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Old 12-01-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Default stroke efficiency, slippage, and muscle recruitment

throwing this post out for discussion as its something I just thought of today:-

After discovering the magic distance markers on the bottom of the pool last week I now know my push off is +- 6 metres.

That leaves me 19m left to swim each length with an open turn.

Today I decided to measure my theoretical stroke length against the wall which I found quite interesting.

The distance from hand entry to hand exit was 1.36 or 14SPL equivalent but my distance from bowed arm in strong catch position to hand exit is 1.06 or 18SPL

What does this tell me? I'm not sure?

I think it's that if I swim a length of 14SPL I'm either gliding 30cm a stroke or recruiting my weaker muscles to pull the stroke from point of entry, rather than waiting for the strong catch position and engaging the core and the lats?
That would explain why I can hold 14SPL for short distances or at very low TT settings but not over a 1500m time trial


Equally, if my SPL goes over 18 and I maintain my push off then that is due to slippage and technique deterioration?

Will my fastest speed over longer distances come from a high stroke rate and the 1.06 stroke length position?




How do I test?

My first thoughts are to find a TT setting that is near my outer limit so that I have no time to glide in the stroke but can still maintain a good hold on the water and do some 25/50 repeats. currently I guess this is around TT0.85-0.9

I'll could also try a 400m with TT@1.17 and try to maintain 18SPL without a fast switch (so no glide) and see if I hit 6:52

Any thoughts?

Interestingly enough to swim an open water 1500m in 25 minutes you need the same TT setting as your stroke length,
These numbers correlate to my own results as at the moment I probably swim 27 minutes at stroke rate around 1.12-1.15 (which would give me a stroke length of circa 1.04-1.06)


Looking forward to my next swim anyway.

the off season definitely brings out more of the ti-er in me. exciting and motivating.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2013
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Andy,

just a thought to throw in: Your description of glide seems leading to what the other side calls overgliding. Did you ever work with different inner stroke time? I'd call it "active glide"; use the glide going on and let your hand and arm fall without any drag or pull to its catch-start-push-position. Terry, if I understood right, once wrote, this part should happen as slow as possible. And the push should start and accelerate to maximum speed when the hand just goes out to recovery.

Think for guys like you there's much room for improvement. Once a woman, former german's top squad, showed me well visible different swim speeds with same TT-settings. (Her description: Different anchor and catch feelings.)

Best regards,
Werner
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2013
tomoy tomoy is offline
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It's funny Andy - I very much admire your ability to go analytical with sets. Every time I try something like this though, I find too many variables. The biggest is the way my efficiency changes from warm-up, to distance to sprints and cool-down: fatigue.

My body is really happy with one progression. If I were to do 20x100's, without attempting to change up my technique, I'm pretty sure the first 4 would be 13-14 SPL at ~1.50s (TT). The next 8-12 would be 15-16 SPL at ~1.35s. Then the next 4-8 would be 16-17 SPL at 1.1-1.25s.

I've done numerous pyramids of 50Y, and find my technique can still be clean (not much slippage where SPL jumps) at 1.05s-1.35s. But 50Y doesn't represent a very good baseline because I'm always swimming 'fresh' and fast. Since we're talking about targeting 1-mile efficiency, it seems like I need 300Y+ to give me a feel of a pace I could actually continue over long distance. But there's no way I could do 300Y+ sets. The first two would be similar, but the third I would start to tire, the forth and fifth 300Y would get more and more slippy and inefficient.

So considering perpetual efficiency (vs sprinting), how do we do time-sets where you want to try tempos and SPL's at 1.30, 1.25, 1.20, 1.15, 1.10, 1.10, 1.05, 1.0 (that's 8) which measure something useful, such as focusing on slow hand / quick recovery as Werner points out, when each of those runs is 3-400Y? At my age/cardio level, I'm pretty much beat by 2000Y.

Break it up from session to session maybe? But that brings in sleep, fuel and more variables. This is where I think there's a market for a good waterproof quantified self tool. Something that you slip on every swim. Then after 1 month of swimming you could run all sorts of reports.

Show me a graph of every 400Y set I did at a tempo of 1.20. How about at 1.10? How about every 400Y set where I did 16SPL? Only after enough data points would we get useful statistics. Like which tempo/spl combinations consistently yielded slightly better lap times.

