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  #21  
Old 08-14-2012
ian mac ian mac is offline
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ian mac
Default In all things swimming, their is no definitive

Ah, a debate between 2 of my favourite posters, Charles & swim2Bfree!

My fellow countryman Ryan Cochrane ( silver at these Olympics in the 1500) has often stated that the 1500 is becoming a "sprint". The changes in physiology, training and approach from even 2003 to now are significant. When the great Olympian Dara Torres started her first comeback in the early 2000's, her coach at Stanford, Richard Quick told her after her first workout, "Dara, we don't swim like that any more".

Terry himself will acknowledge that things are always evolving and we constantly need to revisit what we know. I think that both of you have made great observations, and neither is completely right or wrong.

As a student of swimming and an older distance swimmer who is currently training with my training partner Michael to both surpass the current FINA All Time Top Ten of 18:30.71 in the 55-59 age group, we are always playing around with different approaches and theories in order to improve.

During this journey, and while enjoying your debate, allow me these observations:

1. A six beat kick allows for more propulsion and the cost/benefit will be dependent on the individual swimmer.

2. The current fastest 1500m swimmer Sun Yang takes just one kick coming off the breath, completes two small flutter kicks and then snaps just one kick to get to the breath again.

3. The great distance swimmer and coach Rick deMont states, "the best swimmers figure out the minimum amount of effort that they need to produce in order to get the maximum effect...If a task at hand requires a certain amount of force, it would be foolish to expend more energy than necessary...Many swimmers use too much force to do the dance, that is why they die before their time...each swimmer has a different pull to kick power ratio depending on his or her individual strengths...the bottom line is that what gets an athlete there the fastest is the best."

4. Mindful practice (smart trial and error) will prevail. That's why we do the swimming.

ian mac (a mostly, for now, two beat guy).
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  #22  
Old 08-14-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Ian, I'm so flattered ;-)

I was pleased with Ryan's results and was amazed by the level of fitness he displayed.

I'm also pleased that you could achieve such a good level of performance with your swimmer. It's a great thing to design a training process that includes monitoring etc. It's even better to see that we hit the target!

You know, I've never said any of these things, so far:
1. 2bk is superior
2. One should try to race using a 2bk
3. It should be every swimmer's goal to rely solely on a 2bk

I'd just like to remind everyone about the tech suit adventure we recently went through. Again there, a suit was producing a lift effect (suits can not contribute to propulsion right?). That slight lift effect was enough to contribute to increase speed, and in some cases in quite a drastic way. Same thing with the triathlete. A wet does not contribute to propulsion. It does contribute to 0% in increase in propulsion. But it makes most athletes faster, as a result of cutting on drag.

And anyway, I can count on the finger of one hand, the male swimmers that could impress me in achieving a perfect body position feeding on a 2bk whilst racing. No. 2 hands. But not anymore. Most benefit from a 4-6bk, and I'm talking just to pass the balance test. +, I agree with the member that mention about the fact that a light 6b isn't that energy consuming. I even question the use of a systematic 2b if it makes you slower over a 40k (ie, a Grand Prix Event, where you're there not to prove a point, but to earn your living). If a 4b makes you faster, the energy cost isn't high enough to live without it imo. But all the time, I'm thinking drag cut, not propulsion.

Dad and the son in the canoe. Dad in the front. He generates 57sec/100m worth of thrust. Son sitting back generates 1:45/100m worth of thrust. I'd like to know. Will the canoe be faster when they both paddle?

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 08-14-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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  #23  
Old 08-14-2012
Ken B Ken B is offline
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Default Most useful to me

I loved the racing but the video clip most useful to me was of Lochte in the warm down pool concentrating on keeping his hips high, at first an easy swim and then some high hip thrusts. It was an aha moment for me, a must try harder. My pool swims since have totally focussed on floating and high hips. It feels great. In the process I find to my amazement that I can almost achieve a starfish in fresh water, something I'd given up on.

Ken
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  #24  
Old 08-14-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The only reason which forces d.swimmers to kick more than the ideal (which remains 2bk) is that the tremendous level of pressure put early into their pulling stroke breaks a balance that would otherwise be good enough for a 2bk.
I don't follow this logic. But anyway, not even Sun Yang - who I think we all agree has the most TI-esque stroke among elite swimmers - uses a 2-beat kick in the 1500m. He does a 4-beat with a 3/1 rhythm.

In the Olympic men's open-water 10K, the gold medalist Ous Mellouli used a 6-beat kick for the entire last 30 minutes of the race.

The great American distance swimmer of a few years ago, Larsen Jensen, switched to a strong 6-beat kick for the full 1500, at the behest of his coach, Bill Rose. He subsequently broke the American record.

At the amateur level, the winner of this year's Manhattan Island Marathon Swim used a strong 6-beat kick for the entire 7.5-hour swim.

