Hi ZT, I too liked your answers to Werner's philosophical questions. Your answers all resonated with me. I am at an age now where my conditioning gets continually worse. Last spring I had a health crisis that kept me out of the pool for some time, and when I got back in I had lost a lot of ground. Since then I have gained some of it back, but I know from past experience that I will never get all of it back. I recently spoke with a friend who is a long time runner, and he told me the same thing. He had an injury, had to sit out for some time, and he knows he will never quite get back what he lost from that time out.
So all of this fits into the picture of what I am trying to do with my technique analysis. I have the feeling that I may be swimming with better technique now than ever before, even though I am slower. In particular, Stuart's suggestion to get forearm fulcrums has made a big difference and I have the feeling that I have cleaned up a lot of my dropped elbow problems to an extent that I never had before. This feels great, and it has allowed me to start playing around with some other issues that I could never really get into without dropping my elbow. Lately I have been swimming in lakes and I have achieved a degree of effortlessness that I'm not sure I ever had before over distance. All of this is a lot of fun, and I like to believe that I am slowing down the rate at which I slow down, even if I haven't been able to reverse the trend.
So, Werner, I know you didn't ask me these questions, but that's my input, for whatever it's worth.