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  #1  
Old 09-07-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Default Your Aquatic Signature

Even though I am a newbie swimmer, after I read this short article (and watched a few videos) about Coach Bill Boomer's approach to assigning strokes/events/distances to competitive swimmers based partly upon their 'aquatic signature', I found I was in total agreement. How many coaches do this with their swimmers?

Even early on in swimming lessons, might it not be helpful to assess the student's aquatic signature and teach them maybe breaststroke first, instead of freestyle, if their body type happens to be better equipped to perform that? Or at least work on specific drills that help them overcome a poor signature?

Boomer says: "At the moment when you take a breath and give yourself to the water and it neutralizes you, you end up in a certain position. That position is unique to you and nobody else. And once you’re in your aquatic signature position, it can be determined whether you’re best suited for freestyle, butterfly, backstroke or breaststroke."

I am paraphrasing here: "The more horizontal a swimmer is in the water, the more favorable the signature will be. Establishing and maintaining a proper aquatic line, especially as speed increases, can take a lot of energy for the unfavorable signature. The key is finding an event that is sympathetic to your posture and signature."

Please read this over and let me know your comments. Maybe this is common knowledge. I mean, every sport has it's own preferred body types.

http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnews...rs_scient.html

I have always wondered why some people could learn to swim so effortlessly. I believe now that the reason it has taken me so long to learn to swim freestyle is not just because of my buoyancy issues (how low in the water I am), but also because of how my body is positioned in a neutral pose by the water (that is, how far up or far down my feet are from the water surface (my 'horizontality' -- or lack thereof). My feet are way down, by the way! Breaststroke, therefore, is very comfortable stroke for me because of the slightly different posture.

Of course a lot more goes into a coach's assessment of swimmers, such as their heart rate (for long distance), lung capacity, form, endurance, muscle recovery, etc. etc., but I thought this was a very interesting article. It could explain why it takes some of us much longer to learn to swim freestyle than others, as we try to overcome unfavorable posture issues.

Not making excuses that this can't be overcome! Just saying that an unfavorable aquatic signature could be a reason for a delay in achieving a smooth, efficient, and 'effortless' freestyle. I think TI's approach to posture is great. It probably could be emphasized more that each person is unique in their aquatic signature and each may have their own unique challenges to overcome when learning freestyle.

More information can be found in 'Freestyle Reimagined'.
http://www.championshipproductions.c..._MD-04884.html

Last edited by novaswimmer : 09-07-2016 at 08:25 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Like many people, I was made uncomfortable by the notion that an aquatic signature is something like a fingerprint, which can determine what strokes you will excel in, among other things. On reading through the article you attached, I found the quote from Boomer which I think is too easily forgotten in this discussion
"By Boomer’s own admission, the aquatic signature can change at any time, especially once a swimmer is ingrained in their training habits."

It seems to me that how you lie in the water is determined by a lot of inherent factors, such as the density distribution in your body, but it is also determined by much more variable factors, including flexibility of your joints and core muscle tone. As an old man, I have developed something of a hunchback from years of sitting at a computer monitor and squinting to read small print. This curvature in my back wasn't always there, but it is now, and when I relax in the water it will impact my aquatic signature. When I am swimming freestyle, I focus a lot of effort on trying to engage my core muscles to straighten out my back and make me more streamlined. Children also develop at different rates, and a child's aquatic signature can doubtless change significantly in the growth process.

While Boomer's ideas are interesting, I fear that the biggest danger in them is that they will be misused by others, who aren't aware of the caveats and have a tendency to simplify complicated situations. So my warning is only to be careful in how you apply this kind of methodology.
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Old 09-07-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
So my warning is only to be careful in how you apply this kind of methodology.
I'm not a coach, and I'm not Boomer, so I'm never going to apply his methodology at all - except maybe consider it for myself. LOL! And I have not read his book, which is more comprehensive.

But I bow to you more experienced swimmers.

The writer of that article acknowledges that this 'aquatic signature' is only a small part of his arsenal in assessing and training swimmers.

Flexibility of your joints and core muscle tone should not play a role in the aquatic signature test where one lies motionless (dead man's float). However, they would definitely play a role in freestyle technique once all the parts are moving. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

And sure, I could gain 50 lbs and my signature would change, I'll bet.

But I do see that it can certainly play a role in how one assesses young swimmers -- and even adults. Sure there are many, many other factors.

But when I see Shinji floating nearly halfway across the pool, perfectly horizontal, nearly motionless, with feet near the surface, I have to think there is something inherent in his body type and density distribution that allows for that kind of posture.

Last edited by novaswimmer : 09-07-2016 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 09-07-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
I'm not a coach, and I'm not Boomer, so I'm never going to apply his methodology at all - except maybe consider it for myself. LOL! And I have not read his book, which is more comprehensive.

But I bow to you more experienced swimmers.

The writer of that article acknowledges that this 'aquatic signature' is only a small part of his arsenal in assessing and training swimmers.