Why would these swimmers do this - and why would their world-class coaches encourage them to do it - if there's no benefit to more than 2 kicks per cycle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Listen, I'm truly sorry that I shocked you with my statement.
The only thing I'm shocked by, is that the notion that there's a single "ideal" stroke for all swimmers, is one that is taken seriously by anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Maglischo does clearly state, if you re-read his quote, that this recommendation applies to all, with no single exception.
Maglischo's book is a coaching manual with generalized recommendations, not meant to be mindlessly applied to every single swimmer at all times. And in this case, the recommendations are based on data from, let's see: 1966, 1974, 1975, and 1978. For the study Maglischo describes in greatest detail (Adrian et al., 1966), the sample consists of 12 swimmers.

Sorry, but I'm not convinced.

I do agree with TI that a light 2-beat kick is best for novice swimmers, for whom balance and drag reduction are the lower-hanging fruit. Further along in their development, some of these swimmers may discover they have powerful, energy-efficient kicks, and may benefit from developing a 4- or 6-beat style.
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  #25  
Old 08-14-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Ian, I appreciate (as always) the wisdom in your posts. Especially this nugget--

Quote:
Originally Posted by ian mac View Post
1. A six beat kick allows for more propulsion and the cost/benefit will be dependent on the individual swimmer.
-- which I think was the point I was trying to make, but you stated it much more eloquently.

For what it's worth, I do a 4-beat (3/1 rhythm) for anything longer than 400m, and a 6-beat for <400m.
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  #26  
Old 08-14-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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I can no longer add any more argument as most of what you bring here, is already answered somewhere in my two last posts. It's all there. You may re-read the last one in particular. It's long I know, but you'll see that we're essentially saying pretty much the same things. I'll try to edit it to make it easier to read.

Trying to write smaller posts has been a big challenge for me, I'll try to perform better at this in the future.

I guess the last one could be summarized the following way:
- Tech suits among other phenomenons brought to our attention how much a bit of a lift effect could translate into better performances
- I've never said, not even once that kicking more could not improve performances
- More importantly, I've rarely seen a male freestyler being able to race on a 2bk. Most need more to achieve decent balance.

In other words, you're constantly challenging me saying that kicking more than 2bk can benefit to some swimmers, and this and that and individuality. I've never claimed otherwise. I've never seen any other way of performing a 4b than using the 3/1 paradigm (Ian, this is related to your mention about the two little flutter kicks that Sun is taking), and most of the time, those 3 beats occur at the moment the swimmers need to breathe, so...

I truly don't think that a 4bk is propulsive anyway. It's design implies adding more lift at the back of the stroke whilst the swimmer is breathing, ie needs more lift at the back of the stroke. Like I answered Ian, Ryan Cochrane is probably faster using a 6bk, and so that's why he does it. As for the OW swim, again there you need more lift. In fact, nothing could be worst than open water swimming without a coach along side you to handle direction matters, on balance. The suit helps (techsuit), but that doesn't cancel out the negative effect of having to sight all the time.

**edit**
For my own curiosity, I had a second look at the men's 1500 in London 2012, I'm yet to see the systematic use of a 6bk during that event. Most males, and it doesn't come as a surprise, do use a 4bk. Both Cochrane and Mellouli sometimes display a funny 4b with cross over action, it's typical. To an untrained eye, it looks like a 6bk, but it's the cross-over effect during the 2bk portion of the cycle that gives this impression. So Swimmers and coaches may be stating that the 1500 has changed, and that it is more and more similar to a sprint event, but as of now, at a high level, swimmers still use a leg kick that I consider non propulsive.

I haven't taken the time to look at the 400. There I'd expect more 6b kicking patterns.

Stay well

http://www.ctvolympics.ca/videos/cha...nals-5746.html

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 08-14-2012 at 04:25 PM.
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  #27  
Old 08-14-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
You know, I've never said any of these things, so far:
1. 2bk is superior
2. One should try to race using a 2bk
3. It should be every swimmer's goal to rely solely on a 2bk
In that case, it seems I misunderstood when you previously said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The leg kick does not contribute to propulsion in longer distance events, regardless of if it's swam in a pool or open water.
And again when you later said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The only reason which forces d.swimmers to kick more than the ideal (which remains 2bk) is that the tremendous level of pressure put early into their pulling stroke breaks a balance that would otherwise be good enough for a 2bk.
But we certainly agree that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Ryan Cochrane is probably faster using a 6bk, and so that's why he does it.
While the kick doesn't provide propulsion for most distance swimmers, it clearly does for some.

Cheers.
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  #28  
Old 08-15-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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I see what the source of this confusion is then.

By *ideal*, I really meant the basic definition of this word, ie " A conception of something in its absolute perfection."

I would distinguish *ideal* from *utopian* though. Utopian would mean an ideal that no one could reach.

