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  #31  
Old 07-30-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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As one of those whose sprinting pace is slower than Terry's walking pace, I find this discussion really interesting.

Should I learn to swim even slower?

When I was young I used to run a bit and often used to train on the same track used by the great Irish miler, Ronnie Delaney. I remember clearly that my sprints were slower than his jog. Maybe it's all genetic?
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  #32  
Old 07-30-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
Should I learn to swim even slower?
Swimming as slow as one possibly can is a drill. And ironically, the first time I ever saw this drill being prescribed was by the current #1 coach here in QC, ie the head of our National Training Center. He would apply it to la crème de la crème, ie the best swimmers we had on our squad.

With most older people having difficulty to find perpetual swimming, what I've found over time is that they generally pull too hard (all other more basic priorities taken care of). That is, it's possible to stroke at 1.6 and still be pulling too hard. Teaching "unloaded" pulling in these cases happens to be one of the most challenging tasks I've came across as a coach.

I believe that for them, there should be no snap, no abrupt move, no vigorous switch, nothing as such. Pulling should ideally be unloaded. And yes in these cases, the fastest way to improvement may be the slow path.
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  #33  
Old 07-30-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Swimming as slow as one possibly can is a drill. And ironically, the first time I ever saw this drill being prescribed was by the current #1 coach here in QC, ie the head of our National Training Center. He would apply it to la crème de la crème, ie the best swimmers we had on our squad.

With most older people having difficulty to find perpetual swimming, what I've found over time is that they generally pull too hard (all other more basic priorities taken care of). That is, it's possible to stroke at 1.6 and still be pulling too hard. Teaching "unloaded" pulling in these cases happens to be one of the most challenging tasks I've came across as a coach.

I believe that for them, there should be no snap, no abrupt move, no vigorous switch, nothing as such. Pulling should ideally be unloaded. And yes in these cases, the fastest way to improvement may be the slow path.
I did exactly this last night with a newish swimmer to my masters class. With just a few focal points his body position was transformed to looking like, well, a swimmer. He is about 5'6", low body fat and built like a linebacker. Lots of strength. in his first few laps I swam beside him to watch his form but I could not help pull ahead easily with just one stroke...I would shoot forward while he was struggling...that was at my "strolling" swim effort. Fast forward to the end of the night where we had worked on his length by "moving the armpit forward", and on a deeper spear ot avoid pushing down on the water and suddenly..I could not keep up with him uless I sprinted. His stroke length was far longer than mine and he had taken literally 20 strokes off of his 50m swim.
OK, so here is what we did to finish the night...I had him, as charles would say, "unload" is pull. I asked him to press lightly, swim in first gear, swim as slowly as he could while still moving forward .

He was perplexed...he asked, If I move my hand slowly , how do I move forward? he tried it and it was a true 1st gear...the kind of first gear one has on a motorcycle where it's not quite stable, but it's moving forward. I asked him to find 2nd gear...and that was the prettiest swim of the night, he was far less winded AND he enjoyed it.

So yes...learning to swim slowly is as much of a skill as swimming quickly or fast.
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  #34  
Old 07-30-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Field Test successful and it came very close to my estimate. Drilling into the metrics provides some interesting insights.

My slowest pace was 54 seconds -- or 1.08 meters/second.
My SPL while doing it was 34.
I swam without TT, but that works out to 1.38 Tempo.

My top end speed today was 39 sec -- or 1.28 meters/second
SPL on that length was 41.
That works out to Tempo of 0.78.
I did the same test last night...

Slowest pace was 62 seconds, SPL was 40 (i can actually swim a lower SPL, but apparently my speed is faster when doing so..as terry stated, a lower rate, requires a stronger effort)

Fastest pace was 45 seconds, SPL was about 55 (that is a total guess as by 2/3 of this length I could only think about breathing around the splashes my arm entry created from the prevoius stroke..lost track of the numbers.

