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Old 07-30-2010
josefpinel josefpinel is offline
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Default Fast Triathlon Swimming Split

I would like to read the testimony of anyone ever swimming the 1500 mts swimming leg of an olympic distance triathlon in 18 minutes, using the Total Immersion techniques ... I've never seen an elite triathlete swimming TI ... I believe TI is ok for swimming all day long if you want, but slowly ... I don.t think TI alone is enough for fast and competitive swimming
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Old 07-30-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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josefpinel,

I give you my understanding of TI, as a beginner with no experience in freestyle before and without TI.

I don't see TI as a way of swimming. I see it as very systematic ideas, analysis, means, drills and attitudes for learning how to swim efficiently and easy. A lot of people have that goal of swimming efficiently and easy (every worldclass swimmer has it, because you cannot be fast without being efficient), few take the time and patience to really analyze and drill patiently to get there and, I think, TI is unique in offering a complete set of (well working) drills to get you to that goal.
You see worldclass swimmers using streamlining, balanced body position, weight shift, body rotation, long patient hands, ... all the same points TI is advocating. If you swim for longer distances than the very short ones you could use a 2BK, otherwise a 6BK.

So, what exactly do you want to see? Or is your question, can you profit from TI when you want to swim faster ? I do believe that using TI principles to swim more efficiently is independent from the swimming speed.


You can read some more elegant and eloquent information about this matter from Terry here

Hope it helped...
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Old 07-31-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Default Examples of Fast TI Swimmers

Quote:
Originally Posted by josefpinel View Post
I would like to read the testimony of anyone ever swimming the 1500 mts swimming leg of an olympic distance triathlon in 18 minutes, using the Total Immersion techniques ... I've never seen an elite triathlete swimming TI ... I believe TI is ok for swimming all day long if you want, but slowly ... I don.t think TI alone is enough for fast and competitive swimming
I agree with haschu33 . I found a few examples of fast TI swimmers in this article of Terry's: http://www.active.com/swimming/Artic...on_article.htm

Of those examples the most pertinent to your question is sixteen-year-old TI swimmer Adrienne Binder. She swam 1,650 yards in 15:48, several minutes ahead of the milestone you quoted.
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Old 07-31-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josefpinel View Post
I would like to read the testimony of anyone ever swimming the 1500 mts swimming leg of an olympic distance triathlon in 18 minutes, using the Total Immersion techniques ... I've never seen an elite triathlete swimming TI ... I believe TI is ok for swimming all day long if you want, but slowly ... I don.t think TI alone is enough for fast and competitive swimming
Hi josef,

Did you swim the 18 min.? and perhaps it was using 'TI techniques' in some form or another. Have you analyzed the swim you speak of?

I don't believe TI boasts of 'inventing' freestyle swimming, but it does provide a very organized, altruistic, effective and efficient way of learning and improving ones swimming ability.

TI, I believe, was built on the example of elite swimming ability and how mere mortals can experience the same sort of success by applying its principles.

Btw, swimming all day long is something not many people can talk about with a smile on their face.
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Old 07-31-2010
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I had my stroke gutted from a hard- hitting 18 or more spl into a FQ Ti-style stroke over my first year in college. From my previous best of 19:06 in the 1650, I dropped to 16:55 and then 16:30 the next year in college, breaking the school record at Carleton College by 28 seconds (and it's been broken again since). That was a national "B" standard.
I opened up a relay on the Lake Minnetonka 5-miler a few years back with a 2-mile split of 38 minutes. Since then, I've trained mostly for endurance (speed helps in Channel swimming, but I needed to get my mind around something much longer than a 1650 to race that). I've had some nice splits here and there on relays and open water swims, but lately (not training), I've just enjoyed pacing a 10-year old along or encouraging new open water swimmers.
To see fast open water swimming, you don't go to a triathlon- they are great endurance athletes, but their swimming speeds don't come close to the fastest open water swimmers around (neither has mine). There's a lot of variety to those strokes, depending on conditions, but the principles of TI can be applied in many ways. Take a look at some of Terry's best OW paces and ask how many triathletes in a wetsuit are hitting his times without one at age <not telling>
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Old 07-31-2010
josefpinel josefpinel is offline
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OK ... I agree with the fact that TI techniques work in terms of efficiency and smoothness ... I own the "Easy Freestyle" DVD and have been practicing TI drills for months, and certainly my swimming has become very smooth, relaxed, easy, unhurried ... but not fast enough !!! ... I believe everything you people have posted in this thread to be true ... maybe self-coaching doesn't do the job for me, maybe you people have attended TI swim camps, or whatever ... I can swim for hours if I want to, but what I really need is to get faster ... and I think TI principles have helped, but there must be something else that this DVD isn't covering .... I definitively give TI credit for teaching how to swim any number of miles without getting tired, but IMO, it doesn`t teach how to be a competitive swimmer ... I´m sure there are plenty of really fast TI swimmers out there, but maybe, without total awareness, they are applying aditional principles and techniques to get propulsion.
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Old 07-31-2010
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Default I agree

