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  #1  
Old 12-12-2016
liolio
 
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Default Is breaststroke underrated and held by regulations

Hi all,
Short introduction,I started swimming like 5 months ago. I'm focused so far more on technical side of things than really doing endurance/physical training. I wanted to get into triathlon but at the moment I can run (weird issue with one of my ankle). It was a distant goal, something I would want to do but foremost an objectve for me to get back in shape (As I'm out of shape and my body eaten alive by stress and in a pretty constant mildly inflammatory condition), 40 wake up call: take care of your body, change of life style, etc I suspect I'm not alone).

I found out that I love swimming which helps I see plenty people swimming at my pool and I'm not sure to which extend they really love swimming and water vs efforts/performances.

I got to it because my body is angry me in many ways and swimming sounded like a smooth enough activity. So far I can tell it was a good choice to invest time into foremost because I like it a lot, the water in itself the felling of water and gliding or cutting through it.

I discover quickly that whereas swimming is relatively smooth activity you can easy hurt yourself none the less. At first I focused on freestyle, I based my practice on advice and videos around on youtube and the web. Soon enough I start to feel that something was wrong as pain start to grow in my left shoulder and I could tell the strain freestyle was putting was not as symmetrical as it should have. I discover the TI was watching a couple of the few videos available on youtube. It fixed the issue for me (lack of upper body rotation).
I'm suffering from a cervical hernia (C6-C7) (and a lesser one in between T1 and T2...) and I also discovered that strokes with upper body rotations may not be the best one at the moment for me, I favor working mostly on my core body through lots of ondulatinf movement (I work on dolphin kick and snacky type of move a lot). As a side note doctors are optimistic I'm young (40) and my spine is flexible and overall in good shape. I've to patient and stick to my swimming practices.

So I went to spend more time on breaststroke and butterfly. Till not that long ago actually butterfly was my goal because I though that it was the only viable (sort of~) alternative to freestyle be it for sprint of endurance swimming.
My dolphin kick is quite decent but I still lack the upper body strength to do more than max 50m with butterfly. More importantly I try to swim (whatever stroke) as effortlessly as possible and while learning butterfly I discovered a massive limitation that plagues neither breaststroke or freestyle swimming: you can't really go low intensity while swimming butterfly. You arms have to get speed before the airborne recovery. I also find it extremely rythme sensitive, both for the arms recovery and breathing. As for the aesthetic of it I'm not sure it is quite splashy, I like smooth swimming there is something rude when the are get into the water after the recovery (worse than in max speed freestyle with straight arm recovery).

To my point, my swimming practice revolves more and more about breaststroke (till I can blend back freestyle in). Like with freestyle there are multiple ways to swim it depending on your pace.
I wonder the difference between breaststroke and freestyle is oversold. From my experience freestyle is sure faster but I also think that "free" breaststroke is far more efficient than what the sport records are demonstrating.
First breaststroke is over regulated (in many ways) which affects the records around negatively. I don't expect breaststroke to beat freestyle but I an definitely see it compete with butterfly, more than that if there was longer distance races.

A benefit I see to breaststroke I see over freestyle is that the effort it require from the upper and lower parts of the body match more properly what an average human can deliver than freestyle (extremely upper body focus). Sprint in breaststroke focuses more and the legs (an almost exact opposite of freestyle) but as one slow the pace i find myself using a wider arm pull which provide more traction.

Actually as I am not held by regulation (swimming for fitness and personal pleasure) there is another thing that can be added to breaststroke: a more or less pronounce dolphin kick one you are the streamlined position (and after the whip kick). I like to time it with my catch, like in butterfly, it clearly helps making the arm pull to provide more traction. It also prepare for a more "round" exit of the head and breathing (with the combine kicks and arm movement breathing every stroke seems pretty right to me).
It can be made in a pretty "relaxed" very TI manner and I think it helps the stroke.
I wonder how to make measurement alone and see if there are real benefit or it is just perceptions (I like breaststroke and butterfly over freestyle because it is not more enjoyable to me, it is not as smooth: there is acceleration, and you also somehow see where you are going and something else than the bottom of the pool. I know it is not much for performances sensitive people yet each is own).
I fell like the head is also very important as in butterfly and it gives momentum for the whole body ondulation. I again need to time some laps (50m at my pool I'm lucky).

What do you think? Have some of you toyed with the idea (so an active glide of some sort). By eyes It seems to allow to sustain decent speed versus what seems to be freestylers with more experience and fitter than I am (they still faster to make it clear).
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 647
CoachBobM
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The principal reason that breaststroke is slower than the other strokes is that so much is done the wrong way underwater. Breaststroke is the only stroke in which you recover your arms underwater. and is the only stroke that even has a kick recovery (which is also done underwater). You can, of course, recover your arms over the water if you're not bound by the rules of competition breaststroke. It used to be that the rules for compeititon breaststroke were looser than they are now, and that's what breaststrokers began doing. It got to the point where it appeared that the old way of doing breaststroke was going to disappear, and that's when they tightened the rules for breaststroke and began calling the breaststroke with the over-the-water recovery and dolphin kick butterfly.


Bob
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2016
liolio
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post
The principal reason that breaststroke is slower than the other strokes is that so much is done the wrong way underwater. Breaststroke is the only stroke in which you recover your arms underwater. and is the only stroke that even has a kick recovery (which is also done underwater). You can, of course, recover your arms over the water if you're not bound by the rules of competition breaststroke. It used to be that the rules for competiton breaststroke were looser than they are now, and that's what breaststrokers began doing. It got to the point where it appeared that the old way of doing breaststroke was going to disappear, and that's when they tightened the rules for breaststroke and began calling the breaststroke with the over-the-water recovery and dolphin kick butterfly.


