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Old 02-11-2012
Janos Janos is offline
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Default front to back, or back to front?

Hi all,

I have been pondering the relationship between the various strokes. We already know the short-axis strokes are closely related, and so too, the long axis strokes, but I am wondering whether there is a fundamental means of swimming propulsion. The more I try to quieten my freestyle stroke, the more it seems my high shoulder creates the pulse that activates my kick. As if I am applying the power front to back, as in butterfly and breaststroke. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I have seen the occasional mention of swimmers practising front crawl with a dolphin kick, and thinking perhaps there may be a link to my theory. I am also wondering whether that the strong initial leg kick advocated and practised by many for core activation may be something of a blind alley, whereby ever stronger kicking just results in energy depletion and frustration.

Regards

Janos
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Old 02-12-2012
tab tab is offline
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I know this goes against the standard practice, but I do practice free style stroke with a dolphin kick, it is not a strong kick. I can switch it on and off. I sync my 2 beat kick to happen with the dolphin kick, sometimes it is slight to none or I over emphasize it. I believe it goes back to my younger days. On a recent thread a diver related his story of a near death experience and his excitement of learning to simply float with out any gear. I came came close a couple time but not that close. I have only in the two past years learned to swim. But in my high school years I did use a mask, snorkel and fins to swim with, and a fair bit. One kick we used was the dolphin kick. So I have some neurological imprinting to fall back on, similar to skating and skiing. I believe this is the crutch I use to swim with. Without the gear/crack I was "dead" in the water.

My daughter points out my top half is stiff looking so I think my dolphin kick is not full length but from waist down, not real sure. I am now just working on my butterfly and so far it feels reasonable. I started out with breast stroke and moved into the freestyle and now the fly, I am waiting on doing a lot of back as it makes me dizzy. I am playing with a little dolphin on my back until it get some water up my nose and that is usually the end of that, such a weird sensation in the back of my head.

I am doing a number of yards of one arm fly trying to learn the rhythm. This drill seems like some variation of "swingers" I have seen, freestyle with a straighter arm and of course a 6 beat kick or so. The big difference is the kick and a straight body as opposed to the undulation of the fly. There is definite propulsion from the undulation of the dolphin kick, I can actually dolphin kick a number of laps with no arm stroke except to assist in the breath stroke and keep it up far easier than if I had to propel myself the same distance flutter kicking, way further, easier and faster. Maybe my flutter kick is poor formed? My daughter has a very strong flutter kick and can keep it up for a long time. So I don't think one is necessarily the better choice, I would question if it is not the ergonomics of the individuals body which makes one kick better than than the other?
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Old 02-12-2012
Janos Janos is offline
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Hi Tab, nice to know I am not the only one thinking along these lines. The correct freestyle kick is a whip like action, but with one leg. It is difficult enough to refine the action with both legs. So with one at a time, a bit more thought is required. The booming 2b kick depletes energy too much. Low stroke laps can't be maintained for long. Maybe the answer to a minimal kick is to feel it like you would with both legs in the butterfly, but with the cross torsional action of body rotation replacing the up and down movement of the torso in short axis.

Janos
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Old 02-12-2012
tab tab is offline
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Why are they called long axis and short axis strokes?
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Old 02-12-2012
Ghul Ghul is offline
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I guess because in freestyle in backstroke you rotate around the long axis
of your body. In butterfly and breaststroke I guess the waist is the pivot
point.

On the kick, I think for distance swimming even the 2-beat needs to be light.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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My freestyle kick is much better timed after swimming butterfly. FWIW.
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2012
tab tab is offline
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Ok got the axis thing.

Went out for a ski yesterday, no snow all winter, some back in October and around Thanksgiving but it all melted quickly. Only about 4" here now and it was a little boney. I felt kind of wise in that my wax was perfect the first time out. Nice glide, smooth and a firm grip with the kick. I could not help but to compare swimming and skiing. Kick and glide, kick and glide. One aspect the body doesn't follow it rolling to the side as in free and back strokes. But with the outreached the body does have to twist ever so slightly, and the longer the reach the better. The kick mimics the 2BK very well. The kick comes just slightly before the pole plant on the same side while the other is stretched out into the spear and ready for the catch. It has been mentioned, we should not try and force ourselves through the water but work with it and skiing is the same, kind of grabbing the water with just enough grab to hold it. It is possible to force the kick too much and it will slip and all sense of balance is lost. The pole plant and kick is just enough to allow the body to catch up and continue, it is not forced.

I don't ski on groomed trails so I have to break my tracks in and so I don't skate with skies. I suppose this is an axis related difference in skiing as compared to swimming. I have tried it on clear areas but loose balance too easy. I know of people that ski/skate on ice/snow covered lakes or with a firm crust and a light cover of snow. But uneven ground makes it tricky.

When I encounter a slight down hill grade, just the smallest slope, this allows for double pole planting with a single kick, it can alternate or just repeat off the same side, this feeling is so much like the feeling of one armed fly, it is unreal. Just the arms and legs are switched. Again, axis related kind of.

And more on wax, I am no fan of waxless skis, I can feel the scales on the bottoms and hear the zzzzzzz they make. Not as good of a glide. Coasting down a hill next to a waxless set of skis the waxed skis easily slip on by. Perfect streamlining, if your wax is right, it can be too sticky, though. And a little science to go with the wax, it is actually slipping of a film of water caused by the friction between the wax and snow. Once the ski stops moving, the kick, it freezes and the crystal points of the ice grab into the wax. This is where the true "catch" happens. It is fun to ski without poles as well.

Hope that is not too much skiing for a swim forum.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2012
Janos Janos is offline
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No objections here Tab. Sounds like you are a cross country skier? I imagine the kicking action, with nothing to brace against must be great for balance and core strength?
When skiing downhill using carving skis, balance and weight distribution is everything. To make the skis turn, you have to get forward, and get the skis onto their edges, and ride the rails you have made, much like front quadrant swimming and the catch. It is my ambition to go on holiday in the Sierra Nevada, either in Spain or the US, and swim and ski on the same day. What could be better? Has anybody done this lately?

Janos
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