Once the stroke is in place, there's adjustments to each situation. Shall I add you to the roster of next Saturday's TI Advanced class?
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Old 07-31-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josefpinel View Post
I would like to read the testimony of anyone ever swimming the 1500 mts swimming leg of an olympic distance triathlon in 18 minutes, using the Total Immersion techniques ... I've never seen an elite triathlete swimming TI ... I believe TI is ok for swimming all day long if you want, but slowly ... I don.t think TI alone is enough for fast and competitive swimming
Josef
Your post reads, virtually word for word, like criticisms frequently posted on various triathlon web sites, usually by athletes who believe strongly - and perhaps only - in the "protestant work ethic" philosophy of athletic training. Victory goes to the man or woman who shows up earliest and works hardest. Many of them seem to take offense at our advocacy of using ease and relaxation as one, among many, useful methods of training-to-improve.

Perhaps you read similar things on one of those sites and began to entertain doubts about whether TI would work for you. Recently, in response to a challenge on the Beginner Triathlete forum to name one athlete who had used TI -- and only TI -- to swim 18 min for 1500m, I named Nicholas Sterghos, a West Pointer, a good x-country runner who joined the tri team at West Point after a series of stress fractures forced him to seek lower-impact training.

At his first tri race, in the spring of 2007, he swam 1.5k in 27+. In the spring of 2009, he swam 18:18 in the Phila. International Triathlon. In the interim he had done no conventional swim training. All his swim development was under TI Coach Lou Tharp. That wasn't good enough for the skeptics; they immediately demanded another example.

That prompts me to ask What's the significance of 18 min? Who determined that is the standard for 'fast'? And if that's the standard that the skeptics have decided TI is incapable of helping an athlete reach, well what is the "Top TI speed" in their mind?

The problem with an arbitrary standard such as that is:
1) It's meaningless for the vast majority of triathletes. Beyond the top 10%, most triathletes most value that it provides them with an opportunity for what I called "healthful fellowship" in this blog and revisited in my most recent blog. As people like that are, by far, our most populous audience, we emphasize the physical and mental rewards of mindful, purposeful practice far more than aspects of speed.
2) If 18:00 is the standard for "fast" where does that leave women, or those in their 40s, 50s, 60s etc?
3) Are you currently swimming 19 min and have hit a wall? Or are you perhaps swimming in the 25 min range and wishing to swim 23 or 24 min? If so, why are you so concerned with 18 min?
4) Do you agree that the point is to complete the full distance at the strongest possible cumulative pace? If you've studied race results, you may be aware that the person with the fastest swim split is almost never the person with the fastest overall time - and the person with the fastest time virtually never swam the fastest. A fast swim is never enough to win the race. A swim that is too effortful though, is very frequently the reason why an athlete underperforms over the entire distance.

One reason is that it takes only a little more effort to run a little faster, while it takes a LOT more effort to swim a little faster. A tactically-smart triathlete will realize that, since you have a finite number of 'heartbeats to spend' over the entire distance, it makes far more sense to 'save heartbeats' in the water because you'll get far more speed by 'spending' them on land instead. Here's why:

Michael Joyner, Ph.D. of the Mayo Clinic, one of the most respected exercise researchers in the US. - who has run a 2:27 marathon in his 20s and swam a 21-min plus 1.5k in his 40s (which I respect as 'fast') - made the following estimate for converting effort into speed for the three disciplines
A 10% increase in effort converts into a 3% increase in swim speed, a 6% increase in cycling speed and a 10% increase in run speed.

