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  #1  
Old 10-14-2009
bartp bartp is offline
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bartp
Default How fast should the recovery arm move?

In a recent thread Coach EricD gave me some great advice on not sinking while i breathe. I was most surprised by this statement: "Finally, check the speed of your recovery. If your tempo and recovery are too slow, you will sink as your arm is out of the water. The hand should gradually accelerate from the catch through the spear so your recovery is the fastest portion of the arm cycle."

I was shocked at the pool today when i tried speeding up my recovery arm. I found that i did not sink horizontally near as much as normal and swam much closer to the surface.

So here is my question: how fast should the recovery arm move when it is out of the water compared to the pull part of the stroke in the water? Is it a marked difference in speed? Just a little?

Look forward to your thoughts.

Barton
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartp View Post


So here is my question: how fast should the recovery arm move when it is out of the water compared to the pull part of the stroke in the water? Is it a marked difference in speed? Just a little ?
Barton


Depends how fast your swimming . As far as I know as long as the arm is moving in recovery without stopping it is considered swimming .If the arm stops anytime during the recovery then your drilling. The pulling arm should only move as fast as you can connect it to your core rhythm .The faster you swim the faster the recovery and pull is going to be as long as you can anchor your arm well and pull without the hand slipping and going ahead of core rhythms then your doing okay.Also when you swam with a faster recovery it's possible you swam flatter and your body did not have a chance to sink as much with the thought that maybe during a slower recovery you were more toward stacked shoulders.?


Dave
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2009
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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Barton,
I am not sure that my statement is accepted by everyone. I am still playing with the idea to figure out what I believe works for me. So this is a work in progress. Here are my thoughts - they may or may not be accurate at this point.

1. I started trying to speed up the recovery when watching the elites. I noticed that they seem to spend a much higher percentage of the stroke cycle with both arms in the water. Phelps, in particular seemed to have a fast recovery.

2. When I first posted this idea, Terry said he prefers to make the recovery more compact rather than speed it up. More compact means less distance to travel so the effect of keeping both arms in the water is the same, but you don't have the acceleration.

3. I believe that the recovery arm has usable momentum. If you use the weight of the arm with its speed, it will drag you forward after the spear.

4. The risk of course is that the faster the recovery is, the harder it is to have a clean entry and perfect timing.

My answer to any change that you are considering is "try it". If you speed up your recovery a lot, and it helps your pace, stroke count, or overall ease, than keep it. If it hurts any of these, drop it. There are probably differences in the people's bodies that favor each recovery speed.
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Old 10-14-2009
Danny Danny is offline
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I too am doing battle with this issue. There are (sort of) two different points of view I consider. In the first, I am trying to do as much of my stroke through shoulder motion instead of arm motion as possible. The mental image I have is of a bicycle pedal on an elliptical gear, which is my shoulders. With this image, the speed of my recovery will impact the speed of my pull with the other arm, because both are guided by my shoulder motion. The second point of view is more like catch-up. Here I think I would like my hips and shoulders to already be somewhat rotated before I start moving my forward hand backward, because this seems to give me a better grip on the water. Doing this means that my recovery hand should somehow get ahead of the "bicycle pedal" image I was talking about before.

Any comments on the validity of these two points of view or how to reconcile them?
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  #5  
Old 10-15-2009
bartp bartp is offline
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Thanks guys. I will keep trying things out. Very interesting idea though - thanks EricD.

Barton
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  #6  
Old 10-15-2009
vol vol is offline
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Hi, I like this topic, however...

My impression from watching some videos such as Shinji's "9 stroke" video was the contrary: what I observed is that the pull is the fastest part of a stroke cycle (my problem has been pulling too slow). As for recovery, it seems to me that what one does is to be fast when raising the arm to the highest point (from getting out of water to elbow being highest in the air); after passing that, however, they are relatively slow to move the arm forward into spearing step, sometimes they even pause a little at the highest point before extending the arm forward. Btw, the kick appears to start when the elbow is at highest point in the air, yes?

Anyone observed the same?
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2009
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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Vol,
You are correct. In a conversation with Shinji, we discussed various timings. We both think that there is a difference in timing when swimming at a very low stroke count and tempo than when swimming at speed.

