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Old 08-31-2013
Janos Janos is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Liverpool, England
Posts: 389
Default Undulatory locomotion

Hi all, thought I would jot down my musings on this subject, and see if anybody else has similar thoughts, and so help me crystallise mine into a definite viewpoint.
Watching Touretski being interviewed about his training methods with Popov it was interesting to see in the video his emphasis on dolphin kick training, and swimming freestyle with no kick but allowing his hips to sway free. He does not explain what he is trying to achieve but cryptically alludes to fishlike swimming. Which at first seems slightly at odds with the kayak principle needing a tight torso.
Is efficient swimming a combination of both? Should we relax our torso slightly during recovery when swimming freestyle and tighten it again after the hip drive?
Is there a transfer of power backwards, that creates the thrust that allows all strokes to become smooth and fluent? So many people post and say how much better they swim with no kick, or with one that is just a flick. Is this because when they flutter kick, or have a badly timed two beat kick, that it hinders the pulse or transfer of power that makes smooth swimming possible?
As much as 80% of propulsion during breaststroke comes from the kick. Recovery facilitates breathing and then we tuck into streamline position, harnessing the kinetic energy of our dropping torso and sending that through our hips and out through the kick. A basic undulatory movement, that can only work if timing is correct, and we are streamlined at the time we kick, otherwise we are just creating drag. This fundamental movement is also used in butterfly, and just about everything that swims at any speed. Can this theory be applied to freestyle? To become 'fishlike', the first thing to dispense with is the flutter kick. The second is the muscular pull. The power transfer has to come from the rotating shoulders and rotating hips creating a linear thrust through to the kick? Previous posters have quoted Shinji as saying this is incorrect, but I feel it has merit, and have changed my training accordingly. Has anybody else tried to combine fly and breaststroke theory with freestyle? Or have a theory as to the merit of kicking forwards as opposed to sending power backwards?
Charles recently posted a video where he is filming one of his students in an open water race, it is interesting to note how the kayak he is filming from is tossed about by the chop, and yet the swimmer seems to ride the swell. Is he displaying some undulatory movement that allows him smoother progress, whereby the stiffness of the kayak in this instance is perhaps a hinderance?

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