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  #1  
Old 02-15-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Revisiting Swim Golf

As as a result of a post-camp suggestion from TI Coach Celeste St Pierre, the women who attended our Maho Bay Women's Open Water Experience, Jan 16-22 (self-dubbed Maho Goddesses) have begun using Swim Golf (Strokes + Seconds = Score, usually for 50 yds/m) and reporting new successes and insights. I suggested that they use the TI Discussion Forum as an archiving/sharing tool that could also stimulate hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others to make more use of SG.

Here's a message I sent to them today about SG
.

I have had an enthusiasm for Swim Golf that goes back many years as a form of practice that is perhaps the simplest way to create meaningful feedback on your swimming. But recently I'd given it far less attention because my focus shifted to the Tempo Trainer as a source of feedback.

The TT is in fact a more "precise instrument" for experimenting with how you marry Stroke Length to Stroke Rate to improve your pace intelligently and effectively. But the virtue of Swim Golf is that it's a simple and non-technical way to gain a very similar understanding.

SG worked perfectly well for me for several years before I ever became acquainted with the TT. Your enthusiastic response has reminded me of how well it works, and persuaded me to continue recommending it in my writing.

The greatest strength of SG is that it introduces people to the idea that the pace clock or sports watch is an incomplete and imprecise way to measure how you've swum. Most people think that time is all that matters and usually pay too high a price to secure a small improvement. They might, for example, swim 50 yds in 50 sec, taking maybe 38 strokes to do so - for a score of 88. Feeling not quite satisfied with that time, they'll swim harder trying to improve it. So on the next repeat, with a lot more effort they might finish the 50 in 48 sec . . . but take 42 strokes. The clock says they've done well, but they sacrificed so much efficiency to gain a couple of seconds that they need a couple of minutes to recover.

If they'd done that as a SG repeat instead, they'd know the score of 90 and seek a smarter -- more sustainable -- way to improve their time.

Since few adults are really motivated to excel at sprinting, and nearly all are interested in swimming a mile - and feeling energized rather than exhausted afterward - Swim Golf is perhaps the best simple tool for understanding how to do that . . ., then do it a bit faster.

Swim Golf is very good at giving you the kinesthetic feel (internal gauge of muscle and effort) that is essential to honing your sense of pace. Your SG experiences and the insight they produce, particularly if shared with other TI swimmers via the Forum, could make you the vanguard for a new burst of enthusiasm for a neglected improvement tool.
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Terry Laughlin
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Terry, et al.

I did some swim golf with my students tonight at various paces. ACtually what we worked on was varying recovery arm rate and learning how to manipulate stroke count at will. We did about 8 25s practicing this, then I timed them for a series of 4 x 25 on 1 minute each. I tracked strokes and time for each 25. Their goal was to add exactly 1 stroke on each 25 by increasing recovery rate. The resulting time was simply information gathered about their swimming.

Here are the results of #1 & #4 for each swimmer:

JG
#1 20 sec + 17 strokes = 37
#4 18 sec + 22 strokes = 40

DY
#1 22 sec + 14 strokes = 36
#4 17 sec + 17 strokes = 34

DC
#1 24 sec + 18 strokes = 42
#4 21 sec + 21 strokes = 42

ED
#1 24 sec + 20 strokes = 44
#4 23 sec + 24 strokes = 47

SI
#1 24 sec + 19 strokes = 43
#4 24 sec + 23 strokes = 47


I have my own set of thoughts and insights into these numbers, especially since I watched them all swim, but I'll leave the numbers at the moment and see if other people want to share any insights into them.
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Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
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  #3  
Old 02-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
The resulting time was simply information gathered about their swimming.

Here are the results of #1 & #4 for each swimmer:

JG
#1 20 sec + 17 strokes = 37
#4 18 sec + 22 strokes = 40

DY
#1 22 sec + 14 strokes = 36
#4 17 sec + 17 strokes = 34

DC
#1 24 sec + 18 strokes = 42
#4 21 sec + 21 strokes = 42

ED
#1 24 sec + 20 strokes = 44
#4 23 sec + 24 strokes = 47

SI
#1 24 sec + 19 strokes = 43
#4 24 sec + 23 strokes = 47
The most important phrase in your post is "simply information."

Among the most useful practice principles is to view the results from nearly any set as simply information. The more information the better.

In this instance, DY inarguably had the most success - or highest skill - at converting more strokes into more speed - "trading" 3 strokes for 5 seconds.

The others can benefit greatly from practicing this to acquire a similar skill. SI has the most potential to gain from further practice.
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Terry Laughlin
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

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  #4  
Old 02-17-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Different Ways to Play Swim Golf

A suggestion on golf. You may initially be scoring yourself with a single trial, or perhaps a few. I used to do the same. But rather than thinking only about trying to achieve personal golf records, I use it more often to compare how effectively I swim under slightly differing conditions.
Yesterday I swam three different sets of 50s, each with small changes in one aspect or another
My first set -- most people call it a warmup; I prefer tuneup -- was
4 x 50
2 x 100
1 x 200
2 x 100
4 x 50
My rest intervals were relatively brief. My intention was to swim progressively faster paces for the cumulative 200 in each round, which I did. It's a real challenge to do this as I progress from 50s to a 200, easier as repeats get shorter, returning to 50s.My first round of 50s was at 27 strokes (13+14) and my times were 44, 44, 43, 42. I was getting about 7 seconds rest between repeats. Best score there was 69. My next round of 50s was at same stroke count but times were 41-40-40-39. Best score there was 66.
And 1500 yards later, at the end of practice, I swam one more set of 4 x 50. On this I took 28 strokes (13+15) and gave myself an additional 10 seconds rest. Times were 40-39-38=37, giving a best golf score of 65.
So I encourage you to try different stroke counts, different rest intervals, etc to find out how that affects your score.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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My 'first round' of winter golf, and my 'swing' proved to be a bit rusty.

