The hands-free mantra of the swimming guru Genadijus Sokolovas helps the Indians


Not very slowly, but for sure, swim gurus swim all over the world and agree that fast swimming doesn’t just clap the water as hard as possible with amazing long arms. While the rudder-like limbs cause the maximum visible splash, the actual speed in the water may well be due to the propulsive force of the trunk.

Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas, a swimming biomechanics expert who recently traveled to Bangalore to work with top Indians, noted this as a fairly competent swimmer growing up in Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.

“I was a swimmer myself. It’s a beautiful and life-saving sport. I started studying it, wondering why we swim so slowly compared to fish, dolphins, and other aquatic animals. People are built differently, but we can swim much faster, ”he told the Express. While Dr. Sokolovas worked with the backstroker Srihari Natraj and the 800 meter freestyler Kushagra Rawat at the Dravid Padukone Pool, he repeatedly pointed out not to use the arm too much for swimming and instead use the body to get faster.

“Both Srihari and Kushagra have a lot of potential to improve their swimming technique and times. One area to focus on is the “connection between arm and body muscles”. Using body muscles is important when swimming. No fish has arms to swim quickly. So we need to teach swimmers to use their body muscles. I’ve developed several drills to improve them in this area, ”he said.

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While details of their collaboration are not too well known, Dr. Sokolovas is known for helping swimming legend Michael Phelps maximize his medals using his bespoke SwimPower technology. Phelps was an established name meant for size at the time when coach Bob Bowman consulted with Sokolovas. The biomechanic’s insistence on moving the body muscles to stroke would have enhanced the lesser-known, but far more important anatomical asset of Phelps – he has a larger torso than what is considered proportional to his legs.

Phelps’ 80-inch wingspan and double-articulated elbows and ankles that are designed to help as fins are naturally cited as a natural benefit. But some swimmers like Kosuke Kitajima (178 cm) and Joseph Schooling (184 cm) haven’t been that tall lately and have still won big. It is emphasized that reach (according to height), while important, may not be the only determinant.

Srihari Natraj would vouch for the immediate differences he felt in adopting Sokolova’s “more bodies than weapons” approach. “Using the body muscles to generate electricity increases our stroke efficiency and distance per stroke, which would help us swim faster,” he said of the specific correction recommended by Sokolovas.

Srihari Nataraj with Gennady Sokolov in Bengaluru

Chance is a hoot, but there is a species of ant called Polyrhachis sokolova that was discovered while living in the midst of floods and swimming or walking on the surface of the water. So it’s not just the snappers or water snakes that seem to slide quickly through the water without the need to flutter arms.

As a big fan of fish swimming, Sokolovas would indicate the interference of weapons in humans that can potentially cause resistance – increase the resistance in the water.

“Both swimmers are pretty fast, but to get to the next level you should exercise regularly. Srihari should focus on keeping his arms flatter during the stroke and Kushagra at the beginning of the stroke, ”he said while focusing on high-intensity workouts that he has helped around 120 Olympic champions.

Srihari would comment, “Basically, the analysis has shown that my back pull ends very deep in the water and that I could have a much more efficient, powerful, and faster stroke if it was shallower and could also save time per stroke cycle. And better rotation that would also help reduce drag. “Sokolova’s trick is to minimize the drag caused by arms lurking underwater for a second too long, and instead let the upper body push forward. While Kushagra’s arms had pulled in the wrong direction, Srihari’s deeper pull was taking too much time and hampering his frequency.

He also worked on turns and breakouts, adding that Indians tend to linger extra seconds and tummy tummy pulls on the turns rather than the vertical kick. “A lot of Indian swimmers are taking turns not being fast enough because they are spinning in two planes instead of a vertical plane,” he said, which could prove the difference between winning and losing. “American swimmers turn very quickly. One of the reasons is training in 25 yard pools. As a result, swimmers can make twice as many turns when training in 50 meter pools. “

India’s top coach Nihar Ameen would see Sokolova’s merit in the SwimPower test, which superimposes the calculated speed of each swimmer on the actual image of each stroke. “That was very impressive. Swimmers can actually see where they are losing strength because if they tell them until they see it, it doesn’t always work, ”Ameen said.

The swimmers also trained with weights on their feet to correct and overcompensate for mistakes.

While there is a lot of talk about Dr. Sokolovas helps the Indians to stay on the B standard for a long time, in order to reach the A mark, the expert started the training program for Indians who are still beginners in the pool at the right time. While guns can keep doing their thing, Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas that the core of power should come from the core – the body or the upper body. The advice to use the body more than the arms could prove the silver bullet that Indian swimming is poorly looking for.