You may have seen the older swimmers jumping around, skipping or throwing medicine balls on a Saturday. This is to help make them stronger, faster, more powerful and more flexible.
Land training should be part of every swimming clubs training program because it allows you to strengthen your posture and improve power far quicker than in the pool. Having said that, dryland training doesn't have to be done on the side of the pool or in a gym. For those of you who dance, play football, rugby or basketball or do athletics or gymnastics you are all doing land training. You may not be thinking about it at the time but by doing these other activities you are making yourself a better swimmer.
Have you ever noticed that someone who plays a couple of sports regularly can generally pick-up new sports really quickly? Well that is, in part, down to the development of their muscles and the way their brain can control different muscle groups effectively. For example, coach Dave played basketball for years and was forever jumping up in the air as high as he could to try and look like Michael Jordan! This meant that his legs became pretty strong and his brain became really good at telling his body to put in a maximum effort when jumping. This skill transferred over to swimming and meant that as soon as the starting signal went in a swimming race, Dave's brain knew how to jump off the blocks as fast as possible, therefore making him a good starter.
So for all of you who do other sports, keep doing them! Also, keep in the back of your mind how they are helping you become a better and faster swimmer.