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Old 12-07-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

Originally Posted by galax View Post
TT= 1.60 1.70 1.80 1.90 2.00 1.90 1.80 1.70 1.60 1.50
There is a gulf between this kind of swim and my typical swim during workout session when my stroke rate
varying from 1.30 to 1.0.

This is a great tune-up to get control of not only your stroke length to rate but to also hone your balance and streamline, as I'm sure you're finding out.
I did this exact exercise today in my continuation of getting back to where I feel I was this time last winter, before my erratic season schedule (or lack there of) of swimming.
To my surprise this exact focus, plus all my recent practices along these lines, helped me to achieve a PB for 500 yards today! The best part was in achieving this without trying.
I decided to take my focus for a ride, first thinking of an 'open ended' swim of 10 minutes concentrating on holding different stroke lengths per 100 yards, but decided on a measured swim of 500 yards. I'd mark the time for future comparison and still cycle through stroke lengths beginning with trying to hold 14 spl. I was able to maintain an average spl of 14 through the first 200 yards then added 1 then 2 strokes through the next 200 yards, 16 avg. spl on the last 100.
I played with a focus on reducing strokes on the odd lengths of the last 200 yards or so, taking 16 spl on a length then 'slowing' my stroke to achieve 14 (or 15 as it were) on the next and so on. When I touched the wall I realized I'd just swum my first sub 7 minute 500! My goal of last year, but better late than never. 6:56 will be my new benchmark for future improvement.
I, of course, doubted myself and so immediately swam two consecutive 100 yard repeats at the same (or less) perceived effort and came in at under 1:25. Followed this with a couple of 50 yard repeats at :41. This confirmed that my pace time was probably correct.
I'll probably continue to use this TT exercise, perhaps at quicker tempos and adding a new challenge. Likewise allowing, if necessary, a higher stroke count per length if my 'gains' are plausible.
Incidentally, I failed to mention my intended focuses for that aborted open ended swim that ended up a 500. I was to focus on 100s of "a floating lead arm" then "kick to spear" timing then holding an arm full of water.
By far the focus that I felt gave me the feeling needed to maintain stroke length and a sense of ease (which led to my apparent PB) was that of a floating lead arm followed by a light pressured but firmly positioned catch. This was spurred by my earlier reading of a post, by Andyinnorway I believe, which included a video of Steve Tarpinian demonstrating stroke technique. In it, while showing the arm position of the stroking arm during the "catch phase", he mentions (happily to me) that " it's not a powerful movement" but merely a prelude to the stroking or pulling phase, what we TIers consider "holding water" (or gathering moon beams) or "anchoring". Holding this firm position with light pressure then allows me to focus on a relaxed recovery and clean, quiet entry to extension.
This is what Terry advocates as "soft hook" and talks about (and illustrates) in his own swimming "by applying little pressure" during the stroking phase. Remembering this, in turn, is what led to my floating arm/ light pressure focus for my swim.
I'll report back with any future input/ insight for those interested.
(Sorry for hijacking the thread, and btw, this is a PB for long posts)
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