Does anyone else care to estimate Tempo & %age of slow to fast?

Another intersting thing, the delta not only in speed but also in SPL. My stroke length diminished rapidly half way into the fast 50. Probably not my best paced effort..but I rarely (ie never) swim 50m as fast as possible. Terry's SPL delta was 7, my SPL delta was 15. I think there is more than height to account for that... I think Terry is better trained. I would like to see my delta be more around 10 and would be happy with just under 1meter/stroke length at my fastest rate which in this case I am certain was .80 or below just by feel and comparing to last week in which I set a PR 100m at .84 seconds/stroke of 1:34

I hope someone can make sense of this today. Because my brain is too tired...just reporting some figures.
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Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #35  
Old 07-30-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
"Somewhere I have a box that holds six national champion medals and patches. In those events, the satisfaction of winning peaked within a few minutes after the race. But the good feeling that flows from how I swam during them never fades." ~~ Terry's Blog: "Drafting Off My Inner Voice
This seems to me to be such a desperately needed lesson for our times, when all focus is on winning and on striving to win. It's such a hopelessly Sysyphaen approach, a carrot for a donkey. In every contest there is only one winner. Therefore we mostly lose. Moreover any victory is only for one contest. We may be a winner sometimes but it's a fact of life that mostly we lose. Even if we do win, the victory lasts only until the next event, and as Terry writes, the buzz of the podium is fleeting. Applause, even at La Scala, quickly dies away! If we see the value of our activity to be winning then we consign ourselves to be losers. But if as Terry says we enjoy undertaking the activity itself then we "win" every time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
In each case, as I continued swimming--without adding strokes or increasing Tempo--my pace increased on every successive 100. By the end of the set, in both cases, my Pace had improved by 10 or more seconds.
Terry, I don't understand this bit. If the number of strokes taken to complete a fixed distance stays the same AND the rate at which these are executed stays the same then speed remains the same. What's missing here?

p.s Glad I'm not the only one that doesn't know what CSS means (Cascading Style Sheets?) I found this http://www.brianmac.co.uk/css.htm Is this what it means??
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  #36  
Old 07-30-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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CSS stands for Critical Swim Speed. Charles can explain it better than I can. I believe it's very close to the speed that you can swim for about 800 meters at a steady pace.
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  #37  
Old 07-30-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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The critical speed or critical power (its first delivery) concept is quite simple. But in order to avoid the usual drifts we too often see in regard to describing this concept, I'll take a few extra lines if you don't mind.

Lactate threshold is defined by science as being a blood lactate accumulation of 1 Mmol/L above the resting level. That's quite low as an intensity level (much lower than what people usually think re Lactate Threshold). One can easily swim 2hours at LT, even more.

Under this level, when we exercise, it's quite simple: Requirements in O2 (Oxygen) are immediately compensated. Supply = demand. We're in balance. Very simple.

When we reach a speed or an intensity level that places us above Lactate Threshold, something quite odd occurs. The balance between O2 demand and supply is no longer in perfect balance. Demand is a bit higher than supply. So we "grow" a bit of an accumulated O2 deficit, which then gets compensated (during the effort), then the deficit grows again, then it's being compensated, etc... This cycles occurs several times / minute.

As the speed/intensity increases, the deficit becomes greater, but it is still being compensated. So far thus good.... until... until... we can no longer compensate this deficit in O2. The point just before *this* occurs, is your critical intensity, or critical speed, or in cycling your critical power. This is why it's often described as being a level at which you can theoretically continue swimming for ever, that is because MAOD (Maximal Accumulated O2 Deficit) is still within control, as opposed to out of control.

With that explained, the Critical Swim Speed is believed to be an intensity level which correlates with one's Maximal Lactate Steady State, ie what people wrongly consider as being the Lactate Threshold. So it is a performance based representation of what people see as being the "threshold".

