Thread: Skate Asymmetry
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Old 01-23-2016
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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tomoy
Default Skate Asymmetry

Sclim's Awkward Breathing thread and self-honesty inspired me to dig into one of my stroke issues that I've never really squashed - rather, I feel I've recently squashed it, but wonder if I'm cheating.

Basically my left skate seems fine. Left spear, tucked right arm, buoyant but resting on the pillow head position, decent angle on edge but not over-rotated, gentle compact kick, slow forward motion. BUT my right side skate veers off to the right into the lane lines within 5 yards. I can focus on each detail and it seems correct from "my" perspective. But damn if I'm constantly turning right.

It has been like this for years. Then in the last couple months I discovered my solution/cheat. Kick only on the top leg. So in right-side skate, right hand spearing. I lock my right, lower leg in a streamlined position and only kick my left leg-foot. Damned if I now am skating straight down the pool.

On left skate, it doesn't seem to matter. If I kick both legs I'm straight. if I kick just the top leg, I'm straight. Haven't tried kicking just the lower leg, but I'm pretty sure it'd be ugly.

So the question is - has anyone had similar - and does anyone have any ideas about the root cause? I suspect it might just be anatomy. I'm 5'11" on the lanky side. A bit bow-legged. I was born pigeon-toe'd but family lore tells the story of my mother regularly cranking my feet outward which "fixed" them, except for my natural stance I think my right foot angles outward about 10-degrees when I walk, and my left foot only about 5-degrees. When I relax my ankles my toes point quite a good deal inward, so a relaxed kick will find my toes inches inside the centerline while my legs stay outside it.

All thoughts welcome! Thanks.

--- friday night thinking ---

Coach Stuart has recently identified asymmetries in my recovery. My left wrist T-Rex'es down during recovery perhaps to clear the water, whereas my right wrist seems to dangle naturally and almost in alignment with my forearm. Working on that now. My DPS seems basically the same. Breathing on one side gives me the same stroke counts as breathing on the other, though I can feel subtle differences between the sides:

My right breath (left-skate) works best when I'm just starting and cold. The air is there and easy to get. Later during a long swim I can still reliably get air, but the window of opportunity seems shorter. Also the geometry of my switch, or strike position just isn't there like it is on the right. I can't bend the elbows at the right time to get a good EVF, so my strokes is a little straight-armed and deep. My left shoulder is "tighter" than my right although I think that means it's healthier.

My left breath (right-skate) seems lower - I can almost breathe with both goggles underwater and it feels easier to get air, longer with more time, now than my right. I seem to be able to setup a decent EVF on both sides when I'm breathing to the left. Think it has something to do with my right shoulder being "looser" and more flexible - rotator cuff wear and tear from years of volleyball. It used to be my weak side breathing on the left. However it this "works" best once I'm warmed up. When cold, it's too low and a bit of a reach or rotate to get air.

Humph.

Last edited by tomoy : 01-23-2016 at 07:44 AM.
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