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  #1  
Old 05-17-2012
jriley jriley is offline
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jriley
Default The Difference that Flat Makes - Experimenting with the DeSoto Speed Tube

While my balance is much improved from when I began, I still swim with some fore aft cant, and feet 6-18 inches lower than chest - about a 20-25 degree cant, and requiring an effective downbeat 2bk to maintain that. The usual heavy muscular legs thing. (And yeah, I hang the head, the hand, work with gravity - the vessel just is what it is. I can swim an hour straight easily, I'm just too damn slow - and I know a lot of it is due to the drag of that mediocre position.)

I wanted to see what a difference it would make if I were simply able to position myself flat and on the surface from stem to stern - the way my wife and virtually all great swimmers are positioned in water, with their goldarned heels bubbling and breaking the surface. You can get something of that effect with a pull buoy, but it pretty much eliminates your kick, so using it is not really swimming with the identical stroke (your normal kick) but flat and high in the water, which is precisely what I was interested in.

The trick was swimming with a DeSoto Speed Tube wetsuit bottom - just the "pants", which are buoyant 5mm neoprene and go to mid calf. You can swim exactly as you normally do, kick and all the rest.

The difference, immediately, was that I floated as flat as a canoe and body parts that never see the air - butt, calves, heels - were at or above the surface.

So what difference did simply being flat and high in the water make? Gigantic.

For the same general effort, times for the following scy distances, with fast open turns, with and without the speed tube floating the legs up were as follows:

25 (100% effort): Old best: 21s. Flat: 17s. (~4 secs faster)
50 (95% effort): Old best: 46s. Flat: 38s. (~8 secs faster)
100 (90% effort): Old best: 1:48. Flat: 1:32 (~16 secs faster)
300 (85% effort): Old best: 6:50. Flat: 6:09 (~ 41 secs faster)

That's all swimming exactly the same stroke and rhythm as I'd normally use, other than whatever minor adjustments attach to the fact you're simply moving so much faster (and there are some, like the sudden appearance of a bow wave the size of a mixing bowl, and more distance per stroke - they dropped about 2 per length from normal, as measured by the Garmin 910).

Equally remarkable: my normally nonpropulsive kick turned into a motorboat propeller (relatively speaking) when I got flat and on the surface. I flutter kicked a 25 in under 35 secs (with a snorkel) - I think that means its not so much that my kick is "bad," but that its just not propulsive enough to overcome the drag of a canted 6' 215 lb body. Did a few Superman glides and went more than half a length - heels in the breeze the whole way. Just an entirely different exercise than trying to get horizontal and swimming mostly underwater.

If you ever doubted that balance - in the sense of getting the entire vessel parallel to the surface - is Thing One . . . .
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Old 05-17-2012
terry terry is offline
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Balance is truly Thing One -- the most transformative and valuable swimming skill. It's why, even after an estimated 6000+ hrs of TI practice over the last 23 years, a large part of my self-awareness and focus is still directed at Balance. In the early days it was front-to-back balance; now it's side-to-side, or Lateral Stability.
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My TI Story
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  #3  
Old 05-17-2012
dgk2009 dgk2009 is offline
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So Terry are you saying he has a good Idea,I too have problems with sinking
legs,even after hours of s.g practice,after a few feet my legs sink,will wetsuit
bottoms help me or when I take them off will I be right back where I started.
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  #4  
Old 05-17-2012
bret.moffett bret.moffett is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgk2009 View Post
So Terry are you saying he has a good Idea,I too have problems with sinking
legs,even after hours of s.g practice,after a few feet my legs sink,will wetsuit
bottoms help me or when I take them off will I be right back where I started.
For what it's worth, I watched a guy swimming at the pool last weekend. A very decent swimmer from what I could tell (at least I wish I was as good as he). He was swimming in his wetsuit and was taking about 16 strokes per length. When he took his wetsuit off his stroke count increased to 18 strokes.
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  #5  
Old 05-17-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgk2009 View Post
So Terry are you saying he has a good Idea,I too have problems with sinking
legs,even after hours of s.g practice,after a few feet my legs sink,will wetsuit
bottoms help me or when I take them off will I be right back where I started.
This has been one of the best drills i've used to help correct heavy legs in people who have already tried head position, spearing deeply and opening up the axilla during spearing (you are doing all of those already right? )

The issue is that people, usually men but not always, just don't know where hte muscles are located that allows them to put pressyre on the upper torso to lighten up the hips. The idea here is not to necessarily get the feet to the surface, but to make the hips "lighter" by applying pressure in the front

Use this drill to locate the muscles that do this for you. Note that this 4 year old girl has no trouble doing it...it's a long ish video (2:30), but look for the portions where the instructor is no longer holding onto her. That is the jellyfish drill.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkXlX...eature=related

Do this with a full breath of air to give the benefit of flotation. You don't have to hold yoru toes like she is doing but REACH towards the bottom and feel your hips rise as you do it. (Look where the girls hips are...they are at the surface).

