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  #1  
Old 11-25-2010
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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johnny.widen
Default When to go from drills to longer distances?

Hi!

I have a background as a competitive swimmer in mid 1960. I quitted in 1967. I then started to swim regularly two times a week some 4 years ago and this summer I tried open water for the first time. I swam the test race for the upcoming Luleå Midnight Swim (http://www.luleamidnightswim.com/), i.e., midnight swim 3 km in broad daylight. I also swam in Vansbro (http://www.vansbrosimningen.se/) also 3 km. I aim to repeat this next summer with the exception that I will also swim 1.5 km in Luleå. It's only one week between the Luleå and Vansbro races. So, if you visit Sweden you will have the opportunity to swim lots of races within about a week (Vansbro also have 10 km).

Since I started to swim again I've been puzzled why some people swim so much faster than others. What's the secret? Is there something I can do to improve my swimming? I have tried to change my catch ā la Hacket, but seeing myself on video I realized that this wasn't my cup of tea.

Then I came across Total Immersion Swimming. I saw Shinji's famous clip on YouTube and also listened to Terry's presentation at the 2009 New England Multisport Expo at MIT. This made me order some DVDs and books in September and I have now made the 10 lessons in the self-coached workshop.

I am still doing the drills, and I now do them for a length of 25 m. Now I wonder, when is it time to start to do longer full stroke exercises? I mean, I really want to continue to imprint all the new details and don't want to spoil them by increasing length training to early. When I look at videos of myself I think can see what Focal Point I had, and that the other parts sometimes are back to old habit. If you watch the clips below, you'll see that there are some differences between Nov 19 and Nov 23.

I am 62 years old, 1.84 m (6.04 ft) and 78 kg (172 lb).

Some videos

May 2, 2008, Before Total Immersion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljApAXFPWEk

Nov 19, 2010, with roughly 2 months of Total Immersion drills:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzrZMBmaSHk

Nov 23, 2010:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY0pc7VhLD0

I hope for some valuable suggestions how to proceed by this knowledgeable community.

-- Johnny
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2010
flppr flppr is offline
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I only saw your last video, but your balance looks good, for the most part, and your recovery looks really good. Streamlining could be a bit better, especially in your legs. Do you have a tempo trainer? You could use one to begin training at faster paces. You are ready to practice swimming longer and faster, imo. Nice work.
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2010
naj naj is offline
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Johnny, the one thing I will say is that you looked very relaxed and have a sense of ease with your stroke. Congratulations on that. It took me quite awhile before I felt comfortable enough to let that glide have its full effect on my whole stroke. The one thing I noticed in your video is your leading with your elbow on the above water recovery with your left arm, but have a lead hand entry with your right. By this I mean that your left arm is lead by your elbow setting up a stronger hip drive than does on your right.

I hope that all makes sense :)

I really did enjoy your videos by the way, you are making very good progress.

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2010
terry terry is offline
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Johnny
Congratulations. You are a changed man! How prescient of you to have recorded your pre-TI form for comparison. May I use your before and after videos in a blog as a testament to the efficacy of the Self-Coached Workshop?

As to your questions (1)can you increase distance and (2) how does speed 'happen' the answers are fairly straightforward.

While doing the Self-Coached Workshop your focus was on 'rewiring' your brain to master Movement skills. By the evidence of your video, you've done that quite successfully and are ready for a new phase - Training.
In the Training phase, you focus on rewiring your brain to master control (adaptation and manipulation) of the Movement skills. Not arbitrarily, but to improve your command of optimizing Stroke Length and Stroke Rate.

To do this your most important tool will be a Tempo Trainer. I suppose it will take a week or more to reach you if you order it from TI, but I imagine you can find a source in Sweden for faster delivery.

Try the following. Swim 200 to 400m (with flip turns if you're comfortable doing so). Count your strokes. Don't strain to hold it down. Just swim with focused efficiency. I counted your SPL on the youtube video at 13 for 25m. This is great, but it's not necessary for you to hold it there. Your height is the same as mine and I'm pleased to maintain 16SPL in a 25m pool for repeats longer than 100m.

The SPL you can maintain for that distance will be your starting point for practicing repeats. When you get the Tempo Trainer, you can begin doing sets at which you try to expand the range of distances and tempos at which you can maintain that SPL. Generally seeking to increase duration, while keeping SPL and Tempo constant. Or to increase Tempo while keeping SPL and duration constant.
E.G.
Swim 4 x 50 + 3 x 100 + 2 x 150 + 1 x 200 @ 16SPL and 1.3 sec/stroke.

Increase Duration
100-200-300-400-500 @ 16SPL and 1.3 sec/stroke.
Increase Tempo
4 x 50 + 3 x 100 + 2 x 150 + 1 x 200 @ 16SPL and 1.25 sec/stroke.

From there it's simply a matter of systematically and steadily improving the combinations of the four variables in any training set
Duration
SPL
Tempo
Recovery Interval

You have a contemporary and countryman who is fairly active on this Forum. Lennart Larsson. You can search on his name to find some of his posts. He has considerable experience now training as I describe above.

You make the summer OW swims in Sweden sound very attractive. You may see me at one or more next summer.

Now we can use tempo as a much more accurate metric than speed, advising triathletes (or any improvement-minded swimmer) that their fastest initial tempo is likely to be 1.3 sec/stroke or slower until they can maintain 17 SPL for some benchmark set. Lou and I agreed on 250+500+750 as the standard benchmarking set for the WP triathletes, because it adds up to 1.5k.

Lou also recorded their splits to ensure they maintained consistency with both SPL and pace. Now it would be a simpler matter of using the TT. Hold both for 250, progress to 500. Master that and progress to 750. A triathlete should generally refrain from raising tempo until they can complete 750 at same tempo and SPL with which they started the exercise.