Then we could do a warmup. Set the TT, keep mental track of SPL, and have a good chance of targeting an improved 1-mile time, with confidence, knowing what is the most efficient pace for my body given the distance I'm targeting.

Maybe I'm just not putting in enough laps ;-) The statistics curiosity I have tells me that I can't get enough relevant samples to make good conclusions.
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Old 12-01-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
throwing this post out for discussion as its something I just thought of today:-

After discovering the magic distance markers on the bottom of the pool last week I now know my push off is +- 6 metres.

That leaves me 19m left to swim each length with an open turn.

Today I decided to measure my theoretical stroke length against the wall which I found quite interesting.

The distance from hand entry to hand exit was 1.36 or 14SPL equivalent but my distance from bowed arm in strong catch position to hand exit is 1.06 or 18SPL

What does this tell me? I'm not sure?

I think it's that if I swim a length of 14SPL I'm either gliding 30cm a stroke or recruiting my weaker muscles to pull the stroke from point of entry, rather than waiting for the strong catch position and engaging the core and the lats?
That would explain why I can hold 14SPL for short distances or at very low TT settings but not over a 1500m time trial


Equally, if my SPL goes over 18 and I maintain my push off then that is due to slippage and technique deterioration?

Will my fastest speed over longer distances come from a high stroke rate and the 1.06 stroke length position?
Wow a lot of fun questions... Let's first go with the above

The distance from hand entry to hand exit was 1.36 or 14SPL equivalent but my distance from bowed arm in strong catch position to hand exit is 1.06 or 18SPL
Well that might not be a valid test though, if I understand what you tried to achieve. You can't take the glide variable away. Body acceleration continues before dropping down to a counter productive level.

So your distance per stroke is either the best possible distance per stroke technically achievable given your level of balance streamline etc, without showing some technically weak points in the stroke (ie, cheating). There, your hand enters somewhere, then travels for quite some time forward which explains why it will exit at the same place it entered. Maximal dps whilst still swimming technically ok.

And there's your optimal racing gear ratio, and it is (I hope) a much smaller gear than the max you can carry. On the bike, it is true otherwise the muscular effort to push this gear would be to hard. In the water, it's technically very hard to achieve these hard gears and still hoping swimming your best possible time over 1500.

Very few can afford a flat out 1500 at 15str/100m.

How do I test?
Time trials on tempo, trying various thing. Testing is training, training is testing.


My first thoughts are to find a TT setting that is near my outer limit so that I have no time to glide in the stroke but can still maintain a good hold on the water and do some 25/50 repeats. currently I guess this is around TT0.85-0.9 I like reps of 400m or more, because then you really see what you're worth. If DPS drift by 4 within a 400m, houston you have a problem.


I'll could also try a 400m with TT@1.17 and try to maintain 18SPL without a fast switch (so no glide) and see if I hit 6:52
Bingo

Any thoughts?

Read Couzens.. I'm sure you'll like. It's worth putting the effort understanding what he means with delta efficiency. OW distance performance swimming, it is a lot about this variable I think...

http://alancouzens.blogspot.ca/2013/...ing-style.html

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...5Sm5NbVE#gid=0

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 12-01-2013 at 11:11 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-02-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Werner,

I wasn't trying to suggest overgliding, just trying to understand the factors that make up my SPL range at any given tempo.

I see gliding as recognition and feedback for good streamline and balance.

Whenever I see great technical swimmers in my local pools they resemble Phelps first lap here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zJSI0aoRfU

lots of glide - it's a plod pace if you like, because they are imprinting perfect positions at a reduced speed, in exactly the same way a concert pianist plays through tricky passages at 1/2 tempo.

I'm also guessing that if you asked Phelps or the others to enjoy a 2 mile swim across an open lake whilst on holiday it would look like this as he would just enjoy the art of the stroke.

If you don't have an element of glide in your training your missing both important feedback on how your body is reacting with the water and the pleasure of enjoying that positive feedback from successful technique.

