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Old 11-20-2012
terry terry is offline
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Default Swimming Success Algorithm for Backstroke Excellence

Tues Nov 20 2400scy @ SUNY
Do you recall the TI Swimming Success Algorithm?
It comes from data collected by USA Swimming at the Olympic Swim Trials from 1976 through 2012, then analyzed to discern patterns that improve a swimmers' chances to make the Olympic team.
In most events, while there are 8 fiinalists only 3 to 4 swimmers have a realistic chance to make the Olympic team. And only the top two will make the cut. So the question is, if you're fast, fit and talented enough to race other swimmers of similar caliber for an Olympic berth, what's the best way to swim the race that decides it?
Of the approx 9000 'splashes' (as they refer to individual races) for which USA Swimming has kept data over the last 36 years (9 Olympiads) what race pattern was most often associated with success? The ability to increase Stroke Rate near the end of the race, while minimizing loss of Stroke Length. Consequently, the great majority of my 'empirical' sets (those in which I track SPL, Time and/or Tempo) focus on testing, improving and 'wiring in' that capacity. Todays practice was an example.
I did three rounds of the same 'Pyramid' set
50+100+150+200+150+100+50 on 1:00/50 (I.E. 1:00-2:00-3:00-4:00-3:00-2:00)
In each round, my goals were
1) Hold an unchanged SPL from beginning to end, as distance increased, then decreased.
2) Strive to maintain same pace/50 as distance increased, then increase my pace/50 as distance decreased
I did one round each of:
Backstroke
BK/FR (25BK25FR+50BK50FR+75BK75FR, etc.)
Freestyle

My stroke count goal was 15SPL for BK and 14SPL for FR. I did maintain that with 100% consistency.

My first 50 BK was 57 sec.
My 200 BK was 3:39 (avg. pace of 54.7 sec/50)
My final 50 BK was 49 sec.

My first 50BK/BR was 50 sec
My 200 BK/FR was 3:17 (avg. pace of 49.2 sec/50)
My final 50BK/FR was 47 sec.

My first 50 FR was 42 sec
My 200 FR was 2:42 (avg pace of 40.5 sec/50)
My final 50 FR was 38 sec.

I took no extra rest between rounds, using the easier pace of the initial reps in next round for recovery.

This was a super-successful and thoroughly enjoyable set. While I was swimming at probably 80%+ of max effort on my fastest reps in each round, I still felt silky synchronicity.
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Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

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