Image and reality?
A kind nudge from my friend Stuart resulted in reading through old messages in my inbox. One was from ZT, sent years ago but still very pertinent. Sadly I am far from swimming a sub 2.00/100m kilometre let alone a continuous hour even!
Another one contained a video by Coach Suzanne which I had sent my friend Werner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeHQyqI7zq0 It stars someone called Sam who had a before-style very like to my own current-style! What leapt out from the video for me is that I have completely misunderstood two key coaching phrases.
It is clear from the video that the word "dropped", in the phrase "dropped elbow", is used not in respect of verticality but in respect of the horizontal plane i.e as if the swimmer were in a standing position rather than lying flat in the water. The problem from it is not that it is "berneath" but that it takes the lead.(see 4:34) Coach Suzanne brings this same clarity to the recovery elbow's trajectory, wherein the up-ness of the "high elbow recovery" is replaced with the outward-ness of it.
This post is like a small offering. I'd intended to come back and post only when some progress had come from the various observations I've made here over the years. Reading through my inbox though reminded me (again!) that it's the journey that counts not the destination, and of the value and place of the people of this community in that. So, fwiw a belated thank you, from a grateful prodigal son.
good to see another post from you! Welcome back to the forum.
That makes sense to me--but of course, the elbow also "drops" in a vertical sense in that, as the elbow moves backward leading the pull, it also becomes lower in relation to the forearm and wrist. So, elbow above wrist, wrist above fingertips is aimed at fixing the same problem from another angle.
I'm thinking of playing one step further down this route by overcorrecting. Instead of going for the goal of vertiocal forearm I want to see what going for a scoop produces, aiming perhaps to scoopall the way back to my thigh.
You can buy some stretch cords. Attach them high so you can use them in a straight, normal swim posture, only standing instead of lying. You can even stand on one leg and combine a kick with a pull movement to get your core also involved in a more swimlike manner.
Watch how elite swimmers move when seen from pool bottom to watersurface and mimic that movement, using a mirror.
Repeat until that movement becomes your automatic movement.
Right before going to the pool, repeat the right movement on dryland until your muscles become painfull, sore and exhausted.
Now go to the pool ,swim and feel if your movement mimics the painfull dryland movement.
If thats the case you have a chance you usually make the right movements in the water.
If the movements feel very different in the water, you use different muscles so you dont make the right movements when you swim.
Its a crude method, but without self footage or a good coach it can be usefull.
glad you're back for some posts one and then! (More might be better, but as you say, the way itself is more important... :-) )
A bunch of strokes in new steady enjoyment!
Good to hear that you are still with us, I'll be in touch.
not keen on Zenturtle's idea:-
'repeat the right movement on dryland until your muscles become painfull, sore and exhausted).
This is TI swimming and I 'never practice struggle' a mantra that has served me well, evidently I was born to be a Manatee not a Turtle :)
Thanks guys :) You shouldn't encourage me! ;)
So here's what came away from the session with, hopefully arranged in a readable order, and with a bit of explanation on the eccentric ones. Most (?) are common fare but I found them key:
The part of the scoop idea (3) that worked was that pulling yourself down is actually only TRYING to do so as, if I breathe out in the final quadrant, my buoyancy is bringing me up at that point. This is the bounce you get in some one-arm drill and I hadn't felt that for a while.
It's frowned upon but I found (and this time gave myself permission!) holding onto my breath intially (5) is much better for me. If I begin breathing out immediately I lose buoyancy and begin to sink unecessarily compromising the breath taking. Testing this with the dead man's float I find that when I breath out, floating vertically in the water, I sink like a stone to the bottom of the pool!
Breathing forward (6) is also a big deal for me that has come from the last two sessions. Starting with neutral head facing down and turning it ONLY as with and when the shoulders turn really makes the the water surface become the visual focus. From this, the usual, one eye underwater breathing results in developing the popeye breath, but most importantly for there to be more time available for the breath. That means better breath with all the benefits of that! This timing feels slightly out with the rest of the stroke, like breathing on an off-beat.
Slapping rather than kicking (9) eliminates the bent knee problem by substituting that instinctive feel that we are producing thrust by kicking backwards - the opposite of what actually happens.
Coach Suzanne's swing-arm recovery (11) worked like a dream, connecting up many elements of the stroke for me.
The penultimate lesson (12) though came right at the end. After 2.4k of trying not to keep up with the triathlete in my lane (right!) and the club swimmer in the next (haha) I was knackered (insomnia rules ok) so sat on the pool side watching them for a few minutes. I couldn't resist dragging myself in for another shot though and found myself mimicking something about their easy style. It was their reach. That really gave me a feel of the water in the first quadrant of the underwater stroke. Initially I felt I was splashing a bit too, but I had decided that was not a bad thing at all. Mostly I think I was entering the water quite cleanly but as Tom wrrote: who knows. More importantly for me though I don't care, as I actually kept catching the tri-athlete up, this time REALLY expecting not to. Ok he must have slowed down maybe but I was doing a 1:53 time which by my standards is reaaly good and which was amazing compared to the 2:20 times before that.
Next session no doubt it will be down to zero again but .. hope springs eternal right :) Stay frosty.
As said before, never pull.
TI anchors a bit latter. Personally, I inner rotate
an arm and keep hand parallel to the bottom all
the time. From that inner rotated arm, I simply
keep elbow up. With hand I grab the water, bend
an elbow and grab as much water as possible. That
water I push back, or rather move body over that
place. Forearm is vertical, of course.
Yes, EVERYONE says do not pull! :D
If we refer to the "underwater stroke" then this has two parts: "pull" and "push". Though we might call the "pull" the "catch", whatever we call it it is there, real, and very important to get the hang of. So pulling vs not pulling was not what led me to post this thread, rather it was what to do when old advice isn't working for you.
Different swimmers adopt very different techniques to getting this "catch/pull" part of the stroke working. The one you use, even with no force and on dry land, makes my shoulder hurt! I can see how it would work but it's just not for me. Different strokes for different folks as they say, and different ways of feeling and imagining them too.
In my overenthusiasm for my own "insights", I tried to help a Russian swimmer in the pool yesterday. His entry was so across his body that there was a big splash, like he was applyiong the brakes. It seemed clear (to me!) that he would go far faster if he corrected his entry path. I realised later that this odd entry was central to his technique, leading quickly to a feel for the water, a strong early catch and rotation, and a brisk turnover. For him it worked well, producing a pretty effortless CSS of some sub 2:00/100m and with little bananaing.
I doubt my Russian "student" will become an olympian but then nor will I!
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