Ask the Coach How to Swim Faster – Part 2

This is part 2 in a series of blog posts where we ask important questions to successful coaches in the Vasa community.  Here are their answers to an important question:

Why does indoor swim training on a Vasa SwimErg make sense for time-crunched swimmers & triathletes versus only swimming at the pool or open water? 

indoor swim training on a Vasa SwimErg

Coach Lesley Paterson:

“Getting to a pool is incredibly time-consuming and often the scheduled lap swimming times don’t fit well with peoples’ structure.  When a Vasa SwimErg is right there, it cuts back on so much time.  The reason Vasa is so effective is that you get real-time feedback on your stroke.  When swimming in the water this is always delayed.  You can lay out a mirror below (the SwimErg) and one to the side so you can see instantly where your stroke is lacking. Furthermore, it develops strength and muscular firing patterns that are hard to do in the fluid mass of a pool. You can also do very specific sets on the Vasa with different resistances and track your wattage values, meters covered, and a discrepancy between right and left arms.”

Coach Mike Collins Created A Stroke Path Guide With Tape Lines on A Mirror


Coach Eric Neilsen:

“The ability to have a focused practice session with instant feedback on power and stroke rate is huge.  Most likely, the athlete can complete a training session on the Vasa SwimErg or a Vasa Trainer in the time it takes just commuting to the pool.  For open water swimmers and triathletes, the specificity of training is ideal.”

Objective Data from the Vasa SwimErg

The SwimErg Provides Objective Feedback That Can’t Be Obtained Swimming In A Pool


Coach Joe Maloy:

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a lap pool in your backyard?  Unless you enjoy this luxury, you probably spend time driving to/from a pool, lake, or ocean, then parking, then getting changed, then fighting for lane space, then needing to shower and commute to the next place.  

The Vasa SwimErg strips swimming down to its essential movements and eliminates all that other wasted time!  For many swimmers (I’m one of them), there are days when I’d like to swim but don’t feel like dealing with one (or all) of those hurdles I mentioned.  It might be rush hour and I don’t feel like sitting in traffic, or the only time I’ve got available for a swim happens to be the same time that there are no lanes available, or I just don’t feel like wasting 40 minutes driving and time in the locker room! 

These time savings are particularly important for me, a triathlete, who needs to balance his swim training with the demands of 2 other sports + LIFE!”

Time savings swim training at home with Vasa

Vasa SwimErg Provides Time Efficient Freestyle Swim Training At Home


Coach Martin Hill:

“Most adults are time-starved (juggling jobs, family, etc) and to have the ability to train domestically is a real advantage for balancing life. It cuts out the need to travel, change, fight for pool space, shower, and travel back. A 60-minute pool session could take up another 60 minutes of logistical time. It literally takes a few minutes to prepare for a Vasa session!

Then there is the design of the Vasa SwimErg, being linear and providing variable resistance and instant physical and data feedback. It allows the swimmer to focus on the simple movement patterns we prescribe while developing fitness and strength. Our description of the swimming movement pattern is simple and can be practiced easily on the Vasa SwimErg; we break swimming into a continuous cycle with just three stages; referred to as swim REPs:

Swim REPs

  1.     R – Recover with a relaxed arm, getting your hand back as quickly and as relaxed as possible
  2.     E – Enter hands slightly thumb down, shoulder-width apart (1 and 11 o’clock), and at arm’s length (no reaching)
  3.     P PUSH the water back to ARMS LENGTH; noting that this is the (only) propulsive phase

The Vasa SwimErg accommodates this REP perfectly (simplifying it even more as the [arm out of the water] recovery is not needed), the bench, and the monorail allow the user to be positioned centrally, in a good horizontal position and to assess their movements with ease. Watching what the hands and arms are doing at the various stages of the underwater phase as well as being able to see the display (showing time, distance, stroke rate, etc), allows the special awareness and movement coordination that is very often impossible in the water. The ability to adjust the fan allows us to prescribe essentially the same kind of sessions we would in pool sessions with both aerobic and strength-based sets, reps, and rest periods.

We recommend our athletes invest in power bands or bungee cords for travel when they don’t have access to water or a Vasa SwimErg. There is no escaping the ability to swim!”


Want to Ask A Coach How to Swim Faster? Just email your question(s) to: [email protected]

About the Coaches

Eric, Lesley, and Martin and Joe are among the World’s most respected coaches & athletes from the Vasa community.  They also are contributors to our ebook, Four Keys to Fearless Open Water Swimming.  It’s excellent, it’s useful, and it’s FREE!    Click here to get your free copy

Ask Coach Lesley Paterson How to Swim FasterLesley Paterson
Braveheart Coaching
XTERRA World Champion (3X)
Co-Author of the best-selling book, “The Brave Athlete” 


Ask Coach Eric Neilson How to Swim FasterEric Neilsen
Masters Swimming & Multisport Coach



Joe Maloy
Olympic & former World Champion Triathlete
and USA Triathlon Coach



Ask Coach Martin Hill How to Swim FasterMartin Hill (Based in Alicante, Spain)
ASA Swim coach, Trisutto Certified coach
UK Strength & Conditioning coach, BTF L3 coach


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