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Swim Like Michael Phelps, or at Least Try

Michael Phelps is one of the fastest swimmers in the world and he's got his eye on eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympics. A lot of folks joke that he's got gills; I'm not sure about that but one thing that he definitely does have is a good training program.

His coach Bob Bowman, head coach for the unstoppable University of Michigan swim team, recently gave some tips on what Michael does to perform his best. For tips that you may want to try adding to your swimming routine next time you take a dip, just

. Coach Bowman's tips are:

Extend your stroke
"If you watch Michael Phelps swim, you'll see that his power comes not from fast strokes, but from long ones. The average freestyle swimmer takes 12 to 16 strokes to cover 25 yards. Michael requires just six to eight. Follow his lead by trying to trim one stroke per pool length the next time you jump into the water. Consciously extend your arms. It will feel awkward at first, like you're exaggerating each stroke, but once you start hitting those longer strokes at your previous short-stroke speed, you'll be faster, stronger, and fitter."

Armor-plate your core
"In order to slice through water with deftness and speed, you have to be strong in multiple planes of motion. I have Michael do medicine-ball exercises to achieve that end. My favorite is called the diagonal woodchopper. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball over your right shoulder. Chop down and across your body until the ball touches the ground outside your left foot. Return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side. Next, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Holding the ball directly above your head, suck in your navel and lower the ball behind you as far as you can without lifting your back or bending your arms. Do three sets of 15 reps."


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