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  #1  
Old 01-11-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Default Do elites need an supporting arm to breathe?

As a spin off from the 12 part Thorpes stroke, a question arised from this freestyle analysis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMDemnq7xYg,
Do elites meed an arm support to breath?
When looking at a dense sprinter like Cullen Jones I could say yes, cant see this guy breahing at a low swimming speed without braking the axis or excessive rotation.
(here should be a go swim clip of Cullen doing a single arm drill . cant find it anymore. He is braking the axis to breathe there)

He can swim very TI like (from 1.35 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pilMGlY04Y

Last edited by Zenturtle : 01-12-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2015
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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No, elites can't afford to use a supporting arm to breathe, without loosing on efficiency.
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  #3  
Old 01-11-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
No, elites can't afford to use a supporting arm to breathe, without loosing on efficiency.
We might be suffering from differing definitions here. I know that for myself, initially I was actively pushing down at the front end of the stroke to lever up my head to breathe (I have mostly fixed this, I hope). Obviously an elite swimmer can't afford to do that. I'm not referring to that gross an error in stroke mechanics.

But in the clip that ZT referenced,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMDemnq7xYg,
the narrator referenced 5 world class middle distance swimmers with a lag in the lead arm during the breathing phase that allowed the recovery arm to catch up to 30 or 45 degrees on entry (whereas the angle was more like 90 degrees on the non-breathing arm cycle). He analysed the mechanical reason to be the need for buoyancy or rather lift provided by the leading arm on the breathing phase. The lead arm here is not pushing down, merely maintaining a rather flat trajectory forward, and delaying the catch until the breath is finished (thereby providing lift, presumably using Bernoulli's principle of fluid flow over a passive hydrofoil). The mere presence of a stroke asymmetry here might be at least one person's definition of "using a supporting arm to breathe". It appears that the narrator is one person, at least; maybe ZT is another?

Last edited by sclim : 01-11-2015 at 08:53 PM.
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  #4  
Old 01-11-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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I see the straight forward arm more like a damper, resisting sudden vertical movements. Not a lifting wing. The arm is mosly pointed straight forward ar slightly down,
Thorpe sometinmes has the arm in a slight upward angle, but only at a relaxed pace not when racing.
When pointing straight forward its simply resisting a short tduration downward force of a slightly lifted head. Like dampers on your car resist sudden movements. Not pushing down or up, just resisting movement.
But Charles seems to disagree with the guys freestyle analysis in the clip.
Dont know why. I think Sun Yang is using his outstretched arm a bit for damper support for a moment, but I am no coach.
A good swimmers shouldnt need to lit the head. Is Sun Yang a bad swimmer with his banana shape while breathing?

Last edited by Zenturtle : 01-11-2015 at 09:46 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Charles:

I think at the start we can agree that of all elite distance swimmers, some are asymmetrical ("lopers"), some are not. From what I have understood ZT and your positions to be, both of you acknowledge that some degree of asymmetry/loping may actually be the result of finessing the most efficient compromise of this swimmer's anatomy physiology and specific event distance, and not necessarily a defect to be eliminated at all costs.

So, my question is, do you see any degree of asymmetry/loping (as in the referred to video, and re: the commentator's analysis) as being necessarily due to lead arm support, whether using lift or damping of head or other body movement?

From what I deduce from your prior comments, no, in which case, what examples of lead arm support for breathing (that elite swimmers can't afford to use) do you identify as such?
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
He can swim very TI like (at end of clip)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pilMGlY04Y
OMG is he ever graceful at this speed!!!

(His height doesn't hurt his style at all lol, but of course he has the balance, co-ordination, especially in the finesse control and reserve power if he needs it in abundance).
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2015
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
We might be suffering from differing definitions here. I know that for myself, initially I was actively pushing down at the front end of the stroke to lever up my head to breathe (I have mostly fixed this, I hope). Obviously an elite swimmer can't afford to do that. I'm not referring to that gross an error in stroke mechanics.

But in the clip that ZT referenced,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMDemnq7xYg,
the narrator referenced 5 world class middle distance swimmers with a lag in the lead arm during the breathing phase that allowed the recovery arm to catch up to 30 or 45 degrees on entry (whereas the angle was more like 90 degrees on the non-breathing arm cycle). He analysed the mechanical reason to be the need for buoyancy or rather lift provided by the leading arm on the breathing phase. The lead arm here is not pushing down, merely maintaining a rather flat trajectory forward, and delaying the catch until the breath is finished (thereby providing lift, presumably using Bernoulli's principle of fluid flow over a passive hydrofoil). The mere presence of a stroke asymmetry here might be at least one person's definition of "using a supporting arm to breathe". It appears that the narrator is one person, at least; maybe ZT is another?
Sorry, I couldn't find the motivation to finish this clip earlier. I had a pb with the narrator not acknowledging that most models were pulling evf on one side (his ref to pulling very high elbow), but was not commenting on the other side. I thought this was just one of those boring analysis.

Listen. I don't agree with the narrator, but then again our positions are very easily reconciliable. I've explained over the last week or so my position on this issue, I'll try to simplify it even more since Zenturtle was kind enough to provide us with some of the best video material to support this explanation.

Simple stated? Take off on one arm, land on the other. It is that simple. Why take off. I've mentioned it here at some point, look at the hand of the hard (non breathing) pull side. Look. As the narrator mentions and there I agree with him, weight of the whole body is not on this arm, as the swimmer waits way too long for a weight shift to occur. Simple enough.

