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Old 08-31-2011
eganov eganov is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 37

I have a confession -

"My name is Gary and I Love to Swim! I love the exercise, the feel of gliding through the water, the rhythm of breathing, the weightlessness. I love the the beauty and grace that comes from doing something well. My pace isn't 25 yards or stroke count, it's the feeling of being able to swim forever."

I get the metrics but am I the only one that feels that sometimes they just take away from why you started swimming in the first place?
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Old 08-31-2011
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
Posts: 564
Default Metrics .....


Nope you are surely not alone, metrics are a guide for me they are not my master.

Nothing sweeter than swimming and not worrying about them.

Swim Silent and Be Well
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Old 08-31-2011
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
I have recently started charting my personal best times for each length against the short course world records as this gives you a measure of which event you would be best at. World short course times on wikipedia
Great idea to rank your various best times for different distances and strokes as a % of World Best to see how you're doing. I could even do it with my best scy times from the meets I swam last winter and spring. It doesn't matter that my times were swum in a 25yd pool and the standard to which I compare is times swum in 25m pool. I'd still get a pretty accurate quality index. Except for 500 and 1000 yd times. They're longer than the equivalent scy event, whereas all others are shorter.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 08-31-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Near Basingstoke, England.
Posts: 137

Eganov: I agree with Westy. I love swimming and being in the water, however as a former physicist and mathematician, I love analysing things :-)
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Old 09-01-2011
Mempho Mempho is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 35

I never thought about there being a 2:1 ratio between distance and sprint events, but I think you're right in general. In my case, I've never had any sprint, so the ratio doesn't hold for me. My best lap time is 25 seconds, my distance laps are 35. The same used to be true in running. My racing pace was 6:40, training pace 7:20, recovery pace 8:00 minutes. I am doomed to be slow.

On the other hand, I can swim 45 second laps, and often do so when I'm focusing on something. Frankly, your problem in swimming slowly puzzles me. I would do three hour laps, if that would win races.
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Old 09-01-2011
TIJoe TIJoe is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 57

Rob, congrats on finally solving your breath issue for distance swimming.

From all the responses, it seems clear that your 2:1 ratio is at the extreme end of the spectrum.

For myself, my 25m sprint is 21s +/- 1s. But for distance, I am reasonably comfortable slightly over 30s per lap. So about a ratio of 1.5:1.

BTW, your 16s per lap speed is pretty impressive for an amature. If you can translate that into 100m (not necessarily 16s per lap, but 20s per lap say), you have a speed that makes most amatures envious.
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Old 09-03-2011
Caro Caro is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 43

I think you have plenty of room for improvement. 16s for 25m is really good, I have been struggling to get past 20s/25m for ages but I can swim continuously at 26.5s/25m on a good day.
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Old 09-03-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,453

This has already been studied quite a bit in swimming for elite level swimmers, and it "should" apply to non-elite levels swimmers as long as technque doesn't significantly change with fatigue.

The idea is that for very short distances, less than 30 sec especially, but less than about 3 minutes if you are swimming as HARD AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN, you will be using an energy system that requires carbohydrates to generate energy....a quickly available source, but one that is highly ineffecient.

If one does a longer swim, that source of quick energy will begin to slow down adn the aerobic energy system will become predominent.

What was discovered in elite swimmers is that if you graph the differential in distance over time in seconds for a "long" and a "short" swim, the slope will be a constant and represents yoru swim velocity for a "long duration" swim.
ETA: Of course, if you only graph 2 points the slope will be constant...what I meant was that the decline in velocity is linear, and the slope calculates the "critical velocity", or that velocity that would be reached during a "long swim" of 30-60 minutes or greater.

the standard distances used were 50m and 400m for each test. To do the math, calculate for (distance (long - short) / time in seconds (long-short). This will give you a speed in meters / second that could be divided into any distance to give an estimated time for a swim of 1000, 2k, 3k, etc.

For longer distances, your speed over 30 min and for 60 min will be similar assuming you are trained for that duration.

HOWEVER, there is a big assumption that your techinique is already good and that your technique doesn't significantly degrade as you swim long. What the math does is "subtract out" the contribution of your anaerobic energy system to your long distance swim speed.

I have a student who cannot break 2:30 m/100m for a long swim, yet can sprint a 50m in 37 seconds..horrible form all the way, yet able to compensate for that drag by simply being strong. When the math was done, this students critical speed was the slowest of anyone in a group of 10 that I tested...despite having the fastest sprint time...a direct result if the technique that we continue to work on. When his distance time improves, it won't be a result of improve fitness, rather improved balance.

Everyone's ratio therefore will differ depending on your muscle fiber makeup.

What's far more important than your sprint speed (even though it's fun to see how fast you can go), is training yourself to maintain good technique over longer & longer distances, if that is indeed your goal.

What I'd suggest then, is not being concerned with your ratio, as your sprint speed will always be faster in a relative sense just due to the type of energy available. Rather focus on how your combinations of stroke length and stroke tempo contribute to your speed. If you are not as fast as you'd like to be, the answer isn't in how big or small your "ratio" is, but how your stroke length holds up with fatigue.

Refer to Terry's "favorite sets" for many, many ideas on how to train this aspect of your swim.
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 09-03-2011 at 05:03 PM.
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