From there, training is simply a matter of improving on any one - or more - of the four variables in a set:
Repeat (and/or Set) Duration
SPL
Tempo
Recovery time

Every set should be measured via one of three possible combinations:
Stroke Count and Time
Stroke Count and Tempo
Tempo and Time

Sets that fail to track/manipulate two variable are a waste of time.

Mix these with sets that improve adaptability and control -- i..e your ability to choose and execute a particular stroke count (-1, N and +1) or pace/split AND "play" either like scales on a piano -- and you have a complete training regimen that is both mathematically precise/predictable and entirely personal.
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  #5  
Old 11-27-2010
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naj View Post
... The one thing I noticed in your video is your leading with your elbow on the above water recovery with your left arm, but have a lead hand entry with your right. By this I mean that your left arm is lead by your elbow setting up a stronger hip drive than does on your right.
I think I understand what you are writing, but looking at the videos I really can't see this. Does this happens all the time or is it just occasionally? Is it possible to point out some timestamps on video when you see the difference?

-- Johnny
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  #6  
Old 11-27-2010
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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Thanks Terry for all advices. I will get myself a Tempo Trainer and follow the advices eagerly! I look forward to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Johnny
Congratulations. You are a changed man! How prescient of you to have recorded your pre-TI form for comparison. May I use your before and after videos in a blog as a testament to the efficacy of the Self-Coached Workshop?
Of course you can. You are most welcome to do so.

By the way, we are some old men who regularly swim together on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Saturdays we meet to do some additional training, have some fun contest and then play water polo. See the link below, which links to a Google, not so perfect, translation of Swedish pages.
http://translate.google.com/translat...logarbroder%2F

Especially check out the left menu link 'Gråsjälören around', an event where we swam 800m around an island just outside Luleå. This event will become annually. By the way, I am the second guy from left in the row of swimmers.

Some of those guys were swimming in Vansbro and I have convinced some that Total Immersion Swimming is the right way to go and they are now practicing drilling from the self coach workshop. We have had lots of fruitful discussions, and I consider myself some kind of Total Immersion Swimming evangelist. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Try the following. Swim 200 to 400m (with flip turns if you're comfortable doing so). Count your strokes. Don't strain to hold it down. Just swim with focused efficiency. I counted your SPL on the youtube video at 13 for 25m. This is great, but it's not necessary for you to hold it there. Your height is the same as mine and I'm pleased to maintain 16SPL in a 25m pool for repeats longer than 100m.
I had a little time in the pool today and after some warming up I swam 200m with varying 14-15 strokes per length. I will try next week to see if I can repeat that and also hold that for 400m.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
You have a contemporary and countryman who is fairly active on this Forum. Lennart Larsson. You can search on his name to find some of his posts. He has considerable experience now training as I describe above.
Yes, I have seen Lennart's posts. I have actually used some of them to make my colleagues aware of the superiority of Total Immersion! (Thanks, Lennart!) I also recognize his name from Vansbro where we were competing in the same year group. I was beaten by him. :-( I might have got nearer him if I had been more careful taking on my wet suite. Now it pressed down my shoulders so I got extremely fatigue by freestyle and had to swim backstroke half of the race, alternating between the two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
You make the summer OW swims in Sweden sound very attractive. You may see me at one or more next summer.
I would love to see you in Luleå and of course you are all very welcome this summer. The Luleå Midnight Swim will then have its premiere. You can take a look at the photo album from the test race to see what it looks like in the middle of the night in beginning of July. If you have seen me in the 'Gråsjälören around' picture, you should be able to find me in the photo album at
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lulea-...89995?v=photos
(the one with 42 photos). We were 12 swimmers in that test race.

Thanks, once again!

-- Johnny

Last edited by johnny.widen : 11-28-2010 at 12:09 AM.
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2010
terry terry is offline
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Johnny
I MUST do that Lulea Midnight Swim. What is the water temp? In your pics I saw at least one person who appeared to have swum sans neoprene. I swam Alcatraz last December about 3k in 52 min, keeping a rather leisurely pace to stay with mambers of a group. Water temp as 11C. How would that compare with the Lulea swim?
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2010
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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Terry,
I love to hear that. The temperature was 15°C at the test race, but depending on the weather in May and June it might vary between, say 14 to 18°C. You are going to sweat! :-)

-- Johnny

Last edited by johnny.widen : 11-29-2010 at 10:42 AM.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2010
LennartLarsson LennartLarsson is offline
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Johnny,

It was nice to "e-mail-talk" to you in Swedish. I have looked at your films and read everything written here, and from my view I will get a tough competitor next summer in the OW races. How about setting up a goal to participate in the European Masters Championship in Jalta, Ukraine in September? 3 K OW in the Black See and all competitors without wetsuits? I am counting on going there anyway.

When I use the TT for training, I normally combine tempo and time. I am no good at counting strokes at the later stages of the session. Guess why.

Next summer I will build a swim training course in Norasjön, where I spend my summers. It will be a 500 meter straight course with buoys every 50 meters. Perfect for OW training. You are of course welcome to swim there and stay a couple of days in my guest house. Originally it was going to be 400 meters, but by request from two of the Swedish olympic paddlers, I am making it 500 meters for their training, which they intend to have some time during the summer in Norasjön. It is a great lake.

/Lennart
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2010
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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Lennart,
I have now seen your training diary and realize that to be competitive with you I have to work really hard.

Thanks for you invitation to Norasjön. I hope I can make it sometime. You are of course always invited to Luleå, and especially Luleå Midnight Swim.

Now I have to figure out tomorrows "focal points". ;-)

-- Johnny
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