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andyinnorway 03-29-2013 01:32 PM


Originally Posted by dprevish (Post 35161)

Quite, too true, "perpetual motion push ups" do not equate to speed in the water!

Actually Dave, where did you reach a point of perpetual motion with the push ups?

I've gone from 20 all out to 60 in about 6 weeks and was wondering once you get to 100 is 200 relatively straight forward?

CharlesCouturier 03-29-2013 02:58 PM


Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne (Post 35153)
Or fast swimmers create the least drag...

That in fact is my starting hypothesis.

Problem is that we've known it for what feels to be forever, but imo we are still yet to discover to the extent to which every little detail has a big impact.

Yesterday again, female, mid 20ties, good flexibility, ok technique, ex rower (Cambridge U in the UK), managed 14:30 for 750m in a race. That is a tidy bit slower than 1:55/100m.

My initial reaction (thanks god) is to look just as happy as everyone around her, since it was indeed a personal best and an improvement.

But that pace remains more than sustainable for me with a kick board chat kicking...

why why why...

CharlesCouturier 03-29-2013 03:29 PM


Originally Posted by dprevish (Post 35155)

I saw this post and was fascinated by it. Maybe I misread your post, but I think to find a metric by which to measure the propulsive forces that are applied though would perhaps be not as accurate as a measurement of drag resistance (or lack thereof).

I seriously need to go at the bottom of it, even if it takes years. I'm in a great position to achieve this. I work with an Olympic coach who studies for a Master in sports, in the University where I coach, one of my athlete being a professor there (sports) and a PhD. So I should be able to bring the resources together. No choice, I absolutely got to go at the bottom of it.

You've misread my post, but just a bit. I don't to measure the propulsive forces as much as estimating the power (or force) required to move at this or that pace, given a good technique. Now you may think "Charles, this is the same thing". No it's not.

On one hand, measuring (or pretending to measure) propulsive forces implies that we know, from say 10 pounds per stroke @ 50rpm, how much of this contributes to propulsion. I'm not interested in this. I want to know the cost of swimming, regardless of if the effort made has a positive, null, or negative impact on propulsion. How much does it cost????????????????????????

Then I want to compare it with the force *used* by slower swimmers to achieve the same pace, and start from there. That then could be seen as the price actually paid by lower level swimmer.

Wouldn't you find interesting to hear that a good swimmers requires merely 8lbs of force per arm stroke to move at 1:50/100m whilst an avg swimmer would use 24lbs of force to achieve the same pace?


Originally Posted by dprevish (Post 35155)
At my best time/100 I'm at 1:31 and that's balls to the walls power.

Yesterday we had our little inhouse competition (introductory work for those who are not used to jump from a block). My fastest guy was there. And I asked him: Luke, what's the slowest pace you could swim on at the moment in your opinion, ie slower than that would feel very uncomfortable. His answer was 1:30 for 100m (not yards). The sort of session he books seems to suggest this. 4x1500m off 20min (booking every one in the low 18min), 10x1000 off 14min (booking everyone in low 12s).

Understand me. How can one could literally feel *still* at a pace corresponding to your best effort?

I must confess that a big inspiration for me to become eager to investigate this has been this man here:

Coach Gerry


Although my coaching philosophy has evolved over a quarter century of experience, there remain several core principles and values that have guided me since Year One and, I expect, always will do so:

1. There are no shortcuts;
2. There are no secrets;
I don't know, I'm not so sure. Tell me why most people (possibly including his own clientele) are struggling holding pace an elite can't even swim at (too slow), and yes I'll agree that there remain no secrets in swimming.

Til then, I like to believe that there still are secrets, and until we unfold them, it's hard to know what the shortcuts may be (or may become in the future).

smat 03-29-2013 03:56 PM

Press up impressive. 800 in 20 mins is fantastic. I managed 92 straight of and we regularly have comps at work and i beat the young guns. Can still bench 100kg at 78kg body weight ... Swimming can not be about power as mine is not too bad ,but yet i can still only manage 36mins for 1500m.
My coach is helping with technique as my power and fitness in other areas is good. Interesting topic.

Ghul 03-29-2013 04:29 PM

A fascinating topic indeed. It may be that elite swimmers are designed
by nature to have low drag. It would be interesting to know how much variation
in drag is due to body type and how much to skill. Elite swimmers may also have much better co-ordination than average so skill may also be partly intrinsic.

Janos 03-29-2013 07:15 PM

The whole TI concept is based on observations of elite and progressively trained swimmers from US and Russia who deliberately practised at slow swim speeds to enable them to get the feedback they needed to improve their race speed. If you can't do it slowly, you can't do it fast.


Richardsk 03-29-2013 07:30 PM

It can't be just about body type, although obviously some body types are more advantageous than others. The other day a very large, tall man with a very large paunch was swimming in the next lane to mine and he was going fairly fast. I wouldn't be able to estimate a time very accurately, but probably better than 30 secs per 25, which I am not capable of. Today a large man with very powerful shoulders who is paralysed from the waist down was swimming next to me and he was faster than me, or at least not much slower. Today also a young girl (swim club type) was whizzing up and down continuously at a pace I can only dream of for one length. Her body type was more or less ideal, although to be an Olympian she would probably need to grow a bit taller. She had an excellent kick (faster than my swim) and a beautiful backstroke as well as a very nice fly to judge from her drills.

