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View Full Version : Missy Franklin and Technique Variations


terry
07-31-2012, 05:26 PM
I'd never seen Missy Franklin (the distaff Phelps/Lochte for the US) swim before last night, when the telecast showed her semifinal in 200 Free, which came just 10 minutes prior to her gold-medal effort in 100 Back.
I was struck by how much smoother and more streamlined Franklin appears in backstroke than freestyle. In fact, NBCLearn (http://www.nbclearn.com/portal/site/learn/science-of-the-summer-olympics)produced a video describing how elite swimmers take advantage of fluid dynamics and used Franklin's backstroke to illustrate.

Her backstroke seems to have a great balance between power and smoothness, if not grace. Her freestyle in contrast is far less smooth and graceful. Did anyone else notice or share my assessment?

It raised a question in my mind about the range of styles one sees at the Olympic/elite level in the different strokes. In the butterfly you see less variation than in breaststroke. In the breast semis and finals some people brought their elbows far back and lifted head and shoulders quite high. Others kept elbows farther forward and skimmed the water with their chins.

The same seems to hold true in backstroke and freestyle. There seems to be considerable agreement on what constitutes efficient form in backstroke. Franklin's stroke looked much like that of other swimmers in her heat. But freestyle form seems to be all over the map -- especially with regard to recovery and entry. The contrast between Franklin's form in freestyle -- a wider swinging recovery and relatively flat entry -- and Muffat's -- compact recovery and steep entry -- was significant. And one swimmer was swinging far more.

Muffat--like others who swim with a compact recovery--was also very much body-driven (power generated mostly from weight shift) Others were noticeably shoulder-driven (power generated from arms and shoulders) as is usually true of those with wider-swinging and longer-reaching recovery.

Thoughts?

terry
07-31-2012, 05:31 PM
PS: That video about fluid dynamics was produced by fellow Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water (CIBBOWS) swimmer Laura Picardo.

CoachSuzanne
07-31-2012, 06:23 PM
I've been watching phelp's butterfly closely and noting that his entry splash is much lower and projected forward much more than others whose splash is higher and less forward.

i've been noticing which swimmers seem to pause momentarily in all strokes (except perhaps backstroke) prior to stroking or catching and which ones seem to being the stroke immediately or continously up on entry. Even the 100m sprinters mostly display a slight pause before the catch as if sliding forward a half a meter more before the next power stroke.

I think that rowing has a lot in common with swimming as well and I enjoy watching which boats have a significant up & down componenent and whether or not these boats seem to have different timing of where/when power is applied in their rowing.

I hvae been enjoying watching the breaststroke kicking...much more delicate and refined like Anna-Karin's (who I captured on my iphone in Greensboro).

It's amazing how much there is to learn

drmike
07-31-2012, 07:52 PM
Muffat--like others who swim with a compact recovery--was also very much body-driven (power generated mostly from weight shift) Others were noticeably shoulder-driven (power generated from arms and shoulders) as is usually true of those with wider-swinging and longer-reaching recovery.

Thoughts?

In that 200 FS race I was struck immediately by Muffat's 'patient lead hand', certainly in comparison with Franklin's stroke. It was so obvious and called to mind what Dave C. once had said about French men's training before 2008.

Re body-driven swimming, an article this month in The Guardian about the UK team noted: "The team have worked with marine engineers to study how best to cut down drag in the water, and talked to scientists who study the movement of fish about how to maximize propulsion.The team have worked with marine engineers to study how best to cut down drag in the water, and talked to scientists who study the movement of fish about how to maximize propulsion. Challenged to find a way to improve their turns, some of the squad started ballet training because they believed it would help them improve their core strength and spatial awareness."

Any idea who these scientists were or what they might have told the coach?

Mike M.

CharlesCouturier
07-31-2012, 08:42 PM
Thoughts?
Freestyle well deserves its name :)

Seriously, I'm not surprised to hear about a certain consistency among the various backstroke types. After all, there is far less room for individuality at that stroke:

Recovery: in perfect extension for all
Arm/Hand entry: Arms must be thrown back for a rapid catch to be taken, no exception there again
Timing between both arms: Well, backstroke uses a perfectly rotary arm action, therefore not much room for individuality there
Kicking: 6-beat for all
Head position: Some will keep the chin closer to the chest, others will almost be looking at the wall toward which they swim, so more room for individuality there

In comparison, the Free... well it's free for all. A wide rage of arm timing will work. The little YE proved that very well when almost matching Ryan's speed over the freestyle leg of her 400m IM. Ye swings, therfore displays a rotary style, extremely high stroke rate, compared to Ryan which is more of a smooth type swimmer.

Freestyle fashions... Remember the South Africans in 2004 winning the 4x100 displaying an almost straight arm recovery along with a very elevated stroke rate.

