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-   -   So Slow (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=8758)

wmeg 07-02-2016 05:55 AM

So Slow
 
I swim a lot on my own in open water but occasionally I get to swim with different groups.
I am always one of the slowest swimmers and have to swim flat stick not to be left behind and these are generally not elite swimmers.
I recently had some one on one TI coaching and there was a couple of things to tweak and having attended to those I feel really great in the water but in terms of speed it doesn't seem to do anything.
Swimming by myself it isn't an issue only when I join a group.
The question that I have, is this a general thing among TI swimmers?

ScoopUK 07-02-2016 09:22 AM

Were you in a wetsuit? I personally don't find TI as a method of swimming helps me when swimming in a wetsuit. A more shoulder driven stroke with faster turnover works better if your wetsuit offers lots of buoyancy around your hips and legs.

Coach Brett Sutton who has more world champions and olympic medalists in triathlon than any other coach (for example) doesn't even bother teaching people how to be balanced or to feel the water. Every training session incorporates pull buoy and paddles. His philosophy is you can buy balance off the shelf for $300 so why bother wasting time when you could be getting yourself conditioned to swimming 3800 strokes.

This is so un-TI it's probably going to upset some people but check out this video. I've uploaded it to my OneDrive for a while as it's now private on YouTube for some reason. Probably using it as coaching material but I grabbed it while it was public: https://1drv.ms/v/s!At8VkowVsd0j90VZmLyNu85Y0Uoq

ScoopUK 07-02-2016 09:43 AM

... obviously the above depends what your goals are. He is of the attitude that triathlon isn't swim, bike, run, it is triathlon so you can't simply adhere to the principles of being a good pure swimmer, good pure cyclist and good pure runner then bolting them together as that doesn't work in multi-sport, especially not if your target for racing involves swimming in open-water with a wetsuit.

I swim more TI-like in the pool as I'm tall with a decent wingspan but I'm not rigid with my stroke. In rough water for example I swim with straight arms to get the arm over the chop into into the water and the pull phase as soon as possible with some momentum.

wmeg 07-03-2016 08:55 AM

Thanks for your reply @ScoopUK.
Definitely I haven't come across any TI coaches like the guy in the video. Another Aussie ratbag.
Took the message "rhythm and relaxation" into the water this morning and by the end of the swim I seemed to be clipping along. I was in a lake with a 1km course marked by 100m buoys and although windy and choppy I timed some 100ms and it was promising. So focus is on rhythm and relaxation rather than stroke mechanics for the next while.

ScoopUK 07-03-2016 11:35 AM

Good stuff. Glad to hear you got something from it. You can tweak the odd thing here and there but being comfortable and feeling like you can sustain it is the most important thing.

I tend to swim somewhat of a lopsided stroke. I breathe only to one side and so I glide more when that hand enters the water whereas on the other side my leading hand isn't so patient and initiates the pull earlier (probably to give me more stability when I breathe). It gives the impression that my stroke is more of a gallop than a rhythmical 1-2, 1-2. To some this is heresy and I must start to breathe bilateral immediately to make my stroke more symmetrical but it's actually very common, even amongst pro pool swimmers.

Basically, don't get so hung up on stroke that it hinders you or detracts from your enjoyment. Also I personally believe 'effortless freestyle' = slow freestyle. It's a myth. You don't get something for nothing.

CoachStuartMcDougal 07-04-2016 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmeg (Post 59763)
I swim a lot on my own in open water but occasionally I get to swim with different groups.

I am always one of the slowest swimmers and have to swim flat stick not to be left behind and these are generally not elite swimmers.

I recently had some one on one TI coaching and there was a couple of things to tweak and having attended to those I feel really great in the water but in terms of speed it doesn't seem to do anything.

Swimming by myself it isn't an issue only when I join a group.
The question that I have, is this a general thing among TI swimmers?

Hi wmeg,

After being coached and you felt great in the water - what felt great? Be as specific as you can. Also - were you (are you) swimming at the same speed feeling great in the water? Given the new feeling in the water - what did you discover that was not so great or causing you problems before seeking coaching?

