How to improve your breaststroke
200m Olympic breaststroke swimmer Molly Renshaw passes on her tips for improving your stroke
So excited to be selected to represent GBR at my third World Championships this summer in Budapest 🏊🏼♀️🇬🇧 Thank you for everyone's kind messages 💜 #Budapest17
200m breaststroke star Molly Renshaw made her Olympics debut in Rio 2016 and has a thrilling future in front of her. 220 Triathlon sat down with Molly and asked her about her training schedule, developing her race mentality and her top breaststroke tips for those wanting to improve their stroke.
THE TECHNIQUE for breaststroke is the same whether you compete indoors or out. It is about finishing the stroke as strongly and as smoothly as possible. The finish of the stroke needs to be worked on a lot. You want to be finishing each stroke as efficiently as you can as it helps set you up for the stroke to come, it keeps you balanced and moving through the water well. Think about being high and strong as you finish. There’s no point pouring energy into your movements if you are not focusing them in the right areas.
I PERSONALLY vary my training every week. I have around four ‘key’ sessions that are emphasised strictly on breaststroke and then my other sessions will be aerobic freestyle sessions to ensure I am conditioned properly. Going into the Olympics we were so focused on the pool but this year we’ve done a lot more gym work and that has made me a better swimmer. Sometimes, mixing up your training can be the break you need, both mentally and physically.
THE KEY to speed in breaststroke is all in the legs. In fact I do far, far more work on my legs in the gym than I do on my upper body. You need to work your legs really hard to avoid fatigue. If you have strong musculature in your lower body then all swimming styles will be easier.
MENTAL STRENGTH is a key part of being a good swimmer – and that’s the same whether you’re in the pool in a competition or in a triathlon. At times, I want to be a 50m freestyle swimmer – they train and compete a lot less than us! – but I absolutely love my disciplines really. You just have to develop the mental toughness, through repetition, to want to keep doing it. There’s really no magic ingredient to success, you just have to get in the water and do the training, day in and day out.
MATURITY ALSO helps swimmers. I've definitely matured a lot in the past 12 months and I put that down to competing in Rio. It was such an amazing experience and it has given me more confidence and belief that if I race at my best then the results will come. Physically I’m the same as last year but mentally I’m a lot stronger. I trust myself a lot more and don’t get as down on myself, I know think ‘I’ve got this’. I took so many positives from it and that makes me want to strive further and achieve more in swimming.
JUST TRY to race what is in front of you. I’ve tried to work hard on just racing and not think too much about whether it is or a semi-final or a final. I know that if I race at my best then the rest will take care of itself in terms of positions. The past year, especially since the Olympics, I’ve become a long more grown up and I don’t get as nervous. There is no point worrying about the outcome - just focus more on the race and give it everything. We do so much work in the pool that the mental side is more about just not worrying about the outcome. I just need to stick to my race plans and that will get me to where I want to be. I trust myself.
Above Molly Renshaw is wearing Funkita swimwear, available from www.simplyswim.com
You can follow Molly on Twitter @MollyRenshaw