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Old 12-16-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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I've been working a lot at a pace under :45/50m, mostly in a USRPT set of 30 x 50m on a 1:05 interval. To swim that set I've really had to push my focus on form and technique as I get tired. As a result, I've noticed some things I haven't felt before in my stroke.

One of them is that I seem to be able to continue my elbow lead on my recovery motion significantly farther forward than before, with elbows passing my head before forearm comes forward. More and more, this motion is activated from the shoulder/body, with the arm merely being moved, NOT doing the moving itself--that may in fact be the basic cause of why I can move the elbow farther forward. In fact, this ability to activate only the necessary muscles seems to be carrying over to my weight lifting--in bench press, for example, I am starting to be able to make the arms relatively passive, and let them BE moved by the chest. Interesting to see the carryover.

I've also been speeding up the initial recovery motion to get my elbow forward of my head as soon as possible, where its weight helps lift my hips higher and improve my balance. There's also been somewhat of a chain reaction that is making my 2BK noticeably more effective (also triggered by recent focal point of making sure I'm kicking with both legs). My kick now feels like it is smaller and smoother. It has also synchronized itself (without conscious effort) to the same-side leg (i.e. I used to mentally tie the kicking leg with the spearing arm--now I am kicking simultaneously with the beginning of the pull/anchor phase). That's a subtle difference that might not look different, but feels very different. Also, I am becoming stable enough that my legs usually stay close to perfectly still between kicks. And when they don't because of a momentary failure of balance, I'm now aware of it.

I've also noticed that a wider pull seems to give a much firmer catch and anchor--I think my pull had been creeping in narrower. The wider arms also lend a bit more momentum to body rotation as I spear.

All right, not sure where this post is headed--but I really love TI. While trying to swim incredibly challenging (for me) sets, I'm actually quite mindful about HOW to swim faster (a piece that's often missing) and aware of what is happening. In fact, I think it's the fast pace that makes some of these things possible in the first place.

There's a Masters team starting at my pool in January, and I'm pretty sure it won't provide the same kind of mindfulness in its workouts. We'll see, I guess. For now, I'm just happy I have TI.
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Old 12-16-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
I've been working a lot at a pace under :45/50m, mostly in a USRPT set of 30 x 50m on a 1:05 interval. To swim that set I've really had to push my focus on form and technique as I get tired. As a result, I've noticed some things I haven't felt before in my stroke.

One of them is that I seem to be able to continue my elbow lead on my recovery motion significantly farther forward than before, with elbows passing my head before forearm comes forward. More and more, this motion is activated from the shoulder/body, with the arm merely being moved, NOT doing the moving itself--that may in fact be the basic cause of why I can move the elbow farther forward. In fact, this ability to activate only the necessary muscles seems to be carrying over to my weight lifting--in bench press, for example, I am starting to be able to make the arms relatively passive, and let them BE moved by the chest. Interesting to see the carryover.

I've also been speeding up the initial recovery motion to get my elbow forward of my head as soon as possible, where its weight helps lift my hips higher and improve my balance. There's also been somewhat of a chain reaction that is making my 2BK noticeably more effective (also triggered by recent focal point of making sure I'm kicking with both legs). My kick now feels like it is smaller and smoother. It has also synchronized itself (without conscious effort) to the same-side leg (i.e. I used to mentally tie the kicking leg with the spearing arm--now I am kicking simultaneously with the beginning of the pull/anchor phase). That's a subtle difference that might not look different, but feels very different. Also, I am becoming stable enough that my legs usually stay close to perfectly still between kicks. And when they don't because of a momentary failure of balance, I'm now aware of it.

I've also noticed that a wider pull seems to give a much firmer catch and anchor--I think my pull had been creeping in narrower. The wider arms also lend a bit more momentum to body rotation as I spear.

All right, not sure where this post is headed--but I really love TI. While trying to swim incredibly challenging (for me) sets, I'm actually quite mindful about HOW to swim faster (a piece that's often missing) and aware of what is happening. In fact, I think it's the fast pace that makes some of these things possible in the first place.

There's a Masters team starting at my pool in January, and I'm pretty sure it won't provide the same kind of mindfulness in its workouts. We'll see, I guess. For now, I'm just happy I have TI.
I certainly understand the difference. The kick has been delayed a little so that it now occurs just a bit later on in the rotation cycle. I think I understand too that you don't yet quite know how it happened -- part of the mysterious chain reaction effect of which the moving forward of the recovery elbow was a part.

With my puzzling-over of my own hesitation, likely due to imbalance, accompanying my anomalous L-R double kick at the time when a single R kick I came away with the suspicion (and I don't really know why I thought that) that my ideal kick timing would occur somewhat later in the stroke and rotation cycle, which might well be at the same moment that yours has ended up at.