Stuart

wmeg 07-05-2016 02:52 AM

Thanks for your reply,
The reason that I had a coaching session was that after swimming in open water for some months and on returning to the pool I saw that I had a high stroke count compared to my green zone which should be 14-18.
I was in the low twenties and I reasoned that this must be why I was so slow to others that I swim with.
I thought that I needed to work on this so I got the latest of Terry's material and went through step by step which gave me marginal improvement.
After that I went for coaching and there were some hip drive issues which I believe I have fixed and with extreme focus I could make 18 SPL but not consistently.
Back in open water now and the other day did a time trial where I did 2k in an hour even though I felt my stroke was good. By this means that I go through the water easily with little wasted effort and splash and can easily do 3-4 km.
For the last couple of days I have upped my stroke rate, swim with more rhythm and try to take any pauses out of my stroke and according to Mr Garmin my 100 rate for yesterdays swim averaged out to 2:7.

CoachStuartMcDougal 07-05-2016 05:34 AM

Hi wmeg,

Thanks for more details.

If you're swimming 2000m in roughly an hour, that puts you around 3min/100m. Hip drive focus won't help you much at this phase, only stability or stabilizing your vessel to swim in the smallest drag profile. You must be dragging hips through the water, drag profile is huge at 3 min 100m pace

At 18 SPL, what tempo range are you working in? Do you use a tempo trainer?

Stuart

wmeg 07-05-2016 08:40 AM

thanks for your interest CoachStuart, my TT is broken but previously at 1.0 I can do 1:50 in the pool.
I am swimming in a suit and feet are nice and high and I feel very stabled so I don't know why the drag would be so high. Some video would be very helpful in diagnosing the problem.

Warren

CoachStuartMcDougal 07-05-2016 02:03 PM

Ahh - ok, 1:50/100m sounds much better. That's actually a better than average pace (and streamline) for triathletes. It's pretty hard to swim 3min/100m - a lot of wasted effort, certainly not effortless. So possibly the 2000m in an hour includes rest?

A 1:50 pace at a tempo of 1.0 or 60spm would put you around 22-23 SPL in 25m pool - assuming a 5m glide off the wall. Is this where you were before coaching? If not, what changed?

You noted you are swimming in a suit - wetsuit?

Stuart

wmeg 07-05-2016 04:35 PM

Yes, that was exactly where I was at and I thought that it was an unacceptable SPL and hence the reason why I was so slow in open water.
One objective in opening this thread was to try to ascertain just what was normal for rank and file TI people.
The 1:50 in the pool takes 100% and I couldn't maintain that in the open water for 2kms. If I dial back with the TT, to say 1:15, I take 18-20 strokes and I get through 100m in under 2:0.
The 1 hour 2k is constant swimming up and down which should cancel any current or wind direction.
Swimming again today in the sea and over 2km my rate was 2:56 per 100m, again according to Mr Garmin. Yes, it is in a 3/2mil wetsuit.
Swam 2km in a 1 mil short suit last week also in 1 hour so there is at least consistency.

Warren

CoachStuartMcDougal 07-05-2016 06:06 PM

Hi Warren,

Ok - got it. You're swimming against some current. If you are swimming salt water (ocean) and with a wetsuit, you are probably bobbing like a cork, or what my coach colleagues/friends down-under would say, "you float like a Sheila in that thing [wetsuit]" :-) But floating in a wetsuit, doesn't mean you are stable.

If sustaining 1.15 tempo at 18-20 spl that's actually a bit faster that 22-23 @1.0 - stick with the tempo that is the least effort holding you at your sub 2 min pace.

When you swim in the pool, can you easily hold 18 spl at 1.15 tempo? Say for 20-30 100m repeats?

Lastly, what's your height?

Stuart

wmeg 07-06-2016 04:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal (Post 59799)
Hi Warren,


When you swim in the pool, can you easily hold 18 spl at 1.15 tempo? Say for 20-30 100m repeats?

Lastly, what's your height?

