I just got my copy of Open Water with Fran Crippen in the mail from Go Swim tonight and I tossed it straight into my computer to watch it front to back. Here’s the short version of my review: It’s really good.
The DVD is broken into a few pieces: Fran’s freestyle technique tips, open water skills (starts, turns, reading the pack, finishes), and a bunch of bonus footage with Fran and his coach. Like anything from GoSwim they really break things down into nice, neat, easily digestible chunks of information. Matching that with footage of Fran swimming from all angles to illustrate the concepts really makes it accessible for an open water beginner, but the value of the content covered makes it worth the money for the advanced open water swimmer.
Just like in the Freestyle with Jason Lezak video from last year, you’re introduced to Fran’s stroke in pieces. How he enters the water, what he does with his fingers, how he breathes and where his elbows are. His stroke is a little different from a lot of people’s strokes, but I see a lot of myself in there. He’s very long and efficient, but it’s also very obvious the guy has a kick that I’ll never be able to hold a candle too. I’ve noticed that kicking seems to be what separates the pretty good from the elite. Once the freestyle has been completely picked apart and some drills and sets have been recommended it’s time to move on to the fun stuff in the ocean.
The video covers start techniques for beach and in water starts. He gives good advice on getting out front or getting out of the way. There’s also a reminder in there to realize an open water start is crowded and you might get hit. Don’t panic, don’t get mad, just keep going. This stuff happens and it’s no big deal. Once we get into turns the DVD gets much more strategic. Fran talks about taking the inside line on a turn, and where you want to be in different kinds of packs. This kind of strategy talk is something you don’t really ever see in other guides to open water swimming. There’s also sections on sighting and finishes in there. It’s really well rounded coverage of open water racing.
The video finishes with a whole lot of bonus content. There’s quite a bit of slow motion underwater footage of Fran swimming so you can really soak in his stroke. You also get some interview action with Fran’s coach Dick Shoulberg, and Fran himself. Fran has a really good personal story of never giving up even when things don’t go your way. Very motivatory stuff.
If you’re like me and you dig open water and want to learn more about how to get better at it, I think this is a good buy. It’s well produced and full of lots of good information. You can buy it over here at GoSwim.tv
**Full bloggerly disclosure, I bought this DVD myself at full price