At a very low stroke count you have much less momentum working for you. Therefore you need a bit more muscle on the anchor and more focus on the recovery to eliminate all drag. That produces the faster underwater and slower recovery that you see in Shinji's 9 stroke video.

At higher tempos, a fast pull runs the risk of slipping and a fast recovery begins to have enough momentum to help.

The other part, and I am still trying to figure this part out, is that I always have my best swims (fastest, least effort) when my arms move as slowly as possible in the cycle. I set my catch during the recovery so that my anchor is at head level by the time I spear. I have the flexibility to do this, most people don't. Many of our best coaches have taught to minimize effort by minimizing the amount of time you spend switching. This gives you more time to rest during each stroke and is the opposite idea as mine.

I describe the difference by comparing curling a 10 lb weight for 1 second versus a 5 lb weight for 2 seconds. It takes the same amount of work. But for me, the latter is much easier. I think this may be a personal thing. It may depend on your tempo. I think the best thing to do is try to master both timings and test them for yourself when the both get comfortable.
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  #8  
Old 10-16-2009
vol vol is offline
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CoachEricD, many thanks for the reply. It makes a lot of sense to distinguish between fast and slow. I usually swim very slowly. What I've found is that, since the first half of recovery immediately follows the pull, if my pull is too slow, the first half of recovery is also slow (from exiting the water to elbow reaching highest point in the air). When this happens, the lower part of my body would sink, maybe the center of gravity shifted to below the core, so I would totally lose the momentum as well balance, the strokes would become very tiring, I would feel almost as if I was swimming vertically in the water!
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2009
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Default Oppps ... I stepped on a very informative thread...

Sorry Vol, I replied to the question about the underwater camera and overstepped the thread about are recovery speed. Sorry about that,

Mike
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2009
terry terry is offline
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The choice between faster and slower movements is one of the choices that is challenging to make in a way that improves your swimming. How fast to move the recovery arm is only one aspect.

The original question mentioned that slower recovery-speed led to sinking. That tells me the issue isn't recovery speed, but balance. The better your balance, the more choices you have about many aspects of your stroke. Slowing your recovery is among them. How would a slower recovery benefit you?
1) It allows you to remain in your most-streamlined position (aligned from fingertips to toes while rotated just off your stomach) slightly (andf by this I mean just milliseconds) longer in each stroke cycle. This means you'll travel farther faster during recovery.
2) Holding this position slightly longer also gives you more time (again, milliseconds) to arc your fingers down to a palm-back position, while rotating your elbow up and out to trap water behind your forearm.
3) With your hand and forearm positioned to maximize purchase, you'll propel yourself farther and faster on your next weight shift. Better balance and a slower recovery allow you more time to examine and optimize that aspect of stroke timing.

If a lower-drag body position and a higher-traction arm position mean you'll swim better and faster, then it seems unquestionable you'd want to maintain them at any speed.

Having established the potential benefits of a slower recovery, let's examine the potential benefits of a faster recovery. I can see two:
1) Faster Stroke Rate and
2) Longer "wetted" time for the arms - as was alluded to above. An arm above the water adds weight to the body -- downward, rather than forward, energy. A wetted arm adds length to the body -- reducing drag and conserving forward momentum.

Aiming for a Faster Stroke Rate gives you a better chance of converting effort into speed. Aiming for a Faster Recovery doesn't. Stroke Rate is the sum of many inputs. Recovery Speed is only one of them; the more critical is how quickly you can create the hand/forearm position I described above. So my choice would be to focus on increasing SR. I would do this in increments of a hundredth of a second with a highly precise instrument -- the Tempo Trainer.

To increase "wetted" time for the arm, rather than try to move my hand forward faster, I'd seek to follow the shortest path from exit point to entry point. I do this in two ways:
1) Convert a wide-swinging path from exit to entry point to a laser-straight path. I do that with the Draw a Line exercise and focal point illustrated in Lesson 5 of the Easy Freestyle DVD.
2) Convert a high-swinging path from exit to entry point to a surface-skimming path with the Ear Hops exercise and focal point, also illustrated in Lesson 5.
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