Pilates for Teenage Swimmers. By Kaisa Marran
Pilates for Teenage Swimmers
By Kaisa Marran
«…This research-article is based on my work from October 2015 till June 2016 with a group of teenage swimmers. I have taught teenagers throughout my whole trainer’s career – beginning in 1993 as a dance teacher, through my fitness addiction years later on, to eventually teaching my own kids and students in my Pilates studio. These days I still find teaching teenagers very motivating.
As a teacher I have experienced a great deal of sat- is faction seeing the results of Pilates training on growing bodies and minds. Thanks to one season of teaching intensive training to the young swimmers from the swim club Briis, I’m inspired to continue working with young sportsmen’s groups from other sports.
What is competitive swimming?
Competitive swimming is an individual or team sport. It is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and medley. In addition to these individual events, Olympic swimmers also participate in relays. Swimmers can also compete in open-water events (i.e. swimming long distance in the ocean, shorter lake rac- es etc.). Swimming is also part of triathlon competition and gives a strong base to a good triathlete.
In my work I concentrated on indoor competitive swimming and swimmers. There are a lot of swimmers in the world, a lot of swim clubs and trainers, with many competitions taking place all around the world every week of the year. Most competitors jump into the water hoping to touch the wall first – but only one will achieve this. Individual swimming is very challenging both physically and mentally.
How swimming and Pilates unify?
Pilates is a concept and training method with more than 600 exercises. It’s all about alignment and inner core strength.
As we see in the swimming pool the dominating thing is square and lines. Each swimmer swims in a straight lane that defines his/her movement trajectory. The fastest is the swimmer that has the best alignment, technique and speed. Swimmers say, “The race is not over until you touch the wall!” Upper and/or lower limb strength alone cannot make a competitor the fastest one. A swimmer needs a strong core to connect the arms and legs in order to maximize the use of levers.
Swimming competitions are held in short course (25m=82ft) and long course (50m=164ft) pools. There are short and long distance races. The more turns per race the more strength, coordination and finesse the sportsman needs. Here is where the use of Pilates exercises can give a sportsman the needed respective physical skills…»
Full text available in 'Pilates4you Journal «Pilates Plus Psyche»'