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Old 11-22-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Short Course (25yds) 'Different' Strokes Practice

I swim almost exclusively freestyle between May and October. From November to April, I seek balance by putting more emphasis on honing my Fly, Back, Breast and Medley. Changing gears seasonally that way not only keeps both kinds of swimming feeling fresh; it also feels like I'm giving my neurons a new mission, twice a year.

Today was my first Different Strokes practice for the 2011-2012 'season.' I'll chronicle them here. Anyone doing similar practices is welcome to join in.

Set #1
Swim Backstroke

4x50+2x100+1x200+2x100+4x50 @1.35 tempo.
I averaged 16SPL throughout this set, with a few 17s in the latter half.
4x50+2x100+1x200 @1.33
I was pleased to be able to maintain 16SPL.

I stayed quite relaxed throughout, never feeling as if my HR was very high, nor any fatigue. I hope to imprint relaxed, rhythmic swimming as a habit and by gradually increasing tempo, to improve pace gradually without having to work hard. There will be time for more intensive efforts in January and beyond.

Set #2
Swim Fly+Back

5 x 100 on 2:00
#1-4: 25 FL 75 BK
#5: 50 FL 50 BK
I did this set to test whether I could maintain the relaxed rhythmic feeling of BK -- and my SPL -- after swimming a bit of Fly. This is a key to swimming the Individual Medley well. I was very pleased with how relaxed I felt on both strokes. Pace? About 1:45/100.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 11-23-2011 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

Well you didn't have to ask me twice...
And this provided a nice 'surprise' in that my comfort level was better than expected and recovery time afterwards was nil (although I slept like a stone last night). However, I did switch to open turn midway through, because I was beginning to falter on the flips, which provided me with a decent push off on each turn.
I set my TT on 1.40 and managed 14 - 15 spl initially, comfortably. When I began to sense a 16th stroke and then near 17th I cut the peak repeat from 200yds to 150yds and set the TT on 1.42 in the hopes this would help with my feel and patience by slowing my rate just a bit. This worked like a charm and was able to set back on 1.40 for the remainder of the 1st half of set #1 (see above).
I then set the TT on 1.38 for the 2nd half of set #1 and had equal success in maintaining a spl count of 14 - 16; 14 on the truly 'clean' lengths, the feeling one wants to capture for ever.
For set #2 I was equally pleased with my overall feeling and ability to hold 8spl on FL and 15-16spl on BK, having cut the repeat distance to 50s instead of 100s, while trying to maintain the same tempo w/o the TT. On the last repeat I surprised myself with 7spl on FL and 14sp on BK, perhaps because I knew it was the last ; )
What was telling for me was being able to remain fluid through out, important I feel when beginning a transition and important overall. I did not feel any struggle except on the initial flip turns and when my stroke count at a set tempo started to climb on the first half of the first set. I then made a conscious effort to change that to assure my practice remained fluid and rhythmic.
I finished up with a few repeats of freestyle @ 100yds and 13-14 spl
Thanks for the continued guidance, onward and upward...

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Old 11-29-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Alternating 100s IM and Free

Tuesday Nov 29 3000 yards at SUNY New Paltz

I started out with the idea that I might do as many as 30 x 100, but possibly fewer. I would continue the set only as long as I felt I could continue 'improving the neural circuit' on the task I set myself
Here's what I swam:
Set #1
5 x 100 IM + 5 x 100 FR
4 x 100 IM + 4 x 100 FR
3 x 100 IM + 3 x 100 FR
I was prepared to continue to swim 2 of each, then 1 of each.
The challenge I set was to
1) Maintain consistent SPL (8FL, 16BK, 8BR, 14FR - also 14SPL on the 100 FR)
2) Descend within each set
3) Descend to a faster time as sets got shorter.
I managed to achieve these goals through the 5x100 and 4x100, but saw my SPL increase on the 3x100 FR, so I decided to end the set there and try again another day to see if I make it through 6 more 100s, going faster.
For the record my final 100 IM was 1:37 and my final 100 FR was 1:20.

Set #2
I replaced the 6 x 100 I opted out of with 3 sets of 4 x 50, aiming to simulate the demands of racing a 200. I did
4 x 50 FR on :45 sec. I held :39 sec @ 29 strokes. I.E.I got only :06 sec rest between 50s. I was pleased with this, but next time will aim to swam at least the 4th 50 faster.
4 x 50 BK on :60 sec. I held 33 strokes and swam :47-:48-:48-:49 sec. Next time I'll strive to at least hold my times consistent.
4 x 50 BR on :65 sec. I held 16 strokes and swim :50-:51-:50-:49 sec. Next time I'll aim to descend from :51 to :48 sec.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 12-02-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575
Default Alternating Free/ I.M.

As I continue to knock off some rust I find that, after a repeated practice set I'd done a while back, I continue to hold my level of control and although a bit off on the efficiency end on Free I did better overall on the others. This being the third session with the other strokes included since last winter. My times weren't 'faster' per se but my ability to attain them simpler, fewer spl.
As with the last few practices my intent is on control, not so much on my times, merely making a mark to base my practices on going forward. Remembering that there is a process to 'climbing back up' the proficiency ladder.

