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  #11  
Old 08-01-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
That's great news Rod! A couple of more focals to use is "spear wide", and "spear deep" (below the lungs) on breathing stroke, i.e. spear wide/deep with left arm as chin follows right shoulder to air. This will help avoid over-rotation (spear wide) and maintain balance/stability (spear deep and wide). Often when we go to breath, it's natural for us humans to scoop spearing arm high toward the surface and reach narrow in front of head. Both cause instability and body will sink a couple or more inches - especailly us guys with heavy legs/hips.

Good luck - and enjoy the journey discovering easy and relaxed breathing.

Stuart
MindBodyAndSwim
As a heavy sinker with the same problems, I have been following this thread with great interest, and have used the advice to help my breathing development.

2 questions:

1) If the ideal trunk rotation is only to 7 o'clock, or half-past seven, that is 30 to 45 degrees on either side of neutral, how does that reduce water drag? The reduction in hull prow cross-section doesn't seem that all great. Would you get further reduction with further rotation? (Of course sinking occurs too, which would offset all gains I guess).

2) You say to spear deep and wide (on the opposite to breathing side) when breathing. Is the ideal to have a stroke rhythm (including head and neck depth in water and alignment) that is as close from stroke to stroke, including breathing and non-breathing? Or is that actually impossible to achieve?
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2014
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Originally Posted by sclim View Post
As a heavy sinker with the same problems, I have been following this thread with great interest, and have used the advice to help my breathing development.

2 questions:

1) If the ideal trunk rotation is only to 7 o'clock, or half-past seven, that is 30 to 45 degrees on either side of neutral, how does that reduce water drag? The reduction in hull prow cross-section doesn't seem that all great. Would you get further reduction with further rotation? (Of course sinking occurs too, which would offset all gains I guess).
The buoyancy of the human body isn't all that high, so nearly all of your body is going to be underwater no matter how your body is rotated. Drag is primarily affected by the cross sectional area your body presents to the water in the direction you're moving. That's why it's so important to master being balanced in a horizontal position: If your hips sink, the water will push against the whole underside of your body as you move through the water. You also want to keep as narrow a body shape as you can.

The rotation of your body about the axis of your spine accomplishes several things: First, it enables you to recover your arm over the water, where it encounters much less drag (since water is 880 times denser than air). Second, it allows you to get a boost from gravity as your recovering arm slices into the water. Third, the rotation of your body helps to drive your body past your stroking arm.

Keep in mind that speed is the product of stroke length and stroke rate. While it is useful to temporarily slow down your stroke rate in order to perfect your stroke technique and maximize the distance you travel on each stroke, you want to practice a stroke that you will ultimately be able to execute at the faster pace you will want to use for racing. And the further your body rotates, the more of a limitation this will place on your potential stroke rate. So you want to rotate enough to get the benefits we discussed in the previous paragraph, but no further.

Quote:
2) You say to spear deep and wide (on the opposite to breathing side) when breathing. Is the ideal to have a stroke rhythm (including head and neck depth in water and alignment) that is as close from stroke to stroke, including breathing and non-breathing? Or is that actually impossible to achieve?
A very perceptive question!

It is easy for a pause to creep into your stroking rhythm when you go to breathe. One of the benefits of practicing with the Tempo Trainer is that it makes you aware of variations in your stroking rhythm so that you can work on eliminating them.

The rule of thumb on head and neck depth is that you want to maintain as horizontal a body position as you can while still getting a breath. It may take some time for you to perfect this. You may initially need to spear a little higher when you are preparing to take a breath, but as you hone your breathing skills, you may find that you no longer need to do this, or at least not as much.


Bob
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  #13  
Old 08-04-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post
...It is easy for a pause to creep into your stroking rhythm when you go to breathe. One of the benefits of practicing with the Tempo Trainer is that it makes you aware of variations in your stroking rhythm so that you can work on eliminating them....
I can now fully support that! (see my videos - finally - arggh!! :D )
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #14  
Old 08-05-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post
It is easy for a pause to creep into your stroking rhythm when you go to breathe. One of the benefits of practicing with the Tempo Trainer is that it makes you aware of variations in your stroking rhythm so that you can work on eliminating them.
Bob
Thanks for all the detailed answers. They are very helpful.

