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Old 03-18-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Duvall, WA
Posts: 92

Thank you for the insightful replies. I have further comments and questions.

Originally Posted by daveblt View Post
Just because the arm may feel weightless does not mean it is capable of holding water unless you set up your catch correctly . The palm and forearm should face back as it's ready to pull and at the same time the opposite arm is ready to enter so this is the same thing as in backstroke the catch or wrapping phase combined with the recovering opposite arm.
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that in backstroke, while your arm remains fully extended in streamline position that you can catch water. I disagree with this. The elbow joint is on the wrong side to catch water in streamline position. As I understand, the reason for the greater backstroke rotation and for the initial "wrap" phase is to catch water. In freestyle, your elbow is on the opposite side and is capable of stroking without breaking streamline.

Originally Posted by daveblt View Post
In freestyle you should feel as if you are spearing forward towards your entry hand .In backstroke you also roll toward your entry hand as it goes in to the water so why does it feel different ?
It feels very different because the entry hand in backstroke does not touch the water until last instant, where as in freestyle the same hand's entry into the water is the part of the initial motion, so it is in position before I finish my pull.

This core cordination with the recovery (or entry) hand has been a problem for me in my backstroke.

Originally Posted by daveblt View Post
You do not have to swim backstroke at 80 degrees .If you roll 45 degrees or so this should be enough to clear each shoulder from the water.
My 80 degree reference is from _Extraordinary swimming for every body_ page 71. As I view Terry in the photo, he is swimming as far over on his side as possible, which I judge to be about 80 degrees before the head must move. Also on that page:

Feel each hipbone touch the surface in turn. Lenny Krayzelberg said "When I swim, I try to feel one hip at the surface, then the other.
45 degrees is insufficient for me to get my hipbones to touch the surface. I use to swim backstroke at 45 degrees and recently changed to swim much further on my side.

Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
One thing to pay attention to is that the balance can't be as perfect in back stroke as free, at least at slow speeds and if you rotate closer to 80 degrees. When I am in (I forget what the newest term is) back skate, Lengthen vessel sweet spot, I can rest comfortably with my top shoulder, arm, knuckles and thigh touching air and I can relax my head back into the water and just clear my nose and mouth. As soon as I roll more of my arm out of the water, I sink a bit putting my face under. As soon as I raise the arm, I sink underwater a couple inches. Just like in free, only 3-5% of your body can be above the surface and this causes sinking. So you have to let yourself sink and hum (to keep water out of your nose) or cheat the balance slightly to breathe. If you cheat the balance slightly, you will have to kick more to keep your head up.
This is a very interesting point on balance. I'll definately experiment with this next swim session.

Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
I believe rolling closer to 80 degrees puts your arm in a better position to use larger muscles, but it sacrifices tempo and balance. I am still trying to find where my best roll angle is.
I understand why balance is affected, but why do you think that you sacrifice tempo? Do you think the less rotation has greater efficiency?

Last edited by Jamwhite : 03-18-2009 at 06:10 AM. Reason: clarity
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