2012 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian is a monster. Both in physical terms–6’6″ and anywhere between 225-245 pounds–and raw power in the weight room Adrian exemplifies the term “beast mode.”
In the following video that was shot in conjunction with BMW (a high level sponsor of US high performance sport) we get a slow-mo look at Nathan Adrian’s start in action.
Adrian’s size, explosiveness and power off the blocks, and start technique have helped him power to a series of highly consistent performances on the international stage over the years (even his in-season times are shockingly consistent).
Part of that comes from Adrian regularly crushing people off of the start.
The Key Takeaways with Adrian’s Start:
- He waits a beat before he starts kicking to maintain the speed from his dive into the water.
- He enters the water cleanly and in a tight hole.
- You’ll notice that his body is almost straight when he enters the water. His Cal teammate Natalie Coughlin demonstrated this straight-body-line in this Instagram video where she performed a “runner” into the water.
- He throws his head forward.
- He gets a ton of distance off of the blocks. Adrian’s work ethic in the weight room shows itself here–he manages to cover a lot of pool in the air.
Here is the video:
Why You Should Watch This Video 10x Before You Go to Practice Today
One the books I recommend competitive swimmers all read is “The Little Book of Talent” [Amazon]. In it, author Daniel Coyle discusses a super simple way to supercharge your skills and talents–absorb the excellence of others.
The premise is simple: by watching the way others do things we can internalize what they are doing. Each day before practice and each evening before you go to sleep watch your favorite athletes perform the movements you are trying to develop.
YouTube is one of the best things to happen to young talents looking to improve. No longer is video of the top athletes reserved to the television–anywhere, anytime we can fire up our smartphone and quickly watch bookmarked videos that encourage the skills we want.
The next time you are going to be working on starts at practice, watch this video a whole bunch of times to absorb and ingrain the technique that Adrian exhibits.
- Bill Pilczuk on How to Develop an Explosive Start. In 1998 Bill Pilczuk dethroned the best sprint freestyler in history in the 50m freestyle on the basis of a better start. Here are his tips for improving your own start.
- Brad Tandy’s Start Is Utterly Ridiculous. South African Olympian Brad Tandy decimated the PAC-10 and NCAA with his insane starts. Here are video breakdowns on his start in action.
- 5 Tips for a Better Swim Start. The start is where races are won or last, particularly for you splash-and-dashers. Here are 5 simple tricks and drills to improve your start.