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  #91  
Old 05-06-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Tom, I just got back from the pool, where I had some success today in getting my SPL down at these higher stroke rates. As I said above, I like to swim in what I would call a catch-up style, and I just started focusing on trying to swim catch-up at these faster rates. Today I met with some success, although not every day has been as good as today. I wound up with a bunch of different focal points in order to do this. Main focus was on spearing past my anchored arm, rather than pulling with my anchored arm. For me, the distinction between these two is primarily in the shoulders, and requires more shoulder motion. I tend to drop my elbow at these faster rates and I find it helps to think in terms of keeping my low-side hand in back of my elbow to prevent dropping the elbow. Of course, I don't know if I am really doing that, but the effort seems to aid in not dropping the elbow. It is also important to have the shoulder rotated internally, even in the back when I come out of the water. Stuart sometimes refers to this as turning your elbow outwards. Anyway, it prevents you from going over your back as you come out. Last, but not least, doing as much of the arm stroke with my shoulders and as little with my arms as possible. And then waiting to breath until my shoulder has passed and is in back of my face. So these were all of the things I was playing around with today in order to swim catch-up at a higher stroke rate. I found that, if I do this, I don't really need to rush my recovery at all. But here again, I want to lead the recovery for as long as possible with my elbow, dragging the finger tips in the water. And then the timing of the rotation and spearing in one sudden forward motion, just as in Stuart's thread "the Propulsion Paradox" with the video from Coach Boomer.

So obviously this is a multi-faceted challenge for me, and I still have some work to do!
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  #92  
Old 05-10-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
So obviously this is a multi-faceted challenge for me, and I still have some work to do!
Don't we all! I'm glad you're enjoying the process and seeing some successes along the way.
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  #93  
Old 05-10-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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First session this week--limited pool time--so I opted to do my USRPT set of 30 x 75m rather than another 500m time trial. I'll do another time trial next week.

Today I hit 5 successful repeats before first failure, which is the same as my last session--no improvement there.

I also hit fewer total successful repeats than last time: 7 repeats instead of 9.

So, I got worse all around this time. Felt a little blah, as if I did not have good awareness or feel today. Mostly hit 16-17 SPL on the 75s. I'll keep at it.

I finished with another set of 100m repeats at 1:35 faster, and failed that set on repeat #10--also worse than last time.

It's interesting to see that today doesn't even feel like a disappointment to me. I'm more curious about what will happen each day than I am aiming for specific results, I think. That's my favorite thing about the TI mentality.

Who knows? Maybe next time I'll have a big jump forward on the 75s.
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  #94  
Old 05-11-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
Danny,

one of the things I haven't fully explored yet about building toward higher stroke rates is to make the above-water portion of the recovery faster--as fast as you can do it while staying nicely relaxed--and keep the catch/pull phase slow. You gain a little bit of time with a faster recovery, resulting in a faster stroke rate. It is a bit of an odd asymmetrical feel to the stroke, but I felt like this kind of thing will be worth more of my attention at some point.

Worth a thought--I'd be curious to hear what you think if you experiment with something like this.
Tom, what bothers me about this approach is that it seems to disconnect the recovering arm from the stroking arm and maybe even from the body. These are all metaphors to help us understand what to concentrate on, but I like to think that the most important thing is to have both arms and the body working together as a single unit. I haven't really worked out what the mechanics of the upper and lower arm working together at high stroke rates should be for me. In fact, I am dismayed at how poor an idea I have of what I am really doing at these high stroke rates, but I can discern between what feels like efficient motion and what does not, and when I feel like I am moving efficiently the whole body and both arms are working together as one unit. All stuff to work on!
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  #95  
Old 05-11-2017
tomoy tomoy is offline
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I'm a fan of the fast recovery (with slower pull).

When we're talking about the recovery-from-exit moving forward to shoulder-level, I don't think disconnection is a bad thing. Connection (muscles flexing) might apply some counter-rotation to the hull due to the gravity of hanging your arm out to the side, but otherwise I haven't gained much from using energy in recovery trying to keep it connected.

Once recovery gets to shoulder level, or spearing into the "switch" then the connection should be tight, core muscles keeping everything aligned and transferring power from the high side into the water via rotation.

When I first learned of the concept of the faster recovery, I played with just focusing on pulling the recovery arm out and forward faster. It felt weird. Like rubato in music. Rushing so that you can slow down. And it did feel like I missed some connection to the lower side. It was messing with my rotation and timing of the switch. It felt like a weird way to get into a flat catch-up position.

Things didn't click here until Coach Stuart started moving our focus to launching the rear hand out of the water. In this way you can move that recovery around quite fast, and if you have front quadrant timing discipline, you find it throws that recovery hand into the water faster without losing the long hull.

