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  #1  
Old 11-19-2010
naj naj is offline
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naj
Default 17 Strokes Consistently Across a 25 yarder!

For the last two years while I've been on this forum I've been jealous - there I said it - of those of you that have averaged 13,14, 15...strokes in a 25 yard pool. Often when I would go to practice in the pool the best I could manage is 22, and that would be on a really good day. I kept playing around with different things, steeper hand entry, longer glide, driving the high hip down harder nothing seemed to make a difference for fewer strokes. Oh I admit those things helped in other ways but not for what I was concentrating on because I didn't see a piece of the puzzle that had been missing low these last 24 months; a more patient lead hand.

For the last week when I've gone to the pool, and in ow for that matter, I have been really focusing on a patient lead hand. Low and behold, I went from 22 strokes down to 19! I looked back down the lane and thought, "Try that again." This time it dropped to 18, then 17. This morning for about four lengths I was down to 15 for the duration of the two hour workouts! No long gliding time, a good steep hand entry, lead elbow, rotating just enough, and just having the pleasure of feeling what a decent TI stroke can be (not great but decent).

I find it interesting how over the last two years different parts of the puzzle have come about to building up my stroke.As many of you know I learned to swim when I was 43 so finding out about these new revelations is quite exciting for someone like myself. I plan on working on getting more smoother and building up my speed next, something I had no interest in doing till my stroke became reasonably controlled like it is now.

Hats off to Coach Dave, Coach Fiona, Terry, Coach Eric DeSanto and so many of you on the forum for helping me make it this far in my young swimming career. What a great life-skill, sport, and what a great community of folks here on the forum I couldn't have made it this far without y'all!!!

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2010
atreides atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naj View Post
For the last week when I've gone to the pool, and in ow for that matter, I have been really focusing on a patient lead hand. Low and behold, I went from 22 strokes down to 19! I looked back down the lane and thought, "Try that again." This time it dropped to 18, then 17. This morning for about four lengths I was down to 15 for the duration of the two hour workouts! No long gliding time, a good steep hand entry, lead elbow, rotating just enough, and just having the pleasure of feeling what a decent TI stroke can be (not great but decent).

Keep Swimming!
Naji
I've sort of been working on the same thing. Knowing that no two bodies are just a like, means that the solution set for different people will be different things. However I wonder about something. I had noticed that when I wore fins for a couple of lengths, I swam faster when I took them off. I finally figured out that part of the reason was that I pointed my toes like I had them on which reduced drag because in doing this I was probably holding my legs higher while I glided. But I soon lost the feeling of acceleration and wondered what else it could be.

You have been working on a high elbow catch. So have I. I have long arms. I always think about getting them vertical for the catch. One day I decided that I needed to reduce the depth of my vertical forearm so that water pressure on my forearm wouldn't stop my foreware momentum. What this meant is that I had to sort of raise my shoulder so that when I pulled I was pulling as shallow as I could. What I think I discovered is what a dropped elbow is. Ironically I think people with shorter arms don't have to worry about this as much But long armed folks may need to raise our shoulders slightly to make sure that we engage the water properly. I usually gauge my momentum by watching the cyinders in the lane buoys as I take a stroke on my breathing side. When I do this properly, I wisk along. When I don't I drag. I kind of wonder if you might be experiencing the same thing. The reason why I bring it up is that I have mistakenly attributed an improvement to something only to fall back into an old bad habit. Then I spend days or weeks wondering why I regressed. This time I can see the difference even while I swim.
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  #3  
Old 11-20-2010
terry terry is offline
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Since writing my blog How Would Einstein Teach Swimming I've begun every practice - and most sets - with Balance Thoughts, then progressed to Streamlining Thoughts when I sensed that my the Balance circuits in my brain were really humming with electrical activity.

This practice has resulted in a far stronger ability to maintain 14 SPL in a variety of conditions - longer swims, higher speed, when I feel a hint of fatigue. And one leads naturally into the other. One of my Balance Thoughts is:
Float the Arms forward on a "cushion of support." I look for that cushioning sensation to extend from my hand up my arm to the axilla or armpit and beyond it to my lat.

And one of the Streamlining Thoughts that follows it is:
Swim Taller. I think of using my hand to extend my bodyline – as if stretching for something just out of reach. I feel as if I continue extending for a nanosecond (and one or two cm) longer. After a few minutes, this focus blends with the Float the Arms sensation.

Both grew out of Superman Glide practice.

Any time in practice that I feel like I might be tending to shorten my stroke, I return to that blended focus.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2010
gerz gerz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naj View Post
For the last two years while I've been on this forum I've been jealous - there I said it - of those of you that have averaged 13,14, 15...strokes in a 25 yard pool. Often when I would go to practice in the pool the best I could manage is 22, and that would be on a really good day. I kept playing around with different things, steeper hand entry, longer glide, driving the high hip down harder nothing seemed to make a difference for fewer strokes. Oh I admit those things helped in other ways but not for what I was concentrating on because I didn't see a piece of the puzzle that had been missing low these last 24 months; a more patient lead hand.

Naji
I had the same problem (many successless attempts reducing my SPL). After reading your posting I tried focusing on a very patient lead hand and reduced my SPL considerably.

Thanks!
gerz
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2010
dobarton dobarton is offline
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Default I'm glad to hear all of you say these things.

