Reader Round Up: What’s the Craziest Thing You’ve Done for Training Resistance/Drag?

old suits During the recent Trials coverage, among the “competing with illness or injury” swimmers was a young-ish female who had staples in her scalp due to a training injury.

I totally understand her choice to “swim through.” Like most swimmers, I’ve competed with many injuries (e.g. broken fingers, a broken wrist, severely bruised knee, right shoulder issues). And, in staples-in-the-head’s case, it’s THE TRIALS. If you can still stand up, of course you’re going to swim.

How she sustained her injury—weights she was tethered to while swimming crashed down on her—got me thinking though. What the heck craziness was that resistance training?! Hooked to weights while in the pool?! For extra drag?!

But then I thought of all the really weird stuff I did while coming up in the same sport. In retrospect, beyond the basic pull buoy or extra drag suit, much of it was just as nutty and injury-risk-y. Here are some of the things I can remember: Swimming with pantyhose on, walking on the bottom of the pool carrying those heavy black diving bricks, swimming with weight belts on (also swimming with the parachute belt version), and I recall the varsity boys having to vertical kick in the deep end while holding a folded metal chair over their heads.

Naturally, if I did a lot of weird in-pool-resistance training, other did too, and at an even crazier level. Here are some of those stories, gathered recently in response to my call out of “Will you share the craziest thing you did for resistance/drag training?”

Does my posting [DYST 7/7/16] today count? Lots of resistance and drag. Thinking about it, maybe they could be hired for swim training sessions: A wet day on holiday so off to the local leisure centre in Machynlleth for a few lengths. Only to find 18 strapping young men running up and down a narrow lane in the pool. Interesting currents and turbulence throughout the pool! — Dee

“When I swam in high school, they didn’t have the men’s drag suits that they have now (if they did, they weren’t ‘fashionable’ at the time). So we ‘created’ our own drag suits. We always wore two suits (I still do today). The first was a relatively new suit, and for lack of a better term was our ‘decency suit.’ The second suit was the ‘drag’ suit. This was an old suit, and as you can imagine, five hours in the pool every day would take its toll on the poor fabric. The once-black suit was now closer in color to tan, and the once tight fit had stretched to be two-three sizes larger. Most sane people would throw this suit away. Not us. That was our top suit. But it wasn’t truly a ‘drag suit’ until the fabric had ripped away from the waistband and flapped against us as we swam. Not exactly sure how this suit stayed on—the elastic tie-string had fallen out long ago. We only switched out the suit when it’d end up at the ankles after 200 yards. But by then the ‘decency’ suit was ready to get promoted to the honor of being the drag suit. So went the pattern, until the end of my high school swimming career. Nowadays I just use an actual drag suit, good for about an added second or two per 100. – Eric

 “As a junior water polo player in England, our coach used to make us swim in a rugby shirt. A proper old fashioned, long sleeved, heavyweight English rugby shirt.

When our coach was in a particularly bad mood, in addition to swim sets in our rugby shirts, which included butterfly, we would be required to climb out of the pool in between lengths and touch the wall, after a few tricep dips! If it was especially cold and rainy outside, which it usually was (this was in England after all) our coach would make us run round the field next to the pool, barefoot, in our swimming trunks…wearing our rugby shirts, before resuming the swim sets.” — Adam

Adam’s story reminds me of swimming in a sweatshirt. Was that at BCHS? Town pool? In my life before Delmar? Can’t remember. Just remember having to lug the very wet sweatshirt home. – Laura

“Tied a giant elastic band and swam a length, return length was a bit faster!” – Bob

 Have a great resistance/drag training story? Send it on in—I’ll save it for another round up posting…

Reader Round Up: What’s the Craziest Thing You’ve Done for Training Resistance/Drag?

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