In my age group in the UK and the age groups below and above there is quite a range of physiques, although there are not too many of us. Wiry seems to predominate and often I find the best and fastest are ex water polo players. I suspect that there is a causal link there. Times for the 50m range from the low to mid thirties for the fast guys to the high 'fifties or even above one minute in my case.

Almost spherical women of similar age to mine have often swum much faster than I can swim and I bet I would have no trouble with them in a wrestling match, if that sort of thing were allowed. ;-)

'Tis a mystery!

CoachToby 03-29-2013 09:00 PM

I think it can be unhelpful to use elite swimmers as an example when tying to identify physical attributes common to fast swimmers in general - elites are a breed apart. Like Richardsk says, good swimmers come in all shapes and sizes. It's not the size of the engine that matters, but how the power is transmitted.

WFEGb 03-29-2013 10:29 PM

Hi Charles,

think you have good conditions to bring the world of swimming some steps forward.


I don't know, I'm not so sure. Tell me why most people (possibly including his own clientele) are struggling holding pace an elite can't even swim at (too slow), and yes I'll agree that there remain no secrets in swimming.

Til then, I like to believe that there still are secrets, and until we unfold them, it's hard to know what the shortcuts may be (or may become in the future).
How you can see the answers your questions are moving many of us. And if no secrets there at least some mysteries stay out for explenation.

You are looking at the end of top Level swimmers. In my opinion the mystery of breathing is not solved for beginners. Students with strength and endurance who have problems swimming 4 laps is a mystery for me. (Seems to me a more psychological and problem of relaxation and the right mood-focuses; might be developed by psychologists than swim coaches...)

Some additional thoughts.
- You sometimes wrote of special sensors developed or inated by top swimers. Are there any researches of distribution of the nerve endings compared top level with hobby swimmers? (It is completely unclear to me, how Terry or other coaches are able to improve very finest changes and know which changes are right and which wrong...) Think everyone has more endings at the finger tips than on the back, but what if a top level swimmer has on his back as much endings as I on my finger tips?
- Are there known experiments with swimmers in flow channels as used for shipbuilding? (Could be possible with counterflows in endless pools, when water is pumped outside the pool. Several glued twine on swimmers bodies.) Guess the most fluend state is not what is felt as it. And guess it's quite different for different bodies. Is our best felt or coache's realized streamline really the very best to be effortless and fastest? May be we have to deal with different currencies near our bodies. (Pinguins and Barracudas are fairly fast swimmers with very different currencies near their bodies.) May be we get into the same velocity dependend problems as cyclists, when it's good to produce small turbulences when better to avoid them. (Bullets and golf balls also do ...)
- And how have we to move while stroking to hold the best position and Forward drive. And is it steady or to be changed acjusted to pace, force and movement?
- Last but not least I'm sure TI is a very good starting point and despite Terry's footer a long bodyline and good balance can't be wrong. But you may bring out one ore more amazing changes and new focuses.

All that will be enough for your dissertation and following habiltation. Be sure, I'll buy "your book"!

Best regards,

dprevish 03-29-2013 11:38 PM

I see your point now
I did miss your point slightly; now I see what you are getting at. I find this a fascinating point too, keeps me wondering the same thing: Why...if there is no secret does one person toil, while another cruises. You are on to something, as a way to benchmark the cost that is actually measured by an elite (say a device that fits on one's hand) would allow a person to be able to understand when they are inefficient. Because if I'm applying 30lbs (random figure) to the device on each stroke, vs the elite only applying 10, we see the rift. I'm working way too hard for the return. Actually, I'm acutely aware of that from my posts!:-)
This information could prove helpful. Even more helpful sometimes would be a way for me to measure (perhaps by infrared?) the drag locations off my body as I swim, vs that of an elite?

In my running, the cost measurement is usually measured through heart rate. And once I'm at 92% of MHR, my time at that pace is limited. But in swimming as Terry states in one of his Youtubes that in swimming there is so much less concern about your "engine"(propulsive force), but more to gain from drag reduction. And I see that in my own observations that the more unlikely swimmers can set some great times. Once a little guy about 10 jumped in the lane that I was swimming in (making three...ugggh). I thought he was going to slow us down; but he smoked us!! He just boogied up and down lane after lane...amazing. I had to really step up to keep him off my heels!

So yes, curiously with about 20 min.(about 6 - 7 sets) three days a week I can maintain about 7-800 push ups seeing slight gains about every week or two. I'm not sure why either, (Andy and Smat you were wondering). I wish I could translate that into swim speed, but thatís not it. But I've observed long ago, that it is surely not a power thing solely at least.

Iíve pondered the core weight shift principle as well and have resolved myself to the long term application of something that I am baffled by too. I do know as I said in an earlier post that one thing that I am not anywhere close to achieving yet is balance. I do observe my son slack lining (itís basically a tight rope). He is getting better as he achieves balance and can move predictably across the span as long as he has balance. Once he loses that, heís off on the ground (only about 2 feet fall with the sport). I know that the balance, symmetry and breathing skills I see from the elites is impeccable, I'm trying first to get that, hoping the rest will fall in place. But as I've's not so easy.

So I am with you in this quest for understanding, and open to ideas!

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