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  #1  
Old 07-28-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default OW Stability & Stroke Rate

If you are swimming in the sea with some side waves, what kind of technique adjustments do you make?

Should Stroke Rate be increased to minimize the destabilizing effect of waves on the body?

I ask because my last session did not feel good at all. I thought my body was not a straight line and was being pushed around by waves coming from the side.

Was it because of my slow stroke rate (SR=1.60)? Was it because I was taking longer to breathe? Was I rotating too much?

Should I have switched from a 2BK to a flutter kick to stabilize the body more? Thanks. ALEX
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Old 07-28-2011
naj naj is offline
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Great question Alex,

I can only speak for myself but when I am swimming in the ocean on a cross current and I get pushed from the side. I make sure my main focal point is active streamline. I don't pick up my tempo nor do I flutter. If I try and resist the water I know who's gonna win. Remember the path of least resistance. The lower your body is in the water the straighter and farther you will go even in turbulent water. As Terry mentions in The Outside The Box DVD; "Keep a low profile."

This morning when I was out swimming I encountered a wake from a large tanker. As the wake picked up in its intensity I told myself to relax, keep a tight streamline and don't over rotate to breathe. Low and behold I nailed the exact spot that I was looking to make without having to readjust in the swells.

For me it is clear that an active streamline is the best bet, not picking up tempo or fluttering. But this is just my own experience and I'll let others chime in on their own views.

Keep Swimming in the sea!
Naji

Last edited by naj : 07-28-2011 at 10:17 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-29-2011
KatieK KatieK is offline
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There's a lot of debate out there on this topic.

I personally find it much more comfortable to pick up my stroke rate when dealing with a cross current (or wake from boats). I'm not fighting the water. I'm just putting extra focus on carrying the momentum from one stroke into the next. It's easier to do that at a faster stroke rate.

If you have any dead spots in your stroke, those waves will really beat you up. As you slow down, the waves knock you off course and slow you down. Then, you have to use extra energy to get your momentum back.

Picking up your stroke rate doesn't fix the underlying problem (i.e. the dead spot), but it does minimize the impact.
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Old 07-29-2011
saadbox13 saadbox13 is offline
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Being a former surfer and now an aspiring OW TI swimmer I can only offer the following advice: when swimming in a rough ocean with waves the key is to adjust your pace and try to use the momentum caused by waves to your own advantage. This will inevitably transale into inconsistent stroke rate, slower then faster when on top then slower again etc...
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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In the years I've swam OW especially the 10+ Alcatraz crossings I've managed, the conditions can be totally different from swim to swim. I've been out there when it's calm like glass, and choppy with inconsistent wavefronts and waves up to 3-4'.

I have found the problem to be that the glide phase of my stroke is when a wave can hit my body and then cause it to bend/flop and also to rotate me more and most likely in the wrong way (ie. keep rotating me until I'm almost on my back). When the wave tries to rotate me, it can be straining to keep your body at the same angle. But also, you may find that the recovering arm is coming around and then the wave also pushes it into water when you didn't want it to be in the water and thus your recovery gets cut off and you have to drive it forward to spear.

However, if my SR is higher then I feel that my body's glide phase is shorter and if I am spearing/stroking, and I have more power to keep my body aligned towards the direction of motion because I'm busy in movement with my hip driving my spear, my other arm stroking, etc. Waves hitting me have less an effect than if I'm recovering slower with a slower SR and my glide phase is longer.

The other challenge is if you're wearing a wetsuit, then you're riding higher in the water and then the waves can really knock you around even more...
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Old 08-05-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Thanks guys, looks like focusing on streamlining, increasing the stroke rate and adjusting it to take advantage of waves (probably back waves that can make you "body-surf") is the solution.

I agree with dshen: your body tends to be pushed around and bend with side waves. The slower you swim, the more you expose your body.

A stroke rate increase minimizes the time the body is vulnerable to being pushed around from the side.

It is an interesting trade-off though... waves require you to rotate more to breathe, and that extra rotation makes you vulnerable to side waves.

The issue of having your recovery "marionette-arm" get stuck in a wave is also a problem. Perhaps one has to change the stroke and adopt a more "straight arm" type of recovery in those rough conditions? ALEX
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Old 08-05-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex-SG View Post
The issue of having your recovery "marionette-arm" get stuck in a wave is also a problem. Perhaps one has to change the stroke and adopt a more "straight arm" type of recovery in those rough conditions? ALEX
yes definitely. you can find references to the shape of the recovering arm in some of the how-to literature on swimming alcatraz. unfortunately, i could only find this one now:

The Alcatraz Swimmers Manual http://ds.ly/oCifIb

there used to be some videos but i think they may be not available anymore. there probably are some good ones on youtube.

this is worth experimenting with but i have found that if you take the relaxed arm recovery that is commonly taught by TI, with arm bent about 90 degrees at the elbow as it comes forward, you may find that in rough waters that acts as a nice triangular lever arm for water to push against and the water will grab hold of your arm as it washes against it to over-rotate you. if you try wider angles, you may find that your arm is more resistant to being pushed against by waves. i am not sure a full straight arm is a good idea due to its strain on the shoulder, but you may find an angle greater than 90 but less than 180 may work better under certain conditions.

another thing to try is to not glide the hand/fingertips so close to the water, as you may do in the pool for a compact recovery. if your hand is higher above the surface of the water, this may also help in rougher water. as the hand/arm comes around in recovery, the fact that the hand is pointing more in the direction of side-approaching waves may mean that it inserts into the oncoming wave, rather than presenting surface area for it to push against...
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