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  #1  
Old 07-20-2011
harling harling is offline
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harling
Default (6) ways to swim a 25m length in 20 seconds or less

Assuming a push off of from a wall of 3 seconds (calculated using Excel):

1. 21 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.8s or less(19.8s length)
2. 19 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.9s or less (20.1s length)
3. 17 strokes with a stroke rate of 1s or less (20s length)
4. 15 strokes with a stroke rate 1.1s or less (19.5s length)
5. 13 strokes with a stroke rate of 1.3s or less (19.9s length)
6. 11 strokes with a stroke rate of 1.5s or less (19.5s length)

Which of these would be easiest to maintain for 1500m I wonder? I would guess TI might "say" develop "lower strokes per length", but some very able non-TI swimmers go for a faster stroke rate.

For us mere mortals I would think strokes per length of 17 and above are just about doable with loads of training over longer distances, but maintaining 1s stroke per length might be tricky unless our brains really can be rewired to this pace without accumulating lactic acid unsustainably (Terry calls 1s per stroke his "race pace" somewhere).

World class swimmers seem to do every 25m in around 15s per length for 1500m. Grant Hackett is doing around 30 seconds per 50m with about 34 strokes per length, here in 2000. Using the above figures his arms must be going faster than 1s per stroke (I found it difficult to count).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxLtYG97egI

In our dreams: A hypothetical 10 second length with a 3 second push off could be done by

1. 17 stokes would have to have a stroke rate faster than 0.5s
2. 15 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.5s or less (10.5s length)
3. 13 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.6 or less (10.8s length)
4. 11 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.7 or less (10.7s)

I found this on Youtube - here is an 11 second swim, with a 2 second push off and 16 strokes in a length. Looks like a straight arm recovery. His arms must be rotating around 0.5s per stroke to do this time for 25m - he doesn't look too rushed after watching it a couple of times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKu9E07JGjU

I know, its the feeling of making progress developmentally and experiencing flow that really matter most, but sometimes its nice to dream.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harling View Post
Assuming a push off of from a wall of 3 seconds (calculated using Excel):

1. 21 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.8s or less(19.8s length)
2. 19 strokes with a stroke rate of 0.9s or less (20.1s length)
3. 17 strokes with a stroke rate of 1s or less (20s length)
4. 15 strokes with a stroke rate 1.1s or less (19.5s length)
5. 13 strokes with a stroke rate of 1.3s or less (19.9s length)
6. 11 strokes with a stroke rate of 1.5s or less (19.5s length)

Which of these would be easiest to maintain for 1500m I wonder? I would guess TI might "say" develop "lower strokes per length", but some very able non-TI swimmers go for a faster stroke rate.
Is this a projection, via some sort of calculation, or is it a result of an actual test set with Tempo Trainer?

With the benefit of a lot of experience I have a pretty fair sense of my tempo 'sweet spot' which is between 1.0 and 1.1 for distances of 1500 and up. I can probably be comfortable at a slightly higher tempo in open water, with the oxygen deprivation and larger-muscle involvement of turns removed.

So I just set my tempo trainer and discover what SPL results at various distances. My SPL will be lower on shorter repeats and higher for longer repeats.

Once I know actual experience I simply strive to maintain SPL as I incrementally speed up tempo, or incrementally increase distance. Or incrementally reduce SPL at an unchanged tempo or distance.

For me it's based on improving my current metrics, more than aiming for an ideal. By working at many different combinations I also learn which feel most sustainable -- i.e. likely to work for, say, a 1500.
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2011
HandsHeal HandsHeal is offline
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HandsHeal
Default Excel point

harling, your Excel calculations bring up a point that I have noticed in the real wet world.

With a 1.5 sec. Tempo Trainer (TT) setting I can scoot across 25 yds @ 11SPL. Including the 3 second push off, that puts me at 19.5 sec for the wall-to-wall 25 yds. (Same as your #6 calculation). Then, changing the TT to 1.1 sec., I scoot across the tank @ 15 SPL. Again, including the 3 second push off, I clock 19.5 seconds for the 25 yd lap. (Same as your #4 calculation).

Here's an odd thing though - I could swim to Africa with the 1.1 sec. TT setting! But, with the significantly slower 1.5 sec TT, I'd be spent by the time I got to the Bahamas.

So you see, my experience in the pool does not seem to jibe with the idea of saving energy by using fewer strokes per length (SPL).

Could it be that if I continued to practice the 1.5 sec TT with 11 SPL, then I'd train the muscles needed for that extended glide, balance, breathing, etc? So that when the fitness, myelination, etc. came, then I'd be truly more energy efficient?

Happy Strokes
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2011
harling harling is offline
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harling
Default How stokes per length and stroke rate produce times per 25m length

The calculations are using Excel. I did it as I have started to use a tempo trainer last week, and have been working on getting my tempo up ("rewiring my brain" as Terry referred to in his last blog). I realised that at my relatively comfortable 17-19 strokes per length, I was never going to get below 25s per length without speeding my tempo to be faster than 1.3 seconds per stroke. My brain seems "wired" to a tempo of around 1.6 when I swim for longer periods i.e. produces 30 seconds per length. If someone has more strokes per length (e.g. 21 they have to be at around 1 stroke per second to do a 25s length, or 0.8s to do a 20s length)

The rule seems to be to work on finding the lowest number of strokes per length and then up your tempo while maintaining as few strokes as possible. Even if you rotate your arms at 1 stoke every 0.5s you still need to have a pretty efficient strokes per 25m length of 17 strokes to be International class over 25m.

Basically we need to work on both stoke rate and stroke length, not just one.

