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  #1  
Old 10-21-2017
donkep
 
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Default Too many strokes per length!

Folks,

I'm a 65 year-old guy and I swim freestyle about 10,000 yards per week. My pace is slow... 2:12 per 100 on average... but I love to swim. I'm 5' 8" tall.

I'm trying to figure out how to reduce my strokes per length.

In a 25 yard pool, my right hand enters the water 12 times per length... 24 strokes.

How can I get SPL down to 18??

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Don
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Don,

There is no magic bullet for these things, but I can tell you about my experience. I'm 68 and about 5'11'' and swim about the same distance tempo that you do. The first thing to keep in mind is that if you want to decrease your SPL (strokes per length) you should start doing it by stroking more slowly. Even though you are stroking more slowly, don't reduce the speed of your recovery. What that means it that your recovering arm will get up front before your stroking arm starts to stroke. (This is often called catch-up swimming). The extra time with both arms up front will allow your body to rotate into a better position so that, when you start your stroke with the other arm, you will have a better grip on the water and this will decrease the strokes you need per length.

What I just described is a gross simplification. In reality, you can introduce more or less "catch-up" into your stroke, as you see fit, but the advantage of catch-up is that it gives you a better grip on the water up front.

The other thing to note is that, when you do this, your SPL will probably decrease, but you will be swimming slower. There are two things you can do to compensate for this, and neither of them are particularly easy. The first is to improve your streamlining and balance so that you have less water resistance, and the second is to stroke faster but maintain the same catch-up style. This is where age, conditioning, and technique really start to matter. If my explanations above are unclear, try googling "catch-up swimming" and you will see lots of discussion and video on this.

Hope this helps. Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2017
borate borate is offline
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Terry once chided me in this forum for advocating "catch-up" - ostensibly because it invoked the drill associated with the term. "Patient hand" is the TI nomenclature.

By another name, it is front-quadrant swimming, which is explained on many forums. The degree of patience will vary with speed, swimmer ability and style.

It's been observed that many rec swimmers begin the pull just prior to the opposing recovering arm entering the water - 3/4 catch up, one might call it. Others, especially those with excellent balance, may enter the water first.

In any case, Danny and TI's emphasis on streamlining and balance certainly rings true.

Last edited by borate : 10-21-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-21-2017
donkep
 
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Danny and borate, thanks for your comments! I try to be patient with my patient hand and I start my pull as soon as my recovering hand enters the water. One benefit from that (as I understand it) is better balance because having both arms out front in front of your buoyant lungs helps bring your legs to the surface... less drag, better streamlining. Should I have some glide with each stroke? That's the only way I can see to reduce strokes per length. Seems like you would lose speed during the glide. Interesting stuff! I will keep working on it. Thanks again!
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2017
daveblt daveblt is offline
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With this arm timing there will be a brief time for a glide in the stroke but be careful and don't wait until after the arm has already entered the water before you start the pull and you will then be doing nearly a full catch up stroke, which could also make your breath timing start too late . As Borate mentioned start your pull just prior to or just as your hand starts to enter the water .

Dave

Last edited by daveblt : 10-22-2017 at 12:44 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donkep View Post
Danny and borate, thanks for your comments! I try to be patient with my patient hand and I start my pull as soon as my recovering hand enters the water. One benefit from that (as I understand it) is better balance because having both arms out front in front of your buoyant lungs helps bring your legs to the surface... less drag, better streamlining. Should I have some glide with each stroke? That's the only way I can see to reduce strokes per length. Seems like you would lose speed during the glide. Interesting stuff! I will keep working on it. Thanks again!
My suggestion is to first try to reduce your SPL without paying attention to how fast you are swimming. If you need some more glide to do that, then fine, but you first need to learn how to swim slowly with a low SPL before you can learn how to swim faster with a low SPL. If you sense you are losing speed when you glide, then the next step is to figure out how to improve your streamline with that glide to maintain the speed, but one thing at a time.

A fast stroke rate can often be used to mask balance issues, and slowing the stroke rate down may show you where you need to work on balance.