By reviewing my posts, you probably noticed that I also mentioned at several occasions that it's very rare see a male swimmer capable of achieving a good balance relying solely on a 2bk in racing. As such, I do recognize that most males do prefer adding a touch of support whilst breathing, which then translate into a 4bk, which is the pattern used by most swimmers making the final in London 2012 over the 1500 (including Ryan btw).
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  #29  
Old 08-15-2012
Talvi Talvi is offline
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*raising hand timidly at back of classs*
err, great posts guys, wow,
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Dad and the son in the canoe. Dad in the front. He generates 57sec/100m worth of thrust. Son sitting back generates 1:45/100m worth of thrust. I'd like to know. Will the canoe be faster when they both paddle?
The answer, to what is probably a rhetorical question, is definitively yes, not a lot, but it depends. I think the formula is that for a given drag coefficient resistance increases with speed so that extra power will increase speed (rather than accelaration). However if delivery of the extra power changes the drag coefficient of the canoe (by raising or lowering the rear of it for instance) then that additional "power" may also decrease or increase the canoe's speed "disproportionately" up or down relative to the initial drag setup. My mechanics A-level was over 40 years ago and this is only approximate. I'm rusty! The 1966 data set and results seem not to have been overturned though so I'd assume there are sound?

Swim2Bfree's points on the other hand seem to me to relate to records and athletes. My fault as that's where my question originated but they train relentlessly to change themselves from having an oar to having a whale fin, and to be able to use it! Seems to me they have power to spare. Most of them barely looked out of breath at the end of a race. If kicking more could deliver them an extra 100th over 1500m then they'd take it. Seems to me though that if Sun Yang doesn't find the extra kicks help then that's a clue isn't it? *off to try and find video"

Personally though I am in the non-athelete world. Finding efficiency (cost benefit) is all, and speed and distance are just by-products. Come to think of it though it's the same for fish ! If I can put the energy I use for my legs into something that gives me more bang for that buck that's where I'll put it, which is what Charles post seems to definitively show. The way I see it from the above exchange is that the pro-swimmers may not have quite the same equation. Their fuel tank is bigger and they've got afterburners. For me (fwiw as I'm probably in a tiny minority here) I only get fit because I swim (and ski). I like skiing and swimming and the more I do them the fitter I get and the fitter I get the more I can do these things that I like doing. It's always about the enjoyment and never about the training. I'd take being a sprat over being a salmon anyday. The more lazily I can swim the better
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Trying to write smaller posts has been a big challenge for me, I'll try to perform better at this in the future.
I know the feeling, but you write really interesting stuff Charles Thanks!
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  #30  
Old 08-15-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
*raising hand timidly at back of classs*
err, great posts guys, wow,
You're definitely welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
The answer, to what is probably a rhetorical question, is definitively yes, not a lot, but it depends. I think the formula is that for a given drag coefficient resistance increases with speed so that extra power will increase speed (rather than accelaration). However if delivery of the extra power changes the drag coefficient of the canoe (by raising or lowering the rear of it for instance) then that additional "power" may also decrease or increase the canoe's speed "disproportionately" up or down relative to the initial drag setup. My mechanics A-level was over 40 years ago and this is only approximate. I'm rusty! The 1966 data set and results seem not to have been overturned though so I'd assume there are sound?
My main concern in regards to this rhetorical question, is that if the forward speed maintained by Dad rowing is faster than the speed at which the Son can paddle backward, then there's a chance that every time the Son presents his paddle to the water, drag resistance made by this paddle ends up increasing.

The application of this enigma applied to swimming is quite simple. As some of us know, we're faster over 1500 wearing a pull compared to performing the same distance full stroke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Swim2Bfree's points on the other hand seem to me to relate to records and athletes. My fault as that's where my question originated but they train relentlessly to change themselves from having an oar to having a whale fin, and to be able to use it! Seems to me they have power to spare. Most of them barely looked out of breath at the end of a race. If kicking more could deliver them an extra 100th over 1500m then they'd take it. Seems to me though that if Sun Yang doesn't find the extra kicks help then that's a clue isn't it? *off to try and find video"
Voilā. Sound observation. If kicking more could grant them these extra 100th of a second over 1500, then you'd see more 6-beat kick in the men's 1500 Free final swam last week.

Obvsiously, it is not the case on the clip I referred too earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Personally though I am in the non-athelete world. Finding efficiency (cost benefit) is all, and speed and distance are just by-products. Come to think of it though it's the same for fish ! If I can put the energy I use for my legs into something that gives me more bang for that buck that's where I'll put it, which is what Charles post seems to definitively show.
this is what Both Science and TI says. And I agree to this.


At this point is really worth to again listing a few important milestones:
- Tech suit. Took several people by surprise didn't they? How can the increase in speed shown among several swimmers wearing these be explained? Cut in drag, period. Unless anyone believes that a suit can generate propulsion?

- 2bk, biomechanically speaking, it's obviously the ideal to reach. But very few males swimmers are actually capable to rely solely on 2bk to race. It's been like that for what seems to be ages now.

- 4bk, it's a kicking pattern that offers a good compromise for those swimmers that need a bit more support whilst breathing.

- Working on your 2bk improves the 4bk. Working on the 6bk improves the 4bk, as the later is merely a combination of the two formers.

- The speed at which an elite swimmer could move forward relying on a 4bk alone (with a kicking board) probably won't exceed 2min per 100m. As such, I doubt it could be qualified as propulsive.

I'll tell you about a little anecdote in the next post (to keep this one short)
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