Do this a few times, you'll feel your feet rise off the bottom of the pool, reach toward your toes and feel the hips rise.

Now swim a length of freestyle using that same feeling if reaching forward and down with the upper chest.

It's magical.
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USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
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Fresh Freestyle

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  #6  
Old 05-19-2012
jriley jriley is offline
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Suzanne,

Okay, I tried it as a what-the-hell after some time trials, expecting not much . . . jellyfish float . . . no big deal - but then that reach down, hip jacking thing happened . . . Holy Cow . . . hips snapped up 6 inches . . . the hanging feet levitated . . .

You're absolutely right . . . its magical. The feeling is distinct (never felt those muscles working exactly that way before). Some kind of core to clavicle thing you feel in no form of core exercise or hold. That feeling, though, was pretty easy to replicate swimming, and it makes a big difference. Kept the hips up, as you said, but it also changed breathing mechanics in a positive way - much easier to keep a goggle wet and huge, huge bow wave - about as close to that Shinji thing, with water pouring over the head but ample air (sort of like breathing in the space behind a waterfall). Too cool!!! Two fast 50s, one with snorkel, one normal (identical times, for the first time ever) confirmed it. My new main focal point until its automatic. Many, many thanks!

Where in the heck did you find this one?
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  #7  
Old 05-20-2012
nicka nicka is offline
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CoachSuzanne thank you from me also.

I found this exercise a great help too.

I spent 2 hours in the pool today where i would first do this exercise by holding on to the back of my ankles and waiting till i am balanced with my backside rising out of the water then open up the body to the superman position slowly and kick very lightly holding the same balance i felt at the start, i would hold this till i am out of breath and stand up and swim 2*25 meter laps trying to hold the same balance and today i swam better than ever.

It did feel strange at first with the body feeling like it was going to roll completely backward but the patience paid off

I did this over and over for 2 hours.

I did get a lot of funny looks though :)
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My Goal to swim 1500 meters in under 30 minutes
EDIT-my goal was achieved Oct 12 2013 with 22 seconds to spare in a 25 meter pool, Thanks TI
Next goal is to achieve this in a 50 meter pool.

Last edited by nicka : 05-20-2012 at 07:29 AM.
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jriley View Post
Suzanne,

Okay, I tried it as a what-the-hell after some time trials, expecting not much . . . jellyfish float . . . no big deal - but then that reach down, hip jacking thing happened . . . Holy Cow . . . hips snapped up 6 inches . . . the hanging feet levitated . . .

You're absolutely right . . . its magical. The feeling is distinct (never felt those muscles working exactly that way before). Some kind of core to clavicle thing you feel in no form of core exercise or hold. That feeling, though, was pretty easy to replicate swimming, and it makes a big difference. Kept the hips up, as you said, but it also changed breathing mechanics in a positive way - much easier to keep a goggle wet and huge, huge bow wave - about as close to that Shinji thing, with water pouring over the head but ample air (sort of like breathing in the space behind a waterfall). Too cool!!! Two fast 50s, one with snorkel, one normal (identical times, for the first time ever) confirmed it. My new main focal point until its automatic. Many, many thanks!

Where in the heck did you find this one?
Wow, excellent result!!! Actually, I learned it from Shinji. :) I'm not even sure that this is wht he uses it for, but I've learned that it works very well for "hip resistant" men and women.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #9  
Old 05-21-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicka View Post
CoachSuzanne thank you from me also.

I found this exercise a great help too.

I spent 2 hours in the pool today where i would first do this exercise by holding on to the back of my ankles and waiting till i am balanced with my backside rising out of the water then open up the body to the superman position slowly and kick very lightly holding the same balance i felt at the start, i would hold this till i am out of breath and stand up and swim 2*25 meter laps trying to hold the same balance and today i swam better than ever.

It did feel strange at first with the body feeling like it was going to roll completely backward but the patience paid off

I did this over and over for 2 hours.

I did get a lot of funny looks though :)
Funny looks are good...it means you're doing something un-conventional...which in the swimmign world, usually means you are doing something better.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #10  
Old 05-21-2012
daveblt daveblt is offline
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Isn't this basically the same as when you 'press your buoy' as you swim ? Or leaning in to the water for support ? What's different ?

Dave
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