Regarding the non uniform breathing stroke cycle, I actually discovered on my own the very thing you have described, almost as soon as I started using the TT. In fact that was THE first thing I discovered once I got used to synchronising my cycle (I used the initiation of my kick as the synchronisation point) exactly with the Beep.

Funny thing is, I noticed the next spear entry and kick following the right breathing stroke was premature, i.e. the right breathing stroke was MORE RAPID than the other strokes, rather than delayed by a pause, intentional or not. Yes, that confused me too, although at the time I soon accepted the idea, not knowing that the conventional breathing stroke error was for the breathing stroke to take longer to complete.

I am a terrible sinker, and I had always felt more comfortable breathing on my right. When I started TI, and started incorporating breathing back into my whole stroke (forbidden during the initial skate and switch etc drills), my left breathing was noticeably awkward and hit-and-miss.

So, in my puzzlement at what was going on, I really tried to pay as objective attention as possible to all the events of my strokes, breathing and non breathing, to try and sort out differences, the end aim being to restore equal time durations to all strokes.

The upshot was that I realised that my age old survival style had been to push down on the water at the beginning of my right breathing stroke. This helped my head bob up safely (for me) far enough out of the water to reassure me to easily catch a right side breath at the apex of the bob before bobbing down to its natural deep position.

I don't know if it makes sense to you, but somehow the diverting of energy from propulsion for that one stroke in six to upward head bob actually sped up that one stroke rather than delaying it. Maybe there was an element of anxiety about getting air, so there may have been an unconscious hurry up effect too.

I had tried unsuccessfully many times before to get used to a low mouth position on the waterline while breathing. But this was the final and ultimately successful incentive, because now I could see that this high breathing position was the underlying cause for the chopped off rhythm of this right breathing stroke. By focussing on gradually working on getting the mouth to the waterline, and then even partially below, I have drastically smoothed out the bob in my right breathing stroke until there is absolutely no variation in timing in this stroke. Whether or not there is any small residual bob I really can't say, because all I can see is the contrast from the huge bob, but it sure seems flat in comparison.

Oddly, the difficult left side has never been a problem in timing, whether longer or shorter. Ironically, because I guess I never got into the habit of regularly bobbing on the left side (it was a mixture of sometimes too high, then sometimes not high enough, but somehow achieved with a different mechanism that I haven't figured out, which did not affect the time duration of the stroke), I never learned that push down on the water bad habit on my left that I had to un-learn. (Maybe other bad habits that I haven't identified yet). I still have relative difficulty on the left breathing stroke, and I approach the left breath with a much lower degree of confidence than my right, but the left breath is now achieved also with quite a low mouth level -- so low that I botch the breath a significant percentage of time, but now it is merely a mild nuisance, rather than a disaster when I botch a breath.

So I can relate strongly to the TT uncovering variations in evenness of stroke and being a tool for monitoring improvement and correction of these errors!
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  #15  
Old 09-05-2014
Mike Wray Mike Wray is offline
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I am reluctant to add an element of discontent to what is a very constructive and informative thread but I feel compelled to air a thought.

I am relieved that this thread has emphasised the importance of maintaining air in the lungs to maintain buoyancy. It has always seemed to me that this is necessary, being based on a physical fact. However I'm sure I have seen many times repeated in the past the contrary advice that you should breath out continuously underwater. I realise that there is a degree of compromise here regarding volume of air maintained in the lungs but I'm in no doubt that this sort of conflicting advice has caused confusion.

Another area of conflicting advice is the optimum degree of roll. It distinctly says in the original TI book that resistance is reduced by swimming on the side because of reduced frontal area, discrediting the old idea of staying flat. In this thread the advice is that since the body is mainly underwater anyway the frontal area is not much reduced by rolling to the side and it is preferable not to roll too far to maintain stability.
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  #16  
Old 09-08-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Hi Mike

Personally I've found the buoyancy issue overstated. I don't think it can be disputed that air changes the buoyancy but my experience is that these sort of minor changes to buoyancy have a slow impact whereas other changes are happening much much faster. In my case fwiw I am guided in my breathing by what feels relaxed and right rather than by the theory. If I concentrate on breathing there is an immediate negative impact.

