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  #1  
Old 10-18-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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Default Height advantage in swimming?

So i was just thinking about height as an advantage in swimming. it seems that tall people can form a longer streamline and have longer arms to have super long stroke lengths per stroke. This seems to impart some natural advantages of tall people who swim over those who are shorter.

But is that totally true? I was wondering who the shortest swimming pros are or were. Anyone have any data or pointers to stats? Is it possible for someone under 6 feet tall to be truly competitive against swimmers who are taller?
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2011
arunks arunks is offline
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The energy required to move in water depends on the ratio of length to width. This is why boats narrower and longer move faster.Although I dont have the stats on shorter pros, being taller offers a distinctive advantage, that said even shorter swimmers can swim taller and would like to reiterate a few key points on how to swim Taller as Terry says in his books and videos:
1)Reduce Drag by hiding head and swimming downhill.
2)Body Roll and Lengthening your body with each stroke.
3)Using weightless arms during recovery, steep angled spear and avoiding Overreaching.
4)The patient lead hand to offer the streamlined long stretch while the other arm recovers and enters.
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2011
tomoy tomoy is offline
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I'm thinking it depends on your concept of 'compete'. Skill and technique being equal, there's no cheating physics. Every now and then I swim in a pool full of competitive racers. I swear, they're all 6'-3"+. It's pretty humbling.

But not all things are equal, and many tall swimmers are trained poorly. So of course, there's always hope!

p.s. I know, not that helpful, sorry... I'm trying to bump my post-count up to climb out of Junior member status :vP

Last edited by tomoy : 10-18-2011 at 06:48 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Here's a list of some top class swimmers. Unsurprisingly most of them are rather tall but Janet Evans and Lisbeth Trickett are on the small side. Eric Vendt was known as a very hard worker, which is saying something when one is talking about distance freestylers, who probably swim more in a week than most people would swim in a month - a year even? So was Janet Evans.
Long arms and big hands and feet are also an advantage no doubt, not to mention technique.

Male freestylers

Sun Yang 6'6'' 1.98 m
Ian Thorpe 6'5'' 1.95 m
Michael Phelps 6' 4'' 1.93 m
Ryan Cochrane 6' 4'' 1.93 m
Peter Vanderkaay 6' 4'' 1.93 m
Zhang Lin 6' 2'' 1.88
Park Tae Hwan 6' 0'' 1.83 m
Gerg÷ Kis 6' 0'' 183 m
Eric Vendt 5'11 1.80

Female freestylers
Missy Franklin 6' 1'' 1.85
Kate Ziegler 6' 0'' 1.83
Laure Manaudou 5'11'' 1.80 m
Dara Torres 5' 11'' 180 m
Rebecca Adlington 5' 10'' 1.79m
Chloe Sutton 5' 9'' 1.75m
Katie Hoff 5@9'' 1.75
Natalie Coughlin 5' 8'' 1.73
Janet Evans 5'6'' 1.68m
Lisbeth Trickett (nee Lenton) 5' 6'' 1.67

Some of them are of course also all-rounders.
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  #5  
Old 10-18-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
Here's a list of some top class swimmers. Unsurprisingly most of them are rather tall but Janet Evans and Lisbeth Trickett are on the small side. Eric Vendt was known as a very hard worker, which is saying something when one is talking about distance freestylers, who probably swim more in a week than most people would swim in a month - a year even? So was Janet Evans.
Long arms and big hands and feet are also an advantage no doubt, not to mention technique.

Male freestylers

Sun Yang 6'6'' 1.98 m
Ian Thorpe 6'5'' 1.95 m
Michael Phelps 6' 4'' 1.93 m
Ryan Cochrane 6' 4'' 1.93 m
Peter Vanderkaay 6' 4'' 1.93 m
Zhang Lin 6' 2'' 1.88
Park Tae Hwan 6' 0'' 1.83 m
Gerg÷ Kis 6' 0'' 183 m
Eric Vendt 5'11 1.80

Female freestylers
Missy Franklin 6' 1'' 1.85
Kate Ziegler 6' 0'' 1.83
Laure Manaudou 5'11'' 1.80 m
Dara Torres 5' 11'' 180 m
Rebecca Adlington 5' 10'' 1.79m
Chloe Sutton 5' 9'' 1.75m
Katie Hoff 5@9'' 1.75
Natalie Coughlin 5' 8'' 1.73
Janet Evans 5'6'' 1.68m
Lisbeth Trickett (nee Lenton) 5' 6'' 1.67

Some of them are of course also all-rounders.
hey do you have their best times for certain distances, like 50m/100m/400m for freestyle? thanks for posting this!
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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I would add that being tall is not enough. In my case I am 1m91 (6'3'') but I also happen to have long legs relative to the torso (about 1m00).

So while my length helps, I still have to work extra hard to keep balanced.

Michael Phelps is more helped by nature (long arms and shorter legs).

ALEX
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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yes definitely the ratio of limbs to torso is a factor.

i guess what i was getting at was, was there a way to use elite level performance, and how tall they are (or perhaps even other physical characteristics like torso to leg ratio, etc.), to give some sense for a maximum attainable speed in the water?

or in other words, given that I'm 5'7", was there a way to compute my maximal performance in the water if i compare myself to other similar body types and their heights?

i can't help but be goal oriented, and i often what are my true limits of performance, even if i may not be able to attain them i can at least strive for them.
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshen View Post
...
or in other words, given that I'm 5'7", was there a way to compute my maximal performance in the water if i compare myself to other similar body types and their heights?

i can't help but be goal oriented, ...
Being goal oriented is perfectly ok.

Comparing will make (keep?) you unhappy.


Except you are not serious about it. In that case everything is ok.
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi dshen

If you're looking for times for top swimmers, possibly the best place to look is the world rankings at swimnews.com

http://www.swimnews.com/rank

You can also find very timely reports on all major competitions, written in the inimitable ( thank heavens!) style of Craig Lord. His horrible English can be forgiven, in my opinion, because of the usefulness of the information.
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