Originally Posted by s.sciame
Hi, I have to admit I didn't read the whole thread. Anyway I just wanted to throw a couple of thoughts:
1) It would be nice to see the other 3 strokes (fly, breatstroke and backstroke) over longer distances than 200m in competition. Why not have the 1500's in fly, br and bk too? People crossed the English Channel with these styles. Maybe we could learn that over 1500m backstroke is faster than fly. We could also see how the technique changes to be more sustainable
In my view backstroke is a variant of front crawling. In the same way I think butterfly and breaststroke are variant of the same thing. It would be interesting to see more distances but I guess they can't sustain that races per competition. That is why they should have "front crawling" races and freestyle, the distance would be mirrored between both. Freestyle would be pretty much not regulated; everything is allowed (except front crawling).
2) Among the 4 styles, front crawl (or "freestyle") imho remains the more "free" in that it is more customizable than the others. Think for instance to the recovery arm: high elbow, straight arm and everything in between. The kick: 2bk, 4bk, 6bk, 8bk etc. Timing: catchup, windmill and everything in between. Breathing: one side breathing, bilateral every 3, twice to left twice right etc. Shoulder driven vs hip driven, hybrid, loping stroke.
In short: Sun Yang and Gregorio Paltrinieri are day and night and both competed in the same race (before Sun Yang abandoned the 1500) with same outcomes. Of course there are customisations on the other 3 styles too, but not to this extent imho.
To me those are tiny variations. Michael Phelps dolphin kick/front crawling experiment was a more radical change though an abandoned one.
In the three other stroke there are less variations thanks to regulation and the races distances. The situation is "weird" to me, breaststroke as swum makes no bio-mechanical sense and the performances are further held by things that have nothing to do with the stroke in itself: athletes can't use the dolphin kick as much at the dive and at every turn.
Butterfly is free as the technique allowed is the fastest on the distances athletes compete on.
leaving the under waters part (and theirs regulations) butterfly is faster than breaststroke, that is not disputable. It allows to generate more propulsion than breaststroke ever will.
Now how close breaststroke could really get if swimmer were not force to get the head out of the water? We don't know.
Butterfly-ers breathing patterns change significantly from 50m, 100m to 200m yet it has a minimal impact on the technique (mostly driven by the airborne recovery).
Breaststroke is different, the recoveries happen underwater, yet one has to get the head out even if does not need to breath. I find doable to do 2 kicks in row, I connect them using a slight "wave style" movement to ease the preparation of the whip kick and actually also to increase its strength.
It is still impossible for such techniques to beat butterfly, in absolute term but on a longer distance when human body show its limits? I don't know.
Either way say we are to race 1500m and 2 kicks 1 breath breaststroke beats vanilla butterfly, "we" can't say in fact if a better compromise is butterfrog.
The arm movement is the same demanding but efficient, the frog kick as some recovery (/generate some drag) but it is powerful and pretty efficient. Sustaining a whole body dolphin is fast for sure but it use so many muscles and burn so much power.
Ultimately what I mean is that we lack "answers" on relatively important questions with regard to efficiency in swimming and how that intersects human endurance (athletes or casuals). It is worse people (especially casual) are learning "wrong" alternatives to front crawling or head-up front crawling. The praying recovery makes no sense in casual breaststroke. Casual should may be not learn competitive breaststroke go right away with butterfrog.
For now we have the answer to the most important question about the most efficient way which and the answer is front crawling.
Ahahah... overthinking at it is worse... lol
I will do more swimming and less thinking...
Happy swimming too :)