The body roll advice I have found is not hard and fast except to have one shoulder+ out of the water. Swimming stacked on the side reduces buoyancy to a minimum as the body out of the water "weighs more" than the body in water. Doing so also increases the difficulties of balance and the risk of cross-over as well as increasing the time/activity in each stroke required to get so much rotation. I find there is a sweet spot which gets that spearing feeling without losing the rotational moment (force) given by offsetting the recoveing arm from the centre line.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #17  
Old 09-09-2014
Mike Wray Mike Wray is offline
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Hi Talvi,

I agree with your comments. I think these sort of things become clearer with the benefit of experience.

I do generally support the TI method, particularly because I think it offers a very useful starting point for anyone, like myself, who is not a natural freestyle swimmer. However when reading the TI literature and various discussions on this forum I have often noticed areas where the advice given at different times is conflicting or even at odds with plain physical fact. I used to find this confusing and, from some of the questions asked on this forum, I am sure I am not alone.
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wray View Post
... reading the TI literature and various discussions on this forum I have often noticed areas where the advice given at different times is conflicting or even at odds with plain physical fact...
No, not alone at all. What I've found is that I've figured out what TI meant after I'd learned what TI meant ... err, I mean I've learned how to do something and then got the: "Ahha, that's what that meant!" moment.

The mix of metaphor and instruction has been difficult for me to get a handle on when it hasn't accorded with what I've been experiencing, and this forum has been a fabulous resource to unravel things.

I've been struggling for an age with head position. The advice has consistently been low, low, low, despite what I've noticed in the videos. Now that I've bit the bullet and raised my head a bit, many things have improved really a lot.

Seems the low, low, low advice came from coaches finding a lot of people having a high head position. Problem for me though was it took about a year to realize that.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2014
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post

I've been struggling for an age with head position. The advice has consistently been low, low, low, despite what I've noticed in the videos. Now that I've bit the bullet and raised my head a bit, many things have improved really a lot.

Seems the low, low, low advice came from coaches finding a lot of people having a high head position. Problem for me though was it took about a year to realize that.
I've been working on getting my head in the right position for a quick breath now for -- maybe 4 months! For those of us who consider ourselves 'sinkers' (I know some think that's a dirty word), it becomes a very careful balance between maintaining streamline with the body, horizontal core, and rotating that head up just enough to catch a breath. I'm improving very slowly. Some days are better than others. Even some laps are better than others.

I'm finding when my head rotates enough to catch the breath, my body (shoulder area) soon sinks. So I have like maybe a half second to gulp some air. I have to breathe before my recovery arm leaves the water behind me, or just as it is rising, because if I wait until my recovery arm is out of the water very far, I REALLY sink due to the weight of it. Sometimes my arm throws water into my mouth and nose just as I breath in.

There was a woman swimming in the next lane (quite overweight) who could actually float upright (vertical body position) with her entire head above the water line! She was sort of like water-walking, but with no flotation device. Amazing! She could also swim forever too. While I don't really want to gain all that weight, I had just a bit of 'buoyancy envy'.

I'm curious about the degree of rotation (body and head) everyone incorporates when they take a breath. I think my body is probably rotating around 7 to 8 (if we use a clock, and 6 is the bottom of the pool). But my head is probably around 10. Is that too much? Should it be more at 9? I just suck water at 9. LOL! The more buoyant someone is, the lower their head rotation needs to be, I feel.
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  #20  
Old 10-02-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
... I'm finding when my head rotates enough to catch the breath, my body (shoulder area) soon sinks. So I have like maybe a half second to gulp some air. I have to breathe before my recovery arm leaves the water behind me, or just as it is rising, because if I wait until my recovery arm is out of the water very far, I REALLY sink due to the weight of it. Sometimes my arm throws water into my mouth and nose just as I breath in.....
I don't think of myself as a sinker, as I have no real problem floating, but what you describe is my experience exactly. I found that having my head so that on rotation my face is at the 2:30.9:30 position i.e with eyes looking just forward of sideways was the key - no more water in my mouth, a much more relaxed breath etc etc.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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