Out of curiosity, I pulled up the results of the 2009 Cayuga Lake Triathlon (because my wife Alice is swimming a relay leg in that event tomorrow and I will volunteer as part of the swim-safety staff) and checked the results and splits of the person who was the median finisher 95th of 191 overall in the Olympic distance. His overall time of 2h 54m broke down into splits of
27m swim
109m bike
57m run
If I apply Mike Joyner's figures to these splits, a 10% increase in effort would yield the following improvements
Swim - 48 sec
Bike - 6 min 30 sec
Run - 5 min 42 sec

This is a no-brainer if I ever saw one. If you're going to expend more effort, it makes no sense at all to do so in the water. Your returns will be vastly greater to save effort (and heartbeats) in the water and spend them on land - perhaps investing slightly more on the bike than the run.

5) But that still leaves unanswered the question of "Can TI practice help you reach your full speed potential in swimming?" The answer to that is that there is only one mathematical certainty about speed. A certain combination of Stroke Length and Stroke Rate (or frequency or tempo) will always produce a certain Velocity. The only absolutely reliable way to swim faster is to improve that combination. You will approach that in one way to swim your fastest 100m in the pool, a different way to swim your fastest 1500m in the pool, and yet a third way to swim your fastest 1500m in open water.

Haschu gave a link to a post I made explaining how I used TI methods in the first way to train some 100m pool swimmers to record-breaking times. Dave and Katie related how TI-trained swimmers swam exceptionally fast 1500m (1650 yd) times in the pool. And finally at various places on this site I've explained the approaches I used to break USMS 55-59 records for both the 1600m (1-mile) and 3200m (2-mile) open water Cable Swims.

My time in the latter, 46:10 done at age 56 without a wetsuit, and having to reverse direction 180 degrees every 400m, converts to a 1500m pace of 21:40 or extends to a 3.8k (Ironman) pace of 54:40.

Do those qualify as "fast?" And inasmuch as I've won 5 USMS national championships (and four other TI coaches have, between them, won more than 10 USMS national OW championships), does this qualify as "competitive swimming?"

Will any of what I've written permanently lay this question to rest? Umm, probably not.
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Last edited by terry : 07-31-2010 at 05:21 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2010
dobarton dobarton is offline
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Default I'm glad to see this thread...

The answers were exactly as I expected, thoughtful and helpful and, I believe, clarifying.
My question is not philosophical as the OP, but personal. I was reading "Your Big Hairy Goal" by Coach Gary and was astonished that his youth could swim 400m at a pace that is my FASTEST 25m (18.5 secs or so)! Now I KNOW that I'm a newbie. I also know that, at 44 years old, I won't ever be THAT fast, but...
Does swimming "fast" 25s and 50s while really concentrating on form as much as you can produce faster times, even for us older folks? My 1650m is just under 30min in a 25m pool. Can I hope to come down to 25 or even 20 minutes? Can I hope to have a 200m under 3 min? Is the best way to do this a tempo trainer that I just very gradually speed up? Or is it repeated sprints done as quickly and cleanly as possible?
I suppose I could put this in a new thread, but couldn't help asking here since the conversation was already about speed.
Thanks for a wonderful discussion group.
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Old 07-31-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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What is fast?

This thread has brought back memories of having to be the fastest or best and setting those arbitrary standards which have a tendency to mask what is needed for improvement. Any training program which focuses on efficient use of energy for the amount expended will ultimately lead to improved results. If one can find better technique than that espoused by TI use it or mix it with that which works. Those who believe there is some magic bullet by doing more intervals or whatever while still not swimming efficient, good luck.

I for one would love to be able to achieve to a sub 3O min mile without a wetsuit. Right now fast is sub 40, the point being at the end of 40 I still have legs and energy. I recently escorted a young lady for 2 miles (wetsuit). Kona qualifier and 1st in her age group, her for two miles would be about 55 mins. It was amazing to watch the wasted energy this lady used even though she could produce moderate to good times. She is very good on the bike averages in the 20 mph plus, but one can only imagine how much faster she could be if the legs were more quite while swimming.
My journey with TI is ongoing and look forward to that time when when 35 min mile is the norm and a PB. What is efficient and smart takes precedent over what may be considered fast.

I am very fortunate in that we have an OW group who have a mindset much as Naj has espoused on this forum. It is not so much the speed as the finish that counts.

Thanks TO All Who Participate Here
Swim Silent and Be Well
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