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josefpinel 04-14-2010 02:35 AM

00:25:00, 1500 m
hello everyone, I donīt live anywhere near a TI learning center, I donīt even live in the US ... I live in Honduras, so I got the EASY FREESTYLE DVD on amazon ... have been drilling for a few weeks, and today I made a video. the smallest number of strokes I can get in 25 mts is 15 which is an improvement to the 18 I did last time I checked 2 months ago.
As the title implies, i'm doing olympic tris and expect to be able to swim the 1500 mts in 25 minutes by november; currently I'm timing the 1500 mts in about 32 minutes.
As I watched the videos, I could identify several flaws in balance and form, but I think I'm starting to get the feel for a clean hand entry ... when watched from behind, I seem to be too wavy, and I lose the laser lead when I breath. I still do not feel the power from hip drive, and cannot as you will see, create a good 2 beat kick ... I keep doing that horrible scissor-like kick, which looks awful, but I don't know how to correct it ...
So, I would thank anyone willing to help me perfect my techinque with drill advice and tips.

watch the video

haschu33 04-14-2010 07:46 AM


I only had time for a quick look.
To my eyes (I am still in the process of learning myself... so be careful ;-) ) following points:

I like the smoothness and rhythm!
Main thing is the symptom of scissors like legs and breathing. Scissor-like leg movements are an indication of over-rotation and imbalance. You can clearly see it in the shots from behind: you are bending your body forward, rotate the shoulder too far behind the body when starting to recover, and the legs counteract against the possible loss of balance due to that over-rotation. It is worse on the right side, your breathing side.
Further points:
- Gliding is a little too long, before starting the recovery. Particularly on the right side you do a rather long pause before lifting the arm out of the water. That is probably because you breathe on the right side and get more time to breathe. Also the left spearing arm has a slight tendency to dive down when you breathe.
- Lifting the head when breathing.
- Imbalanced stroke due to breathing on the right side only.

What to do ?
I am not a coach, so this might not be the best advice. I also had (have?) the scissor like movements and I did the following: Single spear and Zen switches with a very log gliding phase and keeping my big toes touching each other to make sure the legs are quite. That makes imbalance obvious and I could counteract that at the source (= improving balance).
I'd recommend this:
- Rotate less. Do spear- and Zen-switches to improve balance. Spear-switches to get the hip drive rhythm with 2BK.
- Improve the breathing. The nodding drill from the DVD is excellent for that. Aim for not lifting the head at all.
- Try to breathe on either sides, that makes your stroke more balanced

I don't know if the video was from a drilling sequence. If not, meaning if this was 'swimming', it is too slow. Get a tempo trainer and slowly increase the pace. It will give you a more balanced stroke and will remove the long gliding pauses.

So, you asked for the room for improvement, that's why I emphasized that. Overall it looks quite nice to me, a lot better than most of the stuff I see when I am in the pool.

Hang on in there! I am 'alone' here as well with the help of the DVD and the forum only - works quite well.

Alex-SG 04-14-2010 06:53 PM

Hello Joseph,

I see the following in your stroke:

a. Recovery is not driven by the elbows, looks like it is the hand and arm which control it. Elbows are not high enough, so you are not able to pierce the water at an angle using gravity to drop your hand into the water

b. As a direct consequence of this, I do not see much acceleration through the water. Looks like you gently position the arm at the surface instead of trying to generate some rotation driven speed forward

c. Hips and legs seem to zig-zag behind the body. Not sure why. Could be that the recovery hands cross the center line instead of staying on wide tracks. Have you tried swimming next to the pool wall and ensure your spearing hand/arm stay parallel to the wall and do not come inside?

d. I have a similar issue with c. I wonder if this can be due to the Catch/Pull hand not "pushing water back straight"

e. Stroke rate is indeed on the slow side. The problem is that even if you develop a good elbow driven recovery and good acceleration, the body ends up slowing down too much before the next spearing hand creates acceleration again. I notice that the best swimmers maintain a minimum speed between switches

I am skipping of course the GOOD things you have which you do not need to correct (excellent rythm, wide tracks, good balance, apparently great stamina if you can swim 32min with your current stroke)

