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Old 07-27-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Default TI vs other swimming methods

I've been enjoying the coverage of the World Swimming Championships over the last few days, and one thing has puzzled me about the Freestyle events. Whether it's Phelps in a 200 metre sprint in the pool, or Payne in the 10k Open Water event, or in fact any other competitor across the entire championship on any distance, all of the strokes look absolutely nothing like TI. Firstly there's a huge amount of splashing going on, secondly the entire body is lifted a few inches to breathe, thirdly many of the swimmers are clearly off the horizontal as they swim with their legs lower than their heads, and finally the arm recovery is often completely straight like they're bowling a cricket ball. All four of these things are frowned upon as cardinal sins in TI.

I'm a novice at swimming, but this is really noticeable. Can anyone comment?

Last edited by RobM77 : 07-27-2011 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 07-27-2011
paddytrash paddytrash is offline
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I'm only new to swimming in the last year but a big sportsfan and this is the first games I've really looked at with any idea of technique. I noticed the exact same things

1) Splashing - Its all about speed. TI is about, balance, streamlining and efficiency. The higher stroke rate is obviously going to produce lots of turbulence due to the constantly accelerating hands and legs

2) Head lift: This is something that I couldnt believe yesterday watching the 200m FS final. Some of the competitors had a noticeable lift. Maybe its because they dont have time to rotate more for an easier breath due to the high stroke rate and horizontal position isnt as much of an issue.

3) Horizontal position: All of the swimmers probably could go up and down the pool by just kicking faster than nearly everyone on this site, so they need the legs in the water at all times and use them far more. I'm sure if their head position was more straight down then their legs would pop right out of the water. Extremely low body fat would also have them a little lower at the back, but thats not the issue i think

4) Straight Arm: Didnt really notice that, but the main reason behind not having a straight arm is to relax it so that no oxygen is used up engaging it to stay straight. But these swimmers have "engines" big enough that it probably doesnt matter, like Janet Evans
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Old 07-27-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Thanks for your post. Much of this can be explained away in a short event like 100m or 200m, but Payne was doing it in the 10k...

My own swimming aspirations are to compete in sprint triathlons over a 750 metre swim distance, or if my knee will stand the run, double that for a standard tri. Should I be splashing around, lifting my head and cartwheeling my arms? Silly question obviously, as I love swimming TI (cause it feels great!), but instinct tells me that TI should be better, because if energy isn't been expended throwing water in the air, then surely it must be being used to propel the swimmer forwards?.. The only thing I can assume is that it's somehow impossible to swim as hard and fast as a pro without starting to splash, and our TI technique only works at low to moderate speed? To do a sub 9 minute 800 metre, do you need to start making a mess?

I look very TI when I swim, but my fastest 25 metres (starting in the water) is about 17 seconds, which is way off the times these guys are doing. Can anyone get down to 15 or below using TI? Is this the issue perhaps?

I'd be very interested to hear Terry's opinion on this.
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Old 07-27-2011
aksenov aksenov is offline
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Default TI vs other swimming methods

TI and competitive swimmers have different goals.
Competitive swimmers goal is to get through the water as fast as possible.
TI emphasizes form over conditioning and meant for entry-level swimmers and distance swimmers, as the goal is to make swimming easy, efficient, energy-saving and natural.
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Old 07-27-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aksenov View Post
TI and competitive swimmers have different goals.
Competitive swimmers goal is to get through the water as fast as possible.
TI emphasizes form over conditioning and meant for entry-level swimmers and distance swimmers, as the goal is to make swimming easy, efficient, energy-saving and natural.
So whilst TI has been great at teaching me to swim properly, now that I want to be competitive over sub 1500 metre distances I would be better off abandoning TI and seeking more conventional coaching methods?
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Old 07-27-2011
armagh armagh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM77 View Post
So whilst TI has been great at teaching me to swim properly, now that I want to be competitive over sub 1500 metre distances I would be better off abandoning TI and seeking more conventional coaching methods?
"Competitive" could mean anything from a local swim meet to competing in your age group at a national level. Perhaps some definition of what your goals - including distances - are would help you determine what path to take. IIRC from Terry's blog, he went to nationals recently and I don't imagine he abandoned his TI technique, but he would be the one to answer that.
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Old 07-27-2011
borate borate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM77 View Post
I've been enjoying the coverage of the World Swimming Championships over the last few days, and one thing has puzzled me about the Freestyle events. Whether it's Phelps in a 200 metre sprint in the pool, or Payne in the 10k Open Water event, or in fact any other competitor across the entire championship on any distance, all of the strokes look absolutely nothing like TI
Principles of reducing drag through balance, streamlining, propulsion are universal. TI puts them in that order, with a focus that is well stated by Aksenov in his reply.

