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  #21  
Old 03-27-2011
KatieK KatieK is offline
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I don't see why there has to be so much mystique about swimming speed.

I'm not a runner, but I know what a fast, slow, and average running speed is: under 4min/mi is elite, 4-6 is crazy fast, 7-8 is fast, 9-10 is good, 10-12 is medium-slow, >12 is slow. I might be a little off on that, but I'm sure it's pretty close. And I'm not even interested in running.

I think it's helpful to know the ranges for swimming as well. It's not about beating yourself up for being slow or average. It's about eliminating vagueness in our thinking. It's about being knowledgeable about the sport we love--basic information that pretty much any cyclist, equestrian, runner, speed skater, etc. would understand about his/her sport.

I like to think of these categories:
-Elite Swimmer: Under 1:20 per 100m (<20-minute mile)
-Masters Swimmer: Under 2:10 per 100m (<32-minute mile)
-Faster Fitness Swimmer/Triathlete: Under 3:00 per 100m (<45-minute mile)
-Slower Fitness Swimmer: Over 3:00 per 100m (>45-minute mile)
Those numbers are arbitrary, but still useful.

My Masters team is made up mainly of triathletes. Compared to most of them, I'm fast. I'd be setting myself up for disappointment, though, if I thought being near the top of that pack made me a fast swimmer overall. Right now, I'm aiming for Average Masters Swimmer--I'm not there yet.

Knowing where you are on the map isn't the same as having directions to your destination. But if you don't know where you are, you're lost.

Katie
www.WaterGirl.co
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  #22  
Old 03-27-2011
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default Speed smarts

I swam with a marvelous Australian woman in Florida last year; she is a bit older than me (I'm 63) and shorter, and she can swim any distance quite a bit faster, without apparent effort. I swam with a young man last week who was born missing a leg -- he can do 100 yards in 54 seconds, against my 1:34 or so. Terry's points seem to me unanswerable: know where you are now and work from there; know how to improve your ability to control SPL for greater distances and at higher stroke rates, and you can get faster. I know I'm never going to swim 100 yards under one minute, but I'm pretty sure I'll get better than I am now (though probably not as good as Pat!) -- and it's priceless to have a working method that isn't just swimming harder.
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  #23  
Old 03-28-2011
Danny Danny is offline
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CoachBill, don't you ever wonder why, as you say, you won't get as good as your friend Pat? Is it that his/her technique is unattainable or that he/she has better physical condition than you have? In yoga they tell you that you should never envy other people's flexibility, but there is a version of the same that seems to apply to swimmers. Some people just seem to move through the water more effortlessly than others, and I'm not sure whether technique improvements can ever really entirely close that gap. If not, then why not?
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  #24  
Old 03-28-2011
Thatchman Thatchman is offline
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Default On the road to improvement

Quote:
Originally Posted by quad09 View Post
Thatchman:

Regardless of all that has been submitted with good intention i'm sure; I find your 4:35 to 4:50 times for 200 meters to be a bit slow. Based on daily observations of good swimmers, if you can get to approx. 20 seconds per 25 meters I think your speed and efficiency are quite good. I write this with all humility because I'm not there either. SPL is important but SR is curcial for quicker times.

Best of luck!!
Hi

Thanks for all the response and debate.

Just to let you know where I am coming from. I am 45 and a social triathlete competing for fun but i also want to do the best I can.

In Jan, I did the SA 70.3 and finished in 6h07 which was in the top third of all finishes. However I was in the top 14% in the run, the top 45% on the bike and only top 82% in the swim. Clearly my swimming is out in terms of my athletic ability which points to technique issues.

As stated previously my SPL of 24-26 is not good.

Anyway I had a really enjoyable TI workshop this weekend with Georgie. SPL in my "before video was 24 and the next day after the workshop it was 19.

She has given me some valuable take-outs to work on and I am confident that I can drop a few more stokes off with some time in the pool.
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  #25  
Old 03-28-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
I'm not a runner, but I know what a fast, slow, and average running speed is: under 4min/mi is elite
Beg pardon. An avid fan of track and field would probably sniff at the notion that under 4 minutes for the mile would qualify a runner as 'elite.' It would have been true 50+ years ago, but with the WR now at 3:43 and hundreds of runners able to run sub-4, it's hardly elite. . .
Unless you're a woman, in which case anyone who has run under 4:20 would probably deserve to be called 'elite.' . . .
And what about equally-serious runners who may be 40+? Could anyone argue that a sub-4 Masters runner would deserve the label 'elite?'

