I have been getting to the pool early at 5:15 M W F for the last two months to do strength training. Before practice starts at 5:45 I get in as much strength training as I can. This has consisted of shoulder stabilization exercises, crunches on the ball, triceps, bicepts, lats (when my shoulders are okay), stroking with cords, fly on the ball... and when I have time leg curls and quads. I have mostly been focusing on the cord work but now that I have got a routine down I want to "kick it up a notch". In a word...
Time to work on explosive power and speed off the blocks and turns.
Plyometrics is practiced most often by runners but has become popular with swimmers too. The evidence for it significantly improving swim times is mixed. Dara Torres made a name for resistence stretching, but since I don't have a cadre of private stretchers and massage therapists I am going to try the plyometrics.
One of the most common plyometric exercises for swimmers involves jumping onto a wooden box while throwing a medicine ball up in the air. Other variations include jump squats (again with the medicine ball), dumbell squat jumps, and box jumps without the ball (see Swimming World, 12/09).
The other resources I will use as I plot my training regimen include the new book Swimming Anatomy (which is being heavily marketed to swimmers this holiday season) and Dr. Chu's website which has a good (albeit too long) plan already laid out.
Given that I don't think I'll get that much faster on technique alone and that all my competition seems to be taller and stronger than me already, it is time to get serious about strength!