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lloyddinma 07-25-2015 03:02 AM

To Coach Eric Desanto.
Hi Coach Eric,

Chances are this question has been asked and answered somewhere before. Forgive me, a little lazy to excavate.

In this clip, a really high hand prior to initiating recovery is encouraged: it is said to boost propulsion. It makes sense. You create more potential energy, which you convert to kinetic energy.

Is the the TI tenet of raising "just high enough,"to be interpreted within the context of going the distance? Is "really high" just for speed?

Nathan Adrian | Freestyle Stroke - Swim Technique:

Take your time in responding. No rush. By the way I got the snorkel like you recommended for the skate drills.


CoachEricDeSanto 07-28-2015 10:30 PM

Hi Lloyd,
I am not sure what you mean by a high hand prior to initiating recovery? I did not notice anything in the video about that. Nathan's hand appears to be right in front of his thigh before recovery which is fairly standard. Please explain a bit more so I can answer your question.


lloyddinma 07-29-2015 01:53 AM

At 3.12, the narrator states that he has a "...high hand recovery recovery, enabling increased hip rotation to generate more power." Referencing TI clips that I have watched, specifically one with Terry, you are encouraged to raise the hand, just clearing water; not too high, expending unnecessary energy.

At about 3.15 it does come across as awfully high. As a side-note not being critical of any philosophies or schools of thought, just trying to reconcile them. Wondering is one for distance/endurance and the other for speed?


CoachEricDeSanto 07-30-2015 02:11 AM

You are correct. The straighter arm recovery is getting popular among sprinters. If the arm falls from a greater height it has more downward energy. Some believe that if the hand is positioned well (about 45 degrees angle) the falling into the catch can also cause some propulsion. It is interesting to note that some of the best coaches in history, Eddie Reese of Texas for one, does not agree with this. He teaches the high elbow low hand recovery at all speeds. Also interesting, Nathan enters thumb down which seems to eliminate this advantage and he is the fastest sprinter in our country right now. There is some detail in this concept that I don't get yet.

In general, leaving the hand lower allows more relaxation and therefore less energy use. It allows a quieter entry which conserves energy. These energy conservations are why you see this more in distance swimmers.

As always, everything in swimming is a balance and there are always exceptions. Sprinters can use a lot of energy for small gains in speed because they only need to maintain for 18 seconds.

lloyddinma 07-30-2015 05:16 AM

Coach Eric,

Thanks for the clarification.

Chances are the technique Nathan deploys is an extreme variation of the "open armpit" doctrine. As you are aware opening the armpit necessitates a higher elbow and vice-versa.

An instantiation of this is seen in the techique of our "graceful friend." He opens the armpiit, engages the blades and initiates recovery. We all know to maximize energy output, the force and required direction of motion must be aligned as much as possible. Consequently, while in recovery his palms face outwards, until entry-point where he penetrates with the first 2 or 3 fingers from his thumb. You can see his elbow is right sbove his back at the onset. I feel this plays a role in how he can accomplish feats like 25 metres in 10 strokes at that height, give or take his wingspan endowment.

Again it is my opinion, Nathan adopts the same principle in overdrive, with his palm facing outward and achieving entry with his thumb all the way down.

I had researched and not found any satisfactory explanation for opening the armpit wrt propulsion. But for now I believe both techniques use shoulder blade as mechanisms to sort of sling the arms.

I have incorporated the open-armpit into my recovery. I believe I have noticed some propulsion boost. But I wait for the summer to be over and resume swimming in my regular 25 yard pool. I can test my SPL there and confirm.


CoachStuartMcDougal 07-30-2015 05:05 PM

Although this is Coach Eric's thread, I'll chime in with something very similar to Nathan's stroke I do with my masters group that works very well. I call it the "high switch", near straight arm recovery, fingers point to sky, and heavy swing arm slices in forward of head.

Introducing the leading elbow recovery can lead to tense shoulders and tense neck, swimmers are trying to muscle the position. When the swimmer swings high, the shoulder naturally opens and relaxes and momentum of recovery arm slicing in, swimmers feel the weight shift and connection to big muscles of the core (lats). Notice if Nathan's forearm would relax a bit, the high elbow position would remain in same position.

What I have my squad do is start with high switch for four strokes, then begin to relax forearm for next four strokes while holding the high elbow, then relax forearm until they drag fingertips for last four stokes still maintaining the high, wide elbow recovery.

The "high switch" focus/drill is almost identical to Nathan's stroke.


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