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  #1  
Old 01-28-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Guaranteed to Improve Stroke Length

Try this exercise with Tempo Trainer. You may need to experiment a bit to find the tempo range that suits you best.
Swim 10 x 25. Reset TT by .1 sec. each time. On 1st 5, reset TT slower each time. On next 5, reset TT faster each time.
Count strokes on each 25 and compare.
Here's an example
1.6
1.7
1.8
1.9
2.0
1.9
1.8
1.7
1.6
1.5
How many strokes did you start with?
How many did you subtract as tempo slowed?
Was your SPL same or fewer when you returned to starting point (9th 25)?
Was it still same or fewer when you finished? (.1 faster than starting)?
Allow 3 beeps on all pushoffs to keep that part consistent.

I encourage you to do this initially at a range that takes you to a slower tempo than you have ever swum at, such as the example given. For Freestyle, I'm not sure there's a benefit to swimming above 2.0, but my experience going as high as 2.0 was eye-opening. Until I did the set as outlined above I'd never used a tempo slower than 1.5. I found that from 1.8 to 2.0 any balance flaws I had became exposed. And with the tempo as slow as it was, I could sense where and why they occurred.

You can also do this with 50s. Allow 4 extra beeps on turns. Count total strokes for 50.

I plan to repeat this once or twice a week. I'll do it either as a start-of-practice tuneup, or at the end of effortful practices to re-tune my stroke and send me to the showers feeling great.

I'll do it with both with 25s and 50s, and will probably start at a slower range, and use incrementally faster ranges over time.

I also plan to do this with Backstroke.

If you do the set, in any form, please share your results here. And if you find they improve over time, please share that too.

Eventually I want to be doing this set starting @ 1.0 and finishing @ 0.9. I'll let you know how it goes.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Terry

I tried this yesterday and found it interesting. The pool was rather busy so some of the results may be affected by drafting off faster swimmers, being impeded by slower swimmers (admittedly these are less common than the faster swimmers) and so on.

I started at 1:60 as you suggested and my first length was 19 strokes
At 1:65 I think I did 18 strokes, and then a couple of 17s.

I managed one length in 16 strokes but I don't remember which one. It is very unusual for me to do less than 17 so that convinced me to try this again. Maybe starting at a slightly faster tempo and going up (and down) in smaller increments - say 1:40, 1:45 etc...

When I finished the set I thought I would start over again but the mojo seemed to have deserted me. Nevertheless it was a very interesting experience.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2011
ames ames is offline
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ames
Default Guaranteed?

Well, I won't be asking for my money back. Worked like magic!

I haven't used my tempo trainer much and I've always ignored the posts with all the practice set math--not because I am a woman, but because I just wasn't to that level yet. :) Still mostly working on balance issues. And I don't have any swim background so I don't understand much of the math. But this one looked simple.

I swim in a big pool and there are some goofy current things going on, often there is a distinct "uphill" and "downhill" direction, so I did each length both ways. 25 yd pool, half strokes were when I was almost there, could do an extra-long glide to make it to the end. Pushed off at the beep and took first stroke at the third beep:

1.6 15 strokes
1.6 15
1.7 14
1.7 14
1.8 13
1.8 14
1.9 13
1.9 13
2.0 12.5 whoa getting wobbly here
2.0 12.5
1.9 13
1.9 13
1.8 13
1.8 13
1.7 13.5
1.7 13.5
1.6 14
1.6 14
1.5 14
1.5 14.5

Noticed I swam differently doing this than usual. My legs were stiff, not as relaxed as I would like but definitely more streamlined. Breathing was pretty easy, maybe because I wasn't thinking about it, just letting it happen. You can definitely sense the balance issues at 1.9 and 2.0. But I did better than I thought I would! An interesting lesson, thanks Terry
ames
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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I had another go at this yesterday and today. I warmed up yesterday with 4x25 and was pleased that I could do them all in 17 strokes. Then I switched on the Tempo Trainer and started at 1:60. I think my first 25 was 18, after that they tended to be around the 19 mark. I don't think I got back to 17 and definitely didn't reach 16. I went back down to 1:40 or so, by which time I was over 20 for most lengths and then carried on down to 0:90, which was clearly outside my form threshold..

