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  #1  
Old 04-24-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default What is the "mailslot"?

It's the "hole" your hand makes on entering the water .... or ?
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2015
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
It's the "hole" your hand makes on entering the water .... or ?

It's the "hole" your hand 'enters through', as it extends forward through the water... There, how's that?
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2015
terry terry is offline
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You cut a slot in the surface with fingertips and slide your lower forearm through that slot with neither splash, bubbles, nor noise.
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
You cut a slot in the surface with fingertips and slide your lower forearm through that slot with neither splash, bubbles, nor noise.
I have a minor question that I realise may not have a definitive answer, but here goes.

We have been told over and over again to relax our hand as it enters or drops into the water as part of the relaxed, marionette-forearm idea in recovery. So the hand tends to assume a loose semi cupped appearance with the thumb sticking out a little, somewhere in between a rigid flat plank-like configuration and a loosely balled fingers configuration. We are told to avoid the former plank-like configuration because it tends to infect the whole loose movement with an unwanted rigidity.

However, isn't the rigid flat plank like configuration with the thumb held against the index finger (or rather its metacarpal) the most conducive to a clean unbending, undistorting entry? And providing a cleaner mail-slot and a cleaner transition to the contour of the immediately following forearm.

I'm assuming of course that the swimmer is able to provide just enough rigidity to the entering hand and thumb to prevent deformation (to the out-hanging thumb, for instance) on entry, and yet not enough to infect the rest of the preceding movement with unwanted rigidity.

(The corollary to my question, I guess, is that if I try to perform a hand entry as specified as per my theoretically cleaner profile, and I get a clean entry line with minimal splash or bubbles and sound, or even less sound than the loose hand version, is that better?)

Last edited by sclim : 04-24-2015 at 10:51 PM.
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2015
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
We have been told over and over again to relax our hand as it enters or drops into the water as part of the relaxed, marionette-forearm idea in recovery. So the hand tends to assume a loose semi cupped appearance with the thumb sticking out a little, somewhere in between a rigid flat plank-like configuration and a loosely balled fingers configuration. We are told to avoid the former plank-like configuration because it tends to infect the whole loose movement with an unwanted rigidity.
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I'm assuming of course that the swimmer is able to provide just enough rigidity to the entering hand and thumb to prevent deformation (to the out-hanging thumb, for instance) on entry, and yet not enough to infect the rest of the preceding movement with unwanted rigidity.

(The corollary to my question, I guess, is that if I try to perform a hand entry as specified as per my theoretically cleaner profile, and I get a clean entry line with minimal splash or bubbles and sound, or even less sound than the loose hand version, is that better?)
I think the answer will be yes, but not at the expense of constant muscle activation.

I suspect that what "we have been told" and your assumption are both correct. It's a middle ground: avoiding a totally limp wrist floppy entry vs. constantly flexed muscles keeping a plank form to cut the most cleanly into the water.

Being able to keep the knuckles-wrist-forearm in a straight line becomes an art of releasing all muscles at the beginning of recovery, then momentarily engaging forearm muscles slightly and at the last moment briefly engaging muscles in the hand to form the mailslot cut-entry. Anchor, with modestly flexed muscles to hold form, then relax and repeat. Another thing you probably hear over and over again is this art of learning how to turn muscles on and off, and not completely on/off in a binary way, but in a graduated way. The minimum amount of energy required to hold form.

A good mailslot entry requires technique, and technique requires some muscle activation. You can do it well, but waste energy or you can do it well and save energy. A well executed mailslot entry will do this with the least amount of energy possible.

Last edited by tomoy : 04-26-2015 at 08:28 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Well said Tomoy.
The exact shape of the hand isnt very important for deminishing drag, certainly not for beginners with low speed and much bigger drag sources to think about.
The ability to relax the arm at that point and letting the relaxation spread to more parts is much more important.
Its also much easier to feel the water when the hand is relaxed instead of tensed.
LIke Tomoy said, ideal is just the needed tension to keep the hand in a relative streamlined shape.
You dont want to relax so much that the relaxation spreads all the way to the shouder. Then you are going to swim with a dropped elbow.
To drop the forearmarm in under a neutral angle you have to lift the pivotpoint elbow counsciously.

Phelps keeps his hands fairly streamlined (possibly just for the video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax77_hHq9Dc
Coughlin entry and seeking underwater movements are more relaxed at the front
She even has time to wave to all the fishes below before every stroke.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ8iw8q2F9U
OOps, not the best example of a mailslot entry though :-)

Last edited by Zenturtle : 04-27-2015 at 08:37 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-28-2015
Streak Streak is offline
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Here's another Phelps doing the 2BK thing with mail slot entry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_M7P_jmgBE
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2015
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Phelps has a very clean entry and in underwater footage has very few bubbles but his entry is not splashless. I would guess that very few elites if any have a completely splashless entry, especially at near to maximum speed.
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  #9  
Old 04-30-2015
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
You cut a slot in the surface with fingertips and slide your lower forearm through that slot with neither splash, bubbles, nor noise.
The mail slot is a good visual cue for me to make sure entry to the water starts with fingertips, then wrist, forearm and elbow; it helps prevent elbow dropping and keeps it higher on recovery. I've noticed a difference in how quiet the entry becomes when I visualise this idea.
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