Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin
I had been attempting that 30 x 50m set, but was finding myself at 18 SPL to make the :43 pace for each repeat. Coach Stuart encouraged me to try lowing my SPL. I was skeptical (actually quite certain I wouldn't be able to make the times at 16) but gave it a try, with the results described above.
Good to hear and reflect on that progress you made, nice work! Although I yield to or encourage increasing stroke length, but also reducing turnover or tempo to get to the lower workload. Really reducing rate of turnover increases stroke length. But we're not aiming for the fewest or zero strokes but what works best given height (or wingspan), turnover rate (tempo), current skill set and distance you are swimming - not stroke length only.
Often swimmers perceive dropping strokes is the primary goal - it's not. Dropping strokes is frequently achieved in error by 1. longer flight off the wall, and/or 2. pausing or stalling high side (recovery) arm at hip to gain longer distance per stroke, and/or 3. pausing.slowing recovery arm just before entry. All are introducing errors in distance and stroke. The later, #2 and #3 are common errors. Stalling at the hip, triggers a deceleration, lost momentum and imbalance sticking arm weight and its momentum at the hip. Stalling at entry sends momentum of high side arm down instead of forward - causing the "bobbing swimmer"
I think John@NewPaltz noted the added effort to get 10 or 8 strokes across the pool, I'm assuming 25y pool. If a swimmer is taking 8 strokes after 5y yard glide offf the wall, I can bet there's a hitch at hip (stopping in a skate position) to achieve that low stroke count.
The arm starts and finishes at forward extension, one continuous, fluid movement with no hitches or pauses at hip or at entry.
So it's not just increasing stroke length to decrease workload, but more about frequency or tempo, rate of turnover - but both stroke length and tempo have to be tested and experimented with each swimmer to find out what works best for them given the event or distance they're swimming.