Today I started at 1:10, which I think is also outside my form threshold at the moment and worked up to 1:60 and back down to 1:20. Instead of doing single lengths of 25m I was doing sets of four to get used to the feel of the various settings. I felt most comfortable around the 1:40 and 1:50 settings, so I think for future practices I will try to work outward from this range in both directions.
Again, today, I don't think I did any lengths in less than 18.

Fascinating stuff!
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2011
pinguin pinguin is offline
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My experience in a 50m-pool was like this:
. SR 34 from 1.6 to 1.8
. SR 32 from 1.9 to 2.0
about the same when going down the "beep-pyramid".

I liked it, had no problem with balance, gliding,...

My problem seems to be that I can't "use" the knowhow of gliding when trying to swim faster. Seems I end up in a kind of struggle when I try to use the high elbow more effectively, try to grab the water,... I'll try to use the TT moreoften and see if I can get a better SR with less beeps.

Thank you Terry to "allow" me to swim much slower than I usually do :-) (usually I feel o.k. with ~ 1.20).
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2011
ames ames is offline
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ames
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinguin View Post
My problem seems to be that I can't "use" the knowhow of gliding when trying to swim faster. Seems I end up in a kind of struggle when I try to use the high elbow more effectively, try to grab the water,...
For me, this exercise taught me that I didn't have to think so hard about high elbows or try to grab the water. As I slowed down and focused on hitting the beeps, my muscles automatically adjusted and I became more efficient. Then, when I started picking up the pace, that streamlined, efficient feeling was still fresh in my "muscle memory" and it carried into the faster tempo.

At this point, I am not really concerned with going faster, but if I were I guess the first thing I would do is find ways to reduce my drag, rather than generating more propulsive power. My stroke length would go up and then it would be a matter of math and playing with tempo to find the pace I could maintain.

I swam about 30 min. today, and just wasn't feeling it. So I did the exercise again and it worked like a charm. Single lengths this time:

1.6 16 strokes
1.7 15
1.8 14
1.9 13
2.0 13
1.9 13
1.8 14
1.7 14
1.6 15
1.5 15

ames
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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I haven't seen any pool for about 2 or 3 weeks. My wife had to stay at home and is forced to stay there for a few days - the clinic where she works put her under quarantine - maybe norovirus. I googled norovirus and found out that it has no fat layer around and laughs about alcohol (a very high pitched slightly irritating laughter **:::** ) but it hates CHLORINE - there we go! I went to the pool, full of NASTY CHLORINATED water, and I did NOT use my nose clip. Strange idea maybe - but it was FUN.

It was so wonderful to do some strokes again...

I did this pyramid, took my time (it was a lot of work - I tried to maintain a low SPL), and I also don't get my money back:

TT - Time increase/Time decrease
1.5 - 16/16 -- 15/15
1.6 - 15/15 -- 15/15
1.7 - 15/15 -- 14/14
1.8 - 14/14 -- 14/15
1.9 - 14/14 -- 13/14
2.0 - - - 13/13

1.9 and 2.0 is reeaaally slow, thought I drown before the third beep on the push off at 2.0. Have to do some practice with 1.9 and 2.0 - completely out of rhythm.

Hang on in there...
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ames View Post
For me, this exercise taught me that I didn't have to think so hard about high elbows or try to grab the water. As I slowed down and focused on hitting the beeps, my muscles automatically adjusted and I became more efficient. Then, when I started picking up the pace, that streamlined, efficient feeling was still fresh in my "muscle memory" and it carried into the faster tempo.

At this point, I am not really concerned with going faster,
Ames
You totally grasp the value of this practice. It greatly increases the likelihood that the improvement - then retention - of efficiency will be a natural process, one done far more by feel than thought.

