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  #1  
Old 11-23-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default "Taller means lower SPL".... Why ?

Why is it that tall people are supposed to take less strokes to swim 1 pool length?

Being 1m90 I am only 30cm taller than someone who is 1m60... so why would a 30cm advantage translate in let's say 2-3 strokes less ?
Afterall 1 Stroke pulls me forward by 150cm (SL=Stroke Length)...

Thanks. ALEX
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Default 30cm x 15 strokes ...

A short height advantage multiplied over many strokes will chop off lots.

30cm in your example x just 10 SPL = 300cm, or 2 full strokes based on your example. 30cm x 15 SPL = 450cm or 3 full strokes.
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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I believe the wingspan ( fingertip to fingertip) is also an important dimension and some quote the "ape factor" or ratio between wingspan and height. Hand and foot size are also probably significant.

Nevertheless, in the world of ordinary swimming, where very few are candidates for Olympic medals, often a short, slightly built swimmer will go faster than a long muscular one and possibly in fewer strokes per length as well.

At a recent meet a friend pointed out to me a female backstroker who was taking seven strokes to do 25m while warming up. I take about thirty, so I was impressed. She was a lot faster as well.
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  #4  
Old 11-23-2010
terry terry is offline
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Default What influences SPL

Great topic.

Height is only one factor - and not the most significant - in influencing SPL. The more significant factor is skill. Among the components of skill, Balance will influence SPL potential the most. Streamlining next. Propulsive effectiveness least.

Because Balance is the single most important factor in influencing SPL potential, then height distribution has to be part of the equation.

Best illustration of this is that Shinji, at 170 cm, can swim 25m in 9 strokes, while I, at 183cm, am hard pressed to do it in fewer than 12 strokes. Our height differential alone would predict I should take two fewer strokes. So why do I take three more?

Height Distribution. Virtually all of our 13 cm height differential is below the hips. Shinji's balance advantage is more than enough to wipe out my height advantage.

Where my height does bring advantage is speed potential -- in long-axis, but not short-axis, strokes. More height means lower drag as speed increases. This advantage increases markedly as we both get faster, since drag increases exponentially as speed goes up. In fact, I once heard a swim researcher say that the main reason age group swimmers improve -- though coaches flatter themselves their expertise and efforts are the reason -- is simply because they grow taller each year.

However, the value of our publishing height-indexed SPL scales - though they must remain rough estimates - is that it helps swimmers set concrete personal efficiency goals. If we allow a Basic Efficiency range of 3 SPL at certain height increments, that should be sufficient as a rough, yet effective, guide.
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2010
PASA PASA is offline
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Default Natalie Coughlin better than Phelps?

As much as I am in awe of Michael Phelps and his abilities in the pool, work ethic, competitive fire, ability to win under pressure, etc. he has a distinct God-given advantage over many swimmers - he's relatively tall (6' 4"), but more importatly he has a very long upper body and long arms. His reach is reportedly equal to that of a person 6' 8" tall. His legs are relatively short too, so they don't weigh him down in the back as much as longer legs would.

Given this, I've long admired Natalie Coughlin's ability to swim very fast despite not being a particularly big person. She has been a dominant force in swimming despite competing against much taller people. So is it possible she's actually a better swimmer than Phelps? Phelps is undoubtedly faster and possibly even more efficient due to his build, but I suspect that pound for pound, Coughlin may be technically more proficient. In any event, she's an amazing athlete.
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  #6  
Old 11-24-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I find the published ranges don't fit my personal experience well. My current challenge is finding comfort at higher stroke counts more in line with what Terry has posted in the past.

I can stroke (drill) as low as 11SPL, during warmups I feel comfortable between 14-16 SPL (with what Terry describes as a "careful" stroke) and any swimming at SPL 17 or greater causes me some fatigue, but with a better flow and less hesitation to my swim.

My PRs in 100yd came at 20SPL, and today I set a PR for 25y with 21 SPL.

I "minimumed out" my SPL for swimming 500s at 14 SPL @ 1.3 strokes/second. I could swim lower strokes (and save 1.3 seconds per 25, but the excess energy it takes to create extra distance at 13 or fewer strokes creates a ratchety, drill like swim that's not fun. I'm 5'3" tall with a short 'ape index'. my wingspan is actually less than my height...I'm NOT a natural built swimmer. Thankfully, coordination and balance is something I was blessed with to offset my lack of speed and endurance. :)

Despite this, I believe that the patience & balance I learned doing the ultra low stroke count drills have enhanced my range of speeds & comfort in the water. Adding strokes is more a batter of maintaining focus at faster rates.

The opposing side...spending a long time at faster rates and then trying to subtract strokes if one has not previously practiced at lower rates would require new excursions in balance that may feel like learning to swim all over again.

I believe that spending time trying to lower your stroke count as much as reasonable before trying to speed it up is a great way to ensure that your balance & technique is good.

Sorry this got so long.
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  #7  
Old 11-24-2010
mjm mjm is offline
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Default Stroke Rate

Interesting comments about stroke rate. The elite women in triathlon and open water distance swimming have stroke rates in the high 80-90 per minute range. Chole Sutton and her compatriots:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Youro...eature=related

Building up to that stroke rate is futile without good stroke balance and mechanics otherwise you're just slipping water. How do you gauge slippage? I use a tempo trainer at 1.3 or 1.2 then increase my stroke rate during a timed 50 or 100 yard swim. I can usually find a point where my time stays constant or INCREASES despite a more rapid stroke rate. Then I back up to the last stroke rate where I descended time and try to hold that rate and time. When my time starts to slip I stop. --mjm
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default

Great inputs... Thanks !

There is just one thing which I noticed.
Our lifeguard is 5'3'' (I am 6'3'') so I have a 30cm height advantage on him.

However when we compare our arm's length, the difference is only 8cm.
I wonder how much distance advantage I have per stroke on him based on this. Probably 8cms to simplify?

Interest comment on height distribution and wing span.
Yes I am tall... my wing span is equla to my height (this is normal I think) but my legs are 105cm (total height 190cm) --> 55%

I would think that in TI swimming longer legs are not an advantage because balance is key and we are supposed to swim with a 2BK to save energy.

ALEX
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