Yeah! Taming the Arnie!
You must have some discussion with the other swimsmooth guys about fin usage.
We've had 3 over the last 15 days I believe
Here's an extract from Swim Smooth's new Book:"There will be those swimmers who prefer to keep swimming as simple and pure as and pure as they can and will choose to swim with as little gadgetery as possible, but there are those who prefer to use all the latest gear and find this approach to be very enjoyable and in synch with their analytical personalities - each to their own we say! Personally, I'm a bit of a gadget guy but I also love swimming totally free, especially when in open water."
I obviously belong to the first category. Right now, I'm not teaching SwimSmooth 100%. My methods are inspired from it. When I do teach Swim Smooth (possibly in 2013), then I'll do it full blown including a heavy focus on gadgetery. No choice, as I will then get people coming at me after choosing SwimSmooth, instead of choosing *me*. Therefore by then, it will become very important that I take myself out of the equation.
But for now my swimmers don't use tool much. Are they penalized by this? Well possibly. To my defense though, they all train on tempo, and a Tempo Trainer for me is the only tool that really matters, and that you shouldn't get use to live without.
The good side of my approach is that they can train any time, in any pool, without no problem whatsoever with pool restrictions. They can perform all available drills in the world, no fins.
Now with that aside, I can't recall Swim Smooth insisting on wearing fins to swim the full stroke, hence my recommendation to you to remove them whilst testing your full stroke. Swim Smooth's position on fins has been very consistent over the years: Their top benefit is to help you to learn the kick intensive drills, without the need to first develop a reliable leg kick. And those who benefit the most from this recommendation are those with stiff ankles. Standing by to be corrected, but really I don't recall having seen Paul or Adam insisting on performing the full stroke with fins on.
Anecdote: I coach a real real Arnie. Flexibility = extremely bad, the whole body. Can't feel the pain. In a hurry to get results. He began swimming in 2011, barely being able to perform 25m without drowning. He was already registered to an Ironman race to be held within 12 months after his involvment.
Very stiff ankles. I used fins with him! (alone). He developed running injuries. Took a whilst before concluding that these were related to the fact that - since he doesn't feel the pain - he was kicking way too hard when wearing fins. Anyway, I think in his case fins were mandatory just to keep up with the rest of the squad.
As soon as he could make it to 400m non stop, we abandoned the fins. Within 12 months, working on his swimming no more than 2-3 / week for periods that would last about 2-3 months (outside these, he wouldn't swim at all). Still managed 1:30 over 3.8K during his first Ironman, which happened to be his second triathlon, therefore his second open water swim ever.
He's a true sinker, as you can see on this video clip below. He can't float, even in this basic position, lungs full or air (I've only seen this 4 times over the last 20 years):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY_ZtfUufZY
Anyway, my point is that still today, even this arniest of all my Arnies, do train without fins. Can work the 6-1-6, the UNCO drill, everything without em, as they injure his knee. He was diagnosed with a tendinitis in one of his knees, since I can't feel the pain, he would report feeling that his knee is, and I quote, "a bit weak", which would prevent him from maintaining a elevated running pace during his running sessions...