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Old 05-20-2013
sinker sinker is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: michigan
Posts: 78
Default Get a grip

I have been chasing the elusive holding water grip ever since I started learning to swim with TI 4 1/2 years ago. Had an interesting phenomenon present itself a few weeks ago.
Background---Needed a change from 100% freestyle, so started interspersing breast stroke & backstroke. Got the TI breaststroke dvd and I now swim a couple laps freestyle, then 25 yards backstroke then 25 yards breaststroke. The change of pace is refreshing.
As to the backstroke, I did no research on correct TI or anyone else's backstroke technique. I just decided to wing it and do my own thing sort of based on TI principles as I know them.
I do a 2 beat backstroke as follows---Right arm recovers straight up and straight back entering water as silently as possible. Right elbow bends forming catch, at which time I flick right foot (perhaps more of a foot raise than flick), which initiates a definite rotation. This was where the incredible part happened, with almost no mental focus on my part. My paddle (elbow to fingertips) purchased a grip on the water seemingly automatically, and followed my rotation over with practically zip arm or shoulder pulling. I immediately began backstroking down the whole lane, stroke after stroke, using nothing but the power provided by my rotation. It was akin to paddling a canoe or rowing a boat-----set your paddle or oars in the water and using your core, pull your craft past that point.
Holy crap---here is what I had been looking four years for, and it appears spontaneously when I try this backstroke. If only I could do this freestyle.
But wait, something interesting is happening.
My body is rewiring or something in freestyle. It seems to have grasped the concept or sensation of the backstroke grip and rotational power and is translating it to freestyle. It is not all the way there yet, but I am definitely beginning to feel the grip and power generated by the rotation like I never have before. It requires more focus than backstroke, but is exciting because it comes a trifle easier each swim and I know I can take all the way to fruition with persistent kaizen.
If you have had struggles with this issue as I have, you may want to experiment with it. I believe that a six beat kick or a flutter kick is common to the backstroke, but a rotation is of course essential to provide power and a two beat kick fits the bill to set it in motion.
Hope this helps someone.
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Old 05-20-2013
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 551
Mike from NS

Great post Sinker !!
From the few "learn to swim" lessons I had years ago at a University pool, what they showed me in back stroke stuck the best. It was around this time that my first efforts with TI were taking place. So I'm going to think of this post of yours when next swimming and give what you say a try. I've never considered a 2bk with rotation in the back stroke. My kick here was a desperation flutter kick. Generally, for back stroke I now visualize a TI drill video of patient straight arms as they rotate smoothly out of the water, sometimes pausing at vertical and follow through to the water. I think your experience will help me progress. Thanks !!
If you're not swimming; then you should be skiing......
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