One consequence of being that late in the cycle, though, would be that most of the rotation by this time had already occurred. In fact, at that instant, with the arm pulling/anchoring, which would add a further rotational force (in the same rotational direction that had already occurred), when I would have thought that a rotational force in the opposite direction would be required, to slow down the angular velocity of rotation so as to limit the eventual extent of the rotational angle (at the time of breathing if that were to be a breathing stroke) and to allow the rotation to start in the opposite direction.

Is my reasoning and analyzing of rotational forces (within the framework of stroke cycle) sound? If so, how do you explain how your kick would seem (to me, anyway) to be imparting inappropriate rotational force at that moment. One possible answer that makes sense to me is that your kick actually has been engineered to do everything else (propel forward, lift up the back end, restore just a smidgin of overall balance) except to give rotational component. Maybe "smaller and smoother" is because now it's been freed of its rotational role?

This is infuriating. More questions than answers!

PS: I thought about it a bit more, and I realize that I have assumed that the anchor/stroking arm imparted a rotational force in the direction of the rotation that had mostly already happened. But that may not necessarily be the case -- it only would be so if the "pulling" component of the arm stroke was pulling slightly up as well as backwards. But it might equally possibly be directed downward+backward, in which case it would create an angular force and acceleration that would retard or even reverse the rotation to that side. I don't really know, I have just focussed on so many other things when catching and anchoring I don't even know whether I'm thinking about and Up/down direction component to my "backwards" force. I'm not sure that my perceptions about this would be accurate, anyway. This is so confusing.

Last edited by sclim : 12-16-2017 at 10:16 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-17-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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I've also been speeding up the initial recovery motion to get my elbow forward of my head as soon as possible, where its weight helps lift my hips higher and improve my balance. There's also been somewhat of a chain reaction that is making my 2BK noticeably more effective (also triggered by recent focal point of making sure I'm kicking with both legs).
In addition to my other wondering, I realize now that maybe you could shed some light on what you mean by "more effective". Do you see your kick as a tool for forward propulsion, body rotation, front-back balance, or all three?
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Old 12-17-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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In addition to my other wondering, I realize now that maybe you could shed some light on what you mean by "more effective". Do you see your kick as a tool for forward propulsion, body rotation, front-back balance, or all three?
Good question, sclim. I think there is still a rotational element to my kick--I'm pretty sure, because it feels like my spearing arm largely rotates my torso, and my kick seems to add rotation at the hips. I think. Which might imply a 2-stage rotation rather than a "log" rotation, I suppose. Not a rigid disconnect into two parts, but a flowing of wave of rotation from fingertips to toes, in kind of a subtle corkscrew motion? It's working well at the moment, whatever it is.

I don't think the kick is doing much for balance. For that, the elbow lead and body position (posture, core activation, and proud chest feel) seem more important. I base that conclusion on the fact that for much of each stroke, my legs are lying motionless and just following along behind, with no preparatory motions in between. Each rotation puts the next leg in position to kick without any need for an upkick.

I guess I'm thinking my kick is "more effective" because it's quieter and smoother, and seems to relate to lower SPL and faster times. It feels more fluid, and less of an explosive movement right now. And that seems to be associated with timing the kick to the pull, rather than to the spearing arm for me.

As for this:

Quote:
One consequence of being that late in the cycle, though, would be that most of the rotation by this time had already occurred. In fact, at that instant, with the arm pulling/anchoring, which would add a further rotational force (in the same rotational direction that had already occurred), when I would have thought that a rotational force in the opposite direction would be required, to slow down the angular velocity of rotation so as to limit the eventual extent of the rotational angle (at the time of breathing if that were to be a breathing stroke) and to allow the rotation to start in the opposite direction.
I think there might be another possibility--related to a more forward elbow position before spearing, perhaps--and that is, I feel like I am anchoring my stroke/pull earlier in the cycle. So, perhaps an earlier anchor allows the kick timing to appear "late" in relation to the stroke as a whole, but at the same time relative to the anchor phase?

Also, perhaps the weight of the new spearing arm coming forward (getting the elbow in front of head quickly) is enough to slow down the rotation despite a "late" kick? Especially since an arm out of the water weighs significantly more? And that might start slowing the momentum at the fingertips, continuing that subtle corkscrewing rotation?