But at race speed when you ask these guys to 'perform the concert' the stroke rate ramps up and the glide element is shortened as one stroke starts where the other ends


Tomoy,

I agree that getting enough data points is a challenge. I'm only swimming 2 times a week at the moment so building a list of comparable 400 repeats is limited. It's also why I like precise length sets where I set the SPL and TT to hit an exact time over a distance, even if that time is slower than max effort. consistency over 16 lengths is the real challenge, learning to swim 16 lengths at 26 seconds, rather than , 4 at 25, 4 at 26 and 4 at 27

Charles

If SPL slips more than 4 over a 400 houston we have a problem - thanks.
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post

... I see gliding as recognition and feedback for good streamline and balance.

Whenever I see great technical swimmers in my local pools they resemble Phelps first lap here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zJSI0aoRfU

lots of glide - it's a plod pace if you like, because they are imprinting perfect positions at a reduced speed, in exactly the same way a concert pianist plays through tricky passages at 1/2 tempo.

I'm also guessing that if you asked Phelps or the others to enjoy a 2 mile swim across an open lake whilst on holiday it would look like this as he would just enjoy the art of the stroke.

If you don't have an element of glide in your training your missing both important feedback on how your body is reacting with the water and the pleasure of enjoying that positive feedback from successful technique.

But at race speed when you ask these guys to 'perform the concert' the stroke rate ramps up and the glide element is shortened as one stroke starts where the other ends
Love the whole of this Andy, and especially this nugget: "I see gliding as recognition and feedback for good streamline and balance. ". Perfect imho.

That clip of Phelps is great too. Amazing how he attacks the water in recovery, stretching forward like he's trying to take a huge bite out of it with his arm. Is that 10SPL I counted! It's also really great to see someone at his level playing about in his swimming and making "mistakes", because that's not the aim of his game at that point. Thanks too for that. A new hero for manatees!!
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  #7  
Old 12-03-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I would approach this by swimming a series of practices in which I spent time at the lower end (14-16 SPL) and time at the upper end 16-18 SPL and did a variety of patterns, ultimately seeing what my range of speeds is for each SPL, without using the tempo trainer intitially.


Then when I felt i was becoming skilled and say choosing 18 SPL and swmming my max pace for x distance, add the tempo trainer and see where I was...then see if I could clean things up a little bit.

this might take me 2 or 3 weeks to design various permutations and allow time for adaptation.

Sounds fun
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2013
dprevish dprevish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Hello Andy,

just a thought to throw in: Your description of glide seems leading to what the other side calls overgliding. Did you ever work with different inner stroke time? I'd call it "active glide"; use the glide going on and let your hand and arm fall without any drag or pull to its catch-start-push-position. Terry, if I understood right, once wrote, this part should happen as slow as possible. And the push should start and accelerate to maximum speed when the hand just goes out to recovery.


Best regards,
Werner
Werner,

Could you expound on this? Or is there a link to this discussion?
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Yesterday I did a swim I would call 'where I am vs where I want to be'

Where I am - 4x100 tt1.17 SPL18 off 2:15, focus on consistent repetition and don't artificially pull down the SPL

Where I want to be - 4x25,3x50,2x75,1x100 tt1.05 SPL18, test theory that my 18SPL stroke length is repeatable at faster stroke rate because it's only engaging big strong muscles.

Repeat

This was a rewarding session as each of the 4 tasks felt progressively easier. My head alignment improved somewhere in the middle and I finished with a 1:32 100m that felt like I could have held it for another 100+ metres for a season's best 200m, which I'll test next swim.
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  #10  
Old 12-04-2013
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Dave,

please excuse me Andy, you didn't go into it, and it's your thread...

Quote:
...Could you expound on this? Or is there a link to this discussion?...
It's an own compilation, so take it with care. I can't give you the links (don't remember it's topics) Terry an Suzanne may blame me.

- I still have the stroke problem spearing upward sometimes. A focus is always spearing downward (enough) some laps.

- Terry once wrote in whole stroke the catch phase should be as slow as possible to get the most arm full of water, and the push, while holding the water (anchoring the hand or moving the body along your anchored hand) should be as fast as possible.

- Suzanne once wrote, when spearing deep enough one should feel a tiny drag at your hand's back.

(- And my non coach thought is as above: Ideal catch would be an unforced falling hand and forarm into the post box until push begins...)

Best regards,
Werner
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