Do YOU know YOUR Optimum Kick Count?

Do YOU know YOUR Optimum Kick Count?

Welcome back! This post is 1,000% delayed from when I should have wrote it, but none the less–we are getting it done. Back in June, I traveled out to the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, CA with Indiana Swimming.

During my time in Chula Vista, I was working with the swimmers on finding their optimum kick counts off the walls. Normally as a coach, you can eyeball this pretty well–but the eye can lie. So with the help of TritonWear, I was able to calculate at what EXACT point should a swimmer breakout to avoid either slowing down too much before breaking through the surface or potentially speeding up through the break out.

Here’s a peak into our clinic:

So How EXACTLY Do You Find a Swimmer’s Optimum Kick Count?

Well with the use of the TritonWear system, you have access to their motion analysis tool. The motion analysis tool is basically a fancy way to overlay a swimmer’s acceleration profile with their swimming video.

As a coach, all you do is have the system setup with a swimmer (a swimmer needs to be wearing a unit) and you video tape them through different kick counts for their break outs.

So for me, I asked every swimmer who I worked with–what their “normal”/average kick count was for a race off the wall. Trying to avoid the swimmer that says, “I do 6 kicks off every wall.” To which I responded, “Even at the end of a 200?” Normally, that would make them rethink that real quick.

And whatever their number was, say it was 5. I would test 2 dolphin kicks below that number and 2 above. So in total, the swimmer would complete 5 tests: 3 dolphin kicks, 4 dolphin kicks, 5 dolphin kicks, 6 dolphin kicks, and 7 dolphins.

The way the TritonWear system works is it allows you (as a coach) after each test is complete to add brackets surrounding the area of the motion analysis test, that you the specific metrics from. So for me looking at breakout speed, I would put the first bracket at the start of the very last dolphin kick and I put the second bracket at the very end of the first stroke cycle. This allows me to isolate the area between the last kick and the first stroke.

If you look up (on your screen), you’ll see metrics from that bracketed area on the right side of the video and the metric we are looking at is a swimmer’s change in speed.

Ideally, we’d want a swimmer’s change in speed to be as close to zero as possible. This means a swimmer is going from a similar speed below the surface to above.

If a swimmer’s change in speed is positive, that means they went from a SLOWER under the water surface speed to a FASTER above the water surface speed–so they waited TOO long to break out.

If a swimmer’s change in speed is negative, that means they went from a FASTER under the water speed to a SLOWER above the water speed–which means they broke out TOO early.

As we said at the beginning of this post, it is possible to “eyeball” where a swimmer should breakout if you can see the acceleration or deceleration happen very NOTICEABLY–but what you may not get with the eye is the minute changes between 3 and 4 dolphin kicks.

If you’re interested in having your swimmer or your team’s kick counts tested, email Also, if you have any question on TritonWear or using their system, feel free to email me as well.

Until Next Time,

Abbie Fish

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