+1 with Doc Sue about Phelps BF technique. He performs a special arm entry. Shoulder first, then arm, then hands, all that in order to lower the splashes.

terry
07-31-2012, 09:10 PM
Remember the South Africans in 2004 winning the 4x100 displaying an almost straight arm recovery along with a very elevated stroke rate.

Exceot for Roland Schoeman the anchor on that relay, who swam with real TI form. Roland had initiated an email exchange with me while in high school in SA. He'd read the original TI book and wrote to tell me he planned to exceed the efficiency I'd noted for Popov by racing 50LCM in one fewer stroke. In his message he said his coach didn't support the 'Popovian' changes he was striving to make in his form. He asked me for advice on taper when trying to imprint a new technique. I was coaching the West Point sprinters at the time and sent him a memo I'd written for them explaining how we would taper for the Navy dual meet.

He had only said he was a HS swimmer tapering for an important meet. I'd never heard of him and assumed he was a typical scholastic swimmer pointing toward a conference or state championship. When I next heard from him he told me he'd just returned from World Championships in Perth where he'd broken the SA records in 50-100 Free!

I later visited him in Tucson to perform video analysis while he attended Univ of Arizona.

CharlesCouturier
07-31-2012, 09:30 PM
What an incredible story (I'm sure you have several others in store)...
Amazing!

CoachSuzanne
08-01-2012, 07:10 AM
+1 with Doc Sue about Phelps BF technique. He performs a special arm entry. Shoulder first, then arm, then hands, all that in order to lower the splashes.

Fascinating. Many months ago I discovered a sensation that has been fleeting for me while swimming butterfly. I think I started playing with a sensation of my body sinking between my arms based on some things I read here or heard terry say. I started to feel a real gravity/bouyancy thing going on but only if i left my arms near the surface. This was done by simply letting my pecs stretch as my torso landed in the water. Relaxign and sort of pre-stretching the chest and arms resulted in better leverage and less wrestling with the water. Along with focusing on a sneaky breath and a focus I now refer to as "contact lenses" (OK, maybe it was terry's term?) which is where my face just barely clears the water and as my goggles come out the world gets fuzzy for a brief moment while I sip in some air...then as my body sinks back in (and I allow my chest muscles to relax extending the pecs) the world becomes clear again...or at least hte black line becomes clear.

I filmed both Dana VOllmer's Fly and Phelps' Fly on my 60fps camera and plan to study it very, very carefully frame by frame. Learn to float like a butterfly. I'll be happy if I could swim a 100 fly in 2 minutes someday soon...pretty sure it's just a matter of patient practice.

terry
08-01-2012, 02:12 PM
What an incredible story

I forgot to note that Roland DID swim the 50 in one stroke less than Popov at the World Championships. Such a visionary and ambitious goal for a schoolboy.

I should also note that Ryk Neethling, who also swam a leg on that gold-medal SA 4 x 100 relay in 2004 was another swimmer with exquisite form. He could easily have been a model for any TI swimmer.

Ryk was known first as an 800/1500m swimmer -- and later became an elite 100m swimmer with little change in form, other than to add a powerful 6BK.

I saw him win the 1500 at NCAA Championships, in an Olympic year -- probably 2004 -- when it was swum scm rather than scy. He had the most relaxed form of anyone in the pool. And his flip turns were so compact and relaxed as well -- practically lazy -- yet fast, I've modeled my own turns on them ever since.

The big thing I noticed was how 'soft' was the contact of his feet with the wall. I began striving to do silent flip turns in practice. It made a significant difference.

CharlesCouturier
08-01-2012, 03:20 PM
Please Sue, do *not* stop there.

My favorite feeling at fly, which may be what you'll be experiencing next (if not done already) is a very clear and distinct seesaw effect, ie the undulation action, regardless of if it's performed alone (the NAD) or whilst performing the full stroke sits on a perfect balance. That seesaw effect can only be experienced (at least to *this* extent) at fly. I know nothing and have no interest for Breststroke though...

This is an incredible effect. You basically feel as if your upper body was made of cork. It just pops up to the surface by itself, as if surfacing with no effort whatsoever was the only natural outcome.

This feeling goes hand in hand with that of having your belly passing over a soft tickling foam roll.

Anyway, all that to mention that fly balance is and can only be a dynamic thing. The same can probably be said about Breast, that I donno. The first clear sign that some fly is in balance is experiencing this seesaw effect along with feeling that your upper body is automatically surfacing, as if it was the only natural outcome.

Mike from NS
08-01-2012, 11:53 PM
I can't help but think how Missy Franklin may have been known on TI forms if her life timings were slightly different. From a point of heritage (and for amusement here) with consideration to where her parents met and gained their educations in Halifax, she could very well have been know as "Missy from NS" ! After all she (and her parents) do hold dual citizenship with the United States and Canada.