pool swim in the winter purely to keep fit, simply stick a pull-buoy in and forget about your legs. When you swim in salt water simply put your ankles together, don’t kick and let the salt water and your wetsuit do the work…it’s only going to create drag and use up Oxygen and energy, whilst possibly affecting your body position.
Your legs should rotate around with your body. This is where lots of people have issues. The maximum width your feet achieve should be consistent. Often when people breathe the distance between their feet increases (Scissoring). This creates lots of drag. Have a look at the link and see how the subjects leg rotate around with the rest of her body – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hNRgzWXzFA
To eliminate any rogue kicks or an increase in the distance between your feet, when you breathe for instance try this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEHdsb89yO0
Core – Any issues you have may not actually be created by your kick and may come about as the result of the swimmer not engaging with their core. Not using the core whilst freestyle swimming can lower the feet in the water, which in turn creates more drag and lifts the head position. For core drills try – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY1kqFkKC60
You can also work on your core out of the pool – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrz67cH_P8o
Kick From the Hips – Always try and keep your legs straight. It’s impossible due to the water pressure but the effort made to keep your legs straight should prevent you from kicking from the knees.
Best of luck. If you continue to struggle book a Sea Swim Cornwall holiday and we’ll sort out your kick.
We know most, if not all of the best swims in Cornwall but it doesn’t stop there! As part of our swimming holidays we also act as guides to some of Cornwall’s finest drinking and eating establishments.
Below is a little list of a few of our favourite coffee houses (in no particular order) :
* As we both spend a lot of time in Newquay we picked a few from our home town :
The Jam Jar – Next to Sainsbury’s in Newquay. A very small establishment and there isn’t always sitting room but the coffees here are fantastic, with loads of options. When I say options I’m talking organic Almond milk…not some hideous triple Caramel, 7000 Calorie monstrosity of a Latte you can pick up in some main stream coffee shops. The last time we were here Jo said the Porridge he had was “the best Porridge I’ve ever had”. Now, he doesn’t get out much but the food is also very good.
Gwenna Teahouse – located at the delightful Porth Beach, Gwenna Tea rooms also do a great selection of teas, coffee, cake (great homemade cake!) and food. Ideal for a high tide swim at the very sheltered beach and a hot drink or food or both after.
Box & Barber – on Fore St, Newquay. Perfectly located near Fistral Beach, Newquay Harbour and the bay. Great menu and coffee.
Lakeside Cafe – at the Boating Lake. You don’t beat them for value! LARGE cake portions too.
The Rock Pool – Awesome views over Mousehole and a great outdoor seating area.
The Hidden Hut – at Porthcurnick Beach. Perfect for a swim – lunch – drink combo. The whole thing is outdoors, so check the weather first.
Short & Strong – Great little coffee shop in Charlestown. You have World Class swims just outside, as well as part of the Poldark set.
I don’t think the sea is quite cold enough this year to really get your day long ‘buzz’ on…but it’s cold enough! If you fancy a dip over the festive period here are a few options, in Cornwall and further afield.
- Christmas Eve : group gathering at Harbourside Cafe Slip (Penzance Harbour) 9am.
- Christmas Day Swim : Battery Rocks, Penzance 10.30am, Newquay Harbour 9am (probably just me by myself again!), Sennen Beach 11am on mass.
- Boxing Day : Bowgie meet up for Crantock Swim 10.30am, Charlestown at 12
- New Years Day Swim : Gyllyngvase Beach 1-2.30pm, Tinside Beach East (Plymouth) 10am
Have a great festive period and a happy New Year.
Cornwall has more coastline than the rest of the Southwest put together. It leaves us with a fair few swims to choose from.
In no particular order…
- Carbis Bay : Now if you’re not a fan of crowds you’ll need to avoid Carbis Bay in peak season. The car park next to the beach can also be very expensive during busier months. It is however, very sheltered a lot of the time. Both the water quality and clarity are fantastic and the place is stunning. If you’re organised or don’t mind a walk on a summer’s evening you could always swim into St Ives Harbour (being careful of boats of course), swimming back, walk back or park a second car in the town and grab a drink and some food.