Lots to think about--thanks for your responses. It's interesting and helpful to think these things through in words, which forces me to confront them in a new way, rather than just going by feel.
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Old 12-17-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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PS: I thought about it a bit more, and I realize that I have assumed that the anchor/stroking arm imparted a rotational force in the direction of the rotation that had mostly already happened. But that may not necessarily be the case -- it only would be so if the "pulling" component of the arm stroke was pulling slightly up as well as backwards. But it might equally possibly be directed downward+backward, in which case it would create an angular force and acceleration that would retard or even reverse the rotation to that side.
I haven't really thought about this either, but it seems more likely that there is some upward component to my pull (i.e. pull goes slightly down, force directs body up) than a downward one. I suppose the ideal would be to get the rotation/kick timing so perfect that all forces in the anchoring arm are directed straight back with no up or down?
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Old 12-17-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
I don't think the kick is doing much for balance. For that, the elbow lead and body position (posture, core activation, and proud chest feel) seem more important. I base that conclusion on the fact that for much of each stroke, my legs are lying motionless and just following along behind, with no preparatory motions in between. Each rotation puts the next leg in position to kick without any need for an upkick
Tom, what you wrote above isn't making sense to me. When I spear forward with my left arm, I am gliding on my left side and my left leg is below my right leg. I will need to kick with this lower left leg in order to rotate back when spearing with the right arm. To do this, I need an up-kick with that leg, something that comes from stretching the hip flexors and, to a lesser extent, bending the knee.

I just went through this motion in my own mind and here is what I come up with: As I stretch the left shoulder forward, my left hip goes down, but my left leg does not go down with it. This then is the up kick which seems to be happening with the shoulder stretch. Not sure about this, but this is what I come up with.

Last edited by Danny : 12-17-2017 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 12-17-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
I haven't really thought about this either, but it seems more likely that there is some upward component to my pull (i.e. pull goes slightly down, force directs body up) than a downward one. I suppose the ideal would be to get the rotation/kick timing so perfect that all forces in the anchoring arm are directed straight back with no up or down?
In the catch up front it is unavoidable that there is some downward motion of the arm with respect to the shoulder. However, when you spear forward, your shoulder should be lower than it is when you go into a catch. Thus, you can get your shoulder back above your arm by rotating your shoulder up instead of by sweeping your hand down. The trick in doing this is to slow the catch down and make sure it is coordinated with the shoulder motion. Does this make sense?
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Old 12-17-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
Good question, sclim. I think there is still a rotational element to my kick--I'm pretty sure, because it feels like my spearing arm largely rotates my torso, and my kick seems to add rotation at the hips. I think. Which might imply a 2-stage rotation rather than a "log" rotation, I suppose. Not a rigid disconnect into two parts, but a flowing of wave of rotation from fingertips to toes, in kind of a subtle corkscrew motion? It's working well at the moment, whatever it is.

I don't think the kick is doing much for balance. For that, the elbow lead and body position (posture, core activation, and proud chest feel) seem more important. I base that conclusion on the fact that for much of each stroke, my legs are lying motionless and just following along behind, with no preparatory motions in between. Each rotation puts the next leg in position to kick without any need for an upkick.

I guess I'm thinking my kick is "more effective" because it's quieter and smoother, and seems to relate to lower SPL and faster times. It feels more fluid, and less of an explosive movement right now. And that seems to be associated with timing the kick to the pull, rather than to the spearing arm for me.

As for this:



I think there might be another possibility--related to a more forward elbow position before spearing, perhaps--and that is, I feel like I am anchoring my stroke/pull earlier in the cycle. So, perhaps an earlier anchor allows the kick timing to appear "late" in relation to the stroke as a whole, but at the same time relative to the anchor phase?
Interesting idea, that the earlier catch may explain how the kick may appear later but may not actually be that late. But the flaw in that argument would be that there is only so much time ahead of your old catch that you can speed up your catch into. Because you really can't start your catch until before your other side spear gets to wrist level at the very furthest, and even then you're getting perilously close to a full "catch-up" timed stroke. So that can only explain partially how the kick appears later than it actually is.

I guess I'd have to see videos in slo-mo to be sure, but I think that for me the moment that my spear finger tip passes the mid forearm of the other side I have just hit the midpoint of body rotation. So if this is the earliest point that the catch starts, and the catch has to take some time to complete, no matter how fast and smooth you can do it, and, from mathematical considerations, this (0 degrees of rotation) is also the point of fastest angular rotational velocity (related to the fact that tangent of 45 degrees is 1, the maximum occurrence during a sine wave cycle), you still have to have reached considerable rotational angle on the other side of zero by the time your forearm is in good vertical position, or however close to vertical you are able to achieve for your anchor.

But even if it only partly explains the apparent late timing of the kick, the interesting thing to me is that by paying attention to the possibility of speeding up the catch, you maybe have tidied up one further stroke inefficiency -- maybe prior to this you have reached further forward, held it in spear for the maximum optimum duration for drag reduction purposes, then once past that moment where the drag reduction is best taken over by the other spear hand, you have transformed that arm into an anchoring tool within the shortest possible time following that magic instant in time. At least that's how I see the theoretical framework of the difference you have achieved. And that tidying up of a sloppy or slow catch is in theory available to anyone who pays attention to it! (Including me).