Attached is a table (assuming 3 seconds per push off) - sorry its bit blurry, but it is readable. Y axis is strokes per length (not labelled on the table). Numbers in table are time to swim a 25m length.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 25m speeds.JPG (16.4 KB, 17 views)

Last edited by harling : 07-21-2011 at 08:40 AM. Reason: Add apology for thumbnail quality/what Y axis is
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2011
harling harling is offline
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harling
Default Should I work on stroke rate or number of strokes per length first?

If you have slow stroke rate of 1.7s per stroke, with 21 strokes per length, decreasing your strokes per length from 21 to 19 means you go 3.4s faster.

If instead, you stick with 21 strokes per length and decide to go for a faster stroke rate e.g. from 1.7 to 1.6s you go 2.1 seconds faster. Speeding up stroke rate more, say 1.7 to 1.5s you go 4.2s faster.

The question is, which is easier and which is more productive in the long term? This might vary from person to person. However, it takes a lot of technique improvement to go to fewer strokes per length, lots of streamlining and drills but as a long term goal it will help overall in a lot of ways. Upping a slow stroke rate is a "quick fix" so long as the tempo isn't increased by too much i.e. going 0.1s or 0.2s faster rate is relatively doable, increasing by more is harder, especially to sustain over longer distances.

However, if you have a fast stroke rate - say 1 stroke per second or faster, then spinning your arms faster might become much more difficult?

At 21 stokes per length a stroke rate of 1s produces a 24 second length. If you decrease the number of strokes to 19 you go 2s faster. If you speed up to 0.9s per stroke and stay at 21 strokes per length you go 2.1s faster. Almost the same benefit as each other. Going from 1s to 0.8s per stroke cuts 4.2s of the time for 25m.

Are these guidelines?? (I am working on Guideline 2 + 4 mainly)

"Guideline 1 The faster you spin your arms naturally, the more you should work on increasing stroke length (i.e. fewer strokes per length) as spinning your arms faster is reaching its limit - and may already be too fast over longer distances.

Guideline 2 The slower you spin your arms naturally the more you should work on increasing stroke rate, ideally down to the 1s to 1.3s area. Then when you are there,

Guideline 3 The lower your strokes per length, the more you should work on your stroke rate, rather than working on streamlining and technique.

Guideline 4 Whatever you do, work on grace, flow, smoothness, a sense of having time/not being rushed and ease at whatever your stroke length and rate."

Please note that these are only my thoughts, based on the Excel sheet (see thumbnail in previous posting) and should be taken with a big "pinch of salt". I am trying to work out how the tempo trainer can help me.

Last edited by harling : 07-21-2011 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Typo correction
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2011
dobarton dobarton is offline
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dobarton
Default I would love to see an evaluation of that YouTube video

Boy, Hackett swims that about twice as fast as I do, but, man, I would not compliment his form!! Arms cross mid-line frequently, he has a very shallow entry with the spearing arm, there is very little rotation from side to side, there is a fairly clear gallop, and it seems that he is not very flat in the vertical dimension (straight as an arrow when you look from above, though). So where does the speed come from? He is CLEARLY streamlined in his own way because it does appear he finishes each 50 in well under 50 strokes.
Quite impressive, actually.
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  #7  
Old 07-21-2011
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Default

Hmm, looks pretty good to me, he doesnt have wide tracks, but never actually crosses over, shallow entry is a trademark of all the top swimmers, they are so balanced and flexible that shallow entry works better for them.

There is plenty of rotation and body is horizontal to the surface at all times. The slight up and down is a result of the galloping, which once again is a premeditated style at this elite level.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsHeal View Post

Could it be that if I continued to practice the 1.5 sec TT with 11 SPL, then I'd train the muscles needed for that extended glide, balance, breathing, etc? So that when the fitness, myelination, etc. came, then I'd be truly more energy efficient?

Happy Strokes
It depends. True efficiency can only be measured with lab equiepment measuring oygen uptake and power output...possible for many cyclists, but extremely limited for swimmers.

Fewer strokes doesn't mean more efficient. Terry talks about finding the Optimum stroke count and in his reply, comments on how he goes about finding it.

Swimming slower can be more difficult for many because balance ismore challenging. If your recovery arm is too high and too slow, it causes you to sink, making breathing more difficult & increasing drag in the water as well.

Swimming very slowly is challenging...but it's less likely a true "fitness" issue, and more likely a form issue. Swimming slowly gives you opportunities to discover weak points in your form, just as swimming at a tempo just beyond yoru comfort does.

Both ends of the spectrum help you identify the things you need to work on iproving the most...and THAT will make you a more efficient swimmer.
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  #9  
Old 07-23-2011
gladtobedifferent gladtobedifferent is offline
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gladtobedifferent
Default Depressing

Well I am a true beginner only having started front crawl end Feb this year - my stokes per length and timing for 25m are so slow/bad that they dont appear on your table!!

I am working on doing fewer strokes per length and trying to be more efficient. I have not introduced what I would call in running terms - speed/interval work - as I dont think my stroke is good enough yet.

I am focusing on building up the amount of distance I do per session. Am at 16 x 25, 8 x 25, 4x25, 4x 25 (800m total) at the moment and in the shorter ones focus on certain things to work on - wide arms, lengthening, rotation, patient leading arm, catch- I only pick two to work on at a time.

My goal is to reduce my stokes per lenght to 25 or less as an average for the longest section and to build up to a total of 1600m per session and 800m in one go. My stroke rate is very very very slow at 0.46, and it takes me 42 seconds to do 25 m.
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