It also takes the focus away from propulsion, but neatly aligns with the traditional concept of a gradually accelerating underwater arm. Concentrating on launching the recovery out of the water to generate and harness forward momentum seems to demand that energy from kick and rotation applies to the water. Side benefit is that I find I don't hurt my shoulders from applying underwater pressure too soon while my arm is above the shoulder line. More of my force is being generated at the rear end of my stroke. At least when I'm focusing on it.

It seems to work for me better when sprinting. That launch takes some energy that I don't think I could keep up for a mile. However, when I find some part of my stroke tiring, focusing on the launch does relieve some muscles and snaps others into action. I don't use it all the time, on every stroke, but it's a good tool to have.
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  #96  
Old 05-11-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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tomoy,

thanks for the comments on your experience with the faster recovery. I really only experimented with this for a few days, but I saw an immediate speed gain when focusing on this.

A faster recovery also seems to lend more momentum to the spearing motion, helping get more extension of the body line, and also more rotational force with your arm entering more quickly on wide tracks.

I like your "rubato" description--that's a good way to describe the feeling.

All that said, it's not a huge priority for me. When I begin TT pyramids again, I'll probably explore it some more.
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  #97  
Old 05-11-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
I'm a fan of the fast recovery (with slower pull).

When we're talking about the recovery-from-exit moving forward to shoulder-level, I don't think disconnection is a bad thing. Connection (muscles flexing) might apply some counter-rotation to the hull due to the gravity of hanging your arm out to the side, but otherwise I haven't gained much from using energy in recovery trying to keep it connected.

Once recovery gets to shoulder level, or spearing into the "switch" then the connection should be tight, core muscles keeping everything aligned and transferring power from the high side into the water via rotation.

When I first learned of the concept of the faster recovery, I played with just focusing on pulling the recovery arm out and forward faster. It felt weird. Like rubato in music. Rushing so that you can slow down. And it did feel like I missed some connection to the lower side. It was messing with my rotation and timing of the switch. It felt like a weird way to get into a flat catch-up position.

Things didn't click here until Coach Stuart started moving our focus to launching the rear hand out of the water. In this way you can move that recovery around quite fast, and if you have front quadrant timing discipline, you find it throws that recovery hand into the water faster without losing the long hull.

It also takes the focus away from propulsion, but neatly aligns with the traditional concept of a gradually accelerating underwater arm. Concentrating on launching the recovery out of the water to generate and harness forward momentum seems to demand that energy from kick and rotation applies to the water. Side benefit is that I find I don't hurt my shoulders from applying underwater pressure too soon while my arm is above the shoulder line. More of my force is being generated at the rear end of my stroke. At least when I'm focusing on it.

It seems to work for me better when sprinting. That launch takes some energy that I don't think I could keep up for a mile. However, when I find some part of my stroke tiring, focusing on the launch does relieve some muscles and snaps others into action. I don't use it all the time, on every stroke, but it's a good tool to have.
Tomoy, thanks for your comments. I'm not sure there is any intersection at all in my perception of these things and what you wrote above, but I thought I would try to explain my own sense of things on the odd chance that there is some common ground. Right now, where I am in my efforts to speed up my stroke rate, the most important thing for me is not to drop my elbow. This is greatly facilitated if I concentrate on coming out of the water in the back with my shoulder rotated internally. This means that my recovery will start with my elbow perpendicular to my body, so that I don't rotate that elbow over my back. However, this very same motion in the back forces me to extend my front shoulder on the other side and stretch out my spearing arm up front. So it requires some extra effort (which you do note above) but I have the sense that if I exit this way in the back, my ensuing rotation and spear of the recovering arm is greatly facilitated and becomes much more effortless.

So, in summary, it seems to me that the effort I need comes in setting up my shoulders (both front and back) as the recovering hand comes out of the water, but once this is done, the recovery and ensuing rotation become much easier.

I'd be interested to hear if any of this resonates with you.
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  #98  
Old 05-12-2017
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
A faster recovery also seems to lend more momentum to the spearing motion, helping get more extension of the body line, and also more rotational force with your arm entering more quickly on wide tracks.
Yes, I think that's the main point, though I barely mentioned it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
I have the sense that if I exit this way in the back, my ensuing rotation and spear of the recovering arm is greatly facilitated and becomes much more effortless.

So, in summary, it seems to me that the effort I need comes in setting up my shoulders (both front and back) as the recovering hand comes out of the water, but once this is done, the recovery and ensuing rotation become much easier.

I'd be interested to hear if any of this resonates with you.
I feel the resonance :-) In a couple ways.

