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  #1  
Old 02-06-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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Default 4 strokes to cross 25y

It is very common to list stroke counting for freestyle (7 seems to be the magical number), but I recently had success with a low count in breaststroke.

In my Wednesday master's practice, we worked on breaststroke drills. We practiced outsweep and insweep a few laps, did breaststroke kicking on the back, but what I thought was the most interesting was trying to cross the pool in 4 strokes (which I can consistently do).

For the 4 strokes, I would push off the wall, but did neither the one allowed dolphin kick, nor the pullthrough. I used two focal points -- one for the stroke and one for the streamline. My focal point on the stroke was the undulation to really drive myself forward in the water which I discovered in the previous drills really improved my speed (in the outsweep drill, I would roughly double my speed if I undulated just a little). My focal point on the streamline was to keep my should in tight with my head tucked underneath them.

For the first several lengths, I really let myself float until I nearly lost momentum, so I continued to float for a bit after I reached the top of the water. The first improvement to my streamline that I noted was that keeping my body angled to stay under until I was ready for the next stroke make things much easier. The next things that I noticed was that staying under longer propelled me further, so my 4th stroke still had some speed when I touched the wall. This allowed me to start doing each of the 4 strokes slightly quicker (which turned out to be a two second gain with only 4 strokes).

At the end of the practice, I attempt a 3 stroke crossing starting off the wall with a dolphin kick and pullthrough and learned what actually does happen if you glide long enough to stop in breaststoke :)
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Old 02-06-2009
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Very Interestng!

The best I've managed so far in a 25m pool is six strokes, so knowing that four is possible for 25 yards, which is only a bit shorter, makes me want to try to emulate that. Possibly the undulation would be useful because I swim a rather old-fashioned style, having learned bresaststroke back in the 'forties and 'fifites. However, I doubt if I can change radically at this age. But who knows?

My stroke is mainly leg driven so perhaps a bit of work on the front end would be useful, too.

I think maybe for racing trying to see how many strokes you can fit in is a good drill. I certainly seem to have a turnover that's a bit slow compared with others.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2009
Adam Adam is offline
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Wow.
The best I ever managed in a 25m pool is 6.
This is truly impressive.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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As a point of reference, I have to do 6 strokes if I start at a dead float with no pushoff.

With just a pushoff (which is about 8 yards), and alot of focus, I can do 4.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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I'm just glad to make it across. haha I've been working on the weightless-arms feeling. Is that something that you masters of efficiently experience or have worked on?
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Old 02-07-2009
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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I heard an interview with Brendan Hansen in which he said at one fun meet, he and a couple of the elite tried to race with the fewest strokes possible. He claimed he finished the 50 yds in 5. That is with the start and underwater pull. It sounds like a fun game.
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Old 02-07-2009
AWP AWP is offline
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Jam,
How long is it taking you to complete 4 stroke breast per length?
It does sound like a good exercise in balance and streamlining, and timing as well.
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2009
robv robv is offline
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Default language thing

what does undulation mean in this context?
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2009
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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The undulation in breaststroke is similar to the undulation in butterfly. Under present rules the head is allowed to go beneath the surface but has to emerge for at least part of each stroke. The idea is to spear forward with the head down and glide forward under the surface where there is less drag. The hips rise somewhat. Then as the arms make the outsweep and insweep the head surfaces again and the upper body rises out of the water as the hips come forward and the heels come toward the buttocks. The arms then shoot forward again and the head submerges as the feet kick back. Viewed from the side the swimmer follows a kind of flat s pattern, on its side, like a wave.

In the older flat style of breaststroke the top of the head is always slightly out of the water and the upper body does not rise out of the water as much. I think it is unlikely that at my age (73) I have the flexibility to swim a proper wave-style breaststroke. I may be able to add a little wave-like motion, though.

Not all modern elite swimmers have a very pronounced wave motion. Some, such as Leisel Jones of Australia, swim relatively flat. From memory I don't think her cap ever submerges completely except after the dive and turn.
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robv View Post
what does undulation mean in this context?
I am primarily referring to a chest press after the insweep.

Try swimming with your body in the Y position of the outsweep and scull the forearms for propulsion without using the legs.

Then try the same drill except as you scull, let you head come up for air each scull and then press your chest as you return to the Y position. The undulation of the chest press significantly increases my speed.

I really enjoy practicing the breaststroke drill where you use a dolphin kick with the arms instead of a breaststroke kick, because it helps really work on that subtle undulation.

Last edited by Jamwhite : 02-08-2009 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Changed "chest your chest" to "press you chest"
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