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Old 11-28-2014
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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CharlesCouturier
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Yeah, it's about that. You know, it makes me feel very good to be able to discuss, almost 10 years after the same topic were discussed in the UK, about rate/length balance, without the whole thread burning in flames.

Because it is indeed a fascinating topic.

Swimming is a sport of glide, like speed skating, or x-country skiing. This is what makes it so fascinating. Whether some people like it or not, in the water, we do glide.

For instance, I think it's Maglischo (or could it be Toussaint?? I don't remember) who first proposed that the reason why your hand exit at the same spot where it entered (that is, there's no net loss of water) is that the same hand after entering glides forward, then pulls backward (again, whether some people like it or not), then exit. Net result is that it exists about the same place it enters.

If Rod is reading this and feels like correcting me I won't mind ;-)

Therefore my original statement in this discussion is a bit fallascious. Swimming can't directly be compared to running and cycling, none of which being a sport of glide. The similarity is strong enough to make the analogy legitimate though, I didn't cheat.

What some claim is that there should not be any dead spot in the way you pull. But that's fine. We're saying the same thing. While you set up for catch, you're not being "propulsive" with this phase. It's a setup phase. For TI, it's the skate phase. What triggers the war, is that in spite of clearly seeing no dead spot in Terry's stroke for instance, he still uses the word "glide" during the skate phase, which he sees as a phase during which you glide. Anyway... Let's not divert.

While you set up for catch, or stated otherwise, as long as you haven't taken a catch, you're not propulsive. Normally, the effective pulling range in freestyle can not be 180deg. During the non propulsive phase, what are you doing after all... You're gliding. Hopefully not wasting that time and rather setting up to be ready to pull when... when what?

When your body forward velocity drops below the target pace you wanna hold. In other words, gliding, i.e. not having taken a catch yet becomes a bad thing when you let your forward body velocity dropping too much. This is all obvious. I just want to make sure we move in our explanation one step at the time.

This is one area where "sacrificing" dps for more rate you may (and shoulld) cut. So hopefully, this feeling that things are easier now is because your limit the velocity variations. Because if you let the speed drop way too much, in order to achieve your target pace you got to achieve greater forward velocity within the cycle. In other words, you're slowing down, then needs to work harder, then slowing down too much, then need to work harder, than you would normally do if you kept constant pace.

And by the way, this is where I become (as a coach) compatible with TI. I am a firm believer that this work is not bad at all. It is not a bad thing in my opinion, to create this on purpose. For 2 reasons mainly:

1. Because it allows to focus quite a lot on balance/posture/streamline. This is cool, for certain people it's cooler. It is better for those who need it.

2. My favorite reason though...

By artificially slowing down, you increase the level of torque or force required in the pull through in order to achieve maximal avg velocity right?

AH AH. That's what I meant earlier by swimming is a sport of glide. By increasing the glide, you can artifically recreate a neuro-muscular specific load (and therefore adaptation) at much lower aerobic cost. You can do the same in cycling up a hill to some extend. But nothing beats swimming, speed skating etc for that. Swimming is hot to allow this feature. Because if your grip is good, you can possibly (or so I guess, I need Rod's equipement to figure this out), use the same force as you need to swim a flat out CSS 800m, but at much lower rate therefore at much lower metabolic/physiological cost.

Terry calls that neural programming I think, or neural training. I call this neuro muscular specific adaptation. But when you eliminate this and revert back to a smoother (and generally accepted or seen by most schools of thoughts as a sound) stroke, this is what you sacrifice. Whether you actively or passively glide or not, you're cutting there. You're reducing the velocity variation. You will need much less torque, thus easing the articulations a bit (and I don't really care if it gets someone injured or not, my main reason for being careful with this is that you perform less well).

There are 2 categories of muscles involved in swimming. Those you gets you forward. And those you help you keep a good technique to make the work of those you get you forward more efficient. The later tend to fatigue rapidly, if you're too ambitious with your DPS/Rate equilibrium.

Lastly maybe, after such a long explanation. The thing about maintenance. I stated once that a stroke which relies more on DPS may need more "practice" in order for an individual to be able to "hold" this dps. It may be easier to perform in a stable manner by not being too ambitious trying to pull too big of a gear.

Now all that said. You can chop at the back too. Most nowadays will tell you it's not a big deal... but not me ;-) In fact, in my humble opinion, in increasing the rate the feeling should be to more rapidly roll over a very smooth and easy skate/catch, enjoying how easy it is to pull yourself over (since you didn't waste time at the front), BUT still focusing on ensuring you have a nice efficient dynamic exit/snap. Because it is holding on to this phase that will allow you to keep healthy distance per stroke. Again, just be careful with the elbows....

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 11-28-2014 at 01:43 AM.
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