Thursday December 1 YMCA 25 yard pool
Tune up
5x 100 Free (try and hold spl begin @ 13spl, descend)
1:38/ 1:35/ 1:32/ 1:30/ 1:28

I was able to maintain 13-14spl until the third repeat, adding one, then on the 4th and 5th adding two

Warm up
4x50 Back
Feel fluid while shooting for and holding 14spl. On the 3rd and 4th repeats held 14/ 16 spl

3 rds 4x50
I omitted the Back/ Brst portion having swum out of order, doing Brst/ Free so left it out. (Clock showed I wouldn't have time anyway, if I wanted to finish with the last set)

4x50 Fly/ Back 8-7spl/ 14-16spl
:55/ :54/ :53/ :52
4x50 Brst/ Free 8-7spl/ 15spl
:49/ :48/ :48/ :49
I like the control I was able to keep by playing with adding and subtracting strokes, alternating between the two strokes. I.E. on the 3rd and 4th repeat of the first set I took one less stroke on the fly length and added one then two on the Back lengths. Likewise on the second set, the 1st and 4th repeats one less stroke in Brst then one to two less strokes on Free in the middle repeats.

5x100 Free
I initially intended to try and subtract strokes as I descended but opted for the TempoTrainer. I find it much easier to find my optimum combinations of length and rate by guiding myself solely on spl. Much harder at the moment with the TT.

TT 1.20 (1:29)
TT 1.18 (1:29)
TT 1.16 (1:28)
TT 1.14 (1.27)
TT 1.12 (1:25)
Here is where I felt the inefficiency, having marked the same time I received on the 4th repeat but at a tempo of 1.20 in the past. I'll do this portion again and use spl and see what I find. I also could have slowed the tempo, lengthening my stroke and go faster by stroking slower.

4x50 Free
(Continuing the tempo descent to acclimate myself to these tempos again)
TT 1.08> 1.02
Again found it difficult to make any significant gains so will focus on the efficiency/technique aspects a bit more going forward.

I look forward to trying Terry's practice example above, alternating 100 I.M. and Free too.

Last edited by AWP : 12-02-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 12-09-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default If you like a practice, do it again - with a twist

Thurs Dec 8 at SUNY
Today's practice was very close to one I did on Tuesday and posted here.

Both practices had all the following elements in common
1) Warmup/Tuneup set was a long-ish series with an emphasis on moderate effort descending times, while maintaining SPL
2) Main Set was a Broken 500, done as 100 Fast at a disciplined SPL + 25 Recovery.
3) Main Set followed by a similar set (briskly paced repeats with SPL discipline) of shorter repeats.

Tuneup Set
2 Rounds of 4 x 100 Back, holding 15 SPL. Descend each round.
I descended 1-4 to 1:49 and 5-8 to 1:46
2 rounds of 4 x 50
1-4 25 BK 25 BR. Descend while holding 22 total strokes (15BK7BR)
5-8 25 BR 25 FR Descend while holding 21 total strokes (7BR14FR)
Notes: These sets were designed to tune my nervous system for the task presented in the Broken 500 to follow - descending a 100 Medley without adding strokes.

Main Set A Broken 500 as: 100 Brisk/Fast + 25 Recovery
I did the 100s as 25FL+50BK+25BR. holding 8SPL for FL and BR and 15-16SPL for BK.
I swam these in 1:38-1:37-1:36-1:35
This is great prep for racing the 200-400 IM. My effort level is quite intensive - nearly maximal on the 4th 100, and it takes great presence of mind to hold Stroke Length. I will be racing a 200-400 IM in two days at Ithaca College Masters Meet. Doing this set today prepares me mentally for the difficulty of holding SL in the midst of an intensive effort.

Main Set B Broken 400 as 75 Fast Free + 25 Recovery
The task I set myself was to swim as fast as possible at an average of 15SPL. My times were 59-57-57-57.
I was pleased with this set because my pace/25 was significantly faster than my set of 100 repeats on Tuesday.

Final Set
10 x 50 Mixing Fly and Breast, holding 8 SPL.
The last 6 x 50, I swam as follows:
3 strokes FL + 5 strokes BR each 25
All Fly.
This set is a good way to work on swimming farther in Fly, while staying relaxed. I held 8SPL the entire, but got steadily faster as I 'traded' BR strokes for FL strokes, yet maintained a sense of ease.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 12-09-2011 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 01-08-2012
AWP AWP is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

It seems a few of us have been sidelined a bit due to illness injury or both (not to mention 'wacky' schedules) including me. I'm back at it after almost a two week bout with a chest cold and had an itch to do some other strokes practice to help bring me back up to to some more frequent swimming at ever changing and challenging tasks I set for myself in freestyle.

What I'd done last...
10x100 yards (25 yard pool)
Odd 100s backstroke
Even 100s freestyle
On each initial 100 I sought to mark a comfy spl then focused to hold that spl as the set progressed as I sought to increase pace and keep the same comfy feeling. The added challenge for me was in doing the backstroke repeats all with flip turns. Still not pretty I'm sure but feeling more competent in completing them.
I sought to increase pace not by trying harder but 'allowing' myself to continuely adjust (smoothly I'd hoped) and focusing on being as slick and rhythmic as I could. This wasn't a demanding effort, but I feel a place where one should always begin focusing on such a state to assure or better the odds of success in the rest of the practice session.

Set #2 freestyle @ TT setting 1.12
I sought to continue my focus on something exacting and maintain an average spl as distance increased.

Now a switch in gears...
4x100 as
25 fly+ 75 back
50 fly+ 50 back
75 fly+ 25 back
Odd 25 fly Even 25 back
In the first 25 of each stroke I strove to develop a nice rhythm and then maintain that rhythm even if it meant adding a stroke in the longer repeats of each stroke. On the last 25s in backstroke I then tried to lengthen my stroke as I added a bit of oomph on extension.
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