The desire to bump up stroke rate: it is MUCH easier to take .1 sec off your tempo in the air where there's no resistance than it is to take it off symmetrically underwater where a faster paddle risks slipping in the water. Do that 75 times and you've taken 7.5 seconds off your 100M time while doing the same underwater action as your original tempo. That's just the mathematical part.

It's been awhile since I read it here (somewhere on the forum), but Shinji was quoted as saying that he does a little basketball dribble wrist action just before his hand exited the water, in order to set up his recovery. It helps push the elbow up into the position you talk about. Instead of lifting the elbow up, there's a little shove against the water to get the recovery going. That's similar to what we're talking about these days when using the words, launching the recovery forward.

I can't remember where I got it, but I recall reading that most of one's propulsion comes (underwater) from between your shoulders and your belly button. Not much else is going on below there. I'm questioning that these days. I guess it's not so much about propulsion. I'm finding that what I do from that point until hand exit is still very important.

No matter how you look at it, it takes energy to do recovery. Do we want to contract shoulder and upper arm muscles (where's Coach Suzanne when you need her?) to do this by pulling, or do we want to use hip rotation and a little oomph on the water (byproduct, forward motion) to throw the arm forward (allowing you to relax those upper body muscles)? It seems like the latter makes more sense, but again, sometimes I just like to change which muscles I'm relying on, so I mix it up depending on the demands of the moment.

I'm still not sure about the need to tie the recovery exit to the leading arm. Maybe some balance instinct is triggering that underwater spear to extend and stabilize. Is it possible to kick that rear hand out into recovery while maintaining minimal effort holding the lead hand out there? Maybe I'll remember to try it tomorrow night at the pool!

Cheers.
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  #99  
Old 05-12-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Tomoy, thanks for your comments. Today I was back in the water trying to understand this better, in particular, trying to understand exactly what I am doing at the higher stroke rates. I started out with this somewhat absurd experience at the beginning, when I noticed that my times for 50 yd intervals had increased by almost 2 s, even though my SPL was stable or perhaps even lower, all at the same TT setting. This was so perplexing to me that I started asking myself if the TT starts to run slower when the battery runs down. So I turned the TT down to 0.5 s and timed it for 10 s against my watch. As near as I could tell, the TT was still on target. So I guess I can't blame this on the TT :o)

I swam slower today than I was swimming last weekend, and I couldn't quite figure out why. But one of the things I noticed today was that by starting the recovery in back with my shoulder internally rotated, I don't have to rotate my hips as much when I come out of the water. This has two consequences going forward with the recovery. First, if my hips are flatter, I am not over-rotating and reversing directions to rotate back becomes much easier. Second, if I keep my forward arm extended then this leads to a rotation of my shoulders with respect to my hips that isn't there when my back shoulder isn't internally rotated. In other words, my shoulders go more vertical in the water than my hips do, and my torso is twisted. This might result in creating some internal tension in my torso that gets released when I spear forward, at least that is the feeling I get. If this analysis is correct, then it could explain why all of this seems beneficial to me.

Any thoughts, for or against this interpretation?
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  #100  
Old 05-12-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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I did my second USRPT set with 75m repeats today (1:05/75m pace, :20 rest). Tuned up with 700m (200m in fins), including a 13-16 SPL pyramid with 50m repeats. Then, the main set:

6 successful repeats before missing #7, so 1 better than Wednesday--a slight improvement, but still not a big leap forward.

Then 2 more successful repeats before next failure.

Then 1 more successful repeat before final failure.

9 successful repeats total, same as last time. Overall, that's still an improvement by USRPT standards, as it's the number of repeats before first failure that's most important. Very quick decay in performance once I start hitting failures. I was able to hit mostly 16 SPL on the first 25-50 of each repeat, with some 17-18 SPL creeping in at the end.

After the set, I decided to go back to my 50m USRPT set (30 x 50m at :45 pace or faster with :20 rest) instead of a USRPT set with 100m repeats, as I did the last few times.

The 50m set still felt pretty easy. I was able to hit 16 SPL for the first length of each repeat, with some 16 and some 17 SPL on the finish. I completed 13 repeats without a failure, then ran out of time at the pool and had to quit. I might have been able to finish 30 repeats without failing, but I'm not sure.

I think I'll do the 75m set followed by the 50m set on the same day for a while just to get more time in at goal pace. I'll do a USRPT set with 100m repeats at slightly slower pace (1:33/100m) twice a week, with the 75s and 50s three times a week, and see what happens.

Next week I'll be in a 25y pool, which will throw things off a bit and make me feel fast. Anyone have thoughts on how I should adjust target times/paces?

I was thinking I'd be :03 faster on the 50s, and :04-:05 faster on the 75s. Does that sound about right? Thanks!
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Last edited by Tom Pamperin : 05-12-2017 at 08:16 PM.
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