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Old 04-03-2009
saveup saveup is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Wilmington, NC
Posts: 24
Default Wide tracks Definition

Could someone explain the true definition of wide tracks in swimming. I have seen so much variety of this meaning, Im not sure what to believe or how to make sure Im doing this correctly or visualize what I am suppose to see or feel. I have read that wide tracks means my leading arm is outside my shoulder slightly on each stroke to help with balance. Also I have read that when my leading arm goes back to my side that this arm should not brush up against my hip but stay about 6 to 12 inches away from my hip. Help im a little confuse. Need some expert facts here.
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Old 04-03-2009
naj naj is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 624

Saveup when your recovery arm re-enters the water it should be on the wide tracks, meaning just outside your shoulder-line. The best definition I can give you is imagine your arms as steering wheels. Your hands are at (R) Three O 'Clock and (L) 9 O 'Clock. If your arms cross over a bit at say 12 noon, then your going to throw yourself off balance. Ever see folks at your pool stretching out their arms in front of their head? Go under water and watch them from behind and see how much they fishtail.

As for the arm going back and touching or not, I try to brush my thigh when I pull back. I do this because it helps with my rotation (i.e. remembering to rotate).
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Old 04-03-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Duvall, WA
Posts: 92

I do not have a definition, but here is what wide tracks means to me.

When I swim as slow as I possibly can focusing on zen switch, wide tracks are what keeps me balanced and level. If my arm is too close to my body, then I will roll over and if I tense up to avoid rolling over, then my head dips down too far because of sudden weight shift.

The other benefit that I find is a wide track on recovery means a relaxed elbow that is easier to slide into a small hole in the water, where the arm closer to my head makes hand entry too uncomfortable to try and put my forearm in the same hole my hand entered.
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Old 04-03-2009
AWP AWP is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

Hi save,
While standing extend your arms in front of you like you're 'sleep walking' (Frankenstein like) letting your hands hang relaxed. Check that the arms are in line with/from your shoulders parallel to one another, these are your tracks. Too wide and you form a Y, too close and you form ^ towards your center line.
Now bend at the waist, arms still extended Superman like. Lift your head to check if the arms are parallel. These being your tracks, envision those tracks continuing forward indefinitely.
Naturally, when you pivot/rotate one shoulder up those tracks realistically would narrow BUT always strive to envision and keep the "wide" tracks you've created when lying 'flat'.
How to do it. Always begin a practice practicing these postures in the shallow end then take it to Superman glide then Superman flutter then Skating. Always conscious of the line/ "tracks" your arms are keeping.
When you begin switches, on recovery imagine drawing a line, as your hand exits, from your hip up those "wide" tracks and forward past your head and slipping it back in (quietly) "through the smallest possible hole"; followed by your elbow, shoulder and the rest of your body. This line drawing can also be rehearsed prior to your swim while standing in the water.
To help ingrain this with plenty of SG, SF and Skating, practice keeping that lead arm 'rock steady'. Not by tensing but by extending fully from the tips of your toes to your finger tips. What helped me was to lead/lean with my armpit(s). This ensured I wasn't supporting/bracing myself with my arms/hands. (Develop a sense of being completely supported by the water by settling into the water ((releasing all tension)) while you practice from the most rudimentory skills.) Keep this fully extended feeling ( part of your aquatic posture) from push off to SG on up especially when you begin switches and breathing. Focusing on keeping your tracks "wide" effortlessly and making your transitions smoother and more fluid each and every time you practice.
Maybe a bit more than you asked for but there it is. Much luck.
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