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  #1  
Old 09-17-2010
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Default Stroke rythm of elite swimmers.

Michael Phelps 200m freestyle world record swim;

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

The camera focuses closely on Phelps in the last 2 lengths and it seems to me like his stroking rythm goes something like stroke, stroke, glide, stroke, stroke glide... anybody else can confirm what I am seeing?
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Old 09-17-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Rincewind

I don't think there's any glide in Phelps's stroke but it is asymmetrical, what they seem to call a loping stroke nowadays. Some also call it a gallop. His recovery on one side is faster than on the other and there is a slight up and down movement, somewhat akin to butterfly. Presumably his pull on the side opposite to the fast recovery is longer to facilitate breathing. He breathes to the right and it seems to me that his left shoulder goes deeper into the water than his right shoulder does, so presumably he rolls somewhat more to the right than to the left, but it is probably quite a small difference. No doubt some expert has dissected his stroke in the finest detail. If anyone knows of such an analysis I would be interested to read it.
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Old 09-17-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Here's another video of the race in Rome when Biedermann beat Phelps and set a new world record of 1:42.00.

Biedermann and Phelps seem to me to have almost identical stroke timing, both breathing to the right and both having the bumpy, loping stroke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jQmsHOnw2Y
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Old 09-17-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Very interesting. I remember seeing this before, but now there are a lot more comments. I don't think I'll be trying to acquire this kind of stroke, for one thing because my kick is not very powerful and also because it looks to me as though the armful of water that these chaps grab is beyond my feeble powers.

Still plugging away trying to polish a fairly orthodox crawl of the TI kind.
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Old 09-18-2010
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default Michael Phelps Documentary

About a month ago I saw a japanese documentary about Michael Phelps and there are 3 things I found very interesting...

1. One of his strenghts is the clean hand entry, at a slight angle, which translates into little to no bubbles

2. He does 30sec of vertical kicking with a 8Kg belt on. I should say dolphin vertical kicking. A japanese elite swimmer tried and could not stay at the surface more than 10sec

3. Phelps is working on the Catch/Pull on the left side. His right hand catches/pulls the TI way (efficiently along a straight line). The left one is still doing some kind of a "S". They think that by correcting that they could further lower his time.

Quite a number of TI similarities... ALEX
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Old 09-18-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Alex

Here's the youtube video of Phelps and Sato doing the vertical dolphin kick with weight belt:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5MKDcQ6u9I

Commentary in Japanese, which is not very helpful to most of us ( ;-).

Vertical dolphin without a weight belt is strenuous enough for me and one minute seems a long time. I think it's a very worthwhile exercise, though, along with vertical flutter kicking.

Sato won a bronze in the 2008 Olympics as part of the JPN medley relay team.
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Old 09-18-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Since taking up TI I've looked closely at a lot of youtube footage of elite swimmers like Phelps and (for those in the UK) Rebecca Adlington. My impression is that they all have technically flawed strokes. Phelps' gallop is an example.

I wonder whether this is the result of being pushed into training for competition at a young age, before perfecting the stroke. If you assume that future Olympians are picked out at, say, age 10, I would imagine they start competing soon afterwards and a lot of their training is based on developing strength and endurance, rather than honing technique. This is certainly the impression I get from watching amateur club swimmers although I appreciate there will be better-quality coaching for the true stars.

Separately, the 'lopers' video posted above is, I think, a good example of the absurd and ignorant 'teaching' that still exists in the fragmented world of freestyle.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Since taking up TI I've looked closely at a lot of youtube footage of elite swimmers like Phelps and (for those in the UK) Rebecca Adlington. My impression is that they all have technically flawed strokes. Phelps' gallop is an example.

I wonder whether this is the result of being pushed into training for competition at a young age, before perfecting the stroke. If you assume that future Olympians are picked out at, say, age 10, I would imagine they start competing soon afterwards and a lot of their training is based on developing strength and endurance, rather than honing technique. This is certainly the impression I get from watching amateur club swimmers although I appreciate there will be better-quality coaching for the true stars.

Separately, the 'lopers' video posted above is, I think, a good example of the absurd and ignorant 'teaching' that still exists in the fragmented world of freestyle.
Why is it "absurd" I disagree with saying that Phelps has a flaw in his stroke. There is no "right" way to swim. There is a way that works best for each individual.

For some swimmers, a loping stroke allows them to find a natural rythm. I managed to take a lope out of my stroke when I first started TI. Since losing that lope, I have struggled to swim freestyle well. Since I have slowly managed to establish a loping/galloping rythm again, my freestyle is much more comfortable and gaining speed that I have lost.

Is that how everyone should swim freestyle? No. Each individual must find the style that suits them best. That style may change as they age and develop.

Young swimmers go to competitions to try ideas that their coaches have them practice during the weeks before hand. If coaches had to wait until kids developed the perfect strokes, there would never be any competitions. Kids, elites and masters want to race at somepoint. They can't just practice everyday until they have perfected their strokes, since there is no perfect stroke.

I find Phelps, Lezak, Sullivan, Coughlin, Bousquet all to have beautiful freestyles that are ideal for their bodies. That's not absurd. That's knowing what works for them
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Old 09-18-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Why do you assume there is no 'right way' to swim freestyle?

Look at 99% of the people in your local pool attempting to swim freestyle. Are they doing nothing wrong because there is no right way?

If they could improve, wouldn't they all achieve this by gravitating towards the same method, as we on the board are doing?
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Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Why do you assume there is no 'right way' to swim freestyle?

Look at 99% of the people in your local pool attempting to swim freestyle. Are they doing nothing wrong because there is no right way?

If they could improve, wouldn't they all achieve this by gravitating towards the same method, as we on the board are doing?
To say there is a "right way" is to say that if someone at an elite level or at our local pool doesn't swim the same as people on this board try too, is to say they are wrong.

Everyone that cares about their swimming will try to find ways to improve. They will add a lope to their stroke or try to remove it from their stroke. They may try a higher or lower head position, a person may try to use a straight arm recovery or try a more bent arm recovery. People that want to improve will look for means to do so but to say there is only this method or only that method is wrong.

There are common elements that everyone should work towards, like a nuetral head, relaxed recoveries, good posture. But when it comes to rythms, being symmetical or being asymmetical, there is no right answer. To say there is a right answer is absurd.

A good coach will strive to find the styles of swimming that work best for each individual athlete and not try to make each swimmer fit into the same cookie cutter mold.
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