Bob
Hi thank you Bob for the insight.
I learned through my own researches that butterfly evolved from breaststroke, but I am unaware of the other types of breaststroke you are speaking about. I will make personal researches but which era should I look at?

Isn't swimming interesting? It gets really complicated to tell what work best from regulation, the continual improvement of the athletes level of fitness on's body type, one's level of fitness, etc.

I wonder if the regulator should open things up a little. As it stands we have or four canons for swimming, things are evolving but I would say it is fine tuning. Meanwhile we have high speed camera, great understanding of hydrodynamics, of training and human fitness too, etc. I feel with a reasonable level of confidence that the canons were set too early in Man History.
I wonder if they could go down to 2 categories: alternate movement (current freestyle), simultaneous movement.
Actually I'm iffy about back as it serves really few purpose in real lie condition. I use it sometime to rest a little but as far a swimming is concern... You can't see where you go, you can see the tiniest wave coming and there is few you can do sync your breathing with adverse condition. I think is fast but also useless.

By lessening the number of categories to 2, it means that breastrokers/butterflyers would have room to compete on more distances and a more monolithic way of swimming could emerge.
Freestyle is front crawling, the technique varies from sprint to long distance (and people at TI knows better than me) yet it is the same. For "symmetric" types of swimming it is not true, the fact that I wrote typeS says it all.

As I see things there are no way to improve freestyle. It is not true for breaststroke, you have to keep the head above water, you can really use dolphin kick within the stroke, etc.
I mean it would be interesting to have breaststrokers and butterflyers to compete on fair basic it wold show that the difference of speed ain't as much as most think it is.
It should be obvious too that "breaststroke" as it is now makes no sense at all!
Butterfly could be the highest speed "mode or form" of the "symmetrical" freestyle swimming. I can envision people finishing the 1500m "symmetrical freestyle" in butterfly and why not finishing the last tenth meters or yards underwater completely if they have the juice but I can't envision people going with butterfly all along winning.
Butterfly is the only symmetrical type swimming we know (and quite possibly can be) with no under water recovery (dolphin kick has no recovery) and the arm recovery happens airborne.

I choose to post in the Breaststroke forum because butterfly is an evolution of breaststroke but I've something greater in mind. In essence I chose a shitty title for my post... lol
One side you have a stroke that is complete: alternating arms and legs you can't add other patterns into it to make it better. On the other side you have all the symmetrical movements: symmetrical arms movement with pro and con, various symmetrical kicks with pro and con, i would add some extra magic from the core body (that happens in freestyle too but thanks to the artificial conditions set by the swimming pool).
I suspect the use of that set of tools is far from maximized thanks to artificial constrains that to do not pit them together. That rises the question why swim anything else than freestyle?
My personal answer, for what it is worse is that for all its greatness freestyle is only the most efficient type of surface swimming: it teaches you nothing about underwater swimming for example. It also calls for balance in upper body, core body and lower body strength is not match for the human abilities. Now it have its specialist, it saves triathletes legs but I still think it is what it is the pinnacle in surface swimming and there is a lot more to swimming.

I've toyed myself with quite a few ideas but I lack the data in hard minutes and seconds. Feeling alone can be misleading as you tend to notice accelerations more than speed per self.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2016
liolio
 
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Default Found another way to say it

We use "freestyle" the wrong way. Front crawling being the canon for surface swimming needs really few regulation that does not make it freestyle quite the contrary in fact.

We need a real "freestyle" category which actually exclude front crawling to keep our learning of swimming increasing and that sport moving.
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  #5  
Old 12-15-2016
liolio
 
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Default

Wow I'm wow myself. The issue about swimming is in fact contain within our loss of attention to semantics.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2016
liolio
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sorry for the multi-posting but I can't edit my post yet

I've just got hit by the idea and it is springing into my head so I've to share my thoughts.

Words are so powerful they define how and what we think. "Freestyle" in swimming comes from an experimental era. it is freestyle no more, it is canon, the standard, the pinnacle, etc. whatever you want to call it.

Freestyle should be compared to the gold standard in surface swimming: front crawling. It is really weird we are living in a completely nonsensical era and I just discovered it applies to swimming to. What does means "free" as far as swimming is concern? Every body does the same thing and actually every body has to do the same thing to keep up: there is nothing free in modern freestyle swimming.

What freestyle should be? If free one can decide to do 50m with underwater dolphin only if he can. For 100m mostly same. I mean who cares if it is mostly underwater swimming, it is FREEstyle. Above a given distance, sprint and long spring, mostly underwater swimming won't cut it anymore. Freestyler will go with another BLEND of techniques.

My distinction I made between alternate and symmetrical in my previous post was not pertinent, the core of the matter is deeper. It is indeed the standard (crawl) vs free forms attempts. as I see thing conceptually "butterfly" is wronger than breaststroke. Breaststroke can be swum underwater or above at any pace, in many different ways. Butterfly sure alleviates the underwater recovery but ultimately it is an attempt at taking over front crawling that can't succeed. Front crawling is the gold standard of surface swimming.

So the real topic should be this, why "front crawling" the gold standard prevents others form of swimming to compete or simply in fact evolve and find their own path.
Ones will notice that the issue is broader than swimming, societal in fact as that applies to many topics...
The worse part is that the technique, front crawling, will remain no matter which style old the record at any given distance (I suspect only front crawling can lose only the really short distances), the most efficient way to swim at the surface of the water.
It is a sad trait of the modern western societies on many topic...
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