Have you been to the pool yet to play around with the new FINA figures? I am hoping you have at least read the new figures. I have to admit I am the kind of person who likes to try the figures still. Even though I am sure I look not so hot doing them. I like to get a feel for the figures and the best way for me to get a feel for it is in the water. It is especially important for me to get a feel for the figure transitions that never existed when I did compete.
Today I am dissecting the Junior FINA Figure “London”.
1. Notice that only two positions are in bold, the tuck and the vertical. Only these positions must be “paused” to show the judges.
2. When lifting the leg to a assume a rapid ballet leg(the leg goes through sailboat) it is key the bottom leg stays lifted on the surface. At the same time a swimmer should keep the moving leg dry as it moves up from the layout position. The tendency is going to be for both feet to dip underwater creating a lot of water into the ballet leg. The best swimmers will be the highest, but also the lightest.
Here is a drill to help get the lightness. Put a noodle, pull buoy, or bottle under the non-lifting leg and have the athlete perform the lift to ballet leg. The athlete needs to keep floating device on the surface of the water at all times. As they lift their leg they need to feel the difference between pushing off the floating device versus stretching long to lift. Then remove the floating device and the swimmer needs to keep the foot lifted. The floating device could also be used in the hands for more focus on only the motion the legs take.
3. The transition from the rapid assumption of the ballet leg to the tuck position is another key transition that the top swimmers will stand out on. Same as with the assumption of the ballet leg the transition into the tuck must be clean and light. The bottom foot needs to go directly from on the surface to the tuck without dropping underwater.
Another consideration is keeping the hips close to the surface. There will be a tendency for the swimmer to push their hips too deep to get over to the tuck. A couple things to help train the hips to stay up into the tuck involve equipment. You can add a floating device under the butt crease and have the athlete tuck back so they can feel how the hips need to stay up. This drill may not allow the arms to be done correctly so be specific with the purpose of the drill you choose. You could also have the swimmers hold bottles in their hands to get the feeling of hips up and the positioning of the hands.For the bottom foot the same drills into the ballet leg will work.
Another key to performing this transition is the scull. The hands need to stay parallel to the surface of the water while sculling at the upper thigh. The hands need to maintain a position close to the surface especially as they flip to support scull. If the support scull flips too deep underwater the hips will follow.
4. The start height of the combined spin is the end height of the ascending spin. So where ever the swimmer lifts to in the vertical is where they spin from and is end height on the spin up. If the swimmer is mid thigh on the vertical lift before the spin then they need to get to mid thigh on the spin up, no higher no lower.
5. The combined spin is uniform motion and is slow. Do not be mislead by the word spin. There is no pause at the bottom or top of the spin. The descending 360 is completed by the heels touching the surface.
Now the entire New FINA Manual is not online to my knowledge so I have used information from the previous manual. If there are any judges following this blog feel free to give us your interpretation of the new figure. Coaches do you have some other great drills to share? I would love to hear your comments.