Last edited by Danny : 10-22-2017 at 03:08 AM.
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello donkep,

this time I'd suggest a little bit other way than Danny does. Well, you're in a TI-Forum, so I'm really sure you should try to go the TI-way to stroke reduction. This means, reducing your stroke count is more a side effect or a data to help you than goal or focal point by itself. Although you're an experienced swimmer with a pace one or the other here are striving for, you should step the TI-way accepting (or at least giving it a try) our BSP-pyramid.

- First work on your BALANCE with drills such as Torpedo, Superman, Skate

- Then go on and work on your passive and active STREAMLINE. Take your (new?) balance skills and remove all unnecessary motions in your stroke, work especially on your spear and recovery to hold your balance and.

- And very last if you're able to hold balance and streamline in your stroke do some thoughts about Propulison. But if your patiently enough to reach here I'm sure your stroke count will be already down to 18SPL.

Think the tips you've got before my post are all OK, but if you'll lose or don't get to work on the above foundations they'll result more in a bit "cheating".

In his Effortless Endurance course Terry explains the TI-way (and much more around TI) in tiny steps. And from my point of view it's much more worth than you'll have to pay for it.

And if any questions will pop up, don't hesitate and ask them here, you'll get some help.

If you are skeptical do the following. If you go to pool next two weeks, take the time and start after warming up with five lengths Torpedo and five lengths Superman-glides and try to take the weightless (head especially and most important) feelings of these drills into your following laps. I'm sure youre SC will drop for 1-2SPL in your first lengths at least...

Best regards,
Werner

PS: Just had a look on the chart. Youre Green Zone for 25y is 15-19SPL, so your strived 18SPL are exactly right...

Last edited by WFEGb : 10-22-2017 at 07:19 AM. Reason: Addition
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Hi Werner,

One of the things Terry has said that I had trouble understanding was that one can control the SPL and use it the way a bicyclist uses different gears. What left me puzzled in all of this was exactly HOW does one control the SPL one is using? The best answer to this question that I have found is to control the amount of catch-up in my stroke. The more catch-up, the lower my SPL. Do you know of any other ways (Other than better streamlining and improved technique)?
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Danny,

real good question, and I hope Stuart or Suzanne will put in some more profund words.

If your balance and streamline are well (and both of us are sure that Terry's are very good) there are some variables you can work with, addtional to what you've still pointed out.

- The amount of (minimal) rotation
- Where do you exit hand/arm where do you place your letterbox slit
- When do your (lower) arm flow from front into catch
- In which point of relaxed hand/arm is your catch with grip ready, when other hand enters(elbow/hand streched to target)
- Where do you place your target a cm more left/right/up/down
- Where do place your "underwater rails" half handwidth more outside/inside
- When/where do you start applying (as least as possible or a little bit more) power while without loosing your grip)
- How do you apply and how much power (constant, or start with nearly none to fulll power just before exit).
- How can you vary the above points without disturbing your (hopefuly best)balance and streamline.

When I read my own points I'd say most of these tiny tweaks to work with are pace-related and (I know it's "dangerous") feeling depended. And I'm working with them more unconscious than in sense as FPs. I'm able to swim a lap with 16SPL with SR 1.20s and with 1.70s. But what Terry might call the "right gear" felt for me is around 1.35s.

So swimming your actual pace with what you feel as most effortless SPL you found your todays optimal gear. And if you can hold this SPL and tweak your SR down, oviously you become faster. And if this does feel as effortless as the lower SR before you improved your inner transmission.

Best regards,
Werner
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  #10  
Old 10-24-2017
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donkep View Post
Folks,

I'm a 65 year-old guy and I swim freestyle about 10,000 yards per week. My pace is slow... 2:12 per 100 on average... but I love to swim. I'm 5' 8" tall.

I'm trying to figure out how to reduce my strokes per length.

In a 25 yard pool, my right hand enters the water 12 times per length... 24 strokes.

How can I get SPL down to 18??

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Don
Have you ever tried the Stroke Eliminator drill? Swim a length of the pool and count your strokes. Then swim another length and try to reduce your stroke count by one. If you repeat this several times, it will force you each time to figure out how to become a little more efficient.

Next, reverse the process: Add one stroke each time, while striving to keep the same efficient feeling, until you reach your original stroke count. You should find that you are taking less time to complete the same distance than when you started.


Bob
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