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  #1  
Old 03-18-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Default How does your stroke breakdown ?

This is a question for all of you whose stroke quality deteriorates with distance. For example you swim a beautiful LAP 1 (feeling balance, technique, rythm, glide) and things get progressively worse on LAP2, LAP3...

Have you identified what makes your stroke breakdown and what stroke problems appear? ALEX
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2011
Scotty Scotty is offline
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Default Breathing rhythm is the culprt

When I begin to tire, my breathing rhythm deteriorates quickly. Instead of gently rolling to the side and slowly turning my head for air, I rush the rotation and my head jerks up for oxygen. This diminishes the bow wave and the hips sink.

I feel a tightness in my chest and my focal point for the lap is dwarfed by an obsession for the next breath. My kicking (which is never very good) becomes erratic as the back stiffens and the flutter turns into a fast and irregular churning of the water. The splaying of the legs is unreal.

These sensations and the resulting collapse of my stroke are really disturbing. So whenever I sense the deterioration I roll on my back, engage in very slow flutters, and become conscious of taking normal breaths. Eventually I switch to the old reliable elementary back stroke until I reach the side of the pool.

I rest until I regain a sense of relaxation, then I begin laps swimming very slowly.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2011
daveblt daveblt is offline
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Default

My first few laps always seem to feel better and then deteriorate somewhat the farther I go however if I stop at the wall and rest and then do a few more laps and repeat or add backstroke in between or LA combo then my stroke seems to feel pretty good.

Dave
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty View Post
When I begin to tire, my breathing rhythm deteriorates quickly....an obsession for the next breath...
My breathing rythm also seems to be the root problem. It is a combination of poor breathing pattern (inhale|exhale) and slow Stroke Rate (=low breathing frequency). One of these days I will get a snorkel and see if I can swim 500m with "good technique feeling".

Here is how my stroke breaks down (perhaps not in the right order):

1. LAP 1 is good, rotation is good, 2BK is fluid. But I have a tendancy to hold my breath
2. My heart rate starts going up, need to get air more frequently
3. Rotation is ok on the breathing side, while rotation slowly disappears on the other side
4. 2BK deteriorates, noise from the other leg probably counters the constructive rotation initiated by the lower leg
5. Head does not look straight down anymore, eyes slightly look forward. Could be that I am in a hurry to breathe and I start raising my head instead of rotating it to air
6. Probably by now I am more tensed (lactic acid build up?)

Once my breathing is fixed, I believe I will have another problem: muscular endurance.
7. I expect my position in the water to be less horizontal as core muscles get less tired.
8. Arm rotation also becomes more difficult (arm get tired + shoulders more stiff)

Does this make sense? ALEX
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2011
terry terry is offline
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Muscular endurance is far less of a factor than muscle memory. Build an unbreakable movement pattern by disciplined practice and you'll hardly remember you had muscular endurance issues. It's not that muscular endurance isn't a valid component in work capacity. It's that, in swimming, the problem is too much energy waste, not insufficient supply.
Energy-saving opportunities are almost limitless. And while working on them, you still get metabolic training.

To ensure you rotate on non-breathing strokes as well, focus on (i) driving down the high hip and (ii) spearing to your X/Y targets with good energy after each breath. That will trigger a weight shift to the other side.

And to ensure you don't hold your breath, consciously coordinate exhale with that emphatic movement.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

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  #6  
Old 03-21-2011
lptiuser lptiuser is offline
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Default Breathing

I just had a look at the perpetual motion video from the link that Terry provided.

It seems you do exactly what I'm trying to "correct".

If you do a normal stroke, your "pulling arm" only engages when the "entering arm" pierces the water. This feels good and the transfer of power is evident throughout the body.

However on the breath, say you're breathing to the left, at the moment your left hand enters the water (you're now finishing your breath), you've already engaged the pull with your right hand, in fact it's just above your head.

I find it very difficult to maintain my speed when breathing, so it's almost instinct that I start to pull before my other hand has entered the water. Is this something that you just factor in as an "inefficient stroke"?

PS: bought the book and the dvd, I'm sold on the concept but struggling on the execution - mainly just for the breathing :-). If I swim in a 36 m pool and breath every 5 strokes it generally takes me 23-24 strokes to do a length. Throw in breathing every 3rd and that can go up to 26-27
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  #7  
Old 03-21-2011
aquarius aquarius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
To ensure you rotate on non-breathing strokes as well, focus on (i) driving down the high hip and (ii) spearing to your X/Y targets with good energy after each breath. That will trigger a weight shift to the other side.
How does one determine one's ideal Y for the target? Lawrence pointed out in another thread that it varies from one swimmer to another. What are the advantages and drawbacks of spearing higher or lower? And then how do you know when you've found the right height?

I also find it hard to estimate distances from the surface. Wouldn't it be both easier and more relevant to define an angle from horizontal?
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  #8  
Old 03-21-2011
kaliman kaliman is offline
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Default Breathing ... and my "strategy"

Thanks for opening this thread. I feel not so bad after seeing that I am not the only one struggling with a similar issue.
I am training for a sprint tri a month from today and I know I only need to swim 600m. I have started doing Terry's suggested workout:

5x50
4x74
3x100
2x150
1x200 all with a TT @ 1.25

trying to keep good form at each set. The 150s are a real struggle. And the final 200 I had to break it down into 4x50 ... Form goes out the window after the 100 - 125 ... I have been trying to extend my breathing capacity and breath every 5th stroke but I have to switch to every third stroke by the 75 turn.
So for my tri in May, I am hopeful I will be able to keep good form for 300m and then survive the rest of the swim ... although I will keep working on my swimming since I have an Oly in schedule in August ...

I am sold on TI and I know that eventually, I will get it right.

- Manuel
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  #9  
Old 03-21-2011
terry terry is offline
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Manuel
Your approach is sound. By doing a set that builds from 5 x 50 to 1 x 200, with a reference point of SPL and Tempo, you can precisely find the distance at which errors begin to overwhelm efficiency. Work patiently around that threshold and you'll see it gradually improve.
I.E. Since form suffers at the 125 distance, you can do both of the following
Do your 50s and 75s @ slightly faster tempo (between 1.20 and 1.23) and see if you can maintain your target SPL.
Do 150 or 175 @ slightly slower tempo (between 1.28 and 1.32) and see if you can maintain your target SPL.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #10  
Old 03-22-2011
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Muscular endurance is far less of a factor than muscle memory....
To ensure you rotate on non-breathing strokes as well, focus on (i) driving down the high hip and (ii) spearing to your X/Y targets with good energy after each breath. That will trigger a weight shift to the other side.

And to ensure you don't hold your breath, consciously coordinate exhale with that emphatic movement.
Thanks Terry. It is amazing how much I learn on this Forum every day... ALEX
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