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-   -   30-Day Improvement Project: Breaststroke (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4135)

terry 01-29-2013 06:51 PM

30-Day Improvement Project: Breaststroke
 
Today I began a new 30-Day Improvement Project. In my most recent one, which concluded about a month ago, I improved my time for a timed 200y backstroke (at the end of a set starting with 50y repeats and increasing to 1 x 200) from 3:31 to 3:08 with the same or fewer SPL. Over the next 30 days I'll pursue a similar project focused on my time for 200 breaststroke.

Today was also my first practice in a 25y pool in about five weeks. For 17 days of that period I swam open water at Maho Bay in the USVI. Otherwise I swam in an Endless Pool.

Tues Jan 29 2400y at SUNY New Paltz
400 Medley (25FR@13SPL+25BK@14SPL+25BR@7SPL continuously)
Time 7:37

4 x 50 BK (14+15SPL) on 1:10
Descend from 54 sec to 50 sec

Repeat 400 Medley
Time: 7:23

4 x 50 [25BK@14SPL+25BR@7SPL] on 1:10
Descend from 55 sec to 53 sec.

Repeat 400 Medley
Time 7:23

Baseline Breaststroke Set
4 x 50 BR @ 8SPL on 1:10
Times 55-55-55-53 (Cumulative 200 time 3:38)
100 EZ BK for recovery
2 x 100 BR (8-8-8-9SPL) on 2:20
Times 1:52-1:51 (Cumulative 200 = 3:43)
1 x 200 BR (1st 25@8SPL, the rest @ 9SPL)
Time 3:40.

This baseline set gives me parameters for improvement. I'll strive both to improve my time for 200, while also increasing my efficiency. About every 10 days, I'll repeat this set, aiming to have fewer laps at 9SPL, while also improving my paces. At the end of 30 days I'll probably test my time for 200y both holding 8SPL the entire way, and with the stroke count I had today.

I'll report my practices and results on this thread.

terry 01-30-2013 07:45 PM

A Freestyle Baseline Set Plus improvement in breaststroke
 
Wed Jan 30 2600y at SUNY
Today my practice included several sets that featured breaststroke
My warmup was 3 sets of my standard 400 3-Stroke Medley. I did
the first two as
25FR @ 13SPL + 25 BK @ 14SPL + 25 BR @ 7 SPL continuously
My times were 7:31 and 7:16
On #2 I improved 15 seconds, without increasing effort. I simply felt better tuned to the task, and completed each length in the assigned SPL more easily.
On #3 I added 1SPL to each stroke (14FR15BK8BR) and improved my time another 18 seconds to 6:58, a nice return for adding 16 strokes.

My final set - after a 1000 FR baseline - was
4 x 50 BR on 1:15 I held 6+7SPL throughout and tried to descend. My times were 56-55-54-53, making this a better set than my 4 x 50 BR yesterday, on which my total time was the same, but today I took 3 fewer strokes on each 50.

terry 02-05-2013 08:24 PM

4 x 50 @ 7+8 Strokes
 
Tues Feb 5
Today, at the end of a 3400 yard practice--dev I did the following

4 x 50 BR on 1:15. Hold at 7+8 strokes. Descend times.
My times were 55-53-51-50 seconds. On Friday I swam the same set at 6+7 strokes with a cumulative 200 breast time of 3:38. Today, by adding 8 total strokes I swam a cumulative 200 breast time of 3:29, which is a very effective trade of strokes for seconds.
This is also 9 seconds faster, in four fewer strokes, than a round of 4 x 50 BR I did a week ago in my baseline set.

Read the entire practice at http://www.totalimmersion.net/index....php%3Ft%3D4139

AWP 02-08-2013 01:19 AM

My practice for today Thursday February 7 @ Y 25 yard pool
Time only for a quickie and I'm posting here because it is part of my project and had some 'successful' beast stroke elements/ results.

(Btw, Terry, you 'stole' my practice layout for Wednesday, almost precisely (can't believe it!). I didn't have much time today so will save it for this weekend or Monday.)