Stuart

Hi CoachStuart

I can maintain the sub 2:00 @ 1:10 but my SPL varies between 17-20
I have tried to get a constant SPL at any TT setting for many years without success.
I am 195 cm or 6'4+1/2"
The 1 mil short suit doesn't give much buoyancy at all.

Thanks
Warren

CoachStuartMcDougal 07-07-2016 02:46 PM

Hi Warren,

At 195cm, it's time to take advantage of your height. 17-20 SPL at a single tempo of 1.1 is a pretty big range.

Something isn't quite adding up though, unless your turn is really slow or you're pausing a couple of seconds on 25's, 17 spl @ 1.1 tempo is a 1:34 100m pace - and 20 spl @ 1.1 tempo is 1:49 100m pace. I suspect you are closer to 22 spl @ 1.1 tempo is 2:00 100m pace. This all assumes your flight off the wall is 5m and you're not pausing on 25's.

Given your height at 195 your ideal "green zone" would be 15-17 spl. I suggest first finding a slower tempo between 1.1 and 1.3 where you can easily swim 15-17 strokes consistently. i.e. 16 spl at 1.3 tempo is roughly 1:44 100m pace. 1:44 pace is in the upper 10% of triathletes. A sustainable 1:44 pace in 2.4 mile swim (no currents) 64.4 mins or 1:04:24

This brings me back to the "slow" question. If you are using your Garmin and swimming into a head current, clearly that's not a good measure of true swimming pace. Find your sustainable pace in the pool first *without your Garmin*. Use the Garmin for reference only in open water after your swim.

If you are at 21-22 spl at your height, something is causing those hips to drop shortening stroke length. 1. Main issue is most likely head position, especially when rotating to air - head lifts for air, spine bends, hips drop. Like stomping on the breaks each time you breathe. 2. Reaching high and flat on surface with recovery arm/hand. 3. Busy kick and/or leg splay for stability, this can drive hips down too. I often see a combination of 1, 2 and 3 above when swimmers roll to get air. Fix these issues and you will discover you are capable of a 1:44 100m. This pace means balance and core stability, not power.

Stuart

wmeg 07-09-2016 05:42 AM

Thanks CoachStuart, will work on that when I get back to the pool.

Warren

wmeg 02-05-2017 07:51 AM

I am back with this thread.
Returning to the pool at the end of July I focused for the next 3 months going through Ultra Efficient freestyle doing the drills.
I was able to stabilise my SPL to 18 and these were the times per 100M all at 18SPL
TT 1:20 / 2:08
TT 1:10 / 2:02
TT 1:00 / 1:56
So you can see a perfect symmetry in that.
Stuart had suggested that I may be raising my my head when breathing so I tested this by swimming with a snorkel but it made no no difference to SPL.
At 18 SPL I am just in my green zone.
I cannot get to a lower SPL even by swimming more slowly, sometimes I do fluke a 17 but that is rare.
I am now back in open water swimming 15-20 km per week and feel like I am clipping along.
I was surprised the other day when I met another swimmer going in the same direction about 500m from home.
The other swimmer was early 50s, swam totally flat with legs trailing down with no kick just whirled his arms over. I wanted to stay with him so I upped to about 80% but the time I got near home this guy was 50m in front of me. We were both in a similar wet suit.
Today I put the TT in place set at 1:10 and swam 3 km 1.5 against the tide and 1.5 with the tide in very flat glassy water.
My average 100m pace was 2:50 which is funereal. Felt like I was swimming very nicely, low splash, bow wave etc but the numbers say I am towing something.
Should my feet be pointed in the direction of travel or should my head go first?
Very mysterious.

WFEGb 02-05-2017 12:40 PM

Hello Warren,

there must be something wrong with your stroke count, your TT or your stop watch. If you have 18SPL constant, on your first lap you'll have to add 2beeps (first arm-entry on third beep), on your second-third-fourth lap you'll have to add 3 beeps for turns and push offs. So for 100m you'll need

(4x18+2+3x3)beeps=83 beeps.
83beeps x 1.2sec/beep= 100sec=1min40sec

or if you offer yourself a beep more for taking up

(4x18+3+3x4)beeps = 87beeps
87beeps x 1.2s/beep = 104sec = 1min44sec

With 1.0sec/beep you are at 1min27sec for 100m and this will be very fast for many forum members (me included).

