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Hawkeyes hit the long pool over long break

BY IAN MURPHY | JANUARY 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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Every winter, the bulkheads in the middle of the pool in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center are pushed back, turning two pools into one and more than doubling the length of the pool.

Moving the bulkheads turns the pool from two 25-yard sections, two short-course pools, to a single 50-meter pool, the Olympic length, known as a long-course pool.

“The nice thing about long course is it’s just great for stroke technique,” head coach Marc Long said. “It’s a totally different environment.”

Training long course over the winter break allowed the coaching staff an opportunity to see their swimmers’ strokes for a longer period of time and also emphasized the swimmers’ stroke technique for the entire length of the pool. Short-course swimming tends to focus on turns and underwater kicking off walls.

Typically, long-course competitions are held at major international events and over the summer. Long said some of the international swimmers love long course.

“It’s completely different swimming,” said freshman Jerzy Twarowski, who is from Poland. “It’s always good to swim long course.”

Prior to the season-opener against Michigan, Twarowski had never swum in yards, although he did compete in short-course meters.

In addition to technique, the longer length challenges the swimmers.

“You can get some more challenging sets in, kind of get up your aerobic base” senior Grant Betulius said. “Long course you get a little more swimming in.”

Betulius said the team typically trains three weeks in the long-course pool over the break, although he thinks there was an additional week this year.

Long said the team worked tough sets that helped to build that aerobic base, and the longer distance cut down on rest time from pushing off the walls after turns. He said the focus was still on technique stroke technique, and that was the main reason for the change.

“As a coach, you get to watch their stroke the whole way,” Long said.

The swimmers said they feel the benefit of that training.

“When you switch back to short course, it makes all of your races that much shorter,” sophomore Brandon Farnum said. “It takes out the endurance from the race.”

Farnum is correct. There are 4.28 more yards per 50 meters of a race in long course, a difference that adds up over longer races. Twaroski said long course helps with training for distance races.

NCAA swimming is raced in short-course pools, however, and the Hawkeyes are back to training in short-course yard pools, and they will focus hard on turns and being explosive into turns and off the turns.

“We do race in short course, and we pride ourselves on having great turns and being explosive in and out of the walls,” Long said.

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team.


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