Very interested to hear other posts because... my swimming style is similar to yours :) ALEX

haschu33 04-14-2010 08:50 PM


Originally Posted by Alex-SG (Post 10140)
c. Hips and legs seem to zig-zag behind the body. Not sure why. Could be that the recovery hands cross the center line instead of staying on wide tracks. Have you tried swimming next to the pool wall and ensure your spearing hand/arm stay parallel to the wall and do not come inside?

let me elaborate that a little more.
The idea is to always rotate your body like a log. There shouldn't be any flexing in the horizontal plane, only rolling.
Look at the video from 00:50 when Joseph pushes off the second time shot from behind.
Now what happens is this: take the left side, when you start to recover. You are on your right side (on that side it is even more obvious), your right arm is spearing. When you start your recovery you start to flex backwards. If you were standing straight it would mean you flex backwards, like wanting to look up into the sky. You are not straight anymore. You form quite a strong hollow back, which means, as you are on you right side, you start to come off your straight direction to the right. It has to do with your recovery, when you start to lift your arm out of the water you pull your upper shoulder strongly backwards. The shoulder and arm on top of the body are a strong lever and bring you out of balance - actually you start to over-rotate - your legs counteract and become flexed backwards as well. They do that to prevent you from 'falling' backwards. When your elbow is at it's highest point in the recovery your whole body is for a moment shaped like a bow, backwards. Then you do your stroke and then flex again, this time to he other side. Thus you create a zig-zag pattern, not a straight line. A bow to the right side, a bow to the left side, ...

I think you should get the idea of rolling like a log. Or focus on having a long, long lower back, particularly when starting to recover. Or get the idea of sucking your belly in (maybe it helps, but I personally don't like that idea). Once you stop that flexing and over-rotating your legs will become quiet on their own.

It looks as if your shoulders rotate more than your hips, and particularly the left arm doesn't really catch (no EVF), it sort of just moves backwards. So you loose your anchor for pushing the body forward.
The catch and pull phase is very fast while the recovery phase is very slow, sort of unbalanced.

It's not to frustrate you, you just asked for it... ;-)

My 2 cent

josefpinel 04-14-2010 10:54 PM

I just got home from 2 hr swim practice ... I decided to focus on Phase I of kaizen training as described on the DVD manual, because it emphasizes the basic balance drills and also kept in mind the recomendations from haschu33 and Alex-SG. wich i really apreciate ....and I do not feel frustrated at all, I feel the exact opposite, very very motivated.
I really like that right-bow, left-bow theory .... makes a lot of sense, and actually it is what happens during my recovery phase, there is a noticeable flexion on my back, and that makes me lose my laser lead and legs zig-zag to compensate.
I think my recovering arm is shoulder-driven, instead of elbow-driven ... maybe elbow circles drill might help ... I will work extensively on the log-roll action and maintain just enough rotation and see how it goes ... there will be noticeable improvement within a few weeks, I hope.

KatieK 04-15-2010 02:21 AM

Splayed Kick
I also have the problem with the scissors-like kick (ARRRGH!) To fix it, I've tried a lot of things. Many of them helped, but the problem proved very persistent.

Surprisingly, the best help I've found was on a thread that didn't even address that directly--Timing of Hip/core and spearing arm. CoachBobW's post was especially helpful. This is the URL:

There are a lot of different focal points you can use to try to keep hips and shoulders in synch. Rolling like a log, as mentioned in other posts, is a good one. For me, the best one has been a focus on initiating the rotation from the hips. As CoachBobW mentioned in that post, it's easier for the shoulders to rotate than the hips. So, if I focus on moving the hips, the shoulders synch up on their own.

Since reading that post, the scissors-like kick is mostly gone. More importantly, my stroke feels SO much easier and more rhythmic.

Josef--as many others have already mentioned, there are plenty of good things about your stroke. Keep up the good work and buena suerte on your goal.

madvet 04-15-2010 09:10 PM

Many triathletes report that they don't get huge time gains for the first year or even 2 with TI, but that they come out of the swim in better shape than before, which allows them to get better times overall. That is because of a more efficient less energy-wasting stroke.

Eventually, you will get time gains on the swim portion as well, but don't be discouraged if you don't make that 25 minute goal. That is doable, but maybe not right away. 27 minutes would be respectable as well.

The swim is the shortest segment of tris so it isn't important to shave time off there, but it can launch you to perform better at the next 2 legs.

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