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  #11  
Old 02-21-2009
eddiewouldgo eddiewouldgo is offline
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Meaningless differentiation.

If the goal is only relaxed, smooth swimming, technique is by far the most important factor, because even people who are grossly out of shape and unathletic can swim elegantly at moderate speeds for modest distances if they have an efficient stroke.

But if we are talking about speed over competitive distances -- competitive pool, triathlon, or open water swimming --, all factors operate together. If any of them are poor or weak, so will be the swimmer . And proficiency in any one or two of them won't matter much if other factors are lagging.

A great physiological engine driving an inefficient, high-drag stroke will result in a poor, pooped, and/or slow swimmer.

But technique, like most things, eventually has a point of diminishing returns. Fine technique driven by a weak engine will make for some beautiful, but slow and/or short, swims. There is a reason that virtually everybody you will ever see placing in any high school swim meet -- not to mention collegiate and higher levels -- looks very much physically like competitive swimmers all look. Similarly, its no accident that every one of them will have highly efficient technique (even if imperfect). You will never see a 50 pounds overweight kid winning because of his or her super-efficient stroke, nor will you see any superathletic kid with a gross, thrashing stroke prevailing because of their superior physical fitness. It takes both technique and fitness to be competitive.

Its all important, if speed over significant distances is important.
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
Bravo David,

If we're to segment technique, however, I'd put balance #1.
A case in point, there is a gent that swims at the local Y, a life long swimmer, strong and fit but with sort of 'lousy' technique (not all aspects). He is reasonably 'fast' but more important it seems he can sustain this for long periods. How? His balance is very good. His body position in the water is perfectly horizontal lying just below the surface. He does, in my opinion, work too hard for what he gets but that is where technique comes in.
I sometimes share a lane on Sunday mornings with someone like that. Swimming with Dave-The-Human-Washing-Machine is good practice for waves and chop in open water because he works so hard. I'm talking 37-40 strokes per length for half an hour, as fast as he can churn. He looks way fitter than me but can't quite keep up, he's presently about 2-3 seconds slower per length than my cruising speed. If he ever stopped to ask me why I do those silly looking drills to warm up I'd lose him as a wave machine because I'm sure a little technique work would have him swimming faster than me in very little time.
I think that physique probably becomes important at the very highest level of the sport, in elite swimmers. Even then, there were the Janet Evanses, who didn't fit the mold.
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2009
freshegg freshegg is offline
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I agree that physique is way, way, way down at the bottom of the list of factors that influence speed, but I still contend that it is a factor. All other things being equal, two people with different physiques are going to swim at different speeds. Simple as that.

I'll put it another way. Suppose you took two hypothetical people, same age, same height. The only difference between them is muscularity or fat-to-lean muscle ratio. Neither has ever swum before. You start them both on TI technique at the same time. They progress at the identical rate. They both learn proper stroke and breathing and everything else they need to learn to precisely the same level of perfection. They are virtual clones in terms of technique, balance, streamlining, etc etc. I still maintain that the person with a more muscular, leaner build is going to be slower.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Elite pool swimmers are nearly as lean as elite runners - they look bigger because they are taller, more evenly muscled all over, and tend to have a smoothing layer of subcutaneous fat.
The only place where having a higher body fat percentage is an advantage is in very cold open water marathon type swims. Lynn Cox has been about 30% body fat all her life, which was probably an advantage when she set the English Channel record at age 15 and again at 16. Alison Streeter is also very round in shape, and with 42 Channel crossings under her belt, she is definitely both fit and fat. (Yes, it's possible to be both.)
Body composition is one thing, the ability to relax and concentrate is another. Then there is flexibility - watching the 10-14 year old synchro swimmers who train at the YW on Friday night, I see a fluidity that very few adults can master. They really look fishlike!
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2009
bkjagadish bkjagadish is offline
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...how come no one has mentioned that important factor ' MINDFULNESS '...i am sure that MIND also plays an important role in good performance with regard to any sport in question...
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Well, that would fall under "the ability to relax and concentrate", I guess.
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  #17  
Old 02-26-2009
mjm mjm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freshegg View Post
I still maintain that the person with a more muscular, leaner build is going to be slower.
Many swimmers would give an "arm", "leg", "first born" to be lean and muscular. Some pay $400-$500 for a tech suit that "makes" them lean and muscular. Probably the one variable that hasn't changed is your physique--it was lean and muscular when you were "fast" and the same now when you are "slower".

You might consider variables that changed, e.g., you got older. Just about everything related to endurance physiology declines as you get older--VO2 max, lung capacity, the nerves ability to stimulate muscle activity, etc.

Some react to this decline from a Kaizen (continuous improvement) standpoint. I'll train "smarter". I work on technique because even the best swimmers are less than 10% efficient.

Some react to this decline from a Cry-zen (continuous whinning) standpoint. "My physique makes me slow". Less fit, fat swimmers pass me in the pool.

I swim at a college pool. Plenty of women including a nationally ranked 61 year old triathlete kick my ass everyday. None would be considered muscular though a few are lean. I choose a Kaizen approach to this ass kicking.

Too bad we can't sit down, have a beer, and discuss this Freshegg--it would be fun. --mjm
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  #18  
Old 02-27-2009
freshegg freshegg is offline
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Hmmm, that beer offer, MJM, I think that's just a sneaky ploy of yours to try and fatten me up LOL

All I'm saying (and what Fred McG has tried to get across in the "body type etc" thread) is that no matter how much you focus on technique, your body type is going to affect how that technique gets transformed into action. Those of us with lean, muscular builds have to work even harder at technique. We're not using our builds as an excuse for going more slowly. We would just like to understand how we might need to adjust our technique in order to compensate for our body type. We have different centers of gravity, different proportions, different mass distribution, different hydrodynamic profiles, etc. Terry doesn't seem to cover any of this in anything that I have read or viewed.

Anyway, endurance isn't my problem. I swim 2000 metres continuous laps, without stopping, and am not even tired at the end of it (thanks to TI technique !) I would just like to swim more efficiently, and it is frustrating to be focusing so much on technique without seeing the results I want to see. So, if there were some suggestions for how to align or adjust the technique aspects of TI according to variations in body type, that would be most appreciated.
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  #19  
Old 02-27-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freshegg View Post
Anyway, endurance isn't my problem. I swim 2000 metres continuous laps, without stopping, and am not even tired at the end of it (thanks to TI technique !) I would just like to swim more efficiently, and it is frustrating to be focusing so much on technique without seeing the results I want to see. So, if there were some suggestions for how to align or adjust the technique aspects of TI according to variations in body type, that would be most appreciated.
You are already efficient, it seems. What you seem to lack is intensity. I'd like to know how long you can sustain a higher level of effort. If you're not tired at the end, it wasn't high enough if your goal is speed.

The longest Olympic event in a pool is 1500m, 25% less than the distance you swim. At least try reducing your distance by that 25% and increasing your intensity by 25%.

If you need to hear it from someone else, take a look at "Swimming Fastest" through Googles books. You can get a preview of a certain number of pages. Look in the contents under training then jump straight to the appropriate section.
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  #20  
Old 02-28-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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freshegg, I was just reminded of something. If you use fins, that will help you to move faster so you can feel the resistance of any flaws in your technique.

I feel flaws in my left hand entry mostly. Head position makes a huge difference when swimming underwater with fins; if I lift my head at all, I instantly feel drag and begin to rise a little. The extra speed also helps with adjusting the lead-arm and hand position.
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