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Old 08-01-2011
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Default More Inspiration from Sun Yang

In my last practice I did a set of 50s designed to compare my SPL at .90 tempo to Sun Yang's. That was after his win in the 800m. Today my entire practice was inspired by his new WR in the 1500m, breaking a decade-old mark by Grant Hackett, while also shattering the efficiency benchmark Hackett had set.

To put Sun Yang's swim in its deserved historic perspective I need to quote myself, excerpting words I wrote in 2002 which you can find on pps 58-59 of the revised version of my original Total Immersion book:

From 1988 to 1992 the American swimmer Matt Biondi had a hammerlock on the title "World's Fastest Swimmer." Biondi was undefeated in the sprint freestyles and was more efficient than any of his rivals.

For several years Alexander Popov's coach had studied Biondi's stroke, using it as a model for his rising star. In the final of the 50-meter freestyle in the 1992 Olympics, Popov touched first in 21.8 seconds, Biondi right behind in 22.0 seconds. What most amazed analysts was that Popov had not only beaten Biondi by a comfortable margin, he had beaten him thoroughly at Biondi's longest suit--stroke efficiency. Popov had taken 34 strokes, Biondi 37. The time gap may have been just 1 percent, but the three-stroke difference, an efficiency gap of nearly 10 percent between the world's two best sprinters was nearly inconceivable.

It was just the beginning of a new efficiency standard. For an unheard of 10 years afterward, Popov continued to dominate the sprint events, raising the bar again and again for efficiency and speed.

Sun Yang held 27 SPL up to the 1200-meter mark of his 1500, took 28 SPL over the next 250m and 32 SPL on his final 50. His average of under 28 SPL demolished what had seemed a nearly untouchable efficiency standard Grant Hackett had set when he averaged 31 SPL in setting the former record. Sun's swim was even more of a landmark accomplishment than Popov's in 1992, because he improved on Hackett's efficiency benchmark by nearly 13 percent.

This morning, I decided to set my personal efficiency benchmark higher. setting a goal was to keep my SPL at 39 or lower the entire practice.

Set #1
8 x 100 Descend, controlling stroke count.
On this set I stayed consistent at 75 strokes. I was more relaxed, yet a bit faster, than on a similar set I did last week at 77 strokes. That time I descended from 1:59 to 1:42. Today, taking two fewer strokes, I descended from 1:53 to 1:38. I'm also very pleased with being able to swim 15 seconds faster without adding any strokes.

Set #2
4 x 200 Descend. Hold average SPL @ 39.
I descended these from 3:27 to 3:16, improving on the pace/100 I did in Set #1.

Set #3
4 x 200. Odd: Cruise, Even: Strong
I held the same average stroke count as on the previous set. I swam 3:30 on the Cruise 200s and 3:15-3:14 on the Strong 200s. Again, with the same stroke count.

Set #4
8 x 100 on 2:00
Try to repeat Set #1
I fell a bit short on stroke efficiency, my average was 76 strokes/100. My average time was a bit faster, as I descended from 1:45 to 1:41, but my final 100 was a bit slower.

Though I was striving to stay relaxed and easy I felt moderate fatigue near the end of this set, a vestige of lifting weights yesterday, swimming a tiring ocean mile race on Saturday and residual fatigue from last week's training. I'll watch this carefully since I swim a U.S. Masters National Championship event next Saturday, 5km at Coney Island.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 08-01-2011 at 07:24 PM.
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