Flexibility of your joints and core muscle tone should not play a role in the aquatic signature test where one lies motionless (dead man's float). However, they would definitely play a role in freestyle technique once all the parts are moving. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

And sure, I could gain 50 lbs and my signature would change, I'll bet.

But I do see that it can certainly play a role in how one assesses young swimmers -- and even adults. Sure there are many, many other factors.

But when I see Shinji floating nearly halfway across the pool, perfectly horizontal, nearly motionless, with feet near the surface, I have to think there is something inherent in his body type and density distribution that allows for that kind of posture.
I am not the experienced swimmer you refer to above, but I don't believe that Shinji is completely relaxed as he floats across the pool. He is using muscles in his back and legs to maintain that body position.

As for flexibility and core muscle tone being irrelevant when you lie relaxed and motionless in the water, I am suspicious of this, although again I am no expert. I think that the muscles in your body maintain a certain level of tone even when you are relaxed and even if your muscles are doing this without you being aware of it. Young people tend to walk in an erect position, whereas old people develop a slump over time, because their core muscles deteriorate. The young people aren't trying to stand up straight, it just happens. Flexibility also helps determine the balance between opposing muscles, which maintain a certain level of contraction, even when relaxed.

Again, not an expert opinion on any of this, just impressions I have gotten from getting old and watching the process. Maybe the experts will disagree...
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2016
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
Even though I am a newbie swimmer, after I read this short article (and watched a few videos) about Coach Bill Boomer's approach to assigning strokes/events/distances to competitive swimmers based partly upon their 'aquatic signature', I found I was in total agreement. How many coaches do this with their swimmers?
Hi Novaswimmer,

I use aquatic signature for any new swimmer that comes into masters. This gives me and the swimmer an idea of where the water and gravity puts the swimmer's body. This helps us determine if adding more specific skills to balance (lift the hips) using body position and not turning arms and legs for stability. Most of the swimmers are triathletes and their main stroke is freestyle, so I don't use it to determine which swim event favors their signature, only awareness of their center of mass vs center of buoyancy. Males generally very low signature, and females have much higher signature and more naturally balanced, but is unique to each swimmer and body type.

There is an aquatic signature for both pool/lake and salt water ocean. My aquatic signature in the pool is roughly 75 degs, with the surface being 0 degs - very low hips (as with most guys). In the ocean, I'm between 30-40 degrees, much higher profile. Swimming long distance in the ocean feels routine, whereas pool/lake I really have to focus on skills that keep my hips high and balanced on each stroke.

Anyway aquatic signature is a great tool/test and awareness for both swimmer and coach.

Stuart
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Old 09-08-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Most male triathletes have an aquatic signature that points to short distance sprint swimming.
They are only interested in long distance swimming. Sorry, bad luck.
Just an extra handicap in the swimming journey.
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Old 09-08-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
Most male triathletes have an aquatic signature that points to short distance sprint swimming.
They are only interested in long distance swimming. Sorry, bad luck.
Just an extra handicap in the swimming journey.
I would be interested in knowing what particular aquatic signature positions point to which specific strokes/distances.

Here's an illustration of several possible aquatic signatures.



Do you know for a fact that male triathletes tend to have a particular signature? What might it look like? And why do you say it points to sprint swimming?

Guess I have to read Boomer's book. Don't want to shell out the money though!

I tried this last night at the pool, but I felt a bit reluctant to do the 'dead man's float' too long, lest the lifeguards think I had drowned. BUT, I ended up more or less vertical in the water and then began to sink to the bottom. Hmmm.

Thanks!

Last edited by novaswimmer : 09-08-2016 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 09-08-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
.... but I don't believe that Shinji is completely relaxed as he floats across the pool. He is using muscles in his back and legs to maintain that body position.
Oh, I totally agree that Shinji is using many muscles to maintain that floating posture. But my point is that while I can try to emulate his posture doing superman glide, I still sink after maybe only 2 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwV7aik6doM
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Old 09-08-2016
lloyddinma lloyddinma is offline
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It appears the term aquatic signature has been around for a while. I bought this book a year ago: "Mastering Swimming, " that talked about.


I like the concept as far as it alludes to the notion that there isn't or at least shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all approach. There are principles and then there is a level of customization that must come along.

Shinji's torso/leg ratio plays at least a role in how he can float like that for so long. He has harnessed his TI techniques around his body type. He can also get away with a low-amplitude 2bk withour having to worry about his frame slanting.

Ultimately, the good news is that everyone has pluses to counter their short comings.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyddinma View Post
It appears the term aquatic signature has been around for a while. I bought this book a year ago: "Mastering Swimming, " that talked about.


I like the concept as far as it alludes to the notion that there isn't or at least shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all approach. There are principles and then there is a level of customization that must come along.

Shinji's torso/leg ratio plays at least a role in how he can float like that for so long. He has harnessed his TI techniques around his body type. He can also get away with a low-amplitude 2bk withour having to worry about his frame slanting.

Ultimately, the good news is that everyone has pluses to counter their short comings.
Good to hear! Yes, I agree with you.
Thanks for your reply!
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