The most important thing to understand with CSS is that above this level, work can be counter productive, as the by product of training, or its negative effect gets greater and greater. Spot on CSS or below this intensity, the damage created by the training dose is much less. What it means is that much more work can be done at or under CSS. As soon as you move over, you shall cut the overall mileage/4 or /5.

CSS is a big buzz word in swimming, even more in Triathlon. But it ain't new. Professor Ernest Maglischo has been a strong advocate to training at this level since 1980. All that said, I sometimes feel that newbies tackle on this way too early, hence my belief to the effect that some among them should rather learn to walk, before they learn to run.

Some newbies can not swim under this level. As soon as they swim, they are above. That's bad. Instead of persisting at this level, they would be better off learning to move slower.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 07-30-2013 at 06:41 PM.
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  #38  
Old 07-30-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Swimming as slow as one possibly can is a drill. And ironically, the first time I ever saw this drill being prescribed was by the current #1 coach here in QC, ie the head of our National Training Center. He would apply it to la crème de la crème, ie the best swimmers we had on our squad.

With most older people having difficulty to find perpetual swimming, what I've found over time is that they generally pull too hard (all other more basic priorities taken care of). That is, it's possible to stroke at 1.6 and still be pulling too hard. Teaching "unloaded" pulling in these cases happens to be one of the most challenging tasks I've came across as a coach.

I believe that for them, there should be no snap, no abrupt move, no vigorous switch, nothing as such. Pulling should ideally be unloaded. And yes in these cases, the fastest way to improvement may be the slow path.
do you think that they pull too hard or for too long? I think the hurdle for age groupers struggling to swim a mile is that they swim with muscles in the on position for the whole length, instead of repeated cycles of fire and relax.

We are all relative experts at running or walking as most of us have done it everyday our whole lives, but try running with quads and calves tensed the whole time and it feels a lot like learning to swim freestyle. Ok for 15 seconds then immedaitely horrible thereafter.
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  #39  
Old 07-30-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
do you think that they pull too hard or for too long? I think the hurdle for age groupers struggling to swim a mile is that they swim with muscles in the on position for the whole length, instead of repeated cycles of fire and relax.

We are all relative experts at running or walking as most of us have done it everyday our whole lives, but try running with quads and calves tensed the whole time and it feels a lot like learning to swim freestyle. Ok for 15 seconds then immedaitely horrible thereafter.
Good analogy. In cycling we hear coaches talk about a "circular stroke" Well, even the most novice cyclists pedal in a circle...how cna you not? It's more about firing patterns and transition of ht working load to each muscle group. The more that activation pattern can be passed from group to group and each muscle doing it's share to get it to the next muscle group for it's work load, the better.

in runnign it's a very similar analogy but with more freedom of motion (and perhaps some controversy between "picking up" vs "loading and unlaoding" I favor the latter.

Bobby McGee's versoin of the "ankling drill" in running involves quickly loading and unloading each foot as the toes hit first the calf elongagtes, then the heel kisses the ground before the foot comes back of the ground. Doing this slowly is one thing, but exceeding the firing rate of the muscle activation results in "stomping".

Swimmign with tense shoulders, arms, forearms, fingers, neck, etc...is the swimming version of "stomping" or the cycling version of "mashing". turn off the muscles not needed to carry the arm or body position into the next movement.

In the video I posted above, that 32 second mark where I enter my left arm and roll to a breath on the right..>i could watch that moment over and over and over...it's a seamless, effortless transition to air. What wouldn't any newbie swimmer give ot effortlessly find air? I want to give this ability to control muscle activation firing patterns seamlessly to everyone.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #40  
Old 07-30-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Yeah Coach Sue is back (I'm not the only one to have missed her I'm sure).

@Andy, no in the context that I was referring too, they just pull too hard. What I mean is that they give too much velocity to the hand whilst pulling.

So clearly, in spite of being asked to slow down, they just can not. You understand obviously that their delta between fast and slow is virtually null over longish distances. They have one speed, and it's too fast.
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