This thread, on Keri-Anne Payne's stroke, will lend perspective to your query.

Last edited by borate : 07-28-2011 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 07-27-2011
Donal F Donal F is offline
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RobM77, Do you have flexible ankles and a strong, propulsive kick? My opinion is that TI/balance is the best way to swim, but a lot of elites are able to balance their powerful, idiosyncratic arm strokes with strong propulsive & balancing kicks. Without such a kick, however, you're better off trying to be balanced.
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Old 07-27-2011
dobarton dobarton is offline
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Default I'm not competitive and I haven't watched the races, but...

Can anyone tell us what the stoke counts of these guys were? Not stroke speeds, but stroke counts. I'll bet the fastest guys were the ones that got across the pool in the fewest strokes at ALL distances. You CAN NOT get across the pool in fewer strokes unless you are very careful with technique, streamline and balance.
These swimmers are all MASTERS at streamline and balance. As your stroke rate gets faster, it is harder and harder for us mere mortals to see all the TI components in the competitive swimmer. I was particularly struck by this watching another video posted the other day by one of our colleagues. The swimmer was getting across 50 meters in 34 strokes in 30 seconds! Even if you count the equivalent of 4 or 5 additional stroke intervals underwater at turns you have to assume an incredible degree of balance and streamline to accomplish those counts. His kick appeared to alternate between 2 beat and 6 beat so while it was providing some of the drive to create a long stroke, it wasn't the whole story. He kept this up for either 1500 or 1600 meters (I don't remember which race it was).
I suspect that us mere mortals can only aspire to this, but aspire to this I will!
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Old 07-27-2011
terry terry is offline
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Rob
I think there are actually more similarities than differences (in the area of technique), but the differences tend to be more noticeable and the similarities more subtle -- or at least less likely to be noticed by someone who lacks a practiced eye for stroke analysis.
Your comments are restricted to freestyle. Have you watched races in the other four disciplines - Fly, Back, Breast and IM? You will find considerable similarity in what we teach in those strokes to what the world's best do.

In freestyle,as some have noted, anyone swimming on that level has great mastery of Balance and Active Streamline. That mastery - combined with the lavish athletic gifts every finalist at a World Championships possesses -- allows them to create speed out of movements that would only lead to struggle for the rest of us. Even so, every truly groundbreaking swimmer I'
ve seen in nearly 50 years of being a swim fan - by groundbreaking I mean they broke records by huge amounts, or extended their mastery across a wide range of events, or sustained brilliance for many years (Tracy Caulkins, Vladimir Salnikov, Alexandre Popov, Ian Thorpe, Michael Phelps, etc) has been a truly superior technician.

In freestyle we tend to be even more emphatic about the importance of the techniques we teach mainly because of the use we know will be made of it. While those who swim the other three strokes often do so for the satisfaction of being able to do so, the large majority of those who come to TI to learn freestyle do so for the same reason as you: They plan to do a long swim in open water, prior to cycling and running a long distance. There is simply far less room for energy waste in that application.

But here's an even more critical reason for advocating the swimming approach we do. Those people you're watching are swimming for medals and glory and all are expecting to retire in a matter of a few years.

The people we work with are swimming for a much higher purpose - self-realization and a better, happier life, and they intend to continue for as long as fortune allows.
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