Tethered swimming is a practice where you swim while attached to a stationary object. This allows swimmers to conduct a quality training session in a small pool.
The swim tether is an elasticated bungee cord that has enough stretch to allow you to swim comfortably, while holding you in place. You could say that tethered swimming is similar to a treadmill in running. You can swim comfortably, without actually going anywhere. Tethered swimming allows you to swim with confidence.
Tethered swimming is a great option for those now learning to swim or advance swimmers needing to work on their technique. Training with a tether can increase speed, improve technique and endurance, develop power and strength for an overall stronger open water swim. Whether it is practicing bilateral breathing, kicking or sighting, tethered swimming should be part of your swim training.
Swimming tethers can have tremendous benefits for the major muscle groups used while swimming. Repetition is one of the key concepts of the tether, and the repeating strokes will build strength with every stroke. Resistance is the other key concept. Since you are able to control how much or how little resistance the band gives you, you can be in control of how hard you are working with the tether. By using a swimming tether, you are also gaining “muscle memory.” In other words, muscle memory is the repeated pattern of maximizing the amount of muscle tissue that is used in a given activity.
BENEFITS OF TETHER SWIMMING
The tether can be used for a variety of sessions including technique, strength and endurance.
Improve your ability to swim in a straight line instead of weaving from one side to the other.
Aid in practicing bilateral breathing, helping you concentrate on the least amount of head rotation you need to take a breath on each side.
Improve your kicking by allowing you to concentrate on the motion from your hips and thighs rather than from your knees.
Enable you to work on sighting. Set up a water bottle or cone on the other side of the pool as something to sight on. Lift your head slightly with your eyes just above the water like “crocodile eyes” and then breath to the side. Try not to breath to the front as your hips will sink low and cause drag.
Be a good tool for drills, especially one-arm drills. Swim with one arm for a set amount of time, then switch to the other. This drill will help produce a more even stroke.
Help to minimize over-rotation from one side to the other by letting you concentrate on equal rotation for each side.
Allow you to apply the same pull force with each arm and aid in a full stroke for each arm.
Swim all 4 Strokes: It may feel different at first, but you can swim all 4 competitive strokes with a tether.
Focus on Body Position: Good body position is essential for a tethered swim, since you’re held in a stationary spot. Make sure your hips don’t drop to the bottom of the pool and your head stays looking straight down.