February 16, YMCA 25 yard pool. (Approx. 2500yds)
Freestyle
Tune-up
5x200 gradually increase spl (only 10 o/o) and tempo within each repeat while descending each (very tricky)
5 rounds 4x50 swim golf
Begin w/ benchmark spl on #1and maintain while descending. Subtract a stroke on #2 and continue to try and descend or maintain time. #3, then add a stroke back in to #4 (also very tricky) and again subtract strokes in #5! I was hoping for some sort of magic but none came : )
I was kind of 'disoriented' keeping track, will have to slate this one next time.
Although I managed well in the beginning I did feel 'all over the place' at times. And although my most successful score was 67(25/:42) I could not repeat it or better it regardless of the combination. Next time I'll definitely narrow my focus, if anything it was interesting and fun

An interesting outcome from this, during the end part of my session, before swimming a 100 I quickly figured my avg. time per 50 and 'knew' at what time I would touch the wall with my benchmark spl... and I was right!
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Posts: 647
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Terry, et al.

I did some swim golf with my students tonight at various paces. ACtually what we worked on was varying recovery arm rate and learning how to manipulate stroke count at will. We did about 8 25s practicing this, then I timed them for a series of 4 x 25 on 1 minute each. I tracked strokes and time for each 25. Their goal was to add exactly 1 stroke on each 25 by increasing recovery rate. The resulting time was simply information gathered about their swimming.

Here are the results of #1 & #4 for each swimmer:

JG
#1 20 sec + 17 strokes = 37
#4 18 sec + 22 strokes = 40

DY
#1 22 sec + 14 strokes = 36
#4 17 sec + 17 strokes = 34

DC
#1 24 sec + 18 strokes = 42
#4 21 sec + 21 strokes = 42

ED
#1 24 sec + 20 strokes = 44
#4 23 sec + 24 strokes = 47

SI
#1 24 sec + 19 strokes = 43
#4 24 sec + 23 strokes = 47


I have my own set of thoughts and insights into these numbers, especially since I watched them all swim, but I'll leave the numbers at the moment and see if other people want to share any insights into them.
I tried this last night. I'm not sure how long your pool was, but the one I used was 25m. My counts and times were:

RM
#1 25.19 sec + 13 strokes = 38.19
#4 22.78 sec + 16 strokes = 38.78

The question for me is how much I can continue to increase my stroke rate while maintaining more or less the same golf score.


Bob
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post
The question for me is how much I can continue to increase my stroke rate while maintaining more or less the same golf score.
I follow a back-and-forth process of trading a stroke here for a few ticks on the TT there. Working with a theoretical limit of, say, 15 SPL @ 1.1 sec/stroke for 100 yd repeats, I would try all of the following
Can I hold 14 SPL @ 1.15 or 1.20 for 100-yd repeats?
Can I hold some laps at 15SPL @ 1.05 for 100-yd repeats -- willing to accept that some will rise to 16SPL, but working toward reducing those and increasing the # of 15s?
Can I hold more laps at 15SPL @ 1.05 if I do 75-yd repeats instead - knowing that my goal is to strengthen my skills until I can do this for 100-yd repeats.

Essentially, you have three variables to play with
Duration - how long are your repeats
Stroke Length - how many strokes are you taking
Tempo - how fast do you take them.

Just keep trading among them, as you steadily work toward longer repeats, with minimal added strokes at incrementally faster tempos.

And you can add one more variable - rest interval.

I've often found that if I'm swimming 100-yd repeats on an interval that allows me 15 sec rest, striving to hold, say, 15 SPL @ 1.15 (a theoretical, not an empirical number) and a few 16 SPL laps begin to creep into the mix, increasing my rest interval - perhaps to 30 sec - is often enough to 'rescue' the set.

In conventional training, the goal is usually to push relentlessly for shorter rest intervals. In TI training, we prioritize improving the circuit (i.e. the neural pattern we're trying to deepen in muscle memory). And rest interval is among the 'trading chips' we have available to use. As in the examples above, if a longer rest interval helps me maintain an improved combination of duration, stroke length and tempo, I always have the option to make an incremental downward adjustment in rest after I feel that circuit 'harden.'
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Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2011
dmbrudvig dmbrudvig is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 16
dmbrudvig
Default Golf Realization

You know, I am starting my ninth year of hopefully ever smarter swimming and I've never tried swim golf! For the first time today I understand it! Because I'm doing the Ches. Bay swim next summer I've been working on efficiency mostly. Yesterday I did 10x100 and found I usually had twenty seconds rest on 2:00 minutes. It was my first interval attempt in months. But I knew my stroke count was not as good as my fifties or certainly as a concentrated and rested 25. Now I see how to join the two together! Excellent. Very purposeful and a restful mind workout even as you are balancing pushing your body. I do want to go faster as I've been about this speed for a long time. But mostly I want to swim strong and well. Thanks Terry and all!
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