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LennartLarsson 02-14-2011 03:26 PM

Kicking and sprinting
Like many less good swimmers, I tend to over kick when I want to swim fast. When I build up the adrenaline before staring a 50 meter free, I automatically tell my body to kick hysterically. I have no problems swimming smoothly with a 2-beat kick when I am racing in OW, but it seems like my brain thinks that speed is in the legs. So I kick hysterically and die very soon after that. And I create a lot of turbulence, which makes it go slower in the end. So I had a word with Terry, and on his advice, I did the following session today:

2x25 meter with Tempo Trainer on 1.00, 2-beat kick and letting the legs initiate the stroke on the beep. The I made 2x25 going down 0.01 sec per round until I was down at 0.71, which made me having done 60x25, i.e. 1500 meters. At 0.76-0.75 I could not manage any longer, at least not for the whole 25 meters. The beeps came to fast. But I did the best I could down to 0.71. After that I went up with 0.03 sec per round. Already at 0.74 I managed to go the whole way, one kick per beep. When I came up to 1.01 I had made another 20x25 and it was a piece of cake to swim the last two at that frequency. My SPL was on 16 from the start, when up to 21@0.71 and back at 16@1.01.

My feeling tells me that, if do this set another 5-6 times, i will successfully manage the whole set and my kick will feel of less importance when sprinting. The speed should be caused by body rotation and efficient arm swing and not by kicking. Hope that this could inspire some of you reading this report!


terry 02-14-2011 09:32 PM

Lennart posed this question to me in an email and I started another thread with a partial, and anonymous quote from his message.
As I see it, there are two distinct kinds of "fast" swimming:
1) Trying to improve your speed, but swimming with essentially the same style you usually use.
2) Sprinting -- I.E. Trying to swim fast for a short distance, usually 50 to 100 yd/m, if what you usually do is longer or more leisurely.

What Lennart experienced, the strong tendency to overkick is highly common when people who lack a neural circuit for sprinting try to do so.

There are two ways to sprint, each with its own way of keeping the kick effective. One is to try to swim fast with a 2BK. Lennart's approach of using Tempo Trainer at higher-than-usual tempos, synching the beep to your toe-flick, is the best way to create a 'sprinting circuit' in your nervous system.

As Lennart experienced, the nervous system can attune to the task with pretty marked speed.

As for developing a 6BK sprinting circuit, that involves learning to kick steadily, but smoothly, and fit that seamlessly into a long, smooth and powerful stroke. Either takes practice.

An example of an improvement goal on a set such as this would be to try to complete the fastest tempo in fewer strokes. E.G. If Lennart, after repeating the set 5 or so times, can limit his SPL at .71 to 19, he will be swimming 1.4 sec faster for 25m than the first time he attempted the set.

I would also consider starting the set at incrementally faster tempos, maybe dropping his initial tempo by .02 each time he does the set.

johnny.widen 02-16-2011 09:11 PM

Falling back to old habits
Lennart, I just had to try something similar yesterday. However, due to lack of time I couldn't follow your steps. I couldn't even follow it through with the same steps I started with, since there was a school class that occupied the pool.

1.00 14, 14
0.95 15, 15
0.90 15, 15
0.85 16, 16
0.80 16, 16
0.76 17, 17
0.74 18, 18
0.72 18, 18
0.80 16, 16
0.90 15, 15

I have tested 0.8 once or twice earlier and this was the first time I went under that. I felt as if I got back to my earlier swim technique when the tempo got higher. I noticed that I even lost the 2-beat kick at some occasions and started to kick as before TI. Next time I will do as you did and do the counting on the kick. I think that will prevent me from fall back in my old habit.

My earlier swim style was rather flat and I now noticed that there wasn't much time for rotation. So I really look forward to do this again when I have more time and can take shorter steps and be more focused.

I will also arrange for filming to see how much TI technique there is left when doing this.

-- Johnny

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