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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
Also, perhaps the weight of the new spearing arm coming forward (getting the elbow in front of head quickly) is enough to slow down the rotation despite a "late" kick? Especially since an arm out of the water weighs significantly more? And that might start slowing the momentum at the fingertips, continuing that subtle corkscrewing rotation?
No, I don't see this the same way. If the left arm is poised above the surface, just ready to go into the mail-slot, the body still is in right edge down skate position. The weight of that arm above the water on the left side of the midline is actually going to impart a right sided rotational force to the rest of the body, when seen from the viewpoint of the trunk axis. And especially if there is a momentary deceleration of the arm as it slows from the rapid momentum of the recovery movement to that brief poised instant just above the mail-slot (at least, I think there is a brief poised moment, maybe not exactly standing still, but it certainly feels like a dramatic slowdown at this point, almost like I'm getting the fingers, hand wrist and forearm nicely lined up, just before the clean mail-slot entry.) This deceleration of the left arm just above the water will impart an extra amount of right sided rotational force which will act on the trunk to get it rolling faster towards the midline and beyond.

Once the left hand has hit the water and started spearing downwards, yes, the drag of the water (in spite of the streamlined hand position) will create a reactionary force, a component of which will impart a left sided rotational force (moment) which will act in an opposite angular direction to the direction of right rotational movement at that point (this is where the slowing of the corkscrew rotational momentum that you mentioned occurs). But this is complicated by the fact that the hand is now spearing downwards towards about 4 o'clock forwards, and there may be a slight "submarine-vane" effect on the back of this left spearing hand, pushing it down, and adding more right sided rotational component, depending on how much fine tuning the swimmer is adding to the mix at this instant. Wow, this is pretty complicated.

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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
Lots to think about--thanks for your responses. It's interesting and helpful to think these things through in words, which forces me to confront them in a new way, rather than just going by feel.
No kidding! It gets pretty complicated. But up to a point, I feel all this analysis helps sort out what I think I'm trying to do with all my different body parts at any one time in the cycle. Beyond that point, of course I just get overwhelmed and it doesn't help me. But I think adding one small detail at a time to my knowledge helps me to build it into my total movement, and if I'm paying enough attention, maybe it will help me to see if the addition of that detail helped or not.

I'm also conscious of the fact that my present whole stroke pattern, imperfect as it is to date, is still much more than I could have accomplished, even only a few months before, and could only have been built slowly, piece by piece, with a new piece being added only after the existing structure had adjusted to the addition of the last piece. (Otherwise, without the allowance of time for the brain and body to integrate the prior piece the pattern would break down with the addition of a further new piece).
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Old 12-17-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Tom, what you wrote above isn't making sense to me. When I spear forward with my left arm, I am gliding on my left side and my left leg is below my right leg. I will need to kick with this lower left leg in order to rotate back when spearing with the right arm. To do this, I need an up-kick with that leg, something that comes from stretching the hip flexors and, to a lesser extent, bending the knee.
Imagine this: Push off the wall, and make your first spear with your left arm. At pretty much the same time (but maybe a bit later), your right arm initiates the catch, and simultaneously with the catch, your right leg kicks down--i.e. kick is linked to catch, not spear. As a result of that right-leg kick, your right hip rotates upward, so your right leg is "ahead" of the left leg ("ahead" relative to the other leg, much like taking a step while walking).

Your next spear is with the right arm. At the same time, your left arm begins the catch and the left leg (which is still "behind" the right leg from the previous kick) simultaneously kicks down, causing the left leg to rotate upward. There is no need for an up kick.

Because the legs have been still between kicks, the leg that will be kicking next will always already be "behind" the leg that kicked last without any preparatory motions. This is how I am feeling it in my stroke--it seems to result in a smaller amplitude, more streamlined kick that is more of a smooth push (though a fast one) rather than an explosive "kick" action.

Does that make any more sense to you?
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  #10  
Old 12-17-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Tom, what you wrote above isn't making sense to me. When I spear forward with my left arm, I am gliding on my left side and my left leg is below my right leg. I will need to kick with this lower left leg in order to rotate back when spearing with the right arm.
Ah, maybe this is where we're not seeing the same things. In your example above, you're spearing with left arm, gliding on left side--ok so far. But at nearly the same moment that you spear with the left arm, you will kick down with the right leg. That means you will finish your glide on your left side with the RIGHT leg below (or "ahead of") the left leg. Your left leg is then above or "behind" the right leg when you spear with the right arm. That means your left leg is already in perfect position to kick down as your right arm spears. No upkick needed.

Does that seem right?
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