I did this part however
4x100 medley
25FR 25BK 25BR 25FR
1. 1:50
2. 1:47
3. 1:42
4. 1:38
After the initial repeat I cycled through adding strokes to one stroke style length within each repeat, #2 BK #3 BR #4 FR.
#1 13spl,15spl,10spl,14spl
#2 14spl,17spl,10spl,14spl
#3 14spl,17spl,9spl,15spl
#4 14spl,17spl,9spl,16spl

400 BK/BR
8x50 with approx. 20 sec. rest between repeats
1. 50BK 14/15spl :56
2. 50BR 11/10spl :59
3. 50BK 14/16spl :52
4. 50BR 10/9spl :57
5. 50BK 15/16spl :51
6. 50BR 8/8spl :55 *
7. 50BK 14/18spl :50
8. 50BR 8/9spl :54!!
I was most excited about my breast stroke improvements, both in feel and outcome. After the initial 50 I didn't think I'd lower my count, improve my feel or support the marked time improvement (descend entire set in each stroke). but, it seems my approach here supported my success, yeah.

I've found, re: breast stroke, that if I applied two focal points, one at a time, that I could then focus on my momentum and in fact improve.
Those two focal points were floating my arms forward after spearing forward and totally relaxing my legs after the kick, keeping them streamlined behind. Both of these movements required me to "shut off" those muscles, so to speak. Any tension and I slowed.
Floating the arms forward allowed me to put them in a better position, more easily and consistently, to better hold water as I pulsed forward and in turn control my effort and distance traveled on each stroke with greater control.
Likewise, relaxing and streamlining my legs allowed more energy savings and the ability to apply the other focus as well as for a good push off to the next length.
I've applied this to my other strokes too with similar success.

4x50 FR
Cycle through spl, 'recovery' 12/12spl> 12/13spl> 13/14spl> 14/14spl
then pseudo-test
2x100
100 @ 14spl 1:22 one length @15spl
100 @ 14/16spl 1:22
Left this for another day, didn't have enough time having done some technique assessment/ positioning etc. ... also, having no time to pause and re-boot for continuing test. Still, haven't matched those metrics in a while and felt I can definitely work towards making the effort easier going forward. Incidentally, I never hold myself to a specific spl for any prolonged durations anymore, what ever metrics I can work towards maintaining at an effective level I do.

Bonus 50 @ 13/14spl :41 (27) one stroke less than last time, noted.

terry 02-08-2013 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AWP (Post 34398)
400 BK/BR
8x50 with approx. 20 sec. rest between repeats
1. 50BK 14/15spl :56
2. 50BR 11/10spl :59
3. 50BK 14/16spl :52
4. 50BR 10/9spl :57
5. 50BK 15/16spl :51
6. 50BR 8/8spl :55 *
7. 50BK 14/18spl :50
8. 50BR 8/9spl :54!!
I was most excited about my breast stroke improvements, both in feel and outcome. After the initial 50 I didn't think I'd lower my count, improve my feel or support the marked time improvement (descend entire set in each stroke). but, it seems my approach here supported my success, yeah.

Alan
What I like most about your practice is that it's (i) guided by thoughtful protocols, you've evolved over time; and (ii) that it seems motivated mostly by the pleasure you derive from Curious Experimentation . . . with confidence validated by experience that both lead to improvement.

You continually pose different sorts of puzzles, anticipating that both the data and direct experience--what you feel as you say--will be both informative and enjoyable.

The two interesting protocols in this set include
1) Alternating BK and BR repeats. For 30 yrs I've felt that doing so is one of the best ways to improve your medley swimming. Because the most important skill in medley swimming isn't how you swim each stroke, but how well you adapt your stroking pattern as you move from one stroke to another -- and how well you adapt moving through a Short Axis/Long Axis/SA/LA stroking pattern.

2) A puzzle few swimmers ever challenge themselves with is what you did on the breaststroke repeats -- steadily reducing SPL on successive repeats. You took fewer strokes on the 4th 50 than on the 2nd AND fewer strokes on the 2nd 25. You displayed 3 levels of skill in doing so.
(i) that you could reduce strokes progressively
(ii) that you did not lose speed as you did so; indeed
(iii) you gained speed while reducing stroke count.

That's a ninja level pacing skill.

