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  #1  
Old 06-02-2012
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default 2BK or Flutter Kick in Waves?

In a previous thread I was advised to increase the Stroke Rate when swimming in rough seas. Too much gliding means exposing the side of the body to waves which affect the streamlined position and stability of the stroke.

My next question, following this morning swim, is about the kick.
Someone said that you should be higher in the water when the sea is rough.
My 2BK can barely keep me balanced when my head is down, if I intentionally lift the head up then I lose balance.

Is the solution in rough conditions to switch from 2BK to Flutter for additional balance? Or perhaps a more powerful 2BK (instead of a 2BK toe flick)?

Thanks. ALEX
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2012
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Default Open water 2bk

Great question Alex. Actually you want to glide and stay low. I have to really concentrate on slowing stroke down in ocean especially in choppy conditions in SF Bay. I've seen many resort to high turnover and windmilling in rough conditions only to get turned upside down. And often need to time breath in between chop which requires an even longer glide and easy 2bk (there is no hard 2bk). Going in out of surf I usually go to 6bk since that's usually less than 100 yards. Otherwise it's 2bk all the way.
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2012
flychick flychick is offline
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Coach Stuart, what do you consider to be an appropriate stroke rate for ocean swimming? I find that in open water I am comfortable with the TT at 1.20, wheras in the pool my comfort zone is between 1.25 and 1.30.
Thanks!
Nicki
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  #4  
Old 06-02-2012
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Default Open water swim tempo

Quote:
Originally Posted by flychick View Post
Coach Stuart, what do you consider to be an appropriate stroke rate for ocean swimming? I find that in open water I am comfortable with the TT at 1.20, wheras in the pool my comfort zone is between 1.25 and 1.30.
Thanks!
Nicki
Hi Nicky,

Another great question and glad you brought that up. Tempo and stroke rate are unique to each swimmer largely based on height and skill level. But your scenario is common in .1-.05 seconds faster tempo in the ocean, and suspect holding your pool tempo feels very slow - it does for me too. The ocean is moving changing our balance thus triggering a faster tempo. Typically when starting out, especially in cold water and/or start of triathlon, the tendency is to stoke too fast - then gasping for air usually follows. Keep a focal to slow the hands down regardless of the environment you are in or that surrounds you. When you get into a comfortable rythm, turn on the TT at pool tempo and try to hold your pool stroke and decrease (faster) tempo if you need. That said, I generally swim at .05 faster tempo in the ocean that's fairly calm with large rolling swells. But in the SF Bay I often find I have to actually slow my tempo down by .1 or .2, longer glide to carve through the chop timing my breath in between. In any case reducing tempo by .05 in ocean waters is fine, reducing tempo by .2 your stroke is probably falling apart, and will not be able to sustain the faster rate as it would be if you used the "too fast for height/skill level" tempo in the pool.

Just nothing like swimming in open water, ocean or SF Bay. I'll take 4miles of ocean over 280 pool laps any day of the week and twice on Sunday - yay!! :-)

Happy Ocean Swimming!

Stuart

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 06-02-2012 at 06:05 PM. Reason: typo
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  #5  
Old 06-02-2012
flychick flychick is offline
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Hi Stuart,
Thanks so much for your reply! This is my first season of open water swimming and I have found it impossible to tell how efficient I am being, especially as I am also wearing a wetsuit for the first time! So I went to the 50m pool that we are lucky enough to have for the summer months with my wetsuit and TT to do a little experiment! I swam some 100m sets at 1.3, 1.25 and 1.2. My stroke count was remarkably consistent at all three speeds - around 35/37 per length, so of course I was definitely going quicker at the 1.2 pace. Gotta love that voodoo speed!! (My stroke count is 38/39 per 50m without the wetsuit and I can hold this throughout a 2.5K training session. I am 5' 6"). I do agree that the pool tempo feels so slow in open water, and also when I started in April the cold water (8C!!) really took my breath away so the TT helped me not to hyperventilate!!
I am now up to two miles without a break in my open water training with the TT set at 1.2 and I feel great at the end - strong and still long in the stroke - so I guess that this is OK for me. What do you think? Also, I guess that experience tells you when you need to edge the tempo up or down to suit the conditions.
I love open water swimming!!!
Warm regards,
Nicki

Last edited by flychick : 06-02-2012 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Typo
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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I would think slower stroke rate in choppy water makes sense from a timing perspective too.

We want keep our stroke rate at a pace where we can maintain a "sweet spot" shift. (that requires timing the spear exactly as the opposite arm is ready with the catch). As our stroke rate increases it gets harder to hit this effortless sweetspot each time and we fatigue.

Similarly in the ocean where the chop is messing with your rhythm, slowing down SR tempo a little will help you hit precise switch co-ordination each time.

This is one of my key focal points at the moment and why I am working on organic tempo training in open water.
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  #7  
Old 06-02-2012
flychick flychick is offline
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Andy, what do you mean by 'organic tempo training'?
Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 06-02-2012
flychick flychick is offline
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I've been thinking about a race that I did in the sea in early May (in the UK). The distance was one mile and there was quite a swell. Being an inexperienced sea swimmer I felt as if I had to speed up my stroke rate to prevent my body from being tossed around and buffetted from the side when I was swimming parallel to the shore. I did not have my TT with me that day. My time was 26.56 and I was pleased with that for a first effort, but I was aware of how hard I had to concentrate on my form to hold everything together - didn't always succeed :-0
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  #9  
Old 06-02-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flychick View Post
Andy, what do you mean by 'organic tempo training'?
Thanks!
I mean learning to get a strict tempo in your head without using the TT. You can either feel the beat in your body, or hold some bars of a song in your head that you now the tempo of (or can check with a free iphone app etc). You need to find a piece of music that sounds wrong when its too fast or too slow. I like to use the skaterĘs waltz, favourite things from sound of music, and laraĘs theme as they all start to sound rushed over 60BPM so if I think steady its usually around my target of 50-55bpm.

You can test your progress in the pool with some 100 repeats and fixed SPL.

Or, if you have the garmin 910xt you can do an open water swim and it should give you stroke cycles per minute.

I was aiming for 50 SPM in my last race and the watch reported 48, which given the wave chop discussed above I was quite satisfied with but its a new skill for me too.

The other advantage is that TTĘs are not allowed in some races, and if you use the organic method, you have the option of chaning the tempo in a race according to your strategy or the competition.
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2012
flychick flychick is offline
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Thanks Andy, that's really helpful - I'll certainly try that approach!
Warm regards,
Nicki
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