Hiya Danny, this is perhaps tangential here but I have become aware recently that doing dryland stretching promotess an unexpected change in my sense of body position. To explain, try the following:
Stand in tadasana, arms at side, feet together, and generally pretty much swimming alignment of head. Relax everything you can, keeping legs strong, and focus on feeling being pulled up to the sky by a string attached to the top of your head. Slowly turn, keeping hips facing front, arms relaxed, until you encounter resistance and stop at that point. Again focus on relaxing into the pose. After a few moments you will find you can turn a degree or so more, after which return to facing the front.
Now, after doing that, do you feel like your are facing the front or do, for instance, your feet seem to have tuirned, even though they haven't (if you've been doing the above as described)? Perhaps it's subtle, and perhaps I'm aware of it because of my practice, but it's robustness surprised me.
It seems to me that this effect may be present in all swimming movements but that it must be especially present in rotation and breathing. Another argument for alternate breathing I guess, but perhas relevant to your interests.
By the way, in his videos, Shinji provides drills that are directed to looking slightly forward, with a neutral head, so he is not actually recommending a "perfectly" alignment position.
FWIW, that came from watching my own video, is that the angles of view and the unfamiliarity of seeing a swimmer's body moving in the water conspires to create striking optical illusions. Suzanne has corrected some of the observations I have made in the past on videos, pointing this feature out to me, but until I compared front views and side views of my own stroke I had no idea what she was talking about. Pictures, especially videos, appear to be incontrovertible, but they still need interpretation which I have belatedly realized be trickier that it seems. Having two points of view on the same movement to me now seems essential.
Again re Shinji, when I watch his 12 stroke video, what I see is his breath coinciding with his maximum speed and acceleration. This results in there being a substantial bow wave and trough available at exactly the right moment. Without that, I think it's a lot tougher. But having said that what I see is all the top swimmers reaching for the air and having a different stroke on their preferred breathing side (just watched Laure Manaudou again and she does it) so I'm not sure that "perfect" head-spine alignment isn't person specific.
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly
"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
Last edited by Talvi : 01-26-2015 at 04:13 PM.