AWP 02-08-2013 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 34406)
2) A puzzle few swimmers ever challenge themselves with is what you did on the breaststroke repeats -- steadily reducing SPL on successive repeats. You took fewer strokes on the 4th 50 than on the 2nd AND fewer strokes on the 2nd 25. You displayed 3 levels of skill in doing so.
(i) that you could reduce strokes progressively
(ii) that you did not lose speed as you did so; indeed
(iii) you gained speed while reducing stroke count.

That's a ninja level pacing skill.


I have to admit, unashamedly, that I did feel kinda ninja like (entry level ninja) at the end of this set, and now have some good bench marks to work off of.
I'll also admit that the stroke counts on the breast stroke repeats were by in large a happy outcome of keen focus on some aspects of the stroke which allowed me to "snag" control; when one focus worked on a length I added another, if that combo worked I added yet another or switched one focus ie floating arms> FA+relaxed/streamlined legs> FA+RSL+patient/strong push off. (When one or more doesn't quite work I "clean the slate", perhaps backstroke or freestyle lengths, and start over)

I'll have to add that set of BK/BR to a fuller session going forward.
Thank you
Alan

terry 02-12-2013 09:23 PM

4 x 50 @ 7+8 Strokes
 
Yesterday (Mon Feb 11), at the end of a 3600 yard practice--I did one of my regular breaststroke test sets:
4 x 50 BR on 1:15. Hold at 7+8 strokes. Descend times.
I did this last on Feb 5 recording times of 55-53-51-50 seconds, for a cumulative 200 BR time of 3:29.
Yesterday, following a pretty demanding freestyle set (Descend 3 rounds of 3 x 300 on 4:40, on which I averaged 4:11) I swam a single easy 100 BK then right into this set. My feet and calves were cramping at the end of the freestyle set and began cramping again on the 4th 50 of BR. Even so, my times were
53-51-49-49 (fighting off cramps on the last one) for a cumulative 200 BR time of 3:22.

AWP 02-13-2013 04:02 PM

Terry,
If I may, what did you feel you could improve on from the last go, did you focus on that, or were you solely focused on your self prescribed strokes per length and took the outcome as it came?
Thx,
Alan

terry 02-14-2013 08:23 PM

3 x 75 Breast @ 6+7+8 SPL
 
First a reply to Alan's query: Because BR is a far simpler stroke than FR - far fewer moving parts to coordinate, and because I've been working on it for several years, my stroke feels thoroughly dialed-in now. I do a bit of Focal Point practice in the Endless Pool, but when I get into a regular lap pool, I find all I really need to do is choose my stroke count and the rest mostly takes care of itself. I DO find myself focused on different parts of the stroke, but my range of FPs is far shorter than in FR.

Thurs Feb 14 3300y at SUNY
My BR set for today was 3 x 75 @ 6+7+8SPL. It came after 3000y of other swimming, much of which was physically (and neurally) demanding..
Tuneup 400 Easy Medley 7:18 (I allowed myself 15SPL on BK and 8SPL on BR)
Main Set 15 x 150 FR on a 2:30 interval, done as follows
5 x 150 @ 15SPL I descended 2:10-2:05.
50 EZ BK
4 x 150 (last 25 @16SPL) 2:06-2:05-2:04-2:03
50 EZ BK
3 x 150 (last 50 @16SPL) - all 2:03
50 EZ BK
2 x 150 (last 75 @16SPL) 2:03-2:01
50 EZ BK
1 x 150 - (last 100 @16SPL) 1:59 (SPL as planned)
150 EZ BK

3 x [75 BR timed + 25 EZ BK] on 2:00
I was fighting off strong cramps in quads, calves and feet on these. Even so I descended them
1:23
1:21
1:18.

I compare this set to the 4 x 50BR @ 6+7SPL I did on Jan 30 on which I descend 56-55-54-53 sec - a pace ranging from 28 to 26.5 sec/25y
On these 75s, my pace per 25y was 27.6 - 26.0 sec, which I consider encouraging progress.

AWP 02-15-2013 12:44 AM

Terry,
Thank you for the reply and set ideas, as always inspiring and motivating.
At the moment I need to 'find' my count for BR at the onset of the set and work from there. It is my goal, as I've done in FR and a larger degree in BK, to be able to choose it and apply it effectively. Stoked for the next go...

Best,
Alan


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