I've been easily swimming at 19-20 SPL (25 meters) for the last year or so. I'm 6' tall, 170 lb, 10% bodyfat. I don't have any trouble keeping this pace at all for long distances with speeds of about 29-30 secs/25 meters. However, when I really concentrate and relax, I can get my SPL down to 13-14 for 1-2 lengths.
What I've been working on for the last couple of weeks has been VERY frustrating, to say the least. I feel REALLY good for 1, 2, maybe even three lengths at 14 SPL, but after that, it's all down hill. Earlier last week, I did 10 lengths at 15, but have been unable to replicate it. Clearly, I lose balance or comfort or relaxation somewhere in the distance. The other thing I find is that the further I swim at low SPL, the more likely I am to get water instead of air when taking a breath... inducing stress and tension and making the next few strokes poor.
Glad to hear you all are getting better. It gives me encouragement that I will keep getting better.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2010
gerz gerz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobarton View Post
I've been easily swimming at 19-20 SPL (25 meters) for the last year or so. I'm 6' tall, 170 lb, 10% bodyfat. I don't have any trouble keeping this pace at all for long distances with speeds of about 29-30 secs/25 meters..
I think, that is quite ok, no need to be not content.

gerz
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naj View Post
For the last two years while I've been on this forum I've been jealous - there I said it - of those of you that have averaged 13,14, 15...strokes in a 25 yard pool. Often when I would go to practice in the pool the best I could manage is 22, and that would be on a really good day.
I don't think it's fair to compare your SPL to others'. Since you swim primarily in open water, you don't get the immediate feedback that you would get in the pool. That makes it easy to imprint bad habits without even realizing it.

For me anyway, swimming in cold water magnifies the problem. You have to *move* to stay warm, so you can end up imprinting extra movements that mess up your streamline.

This Fall, I did two long open water swims. In this case, I'm defining "long" as a distance that pushed my limits a bit. Since then, my SPL has been a little higher than normal. I'm spending a lot of time on short, s-l-o-w repeats in the pool to inch myself back to where I was before.

Congratulations on your great progress. Keep up the good work!
Katie
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  #8  
Old 12-09-2010
ernewill ernewill is offline
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ernewill
Default Spearing with a patient lead hand seemed to be the key

I just had my breakthrough tonight at the pool. 14 SPL. I had been trying a higher elbow catch before. For some reason, spearing my arm forward to the right xy coordinate seemed to be the key. It went hand in hand with the driving of the hip. This made me "swim taller" and put my propulsion arm in a natural position to sweep across my body. I couldn't believe it. So excited.
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  #9  
Old 12-11-2010
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Since writing my blog How Would Einstein Teach Swimming I've begun every practice - and most sets - with Balance Thoughts, then progressed to Streamlining Thoughts when I sensed that my the Balance circuits in my brain were really humming with electrical activity.
When Albert Einstein came on the scene, the elite physics community was puzzling over the results of an experiment called the Michelson-Morley experiment. Two physicists, Lorentz and Fitzgerald, had worked out what was really a tiny piece of the theory of relativity in their efforts to explain the result, but Einstein, in the meantime, managed to work out the whole thing, even though he hadn't heard about the Michelson-Morley experiment. And he did it without any research grants, while supporting himself by working during the day as a patent office clerk. The reason was that he focused on the basic principles of physics, and therefore realized that the physics of the 19th century had, for several decades, been taking a path that was at odds with the principles on which Newtonian physics had been founded.

I'd actually simplify things a bit more than you've done in your blog by treating balance and streamlining as two aspects of minimizing drag. These two principles - minimizing drag and mastering effective propulsion - are at the core of every aspect of swimming. The details are different depending on what swimming stroke you're doing, and depending on whether you're doing a breathing or non-breathing stroke. And they're different if you're doing a block start, or an open water start, or an open turn, or a flip turn. But the basic principles are always there.


Bob
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  #10  
Old 12-11-2010
kurt.hillegonds kurt.hillegonds is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobarton View Post
I've been easily swimming at 19-20 SPL (25 meters) for the last year or so. I'm 6' tall, 170 lb, 10% bodyfat. I don't have any trouble keeping this pace at all for long distances with speeds of about 29-30 secs/25 meters. However, when I really concentrate and relax, I can get my SPL down to 13-14 for 1-2 lengths.
What I've been working on for the last couple of weeks has been VERY frustrating, to say the least. I feel REALLY good for 1, 2, maybe even three lengths at 14 SPL, but after that, it's all down hill. Earlier last week, I did 10 lengths at 15, but have been unable to replicate it. Clearly, I lose balance or comfort or relaxation somewhere in the distance. The other thing I find is that the further I swim at low SPL, the more likely I am to get water instead of air when taking a breath... inducing stress and tension and making the next few strokes poor.
Glad to hear you all are getting better. It gives me encouragement that I will keep getting better.
I have the same physique you have and seem to have a similar issue. I swim about the same pace, but every once in a while I find balance where I am using the same effort but going a lot faster. I think I go faster when my head is pretty far under water, thus I have the same problem of coming up for air and getting water instead. A local swim coach keeps telling me I look like a submarine and I need to keep my head higher, but I go so much faster when I keep it low. Do you notice you are going faster because of a lower head position, which in turn provides better overall balance?
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