Most of us have to face there are most time other swimmers with more or less worse strokes who are nevertheless faster than we. First we have to take it as fact and then we have to decide if we're patient enough to change; and if this is completed by sufficient enjoyment.

Swimming against tide OMG, you never should take that for average OW-times. Swimming forth and back the same distance, the way against takes much more time and drops your average much more than you'll earn on way back.

Don't miss to put enough enjoyment into your way!

Best regards,
Werner

s.sciame 02-06-2017 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmeg (Post 61635)
Today I put the TT in place set at 1:10 and swam 3 km 1.5 against the tide and 1.5 with the tide in very flat glassy water.
My average 100m pace was 2:50 which is funereal. Felt like I was swimming very nicely, low splash, bow wave etc but the numbers say I am towing something.

Oh, comparing pool times to ow times, always tricky. Just some hints to help you make better forecast:

1) at TT 1:10, what's your pool time (25m pool I suppose) for a 3km continuous swim? Is it 61 minutes (ie avg pace 2:02)? If your 3k ow was w/o warmup, you should do the pool test w/o warmup as well

2) understand how much the walls help you (they may help you more than expected). Are you so lucky to repeat the 3k test on a 50m pool? If so, compare the times (same TT settings, same warmup of course). If for instance your avg pace SCM was 2:02 and your avg LCM pace was 2:06, don't expect to be faster than 2:10 in ow

3) sighting: how often do you sight in ow? Try to sight with the same frequency in the pool and see how much your pace drops over 3k. If for instance your 2:06 LCM drops to 2:10 (hey, we started from 2:02...!), don't expect to be faster than 2:14 in ow

4) navigation: was your ow swim a cable swim? Even if it was, are you sure you went perfectly straight as you do with a black line under you? If you try to deliberately drift slightly in the pool, you may lose another sec or couple of secs per 100m. If your ow swim was not cable assisted, you made have added a lot of distance (but your GPS should calculate your pace according to the distance you actually covered, so you may even ignore this point)

5) ow temperature and conditions: what temperature did you swim at? Cold water can slow you down quite a lot. As for currents, see what Werner said.

6) last but not least: as per my personal experience, the lack of reference points in ow itself slows me down by default: in the pool I always take an eye at the pace clock, or if don't look at it I count SPL and, during my swims, there is always a continuous self assessment and continuous micro-corrections on the fly. In ow I don't have reference points so it's kind of swimming blind, so I inevitably slow down by default (unless I'm in a race and am challenged by other swimmers).

Regarding the last point, if you have some money to spend and want to know what's happening in ow on the fly, you may be interested in this:

http://www.platysens.com/marlin/

Never tried it myself but I guess this could be a very powerful tool to take some of "ow mystery" out.

Hope that helps,
Salvo

wmeg 02-06-2017 08:45 AM

Thanks all for your replies
@Werner that is some sure fancy sums you have done there.
So on the face of those numbers I am a hugely inefficient.
I must have a very wide flat head, I had a friend with an over sized head and the barbers used to quote his haircuts by the square metre.
I feel that I am improving but the numbers tell a different story but I enjoy OW swimming and TI has extended my swimming life.
Only problem is that when swimming with a group I am usually shark bait at the tail.
@Salvo some good ideas to work on there and I have a Garmin which gives me good stats
I sight about every 20 strokes.
Yeah it is cold 17 degrees I am in a 3x2 suit.
Last year I swam 1km in a 50m pool at TT 1:10 for 23:20.
3km in a pool, I would need to take a waterproof crossword puzzle in with me.
Sadly my OW season will be over in a couple of weeks and I will be back at the pool where I hope to post some footage.
It is great that there is still some people left to reply on this forum.
Salvo do you do much OW swimming where you are ( I presume you are Italian)

Thanks Warren

WFEGb 02-06-2017 11:34 AM

Hello Warren,

Quote:

@Werner that is some sure fancy sums you have done there.
So on the face of those numbers I am a hugely inefficient.
I must have a very wide flat head, I had a friend with an over sized head and the barbers used to quote his haircuts by the square metre.
??? If your stroke count is right and you TT OK, you're fairly fast and my numbers are yours. How are the pool-times of the other members of your OW-Group?

