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Old 11-19-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default My Practice with Paolo

Thursday (27 Nov) I met good friend, opera conductor Paolo Carignani at Reebok Sports Club at Columbus Ave and W 67 St in Manhattan for a practice, then had the privilege of watching him conduct the Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's Nabucco. Paolo also took me for a backstage tour, including the orchestra pit before the show. What a treat.

Paolo always practices TI before a performance. He says it energizes him and even makes his gestures more fluent. He also says that because he feels so much better after a swim, the company can sense that and raises their performance level as well.

Can you imagine that one person's practice can affect the performance of 100 or more musicians and singers -- and thereby increase the enjoyment of 1000s of spectators?

Here's what we did in the pool:
After a brief warmup, we did this main set
4 x 50
3 x 100
2 x 150
1 x 200
We both set our Tempo Trainers @ 1.25, then strove to keep our stroke count consistent from the 50s to the 200. My first 50 was 14+15 strokes, but by the 4th 50, I was taking 13+13 strokes. Paolo found consistency at 16+17 strokes.
We both held our SPLs consistent through the 3x100 and 2x150. I usually took 12 strokes on the 1st 25 of each repeat and held 13 thereafter. Paolo started with 16, then held 17.
On the 200, Paolo was able to hold 16 for two lengths and 17 otherwise. I managed three lengths at 12, then 13 thereafter.

After we finished the set, Paolo mused "I wonder what our counts would be at 1.0 sec/stroke." So I suggested this set:
2 x 50 @ 1.20 - I held 12+13 SPL, Paolo 16+18
3 x 50 @ 1.10 - I held 13+14, Paolo 17+19
4 x 50 @ 1.00 - I held 14+15, Paolo 18+20

If you can add just one stroke per 25y as tempo increases by .1 sec, that's an indication your nervous system adapts easily to that change.

Then Paolo wondered what would happen @ .90, so we each swam a single 50. Paolo's count increased to 23, mine to 16.

That's an indicator too. Paolo's +3SPL change showed that a .90 tempo is beyond his current range of adaptability. So he should work toward it by smaller increments -- I.E. .99, .98, etc.

My +1SPL change showed that my nervous system is well-adapted to a .90 tempo. I didn't test it but I suspect I would have seen a much larger increase in stroke count from .90 to .80. If so, then I'll work to attain comfort in that range by .89, .88, etc.

After finishing these sets, Paolo and I did some Balance-tweaking exercises and some 25s and 50s exploring how slowly we could recover and still feel stable. Then we asked the lifeguard to film us doing a couple of 25s synchronizing our strokes. Watch for this on the TI Youtube Channel.
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Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 11-19-2011 at 05:06 PM.
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