And though you weren't concerned with going faster, in fact that was precisely the outcome. A 15-SPL lap at 1.5 is 1.5 sec faster than a 16-spl lap.
The best kind of speed is that which comes without 'trying.'
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #9  
Old 02-08-2011
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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This is what I did today:

1.6 12+, 12+
1.7 11+, 11+
1.8 11, 11
1.9 11, 11
2.0 10, 10
1.9 10+, 10+
1.8 11, 11
1.7 11, 11
1.6 11, 11
1.5 12, 12

I then continued with
1.4 12+, 12+
1.3 13, 13
1.2 13, 13
1.1 14, 14
1.0 14, 14
1.0 15, 15 (was a little bit out of focus)
1.0 14, 14

When reading some posts after my swimming I realized that I missed the three beep push off. I just pushed off as normal, so the length of it is constant through the whole set. I don't know how the three beeps would have changed the counts. I'll try that the next time.

Before I did this set I swam my usual warm up consisting of
100m free + 100m back + 100m breast + 100m free = 400m (the first 100m should be butterfly, but deltoid muscle pain in my left arm prevent me from doing butterfly for about a year. I also feel it when I try to do early vertical forearm drills with a rubber band)
4 x [(14m 2*superman glide + 36m spear) + (14m 2*superman glide + 36m swing) + (14m 2*superman glide + 36m whole stroke)]
(the two superman glide varies between 13m and 15m)
= 4 x 3 x 50m = 600m

This is where I did the above set.

Then I put the TempoTrainer to 1.3 and swam with focus points on reaching far and the rotation
100m 13 - 14
200m 13 - 15
300m 13 - 16
200m 13 - 15
100m 13 - 15
As you can see I was not able to hold the number of strokes. In this series and also in the previous one I pushed (or was it pull?) rather hard and got rather fatigue, thus a higher stroke count on the last lengths. Am I pushing to hard?

I then swam down 300m easy without TempoTrainer, it was something 1.3, 1.4 but with effortless push. Swimming like this I felt I could go on forever. This make me think wether my goal should be to swim hard and try to get fast or if I should just relax and swim effortless and enjoy each stroke regardless of speed. The fighting spirit in me tells me to go for speed...

When writing this, I just remembered another thread where CoachErikD wrote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
Johnny,
... you can swim with the intention to spear forward or you can swim with the intention to pull forward. Something happens when you think about the recovery arm slicing forward and dragging your body with it that makes the speed much easier. I do not understand the physics of it. But I am getting used to seeing things that make no sense to me. I just know it works.
and this was also second by CoachSuzanne.

I will certainly try this as a focal point next time in the pool.

-- Johnny
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2011
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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johnny.widen
Default I did it... 9 strokes for 25m!

As you guaranteed Terry, I improved my stroke length today:

After normal warm up ...
100m free + 100m back + 100m breast + 100m free = 400m
4 x [(14m 2*superman glide + 36m spear) + (14m 2*superman glide + 36m swing) + (14m 2*superman glide + 36m whole stroke)]
(the two superman glide varies between 13m and 15m)
= 4 x 3 x 50m = 600m

... I did the following, with a three beep push off this time, however hard for low tempo. I almost lost speed before the first stroke.

18x50m
Tempo Stroke/length
1.6 12, 12
1.7 11, 11
1.8 11, 11
1.9 11, 11
2.0 10-, 9
1.9 10, 10
1.8 10, 10
1.7 11, 11
1.6 11, 11
1.5 11, 11

1.4 12, 12
1.3 12, 12
1.2 12, 12
1.1 13, 13
1.0 14, 14
1.0 14, 14
1.0 14, 14
1.0 14, 14

Since counting is digital and the actual strokes when swimming are analog, it is sometimes hard to get an integer, thereby the first 10- on 2.0, where it was 10, but the last stroke was really short.

This swim session ended with
200m 1.3 13 - 15
200m 1.4 13 - 14

4 x 50m easy
50m back
50m breast
2 x 25m earhop
2 x 25m one arm, breathing on opposite side
2 x 25m one arm, breathing on same side
2 x 25m very easy

When I initially did all the drills in the Self coached DVD, the hardest drill was the one arm swim. I have now done it from time to time, but not that often and now it feels quite easy, even when I breath on the same side as the stroking arm. I think other drills have influenced this improvement.

-- Johnny
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