- Porthcurno : We took a group here on a September morning, swimming to Logan Rock and back and it was stunning. I still haven’t ‘got over’ it four months on. Crystal clear water, a stunning back drop…there was an Opera singer warming up at the Minnack Theatre whilst we were swimming. If the conditions are right this swim takes some beating. Beware though, the water’s normally a good couple of degrees cooler than surrounding areas.
- Gyllyngvase Beach : the locals love this place. I’ve personally never really seen the appeal. I think Swanpool is far nicer. The swimming here is good though! Amazing marine life and…this seems to be a common theme…beautiful clear water. Offers favourable swimming conditions, rarely picking up swell and fairly sheltered. Suggested swim Gylly to Swanpool and back.
- Nanjizal (photo above) : Difficult to find, well worth the effort. Quite remote and can be difficult to access. One week you pop down there and you have a beautiful sandy beach, the next the sand has disappeared and you have to clamber over rocks. More of a quick dip than a long swim kind-of location.
- The Gannel / Goose Rock : The Goose Rock off Crantock Beach can be a fantastic swim in good conditions, terrible in bad! You can get a fairly challenging current around the back of the rock so we definitely wouldn’t recommend swimming around the rock. Incredible views and Crantock is probably my favourite beach. The Gannel takes some beating. You need a big tide, setting off from the beach a few minutes before high tide. Once the tide turns just make sure you keep left on the way back, especially if you’re not a confident or strong swimmer. You’ll get a nice little boost the whole way.
- Anywhere in the Isles of Scilly (above) : Having competed in the Isles Of Scilly Otillo with the other half of Sea Swim Cornwall – Jo, we can highly recommend. Half dead, legs like Lead and wheezing like an air bed in the process of inflation whilst completing the 40km Swimrun I still managed to take in the world class views of St Mary’s, Bryher and Tresco. We swung by St Agnes on the Sunday and I fell in love.
It’s that exciting time of the year again…when we release the date for our Biathlon in 2018! Sea Swim Cornwall our proud to present our baby – the Crantock Biathlon 2018, happening Friday 29th June at 7pm! Great event set in absolutely stunning surroundings.
We thought this might be of interest for any of our Cornwall lot travelling for Christmas, as Newquay Airport flies to Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield…or for anyone that’s reading this and loves swimming from out of the county.
Up and coming events for winter 2017 include : Christmas carols and swimming Dec 17th 09.00 – 13.00, Boxing Day swim 09.00 – 13.00 and a New Years Day Swim to clear all of those pounding heads (obviously Jan 1st) 11.00 – 15.00.
Let us know how you get on if you pop in!
With Chrimbo coming up we felt like we should give out some Christmas swimming advice.
Now I always hear people complaining in January “I’m unfit”, “I’ve put on loads of weight over Christmas…”. I’m entirely the opposite. I can’t wait for December. With all of the shopping, excitement, eating, drinking and being merry the swimming pool is always empty. You can clean-up in public swimming sessions. This is especially convenient if you have lots of time off work over the festive period. You also need to remember that come January any fitness facility is at breaking point due to new year’s resolutions. My plan is always the same, get in loads of training December, put in a few ‘maintenance swims’ in January when it’s busy and then up it again in February.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
We’d like to welcome you to the Sea Swim Cornwall Blog. This being the first of many posts.
The aim of our Blog is provide open water swimmers with useful information regarding swimming in Cornwall, a few tips when it comes to stroke technique, training and swimming in open water (as well as the pool), we’ll promote local Cornish swimming events and include other swimming-related and non-swimming related topics that we feel might be beneficial.
The Blog is aimed at newcomers right up to intermediate…lots of the posts may be useful to swimmers of any ability however, especially the ‘Sea swim Cornwall Safe Swimming Guides’ as they also detail where to park, local facilities, which conditions to swim in…relating to specific swims.
We hope you enjoy.