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  #1  
Old 06-08-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default Stroke Rate = SPEED ?

Looking at the famous TI equation: Speed = SR * SL

SR=Stroke Rate
SL=Stroke Length

Could we conclude that Speed is really dependent on Stroke Rate only?

I say this because I assume that TI Swimmers all focus on gliding and maximizing SL. The only thing we can consciously change is how fast we stroke.

What do you think?

So if I say that I swim 50m in 60sec it may seem slow to you if your time is 40sec. But then the question is: "How fast would you swim at the same Stroke Rate I use (SR=1.5)?"

To be precise, we may need to mention the stroke rate in addition to our LAP Times....

ALEX
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Isn't the more interesting question how to swim at a given speed with minimal energy cost?
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2011
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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In reply to Alex, I'd say no.

Imperical evidence here indicates that increase in SR is not proportional to increase in speed for me personally.

In my case here this is because as my SR increases my efficiency decreases.
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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As a newbie to TI (learning for 14 months), but an experienced professional trainer and occasional coach in another sport, I'd like to give my take on this.

As far as I can see, it's all about focus. Yes, Speed = SR x SL, and if you increase your SR for a given SL you will go faster. However, if you focus on SR, your SL will invariably shorten and speed will not increase, or perhaps your technique may suffer.

In a similar way, speed "=" power / drag (I wrote "=" to mean "proportional to", but to retain the link with the previous equation). Traditional swimming coaching methods focus on both increasing power and decreasing drag (which is initially logical), but what TI does is mainly focus on drag. I'm assuming this was because Terry realised that swimmers focusing on power often ruin their drag and don't increase their speed, so they're fighting against themselves all the time in training - with one step forward and one step back. Why choose drag and not power to focus on? Because drag increases with the square of speed (double the speed and you quadrupule the drag, which is why a 200bhp car doesn't have twice the top speed of a 100bhp car), and water is so dense that drag is a major factor. I haven't done the maths, but I expect decreases in drag are worth more in water than increases in power, for a given effort put in when learning to swim.

It helps with any sport to understand the science behind it, but humans aren't perfect and often focusing on the desired effect does not produce it. Instead you often need to fool your brain with distraction techniques or purposeful over-exagerration in order to achieve the desired effect. Think of the recovery - if you think about pulling, it doesn't work very well, and even if you think about your hand it doesn't work (which is what fistgloves are for).

Learning any sport, or musical instrument is all about teaching your brain to do something, which is very different from teaching yourself to do something..

For sure, the fastest swimmers have huge power (just look at them!), but it's the way it's deployed that matters. For people like me at least, who are learning to swim, perhaps focusing on drag is the way to go. TI has certainly worked for me.

Edited to add an analogy: my main sport has always been motor racing, I've obsessed over the technique (my degree is in Physics so I love all the techy stuff) and I've coached it occasionally. Motor racing is very similar to swimming in that it's all about technique (low drag) rather than power (which for the driver means effort). Most people who don't race probably just think it's a load of blokes exercising their egos and thrashing cars round tracks, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Put the average bloke in a car and ask him to be fast and he'll either be rubbish, crash or be slow. It's very technique based, and any driver (even experienced ones) trying to go fast invariably goes slower. Instead to go faster you have to think about perfecting the technique, rather than the speed, and then the speed comes. This is why most very successful racing drivers are usually quite cerebral, even geeky and shy, characters. This "try hard = go slower" theory is very well understood in racing, probably because you get instant feedback - try hard on one lap, then see your time as you cross the line two minute's later and realise you were slower. Until Terry came along with TI, I expect it was less understood in swimming. Jackie Stewart (famous F1 driver for the unitiated!) tells an interesting story, when he was racing at Watkins Glen in the 60s and was asked by the team to back off a bit to preserve the car. What happened was that he went quicker. I expect the same is true of swimming.

Last edited by RobM77 : 06-09-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2011
DVLAswim DVLAswim is offline
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This post has brought up a point I have been thinking about a lot lately.

What is the most accurate way for a swimmer to measure performance

When we post times should we be including stroke rate and, when swimming in a pool strokes per length (SPL)? And I suppose some information about our height, weight, age and wingspan?

It is a very different thing for a 6 foot tall 20 year old who weighs 160lbs to swim 100m in 1:30 and with an average of SPL of 27 and for a 35 year old woman who is 5 feet tall to swim 100m in 1:30 with an average SPL of 12 . One is obviously more skilled in swimming than the other. One is swimmer that is a bit above average, the other is a magician.

There does seem to be an unhealthy obsession with naked times that are posted with no mention of how those times were achieved.

