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Old 12-27-2009
jan ameling jan ameling is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 17
jan ameling
Default Need advice on front quadrant timing

What's the correct front quadrant timing of the armstroke according to TI?

I think your extended arm should start pulling when when your recovering arm is about halfway through the recovery. So in that case there would be a 90 degrees angle between the two arms.
But I always notice that TI swimmers exaggerate this and only start pulling when their recovering arm enters the water. Aren't you going slower this way?

Would my description of the front quadrant timing be a good thing to do as an open water swimmer? Or is the TI way superior? Why (not)?

Any thoughts on this would be highly appreciated.
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Old 12-27-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 820

The correct timing is you start the pull just as or just before your spearing arm enters the water .Starting the pull at half way through the recovery will leave you less time to take advantage of the glide you have set up in your stroke and less time that your hand is out in front taking advantage of making the body line longer.A recovering arm that already entered the water before the other arm begins to pull would probably make the stroke more awkward and less efficient by making you breathe too late .

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Old 12-28-2009
elk-tamer elk-tamer is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Calgary
Posts: 102

I don't believe all that stuff about not pulling until your spearing hand enters the water. I think that's more of a conceptual focus than something that bears out on video. Ideally the pull would be constant. As soon as one hand finished pulling, the other one starts. Failing that, the time between the two should be as short as possible. The idea of not "pulling" is more about not shifting your weight until the recovery hands enter the water, but before the weight shift, the front hand starts to drop and soon after the elbow starts to bend.
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Old 12-28-2009
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
TI Coach
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 384

In my opinion, the exact timing changes with the length of your swim, your speed, a lot of other things that I don't know completely. And, there are at least two elements of timing.

First, the definition of front quadrant states that one arm is in the front lower quadrant (below and in front of the lower shoulder) at all times. So the timing must be that the lead (pulling) arm moves slowly enough that it has not yet passed the shoulder when the spearing arm has reached full extension.

This can be achieved in two ways. You can glide longer during the recovery so the overlap of the arms is more extreme. Or you can slow down the hand speed during the first portion of the catch so that the recovery arm has time to catch up while the pulling arm is setting the catch. Or you can do a combination of both.

We know that you are fastest when you are longest so the longer you can keep yourself fully extended the better. And, if you wait too long you will lose too much momentum and slow down. There is a balance.

Elk-tamer suggested that both arms must constantly move. This can work if you can set the catch from the elbow forward without losing the line from lead elbow to toes. I have to disagree with with Elk-tamer because, while this is a great option and many elite use it, very few of us mortals have the shoulder flexibility to achieve this well. And it is more elusive. Using myself as an example, I worked for the past two years on developing that flexibility and timing. I got great results, (I could set my catch at a 90 degree angle to my body) but I noticed that I would only hold my best stroke if I started every practice with 30 minutes of fist glove training to really perfect my catch. As soon as I went two days between practices, I lost efficiency. It just seems more elusive.

On the other hand, if I do hold the glide longer and only let the catch occur during the rotation, my hand is always in a position that is easy on my shoulders and I can achieve better grip on the water. I believe this does require faster arm movement during recovery so you don't end up gliding too long.

I believe there is some personalization that must occur. But the latter option is definitely easier on the shoulder and since most of us don't have the mobility or practice time to really hit the first option, I only teach the exaggerated front quadrant timing.
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