Ha, as nearly silver-surfer, my haircutter had to know something about circular computation :-)

Quote:

3km in a pool, I would need to take a waterproof crossword puzzle in with me.
Oh no, three to four FPs should be far enough! Changing singles every two laps, then two combined in change then three....

Wish you as much enjoyment to get never bored!

Best regards,
Werner

s.sciame 02-07-2017 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmeg (Post 61656)
It is great that there is still some people left to reply on this forum.
Salvo do you do much OW swimming where you are ( I presume you are Italian)

Thanks Warren

Hi Warren, yes, sadly it seems the golden days of swim forums are past, a few years ago the community of active forum members was definitely bigger and vibrant. I've been a lurker for quite some time, partly I regret it :)

Yes, I'm italian and actually swim ow only in summer. OW swimming is not much popular where I live, I hardly ever find other swimmers "training" in ow when I go. But those few ow events they organize in summer are full of super fast pool swimmers who are fast in ow as well (despite not swimming in ow): people who swim 5k in 1h something.

Where do you live instead, to have your ow season closing in 2 weeks? I love ow swimming but for training and improving as a swimmer nothing beats the pool imho.

Cheers,
Salvo

wmeg 02-09-2017 02:19 AM

Hi all thanks for your replies
@Verner
Quote:

??? How are the pool-times of the other members of your OW-Group?
That is a very good point I will question them on that.

Quote:

Ha, as nearly silver-surfer, my haircutter had to know something about circular computation :-)
That is very good and I will use that next time I'm at the open mike night.

Quote:

Oh no, three to four FPs should be far enough! Changing singles every two laps, then two combined in change then three....
What is an FP?

@Salvo
I spend the Australian summer in Tasmania but now I return to my home in Brisbane.
Those 5km an hour people are just showing off.
I have swum in a lot of places in Italy (just solo) I have even swum at Fiumicino a couple of times. (Lido di Ostia)
Not exactly a pristine aquatic environment.

Warren

s.sciame 02-09-2017 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmeg (Post 61707)

I have swum in a lot of places in Italy (just solo) I have even swum at Fiumicino a couple of times. (Lido di Ostia)
Not exactly a pristine aquatic environment.

Warren

oh well, it takes a lot of motivation to swim at lido di Ostia :) I use to swim a bit souther than that, much cleaner water. I also like to swim in Castelgandolfo lake (it's quite known to be the place where the Pope lives in summer): the lake is clean and there are also some handy 1km cables which should be used by kayakers for training and races, but I often use them for swimming.

Brisbane has to be a lovely place to live and do any kind of sport.
Happy swimming!

Salvo

Tom Pamperin 02-09-2017 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wmeg (Post 61707)
What is an FP?

Focal point (to concentrate awareness on, as in: palms up on recovery, or head floating in the water, or elbows leading on recovery, etc.) Usually you pick one at a time to concentrate on and see what you learn from that, and how it affects your swimming.

WFEGb 02-09-2017 09:39 PM

Hello Warren,

Quote:

What is an FP?
Tom still answered it, but as a little promotion, have a look at the list

Best regards,
Werner

wmeg 02-13-2017 05:55 AM

Thanks for your replies, it is really good to be able to get other perspectives.
I have made some progress and have got my 100m pace down from above 3.0 down to 2.5.
Went through 'Shinji's Open Water Speed Up' and am not spearing so deeply and have used the catch set up that he recommends.
This works well and has allowed me to get a higher stroke rate going.
Yes, FP of course, I usually rotate through these as I am swimming and after maybe get a CT (choc top)
@Salvo. Lake Albano looks like a place I should swim next time I am close to Roma.
Have swum in lakes Bracciano, Transimeno and very briefly in Como (cold, polluted and speed boat dangerous)


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