Rather than measuring how fast we swim, how do we go about measuring how well we swim? How do we talk to each other in a way that more accurately describes our skill in the practice of swimming?

Is there some shorthand that TI recommends? I'm very curious.
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2011
mjm mjm is offline
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Default SR vs SL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex-SG View Post
ALEX
Alex: you might find this discussion interesting:

http://www.usms.org/forums/showthrea...t=18806&page=4

From Terry:

"The idea to focus on is reducing drag - not gliding. I've never heard anyone make a serious suggestion that gliding is a good strategy so including it in discussion takes us off-topic.

But when you note that reducing fluctuations in speed reduces the energy and power requirements of maintaining that speed, then you introduce an idea that has unquestionable merit and universal value. (And by fluctuations in speed I should clarify that I - and I assume you - mean within each stroke cycle.

When biomechanists evaluate stroke efficiency one of the common things they do is connect a swimmer to a velocity gauge, usually via a fishing line, and track velocity fluctuations, while shooting underwater video. For analysis they overlay the velocity curve to the video to observe in what parts of the stroke the curve rises and falls - and by how much.

The more gentle those curves the better. Steeper lines mean higher power requirement"
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2011
dobarton dobarton is offline
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I've started experimenting with adding speed only VERY recently with a tempo trainer, which I also added VERY recently. I haven't quite gotten to it yet, but the other thing I am planning on doing is creating a chart that has SPL across the top and SR down the side to determine speed.
I have discovered that as SR goes down, time goes down much faster than as SPL goes down. However, I suspect that there are many little bumps in this thought process because one cannot maintain SPL indefinitely and you increase SPL as SR gets faster. My goal with creating a table is to look at where all those break even points are so that I can set some goals for myself.

It makes for very interesting thought. I would suggest that you think very carefully before giving in completely to SR "=" speed. Note that the fastest swimmers all have very low SPL even at speed. There is a reason for this.
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVLAswim View Post
This post has brought up a point I have been thinking about a lot lately.

What is the most accurate way for a swimmer to measure performance

When we post times should we be including stroke rate and, when swimming in a pool strokes per length (SPL)? And I suppose some information about our height, weight, age and wingspan?

It is a very different thing for a 6 foot tall 20 year old who weighs 160lbs to swim 100m in 1:30 and with an average of SPL of 27 and for a 35 year old woman who is 5 feet tall to swim 100m in 1:30 with an average SPL of 12 . One is obviously more skilled in swimming than the other. One is swimmer that is a bit above average, the other is a magician.

There does seem to be an unhealthy obsession with naked times that are posted with no mention of how those times were achieved.

Rather than measuring how fast we swim, how do we go about measuring how well we swim? How do we talk to each other in a way that more accurately describes our skill in the practice of swimming?

Is there some shorthand that TI recommends? I'm very curious.
It depends what your goals are I suppose. Competition? Fitness?

Personally, I don't see swimming as any different to other competitive physical sports, so I will compare my times in competition with a) everyone and b) everyone in my age group (which is the aim of masters swimming competitions in age groups). The fact that at 5'10" and 34 years of age I'm starting with a disadvantage compared to a 6'4" 21 year old is just life really. Sure, it's not something that I ignore in running, cycling, tennis or other sports that I do, but I certainly wouldn't finish a half marathon and say "that took me 90 minutes, but bear in mind I'm only little and my stride looked nice and smooth".

On another note, if your goal is qualitative improvement; to make your stroke pleasing, satisfying and efficient and to gain enough endurance to maintain your fitness smoothly with half hour swims every other day, then yes, a qualitative look at the aesthetics of your stroke is the best way to judge it.

Just my thoughts really. I've learnt to swim the TI way for competition, fitness and satisfaction (because I like learning new things). Ergo, I'm interested in both my raw times and also my technique from an aesthetic point of view. To be brutally honest though I think any interest in the aesthetics of my stroke is probably just a function of my diminutive stature and advancing age resulting in less competitive times :D Mind you, the first person I want to beat is myself, so I'll still be timing myself in the pool when I'm 70 to see if I can go faster than the day before...
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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What is the point of competing?
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
What is the point of competing?
I just enjoy it. I've had an urge to compete all my life, whether it's with myself (as it is now with swimming), or with other competitors (as with motor racing, clay pigeon shooting or running). I even time my walks home from work sometimes to try and go faster each time!

Obviously doing well is a major driver, and at 34 years of age I'll never win an open swimming event, but in the UK we have masters swimming competitions where you compete against your own age group. Even if I come last, the drive and ambition to not come last will still keep me going; and once I've done that I'll be trying to go faster still and come second from last.

I view swimming as a sport :)
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