Look at the hand. At which depth does it start, and what's the pathway. It goes from up to down. The body (again, the weight is behind this arm) can only go from down to up right? So the swimmer takes off as a result of a tremendous, unbalanced effort on this side only. This focus is eased up by the fact that the swimmer doesn't breathe.

Everything that goes up most go down, and therefore the swimmer is landing on the other hand. It is impossible to wait (Front quadrant) there, as you'll miss your weight shift. That's the magic in loping (as I've explained in this thread and other ones too). Energy that gets lost in moving up (instead of down) is recycled in forward motion whilst landing (i.e, whilst moving down).

That's why they reach a 90ish deg angle between both arm during this phase. They must (as I've explained) roll this catch under themselves rapidly, otherwise the body falls flat and there.... There.... it would impair the gross efficiency.

In order to figure these things out by oneself (as opposed to being explained these things), one must have experienced it. And not everyone can, as you need a hell of a grip on the taking off hand + a lot of muscular power, and a great feel for water on the landing hand. That said, and again as I've mentioned, the only virtue for an APer (master) to try this is as a drill, to develop a huge grip on the taking off hand. I used this drill on a 16yo jnr recently. Easy to figure out right? You're showing these clips to the kid, and go try to do like them. Why? Because then I'm "seeding" something very strong, a "focal point" which will talk very loud to him, and constantly. Recently he commented back saying he starts to feel something. Not coincidently, his last time trial @ 50spm (very slow for him, as he naturally warms up at 70rpm) improved by at least 15sec.

I think Andy (in Norway) is enjoying his venture on this path as well. I am not sure I would go as far as teaching this as a final full stroke result though, whether 5 former world records holder swam this way or not. But fortunately, I'm not in this position as I don't have any national level pure swimmer under my command. One other thing, and I haven't checked maybe it's something Zen could have a bite on, I wouldn't be surprised that these swimmers release their air at the last minute, as opposed to evenly exhaling throughout the pull. Since they need to take off, they sometimes cheat keeping some air until the last minute.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2015
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
But Charles seems to disagree with the guys freestyle analysis in the clip.
Dont know why. I think Sun Yang is using his outstretched arm a bit for damper support for a moment, but I am no coach.
Yeah I do, but as you could read from my previous comment, 1) I appreciate the fact that he acknowledges the asymmetry, 2) he tried a serious explanation and 3) what he says makes a lot of sense. I just can't agree entirely, and you now much better know about my position. Energy must be recycled on the fall, other wise economy is impaired. Therefore no, the swimmer isn't using his arm as a damper. There's more to it.

And that, it combines most topics I've participated in recently, including shoulder pivot, body roll, etc... By this biomechanical phenomenon (shoulder pivot combined with body roll), that hand on which he falls later moves backward by itself really. So that apparently weaker pull is less (much less) costly as on this side, the swimmers swims with his body, under a continuous weight shift which ends with the arm final extension (then, the arm is contributing, but triceps are bulletproof muscles).

Now, don't try to check all these statements against anything you could read on the web. I kind of feel alone with talking about these things. The narrator on your clip happens to be the closest match I've ever seen. It is refreshing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
OMG is he ever graceful at this speed!!!

(His height doesn't hurt his style at all lol, but of course he has the balance, co-ordination, especially in the finesse control and reserve power if he needs it in abundance).
Again, anything can be reconciled no? There you have a sprinter, among the fastest on earth, warming up and performing probably a large portion of his base mileage using a close fit to TI stroke.

And that's normal. I've explained why recently. Swimming is a sport of glide. It's possible for these sprinter, by letting their body slow down purposely between each stroke to increase the demand in torque for keeping up with the set. That way, they train the neuro muscular function so important to sprinting. Old trick. First guy I've seen exaggerating on that was a 15yo boy, worth 51.6 over 100m free. Would perform his base mileage (at 1:15/100m pace) on a 13-14 stroke diet, day in day out. And as a bonus, on 2 dropped elbows on top of that. His coach would let him wear this relaxed fit stroke as he was well aware that when comes time to tighten the pace up, swimmer's technique was close to perfect, including high elbows on both sides.

Not all sprinters train this way, but I'd bet that the majority do. If I ever got involved in TI coaching some day, I would like to address these things. How would a TI swimmer perform a 50m flat out sprint. On a 2bk with patient lead hand? I don't think so. But anything is reconcilable as this is a spectrum (from slow to hyper fast pace, the stroke must change).

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 01-12-2015 at 02:46 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Thanks for your very thorough reply, Charles. Wow! I will be re-reading this for weeks to come yet -- lots to digest here. The depth of expertise here is wonderful, and I appreciate your clear exposition, and also the warning that it may differ from the mainstream viewpoint. You have said anything can be reconciled -- but I say, maybe, viva la difference.
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Again, anything can be reconciled no? There you have a sprinter, among the fastest on earth, warming up and performing probably a large portion of his base mileage using a close fit to TI stroke.

And that's normal. I've explained why recently. Swimming is a sport of glide. It's possible for these sprinter, but letting their body slow down purposely between each stroke to increase the demand in torque for keeping up with the set.
Dang Charles, that's something I thought I would ever hear/read from you - "swimming is the sport of glide". Wait what? I prefer not to call it glide since that's passive, but refer to it as "The shape of the vessel matters more than the size of your engine" ~Bill Boomer. Are the components of Cullen Jones' warm up similar to his fastest human sprint? Streamline, shaping the vessel priorities?

Stuart
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