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
I think it's helpful to know the ranges for swimming as well.
-Elite Swimmer: Under 1:20 per 100m (<20-minute mile)
Over a quarter century ago, long before the era when high-tech suits made a difference, I coached mid-teens males who swam 1500m in well under 16 minutes and mid-teens females who were well under 17 minutes.
Any of them would have considered someone who merely broke 20 minutes as 'live bait.'

On the other hand, having just broken into the 60+ age group I'd be ecstatic about swimming under 20 min and not at all shy at arguing such a performance deserves to be described as elite.

What is my point here? Same one I've been making throughout this thread. Terms such as Elite, Fast, Average, Slow are purely subjective labels that -- unless qualified in highly specific ways (minimally including age and gender)-- can only be imprecise, unclear and more likely to be self-limiting than enabling.

So I will continue to advocate for
1) Measure your swim performance in objective terms - speed, distance, stroke length, stroke rate, time
2) Focus on improving one or more of those metrics.
3) Take pleasure in the process and the healthful rewards of being improvement-oriented.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 03-28-2011 at 12:57 PM.
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  #26  
Old 03-28-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatchman View Post
I am 45 and a social triathlete competing for fun but i also want to do the best I can.
This statement virtually guarantees a rewarding experience. Calling oneself a 'social triathlete' demonstrates perspective. Following that with "want to do the best I can" is evidence of the Kaizen spirit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatchman View Post
In Jan, I did the SA 70.3 and finished in 6h07 which was in the top third of all finishes. However I was in the top 14% in the run, the top 45% on the bike and only top 82% in the swim. Clearly my swimming is out in terms of my athletic ability which points to technique issues.
These measures are both objective and revealing. The path to improvement in swimming, because it can be done as a problem-solving exercise, has the potential to provide many moments of Flow, even Bliss.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #27  
Old 03-28-2011
CoachBillL CoachBillL is offline
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Default Inherent virtue

In reply to Danny's question above, "Don't I wonder...": I used to think about this when I played a lot of squash -- I was an almost/sort of B player, and I used to ponder how much harder A players could hit the ball -- some combination of coordination and strength, I think, the ability to put all the muscle where it needs to be at just the right micro-second. But I think there is no solving that problem, short of being reborn into another body, and I prefer to work with the one I have now.
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  #28  
Old 03-28-2011
swimpaired swimpaired is offline
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It's obvious from reading the posts here that I chose the right user name! Keeping things in perspective regarding TI though let me tell you how it's worked so far for me. I had never done, ever, over 700M in freestyle before my first triathlon and hadn't done freestyle period 90 days before it. This I did at age 59 (end of that calendar year). My swim was 1.2 miles open water with waves (I say 2 feet - just leave it that the people running the race apologized for the swim conditions after it and that I couldn't see the buoys) and I did it in 1:16. Sad huh ...yah...I know... and was last in my age group...but I did finish the race.
I've been working on the TI points off and on since then (10 months ago) and did a workshop recently. Friday my time for 1.2 miles in smooth water was 40:57. I didn't do this to practice distance. I did it to see where I was. Still terrible I know but that's quite a difference. Now I spend almost all my time on form. And find things every time I go out. So I have hope to be nearing or above the middle of the pack by my next race in May. Bottom line is, every time I gain on me I feel better! (And the times for others don't seem to slow any in the 60+ age group that I'm in this year!)

Now....if I can just get under 32.......

Last edited by swimpaired : 03-29-2011 at 02:53 PM.
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  #29  
Old 06-13-2016
haradoo
 
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This thread is very interesting - subjection is everything - and nothing...
I did a 10k on Friday, had never swum that far, but had reasonable expectations. Finished in around the time I'd expected, which happened to be 3 minutes over a 'benchmark' time.
I went onto the event website last night, and started to look at the results page...hmm, top 3rd overall....hmm, if I do gender only I'm top 30....hmm, if I do gender and age group I'm top 10 - basically could engineer my result or could enjoy my own improvement - the benchmark is you ;)
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